This is an essay I contributed to a colleague’s mystery blog last year, and it contains a lot of info about me as well as the subject I was asked to address (mysteries set on islands). I’m reprinting it here as one of my first blog posts:
“A LOCKED ROOM WITH A VIEW”
by Tom Savage
If you were to search the wide world to find the perfect geographical location for a murder mystery or suspense story, you would be hard put to find a scene of the crime more suitable than an island. I should know: I’m a mystery writer, and I grew up on one.
Children absorb the details of their surroundings, none more than fledgling writers. Arriving in St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands, from mainland America at the impressionable age of nine, I was struck by the island’s staggering beauty, and I reveled in the hills and dales and water, water everywhere. But I was also aware, even then, that there was something rather sinister about the set-up. Unless you have immediate access to a boat or a plane, you’re stuck there with nowhere else to go. One of my first feelings in my new home was a vague, undefined sense of claustrophobia. I didn’t know that word then, but I would learn it.
I promised lists of favorite things on my blog, and this is the first one: basic, essential reading for mystery fans. The list is roughly chronological, and my cutoff date for “classics” is 1960.
- Edgar Allan Poe — THE COMPLETE WORKS
- Wilkie Collins — THE WOMAN IN WHITE
- Wilkie Collins — THE MOONSTONE
- Arthur Conan Doyle — SHERLOCK HOLMES (the complete works)
- Mary Roberts Rinehart — THE CIRCULAR STAIRCASE* Continue reading
Welcome to the Mystery Man blog. My name is Tom Savage, and I’m a mystery writer. I sold books at Murder Ink® here in NYC for almost 20 years, until we closed our doors in 2006. My specialty was hand-selling titles to customers based on their personal likes and dislikes, and I learned how to match people with books. I have a lot of arcane knowledge to share, and I’m going to be posting lists, essays, and interviews with other writers here from time to time. I’m a big film fan, too, mysteries and thrillers, so I’ll be discussing my extensive DVD collection (hint: Hitchcock!). And I’ll occasionally be talking about the real world, too. I hope you enjoy it, and please look around my website for the latest news about my own works. Thank you for visiting.