Peter Ferry’s entertaining debut novel has it all: travel writing, romance, a murder mystery — with a self-conscious, meta-fictional thread to keep the wary reader alert to its seductive wiles. Ferry will be at Big Hat Books (922 E. Westfield Blvd.; 317-202-0203) Sept. 20, 6 p.m. to read from his excellent first novel, Travel Writing, and, hopefully, answer some questions. Here are a few: Mr. Ferry, you really do teach school in Evanston, Ill. Did you actually tell this story to your students? You really are a travel writer for the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. Are the travel stories in your book real? Is everything made up? Did you really see a strange woman die — and fall into a kind of love with her, and spend years trying to solve the puzzle of her death?
Travel Writing (Harcourt; $24) has already won a bunch of awards, is going to be an audio book and has been optioned for a film. But all you really need to know is that it’s a darn good yarn, capable of taking you to that place where all you want to do is turn the next page … to see what happens next.