Thursday, 22 December 2011

2011 Travels and Legal Thrillers

Looking back over 2011, my trip of the year has to be the USA Deep South.

The original reason for taking the flydrive there, to head from Nashville to New Orleans via Memphis and sample US music history of all kinds - jazz, blues, Elvis, country & western - was well satisfied. Especially with the hidden bonuses such as Elvis' birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi, a side trip just as worthy as Graceland.

But there was so much more to it. A wealth of US civil war history in places such as Franklin and Vicksburg. To say nothing of the classic period houses in Natchez and on the drive from Lafayette to New Orleans which made it worthwhile to have sat through the whole of Gone With The Wind (!) in anticipation. Not forgetting the lifestyle of the "Swamp People" in the Louisiana marshes, and the Al Capone trail and architectural history of Chicago on the way back.

Interestingly too, having been inspired to finalise Hatred, Ridicule & Contempt on returning to the UK after reading about the e-publishing boom and John Locke's success on the day before the outbound flight, there was something of a John Grisham trail about this journey too. Leaving aside the setting of Memphis for The Firm (with Mitch fleeing De Vasher's goons through the Peabody Hotel - good job he didn't tread on a duck) and New Orleans and the marshlands for The Pelican Brief, one small town side trip stood out. Just before Vicksburg, there was a signpost to Historic Canton. Where the town square and indeed many areas of the town generally were used for the filming of A Time To Kill.

Now, I'm sure that in the real world it's far more likely that if scenes for a legal thriller were to be shot in Birmingham, we'd be talking of Alabama and not the West Midlands. After all, Alabama is virtually John Grisham's backyard. But there's no harm in a touch of wishful thinking once in a while, especially not at this time of year.

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