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Book Maps
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Yesterday I finished up the map for our eighth Byzantine mystery. Not the map that will appear in the book. I supply a sloppily marked up .jpg showing places in Constantintople that figure prominently in the text and Poisoned Pen Press sees to it that there's an attractive map at the front of the published volume.

Being visually oriented, I get a better idea of the comings and goings of characters when I can look at a graphical representation of their world, rather than just reading the stage directions, so I am a big fan of maps in books, whether they are mysteries or science fiction/fantasies, which seem to the genres where maps show up most often.

I guess maps also show up in adventures, or used to. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson revolves around a map, as does H. Rider Haggard's fantasy/adventure King Solomon's Mines. It seems like treasure maps are the most popular sort to loom large in the plot but that's a somewhat different issue.

Maps don't seem very popular at all in non-genre books. But why not? Would it have hurt Virginia Woolf to supply a map showing us exactly how to get to that lighthouse? I can't recall her even making it clear where the novel was set. I had to look it up to find out it was on the Isle of Skye. When I read John Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat I had to go find at Monterey on Google maps. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness would have benefitted immensely from a map. I see various locations along the Congo indicated and the end marked "The horror, the horror."

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