by Ben Small
As some of you know, I just returned from touring Croatia and a bike tour of parts of Slovenia, Italy and Austria. And of course, my mind turned to murder. I don't recall anybody writing a murder mystery involving a bicycle tour, but why not? Seems to me one could develop a story very Agatha Christie-like on a bike tour.
So many methods for the killer to use. He could oil a sharp turn on a downhill switch-back. Or she could reach down and thrust a stick or rod between someone's spokes. Or he/she could bat someone across the bean while passing.
Great. Now I'll be thinking about bike-murder all day...
Consider this: We had eleven people in our twenty person bike tour (not including two guides) who were part of one group from Ormond Beach, FL. Who knows the relationship these folks had before the trip? Maybe one has been cheating with another one's wife or husband. Maybe two of them are related and there's a will contest going on. Maybe one is the parent of a child arrested because of drugs supplied by another tour member. Whatever. These folks knew each other before the bike tour, and they'd had interactive lives.
What a chance for murder.
Just try to account for twenty people on a bike tour. Who's where at any time? Folks ride in different groups, and mix it up after rest stops or meals. Trying later to reconstruct who was with whom and when would be difficult -- again, just like an Agatha Christie murder.
Riding on paved or hard-pack gravel trails in beautiful valleys underneath the Julian Alps is a dreamlike journey. The air is crisp and cool, fresh, and spirits are high. The heart is pounding and the muscles are burning. Who's paying attention to details? Oops, somebody missed a turn. Okay. We'll catch them later. Or will we? What if they don't come back? What if somebody bumped 'em off at the last turn?
Okay, I'm sick. But so are you. C'mon, admit it. You go places and think about murder too, don't you?
Don't be surprised if there's a bike in my next book...