With Memorial Day around the corner, you’re probably already dreaming of summer vacation – and all that time to catch up on your thriller reading list. Reading a good mystery book on the beach is hard to beat – but you could kick it up a notch with a crime fiction vacation. These destinations are great places to go on summer vacation, but they’re also the backdrops to bestselling thrillers and beloved detective stories. Follow in the footsteps of your favorite PI or see where mystery writers penned their masterpieces on a crime fiction getaway you’ll never forget.
San Francisco may be one of the best places to visit for fans of mystery novels – if only to follow the trail of Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade. From the apartment where Hammett wrote his hardboiled crime novels to the Pinkerton Agency in the Flood Building, you can find Sam Spade in nearly every block of San Francisco’s Tenderloin. Stop by John’s Grill to Spade’s dinner potato from The Maltese Falcon, and don’t miss the plaque commemorating Miles Archer on the site where he was killed by O’Shaughnessy. Of course, there are countless other thrillers and mysteries that have unfolded on the mean but picturesque streets of San Francisco – and fans of James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club, Jack Lynch’s Peter Bragg crime novels, and Laurie R. King’s Kate Martinelli mysteries will find plenty of places to stake out from the books.
If you just can’t get enough of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, plan a vacation to Sweden and take the Stieg Larsson Millennium tour. From Mikael Blomqvist’s home in the historic Söder to the views from Lisbeth Salander’s upscale address, the Stockholm City Museum’s award-winning Stieg Larsson Millennium tour will take you to all the exciting spots featured in these blockbuster bestselling thrillers. You can even have coffee at Mellqvists Kaffebar – the café frequented by Blomkvist and author Stieg Larsson himself. If your love for Scandicrime extends beyond the bestselling Millennium trilogy of thrillers, you can take crime fiction vacation day trips from Stockholm to Fjällbacka to see locations featured in Camilla Lackberg’s Erica Falck mystery series or visit Ystad to follow in the footsteps of Henning Mankell’s Inspector Kurt Wallander.
With some of the greatest mystery writers hailing from the UK, London makes a great vacation spot for crime fiction readers. It’s elementary to start a tour of Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary mysteries at 221B Baker Street, followed by a pint at the Sherlock Holmes pub. You can even find where Watson and Holmes met or see where Moriarty and Holmes’ had their deadly confrontation. If your style is more shaken, not stirred, sites from Ian Fleming’s James Bond spy novels are all over London. Start at Carlyle Mansions, where Fleming wrote his first Bond thriller, play cards at Crockford’s, then raise a martini to 007 at Duke’s in Mayfair. If your crime fiction vacation to London incluedes time for a daytrip, head to Torquay to see where Agatha Christie wrote her mysteries. Find famous Miss Marple sites on the self-guided Agatha Christie Mile tour, and be sure to check out the Torquay Museum to see Agatha Christie’s typewriter and manuscripts.
If you’re looking for a crime fiction vacation that’s a little more local, you can even swing by Kansas City – where my thrillers are set. These mean streets where mobsters held sway for decades have seen the Union Station massacre courtesy of Pretty Boy Floyd, along with the Pendergast machine that put Harry Truman into the U.S. Senate on his way to the oval office.
This summer, don’t just read a thriller – live one with a crime fiction vacation and bring your favorite mystery books to life!