I’ve become aware lately that there is an indecent number of books set in London and I started to think about it further that London is probably the most story-based city for novels in the world.
The British Countryside is probably high up in the top 10 for this as well.
Harry Potter Series: Children’s Fantasy. partially set in London.
Sherlock Holmes Adult Mystery. One of London’s most famous fictional residents.
Narnia Series Children’s Fantasy. Mostly set in the country side, but doesn’t it start out in London during WW2?
Oliver Twist Adult Fiction. Set in London
A Christmas Carol : Timeless christmas story. Set in London. Everything by Charles Dickens is set in London, IRC.
Jane Austen’s Books (Classic Fiction)all have bits of London in them, IRC.
Bridget Jones’ DiaryAdult Fiction. Modern London
The Amulet of Samarkand Children’s Fantasy. by Jonathan stroud. ( I’m reading right now, so this book is the reason why I thought of this question.) Set in a Magical London.
These are all off the top of my head.
The Anubis Gates - adult horror/fantasy
Mairelon the Magician and Magician’s Ward Young adult fantasy
The Baroque Cycle and The Cryptonomicon adult fantasy/historical fiction
ETA: I would suggest that part of the problem is that we’re both seeing this through a form of selection bias: We’re talking about reading English language works. If we read primarily French, we’d probably think the same about Paris…
P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves books mostly take place in London.
Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, etc.
Dracula by Bram Stoker.
The insufferable, overweening London Fields by the pompous, insufferably twitty Martin Amis.
Numerous Agatha Christie novels. Cards on the Table and At Bertram’s Hotel are the first to come to mind.
And simply London by Edward Rutherford.
John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids begins in London.
“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents–except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”
–Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
This thread reminds me of a novel I recall from at least 12 years back whose name I can’t remember. It’s bugging me that I can’t think of it. The premise of the humourous novel is that the Royal Family (including Diana, who had not yet died) were abruptly deposed of the last vestiges of their power. They have to move into East End council flats and get ordinary jobs. Does anybody remember this book?
The Queen And I, by Sue Townsend
Several 18th-Century British novels, including Fielding’s Tom Jones, and, I think, Richardson’s Clarissa.
Thackeray’s Vanity Fair.
Are we limiting this to fiction? If not, Boswell’s Life of Johnson comes to mind.
Most of Shakespeare’s Histories are set in London for at least part of the action – but none of the Comedies or Tragedies, so far as I can recall. (I don’t think the pre-Roman British capital is ever specified in King Lear.)
In T.H. White’s The Once and Future King – and, I believe, Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur – the Sword in the Stone appears in London.
Shakespeare…whooops, he kinda slipped my mind.
A few set in and around London (for at least part of the story) that I’ve read over the past few years:
The Grenadillo Box – Janet Gleeson
The Anatomy of Deception – Lawrence Goldstone
The Court of the Midnight King by Freda Warrington
The Price of Murder – Bruce Alexander
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Case Histories – Kate Atkinson
Conspiracy of Paper – David Liss
The L-Shaped Room – Lynne Reid Banks
Master of All Desires – Judith Merkle Riley
Martha Peake – Patrick McGrath
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Daughter of Time – Josephine Tey
New Grub Street – George Gissing
Criminals – Margot Livesey
The Trial of Elizabeth Cree by Peter Ackroyd
River of Darkness and The Blood-Dimmed Tide – Rennie Airth (countryside, mostly)
Instance of the Fingerpost – Ian Pears
Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
Restoration – I forgot who wrote that – somebody Tremayne, I think
Then there’s London and Sarum by Edward Rutherford, and those two historicals by Ken Follett.
Should we count Evelyn Waugh’s WWI books?
Probably everything by Pat Barker, and wow – just think of all the historicals about Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Charles II, Richard II and III.
There are tens of thousands of books set in London.
To the word, my exact thought when I saw this thread.
Hell, there are probably tens of thousands of murder mysteries set in London.
Indeed. Shirley must surely have been…well, you get the point.
Perhaps if we were to narrow the scope? How about books set in London, that have “London” in the title? I submit The Wizard of London by Mercedes Lackey (which–title notwithstanding–only partially takes place in London). There may only be a few thousand books in this category.
Brothers in Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold is set in a future London.
The Dracula Tape and The Holmes-Dracula File by Frederick Saberhagen as well.
Many of the *Saint *books are set in London. His address, btw, was no 7 Upper Berkeley Mews, London.
Bleeding London, by Geoff Nicholson.