I'm just back from Sunny Spain (you have to say it that way - it's an official rule when describing the country). I was attending the Xabia Negra festival, an event set up to celebrate all things noir. Myself and two fellow authors, Alxandra Sokoloff and Craig Robertson, were invited (under the auspices of Bloody Scotland) to attend and participate in a panel.
So what's not to like about a few days on the Costa Blanca talking about books and sipping beer.
At one point during our panel the discussion turned to location and wether the darkness of northern Europe provided a more fertile ground for crime writing than the sun bleached southern countries.
As a matter of happenstance I'd just written a short story for the new CWA anthology called Mystery Tour. I took this to give me license to write a story set abroad and I chose Xabia. The story opens on a glorious day with our hero lounging at the end of a pier watching the fishing trawlers return home. In fact the first page and half is more a description of the town and its surrounds than anything else. Yet, later, I squeeze in crime, a dilemma and try my best throw my protagonist under the proverbial bus.
Does the story work? Well Orenda Books and the CWA thought so as it's nestled in the heart of the new book which is out soon.
Not that this means that the darker lands are not a richer source of evil - but just because the sun is out doesn't stop the nasty buggers of this world from operating - in fact, if you think about it, where would you rather commit your next crime - on a beach in Spain or in a back alley in Glasgow.
Answers on a postcard.
You can see the new book at www.orendabooks.co.uk