Long before the current wave of crime fiction flooding in from all parts of the world, authors from countries outside the U.S. and the U.K. were writing stories and novels set in a variety of locales. Even in the two mystery-mainstay countries, American and British authors have often used exotic settings to inspire and entertain. One anthology that takes a look at this globe-hopping in crime fiction stories is Murder Intercontinental, published in 1996.
Editors Cynthia Manson and Kathleen Halligan culled their choices from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and decided on twenty authors with stories spanning seven continents taking place over the course of a century. The book starts off with "the Missing House" by Hayford Peirce, set in Tahiti (which the editors mistakenly label as being part of the Caribbean), in which a Kansas-born PI, who is scrounging a living in Tahiti, must find a house the owner swears was stolen. That's followed by geographical sections divided into North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and the Middle East, although some areas are only represented with one story.
There are well-known authors included: Agatha Christie's Poirot in Egypt, Ruth Rendell's Chief Inspector Wexford in London; Georges Simenon's Inspector Maigret in a small French village. Others are less familiar, such as Kenneth Gavrell's P.I. Carlos Banon investigating a drive-by shooting linked to a senatorial candiate in Puerto Rico; Shizuko Natsuki's Lieutenant Soto investigating a bank robbery in a Japanese resort town he links to the suicide of a temple employee; and Josh Pachter's Mahboob Chaudri solving a crime on the Muslim holy day of Ramadan in Bahrain.
Even the settings in North America are more exotic, with Native American-themed tales from Manly Wade Wellman and William T. Lowe, and a haunting little story from James Sarafin titled "The Word for Breaking August Sky," set in a remote Eskimo village in Alaska and featuring an
African-American chief of police, that might best be described as lyrical paranormal noir (and was also later included in the 2002 anthology The Mysterious North, edited by Dana Stabenow).
Here are the regions with their various contributions:
The Caribbean : The Missing House / Hayford Peirce
North America : A Knife Between Brothers / Manly Wade Wellman; There are No Snakes in Hawaii / Juanita Sheridan; The Word for Breaking August Sky / James Sarafin; Corollary / Hughes Allison; Kaddish / Batya Swift Yasgur; All Indians are Warriors / William T. Lowe
Latin American : There are No Stars over San Juan / Kenneth Gavrell; The Hair of the Widow / Robert Somerlott
Asia : The Sole of the Foot / Shizuko Natsuki; The Courage of Akira-kun / Ron Butler
Africa : To Catch a Wizard / Walter Satterthwait
Eastern Europe : Hide-and-seek, Russian style / Patricia McGerr
Europe : Journey into Time / Georges Simenon; Who Killed that Son of a Doge? / David Braly ; Suspect / Patricia Highsmith; The Mists of Ballyclough / Barbara Callahan; Inspector Wexford and the Winchurch Affair / Ruth Rendell
The Middle East : The Adventure of the Egyptian tomb / Agatha Christie; The Night of Power / Josh Pachter