I just finished (most) of a series by Lindsay Davis that is set in Ancient Rome. They're mostly murder mysteries, which is quite interesting, but they include so many details of Ancient Rome as the protagonist travels to Britain, Corduba, etc.
Now I'm moving on to Elizabeth Eyre's series set in the Italian Renaissance, which I'm not nearly enjoying so much as Lindsay Davis' series, but after enjoying around 10 books or so of historical crime fiction, I'm genuinely envious of their knowledge and talent.
I would love to write a murder mystery set in some new historical place. However, I'm so woefully ignorant of the details of history. Lindsay Davis, in contrast, was completely in touch with archaeological records, made maps, knew terms and also did a great job of showing me what the culture could REALLY have been like for Roman women, despite their lack of legal status in many ways. Her characters were so alive, and I was astonished at her knowledge of pottery from the times, art, and EVERYTHING!
I wonder how one goes about acquiring such knowledge, or whether she was a historian first, and then found a way to become a writer later.
Thing is, I should really be taking advantage of this beautiful Panama setting in which to write a crime fiction novel. I wonder if the local police here in Clayton would cooperate with me and do some interviews so that I could write a novel. I wish I knew something about how police go about their jobs. I wish I just knew something more about crime period. My protagonist really WILL have to be an amateur rookie of some sort who all of a sudden gets pulled into a crime scene. And, since I'm a foreigner, I'll probably have something happen that a foreigner would witness or something...
However, what I have in my mind now is more of a novel than a short story, although I suppose I could make a series of short stories...
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