www.montereycountynow.com JUNE 27-JULY 3, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 15 Jeffers spells “Sovranes.” “Thurso’s Landing” is one of Jeffers’ epics, about a family watching as workers construct Highway 1. The coast-road was being straightened and repaired again, / A group of men labored at the steep curve / Where it falls from the north to Mill Creek. They scattered and hid / Behind cut banks, except one blond young man / Who stooped over the rock and strolled away smiling / As if he shared a secret joke with the dynamite… Another epic poem, “Tamar,” is set along the craggy cliffs of Point Lobos. In keeping with a theme, tragedy strikes the people and the natural beauty persists beyond their suffering. CARMEL/PEBBLE BEACH The quaint village, foggy forest and scenic seashore has served as inspiration for many authors—around 50 books have used the locale as settings. Murder mystery writers seem especially drawn to the area. Weep No More My Lady by Mary Higgins Clark The bestselling novelist uses a luxurious Pebble Beach spa as a location. Coast Road by Barbara Delinsky The romance novelist tells a heartwarming tale of love lost then found again. A Wicked Slice by Aaron and Charlotte Elkins The husband-wife mystery-writing team pairs murder with golf for this book. Watchers by Dean Koontz In this thriller set in the Carmel and Big Sur areas, a man stumbles upon a genetically altered dog who escaped from a secret government laboratory, along with a genetically altered monster. What could go wrong? All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhower This spy thriller published in 2015 was made into a movie in 2022. The Valley of the Moon by Jack London London was a regular visitor to his bohemian friends living in Carmel in the early 20th century. He uses the arts colony in this 1913 novel. The Gilded Edge: Two Audacious Women and the Cyanide Love Triangle That Shook America by Catherine Prendergast A nonfiction narrative, this mythbuster also offers some of the best descriptions to be found of life inside the bohemian art colony of Carmel in the early 20th century. Whalefall: A Novel by Daniel Kraus This suspense novel of a diver who must escape the belly of a whale off the shore of Monastery Beach was named a “Best Book of 2023” by Book Riot, Shelf Awareness and NPR. CORRAL DE TIERRA Pastures of Heaven by John Steinbeck You can see for yourself the scenic hills and valleys that Steinbeck spent time in as a boy visiting his aunt’s home. Pastures of Heaven is a collection of interconnected stories about a farming family living in Corral de Tierra. Steinbeck describes the landscape as it’s seen for the first time by a Spanish corporal: “In a few minutes he arrived at the top of the ridge, and there he stopped, stricken with wonder at what he saw—a long valley floored with green pasturage on which a herd of deer browsed. Perfect oak trees grew in the meadow of the lovely place, and the hills hugged it jealously against the fog and the wind.” ELKHORN SLOUGH Mother-Daughter Murder Night by Nina Simon This 2023 mystery novel, set along the shores of the slough, was selected as one of the year’s best novels by multiple sources and was chosen for the Reese Witherspoon Book Club. MONTEREY Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck In Cannery Row, set in 1938, Steinbeck bases the character of Doc on his reallife friend Ed Ricketts, whose Pacific Biological Laboratories still stands at 800 Cannery Row. The Wing Chong Building across the street at 835 Cannery Row inspired Lee Chong’s grocery. La Ida’s brothel was located at 851 Cannery Row. The book’s sequel, Sweet Thursday, is set in the years following World War II. PACIFIC GROVE My Life in Pacific Grove by Wilford Rensselaer Holman, edited by Heather Lazare The first half of the book is from a memoir written by W.R. Holman, founder of Holman’s Department Store on Lighthouse Avenue. Lazare, married to Holman’s great-grandson Ben Lazare, adds context about Holman in the second half. The Mushroom Planet series by Eleanor Frances Cameron Written in the 1950s, the Canadian author set her children’s books in Pacific Grove, as the launching pad for adventurous flights to the alien planet Basidium. Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck While mostly set along Cannery Row, Steinbeck features a few wickedly funny chapters about the people of Pacific Grove, including one featuring monarch butterflies. SALINAS/SALINAS VALLEY East of Eden by John Steinbeck Visit downtown Salinas to see buildings featured in this classic. The buildings are located at 201 and 247 Main St. Many characters live and farm around King City. The Hunger and the Hate by Harry Vernor Dixon A mystery/romance novel about a man climbing to the top of the ladder in the lettuce industry who falls in love, endangering his quest. The Long Valley by John Steinbeck A collection of stories about people of the valley trying to make their place in the world. It includes famous stories you may have read in high school, like “Flight” and “The Red Pony.” Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck After exiling himself to New York, Steinbeck returns to Salinas in this (mostly) nonfiction book about his road trip across the U.S. in a camper with his dog Charley. JOLON To a God Unknown by John Steinbeck Steinbeck’s second novel, a tragic story about a man and his relationship to the land, set in the tiny South County town of Jolon. SOLEDAD Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Migrant farmworkers George and Lennie worked at a ranch set in Soledad. Steinbeck used his own experiences as a teen working in the fields alongside men like George and Lennie. SPRECKELS East of Eden and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Steinbeck used this former company town, home to the Spreckels Sugar plant where he once worked as a young man, as inspiration for settings in the two famous novels. JUANITA TURNER The rolling hills of Corral de Tierra, shown above, are the setting for John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven.