Explore the world of Harry Quebert on the New England coast

Harry Quebert Affair

June 4, 2014 — Set in a fictional New England seaside town, the international best seller The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair is fast becoming a global phenomenon. The mystery by Swiss novelist Joël Dicker has already sold more than 2 million copies across Europe and has just been released in the UK, already being named as a Radio 2 Book Club ‘Book of the Week’. As well as being full of twists and turns, the novel powerfully evokes the unspoilt beaches, small-town charm and pristine trails of coastal New England, with much of the story taking place in the fictional town of ‘Somerset’, New Hampshire. Although Somerset is a composite archetypal New England town, there are plenty of real spots along the region’s coastline giving fans the chance to immerse themselves in the world of Harry Quebert.

Here are five suggestions:

OGUNQUIT, MAINE Known simply as ‘beautiful place by the sea’, Ogunquit, Maine lives up to its nickname and could easily be the Somerset that Dicker describes. The mouth of the tidal Ogunquit River separates three miles of white, sandy beach from the granite ledge that holds breathtaking views over the Atlantic. It’s considered one of the prettiest walk-around villages in New England and savvy visitors make sure their walk includes the Marginal Way, a 1.5-mile coastal boardwalk.

KENNEBUNKPORT, MAINE Kennebunkport, Maine is another coastal gem with historic inns that capture the unique charm of New England. The summer home of former US President George W Bush, Kennebunkport is a picturesque town where visitors can experience one-of-a-kind shops or enjoy whale watching and sailing excursions. Surrounded by forest, Kennebunkport and its surrounding areas are must-sees on the Maine coast.

RYE, NEW HAMPSHIRE With the longest stretch of coastline of any New Hampshire town, Rye is a great template for Somerset. Not often on the tourist trail, this small town exudes New England charm with its quaint main street, central green and surrounding wetlands. Miles of walking trails and diverse natural history can be found at nearby Odiorne Point State Park. FALMOUTH, CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS Falmouth, Cape Cod is famous for its gulf-warmed waters, and is the ideal place to get involved with water activities such as sailing, windsurfing, fishing or swimming. Back on land the Village Green is a National Historic District, and serves as a central point from which to explore boutique shops and art galleries. And Betsy’s Diner is a dead ringer for ‘Clark’s’, the Somerset diner visited every day by Harry Quebert in the novel!

CAPE COD NATIONAL SEASHORE, MASSACHUSETTS Cape Cod National Seashore provides 40 miles of pristine beaches with serene waters, just like those explored by Harry Quebert and the tragic Nola Kellergan. Visitors can walk, swim and bike along the shores whilst taking in the calm air. The National Park, established by President John F Kennedy, has been open for more than 50 years and also features several lighthouses and stunning wild cranberry bogs. Complete North America’s ‘Miraculous Maine’ itinerary showcases some of the best of the New England coastline, including Kennebunkport.  

Editor’s Note: Discover New England represents the six American states of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont to promote international visitation.