I don’t write cozies, but like many mystery writers, I grew up reading Agatha Christie. The first time I ever heard of the Orient Express was when I accompanied Hercule Poirot on his snowy ride aboard the wagon-lit. Later, I floated with him—and a shipload of murder-minded passengers—from Cairo up the Nile. I flew with Monsieur Poirot from Paris to the heretofore unheard of destination of Croydon in Death in the Clouds. In short I traveled the world (or at least a good part of it) with her funny little Belgian detective, and I came to see my surroundings the way his creator must have viewed her own environs. How many times did Dame Agatha look around an archeological dig and think to herself, “What a perfect place for a murder!”
I still have those moments myself. One of my perks at Down East is that I get to travel around Maine a bit. And there have been many occasions when I have stared at a particularly treacherous cliff or down into the plunge pool at the base of a waterfall and thought, “What a perfect place for a murder!” Here are a handful of real locations that struck me as particularly well-suited for fictional homicides (sadly, some of these sites have witnessed real-life tragedies and crimes, but we’re just mystery buffs having fun here):
Quoddy Head Light: The fog rolls in thick around this red-and-white striped lighthouse…the perfect cover for a killing.
Otter Cliff: At 110 feet high this famous precipice in Acadia National Park is popular with rock climbers, one of whose ropes might fray…or be cut.
Popham Beach: At night this popular beach is isolated and off limits, but it’s easy to imagine someone going their with a lover to roll around in the sand…or being buried up to their neck while the tide comes in.
The Rockland Quarries: So close to the road, so easy for a car to skid into the depths…or be forced through a guardrail.
I have no plans to send Warden Mike Bowditch gallivanting from famous Maine landmark to famous Maine landmark, inspecting corpses. But as a crime writer, I can’t help but be tempted to imagine dark deeds.
What Maine locations have made you exclaim about the murderous uses to which they might be put?