My mother loves mysteries. (Lately, she’s been reading the Tearoom Mysteries from Guideposts and really enjoying them!) I like mysteries, too. I grew up watching shows with her like “Murder She Wrote” TV series. We like shows that are smart while being entertaining.
So, what shows do I recommend to my mother? Here’s a list of some of my favorites:
Inspector William Murdoch, played by Yannick Bisson, solves crimes in 1890’s Toronto. The series is exceptionally well made, from the set design and costumes to the writing and performing. Interwoven with the crime solving cases is the unfulfilled love affair between Doctor Ogden, played by Helene Joy, and Murdoch along with the comic relief of Constable Crabtree, played by Jonny Harris. As I watched, I found myself caring about how their relationships’ would unfold. The exploration of early sciences of crime scene investigation and the occasional appearances of 1890’s famed people, such as Nikola Tesla and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, demonstrates an appreciation for the intelligence of its viewers. The show is based on the Murdoch Mysteries book series written by Maureen Jennings.
Based on the Phryne Fisher mystery series written by Kerry Greenwood, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is an Australian TV series set in Melbourne in the 1920’s. Phryne Fisher, played by Essie Davis, is a sassy, delightful, strong, complex lady sleuth who makes no apologies about who she is. Her side-kick, Dorothy “Dot” Williams, played by Ashleigh Cummings, is extremely conservative which makes a nice contrast to Phryne’s confident nature. This show is more than just a mystery series. Each episode includes highlight’s of women’s issues and struggles of the 1920’s, many of which continue today. Also, I must mention the costume designer for the series was Marion Boyce. All I can say is, “Wow!”
Death in Paradise is a British-French crime comedy drama television series created by Robert Thorogood, initially starring Ben Miller and Sara Martins and later starring Kris Marshall and Joséphine Jobert. At the beginning of the series, British detective Richard Poole (Ben Miller) is assigned to investigate a murder on the fictional paradise island of Saint Marie in the Caribbean. After he successfully finds the murderer, he is reluctantly required by his supervisors to stay on as the detective inspector of the island, solving new cases as they appear, and being the object of many fish-out-of-water jokes. I welcome the warm sun and beautiful scenery offered in this mystery series.
The stories are set in modern-day England and revolve around Tom Barnaby’s (later, John Barnaby’s) efforts to solve numerous murders that take place in the idyllic, picturesque (but deadly!) villages of the fictional county of Midsomer. The pilot episode was shown in March 1997 and the series is still going! The stories are not demanding, but well written and hold your interest. The plots are full of twists and turns and the acting is exceptional.
My list can’t be complete without Sherlock Holmes! The most recent incarnation is BBC’s Sherlock, a crime drama television series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Sherlock depicts “consulting detective” Sherlock Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, solving various mysteries in modern-day London. Holmes is assisted by his flatmate and friend, Dr. John Watson, played by Martin Freeman, who has returned from military service in Afghanistan. This show is well written with quality acting.