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:
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.
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.
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.
As 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.
Some 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!
Last 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.
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?