Following the Detective: Investigating Detective Fiction-Induced Literary Tourism by Italian Readers



Literary Tourism, Tourism Geography, Detective Fiction, Questionnaire, Italy, Tourist Gaze


Geographers have long acknowledged the contribution of fiction to the increase in popularity of some localities as tourism destinations. However, while detective novels are one of the most successful literary genres in the book market, detective fiction-induced literary tourism is still a relatively unexplored phenomenon. This research aims to determine whether and to what extent detective fiction can promote tourism and affect readers’ attitudes and behaviours towards narrated localities. To fulfil this aim, we have carried out empirical research based on a quantitative method, through the analysis of the answers to a questionnaire shared in Facebook groups. Questions aimed to identify the readers, their motivations for reading different types of detective fiction and their interests and expectations, as well as the push and pull factors behind potential detective fiction-induced tourism. We have examined a corpus of 330 answers from Italian readers. The survey has pointed to the existence of various types of reader-tourists, whose choices depend on the settings of the novels they read, which the detective’s gaze is able to mediate. Despite what previous literature has claimed, the analysis of the questionnaire shows that dark and uncanny atmospheres are not major pull factors. Instead, readers of this particular genre declare that they are more interested in visiting the actual places that have inspired fictional ones, and in immersing themselves in the local societies represented. In conclusion, it appears that the preferences of detective fiction readers not only affect their destination choices but also their approaches to those destinations.


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