Book musings

In praise of a floorplan… Inspired by The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock this week, you will know that The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton was published yesterday. I thought this book was INCREDIBLE and you can read my full review here.

To mark this unique book’s release, I am celebrating one of the aspects of it that I loved the most – as well as some other examples – and that is the beautiful floor plan of Blackheath House and map of its grounds inside the front cover:

Seven Deaths floor plan (2)

51clmdl52cl-_ac_us218_In my review I mentioned this article about the putting together of this beautiful book, its eye-catching look and stunning cover design. The article explains that the floor plan and map image was designed by the amazing Emily Faccini.

You can pick up your own copy of this wonderful book here: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Goldsboro Books | Goodreads

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I love whodunits and have always been a fan of a mystery book with a floor plan or map to help you (try to!) solve the murder. I love the way it helps you to envisage the location of the story and I like being able to flick back and forth in the book, checking the details that you already know against the new clues and knowledge you’re building up. Here are some of my other favourites.

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*It does genuinely cause me distress that my copies of the books in this series do not match!

James Anderson’s Burford Family / Inspector Wilkins trilogy is a marvellous series of Golden Age-style, tongue-in-cheek country house murder mysteries, featuring feisty young Lady Geraldine, her devoted parents – the cultured Lady Burford and affable Lord Burford, the “not sanguine” Inspector Wilkins and stalwart family butler, Merryweather. In order, the books are The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy, The Affair of the Mutilated Mink and The Affair of the Thirty-Nine Cufflinks.

Every book in the series takes place almost solely in the Burford Country pile, Alderly, and each features a different cast of characters, outside of the immediate family. Where each character is at various points in the story is key, so each book therefore starts with a simple floor plan showing where the guests are staying.

IMG_5832As an added bonus, The Affair of the Thirty-Nine Cufflinks also has a family tree!

I highly recommend these witty and well-plotted country house murder mysteries.

 

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IMG_5813Some of the most intricate and stylish floor plans and maps I’ve seen in fiction are those by the talented Nina Tara in Robin Stevens’s lovely Murder Most Unladylike series. The books feature, variously, a girls’ boarding school and its grounds and playing fields (Murder Most Unladylike and Jolly Foul Play), a classic country house (Arsenic for Tea), a luxurious train (First Class Murder – The Orient Express, naturally ) and the whole city of Cambridge (Mistletoe and Murder), and each place is illustrated beautifully.

The latest in the series, A Spoonful of Murder, is out now and sees the girls travel to Hong Kong, so there is even more exotic detail in the book’s maps and floor plans:

I’m really looking forward to diving into this newest adventure with Hazel and Daisy!

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IMG_5828Last but of course not least, the long-standing Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, has her fair share of floor plans, maps and diagrams in her books. The first story in each of the Poirot and Marple series – The Mysterious Affair at Styles and The Murder at the Vicarage respectively – both have multiple examples within to try to help you to work out whodunit.

Two of her most lauded mysteries also use the device: Murder on the Orient Express and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, as does the novelisation of Christie’s play, Black Coffee.

After the Funeral furnishes you with a useful family tree and one of my personal favourites, Evil Under the Sun, includes a map of a whole island.

I always get a little frisson of joy when I open a new book and find a floor plan, map or diagram (#booknerd) and am always pleased to find a new example!

Have I missed any good ones out? Do you have any favourites?

2 thoughts on “In praise of a floorplan… Inspired by The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

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