Plot, Charater, Setting . . . Can Settings Be a Character?

One of my mystery writing teachers, M.K. Wren (Conan Flagg series), emphasized that mysteries were set on a three-legged stool. The legs were plot, character and setting. I heard P.D. James on a taped seminar say that settings triggered stories for her and often became a vivid character.

I'm curious, is there a mystery/crime fiction book in which you think the setting indeed was a major character? Would love to learn the book's title, the setting, and why you think the latter served as a character.

Yup, I'll share mine later.

Pat Harrington

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The one's that come to mind immediately are Ian Rankin's Edinburgh, Stephen Booth's Peak District, Adrian Hyland's central Australia, Stuart MacBride's Aberdeen in Cold Granite (all that rain!) As well as much of the Scandinavian fiction as Karen has already mentioned.
Elmore Leonard's Detroit novels (and his Florida novels, too, for that matter). And Louise Penney's Still Life set in the eastern townships of Quebec (haven't read the new one yet).

Also, Linwood Barclay wrote three novels (Bad Move, Bad Guys and Lone Wolf) set in an anonymous sub-division that took on a real personality and could have been a few miles outside of just about any city in North America.

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