About to Watch “Midsomer Murders”

Posted: November 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

A British show, BBC to be specific, this is a remarkably fine program. One problem with Murder Mysteries is that they tend to gross the audience out. Consider, e. g., the work of the embattled Quentin Tarantino: his portfolio is laden with violent gross outs, rather than mysteries. There are two ways authors can go: first, they can ask the reader to come along and solve the mystery along with the detective in the piece. As an example, consider the work of the exquisite Agatha Christie, who wrote something along the lines of 90 mysteries. The hero detective–perhaps Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, or Tommy and–what the heck was her name?

Second, we can start the piece by knowing who did it. In this case, one can be along the lines of,  say, Peter Falk’s Columbo. The detective solves the mystery with a series of clues that in most cases would seem to be mercurial at best and elusive at worst. People occasionally would ask the author how he/she managed to solve the murder, to find the murderer is ridiculous based the evidence presented to the reader as it is revealed to the detective. Usually the detective is in a Holmes/Watson relationship, The assistant is, typically, a forelock tugging inferior who doesn’t see anything. For fun, see Bret Harte’s Holmes and Watson short story: I walked into the parlor. “It is raining out, I perceive,” said Holmes. “How did you know that?” I asked. “Your clothes are all wet.” I leaned back amazed, rendered aghast at his penetration.

Detective stories are fun, generally, despite the hideous crimes they portray. For a refreshing change, see the remarkably sensuous Criminal Conversation by Ed McBain (writing under a pseudonym as Evan Hunter)-

Really, terrific book. Get on it.

See you soon, Jeff

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