Monday, January 27, 2014


This past Saturday I came upon The Allure of the Map in the New Yorker on line.  The writer is, as I am, fascinated by the maps that accompany many wonderful works of fiction. He includes Middle Earth, Earth Sea, and Treasure Island. I do know these and many more.

Treasure Island

While such maps are wonderful, the ones I really like to see included in a book are the ones for smaller areas:

Cadfael's Shrewsbury

Towns, like the maps of York that Candace Robb included in her Owen Archer series, or Brother Cadfael's Shrewsbury Abbey and its environs, or  Miss Marple’s St. Mary Mead...

St. Mary Mead
...and,especially, floor plans. Like those sometimes included in Agatha Christie mysteries and such, to let you know how the house was laid out.  These two help me orient myself within the story. And let me know who was where when the butler did it.

First floor map from Agatha Christie's
And Then There Were None

The handiest of these maps are printed as the endpapers so I don’t have to thumb back through to find a page - just flip to the front or back cover and voila!

from Dark Fire - London  c.1541

These two are from C.J. Sansom’s series featuring the lawyer Matthew Shardlake.  Historical fiction at its best.

Endpapers from Sovereign
I do wish Tenniel had done a map of Wonderland.

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