Vacation Reading: a Mystery Novel, a Memoir, another Mystery Novel, and Vampires

I finally got to travel last week, and I loaded my kindle with plenty of reading material. Four in one week is not my personal best, that is reserved for the vacation where I read a book a day, ran out of books, and had to find a bookstore in a panic before the flight home. Obviously before kindles. I read a mystery novel (times 2), a memoir, and a sliver of vampire fiction by Octavia Butler, who never disappoints in the “taking a trope and turning it inside out, on its head, and sideways” department.

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Locked Room Mysteries

Locked room mysteries are awesome because they usually present the environment as an oppositional adversary. It’s easy to imagine oneself trapped with a killer, and how delicious to burrow under a blanket and know you’re safe, while reading about people who most certainly aren’t.

So, here are three locked room mysteries I’ve read lately that are chilling, thrilling, and all around awesome.

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Sometimes You Have To Leave Home

Setting can be a character in its own right. It can also be a metaphor. Setting creates a mood, grounds a story in reality, informs the characters, and often determines plot. Think of the wilds of Cornwall in Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, or the bleak, treacherous moors in Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles or the Dustbowl of the 1930s in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. These stories couldn’t have happened anywhere else, and the job of the author is to transport their readers to another time and place.

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