Before you begin this book, assuming that you are not intimately familiar with the towns of Wroxham, Acle, Thurne, Barton Turl and the like, do yourself a favour and take a brief excursion round the internet. Search for “Norfolk Broads map,” or follow this link, if it still functions at time of reading. Alternately, select your own, as long as it gives the major towns, rivers, and lakes of the region (collectively, “the Broads,” specifically, the Norfolk Broads, as the Suffolk ones do not really come into play in the story). For more on the region itself, the Wikipedia entry is a good place to start. There is also some excellent information in an old book that I happen to own, called The Norfolk We Live In (yes, dangling participle, I know), so if you stumble across a copy of that it’s worth picking up. In whatever circumstance, you’re looking for a map of the area north and east of Norfolk, so however you accomplish it, do what works best for you. Print the map out and tuck it into your copy of The Worsted Viper, to refer back to as needed. Now read on.
As you will have guessed, geography, unsurprisingly, plays an important role in this 1943 novel by Gladys Mitchell. I don’t say that you will be unable to follow and enjoy the book without knowing the area, but I do humbly suggest that you’ll enjoy it a good deal more if you have a nodding acquaintance with the lay of the land. Norfolk is a wide, largely flat stretch of coastal plain, and the Broads are a series of interconnected rivers (including the Ant, the Bure, the Thurne; further south lie the Yare, the Chet, and the Tas) and lakes. These waterways make for enjoyable, calm boating holidays, and in The Worsted Viper, they are central to the plot.