I blame Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dame Agatha Christie. It’s all their fault. They took a genre and, through hard work and talent, made it into a worldwide obsession. I’m speaking, of course, of British mysteries.
Perhaps I shouldn’t say I “blame” Doyle and Christie. Because I can’t blame people for getting hooked on these mysteries. How can we not? There’s something about that cool, sophisticated, stereotypical British demeanor that invites us into a world of order and elegance – and then turns it upside down with a case of murder most foul. Or, rather, murder most British.
Over the decades, we in the U.S. have had the privilege of watching television series from the U.K. that gives us a mystery to follow and solve. Mostly we have PBS and BBC America to thank for this exposure to some of the best of British TV. And it’s so nice that we can also find a wonderful assortment of DVDs at the library to feed our obsession. In spite of their hand in developing this genre, I’m leaving out Doyle and Christie. We already know all about Holmes and Poirot and Marple. So let’s tackle someone new.
These series all involve police detectives. (Love my cop shows!) The series feature those charming – and sometimes not charming at all – inspectors who methodically delve into the lives and loves and secrets of the victims, their families, and the suspects. Occasionally we get a glimpse into the personal lives of the detectives, as well. Whether male or female, upper class or working class, formally educated or with street-smart cunning, modern-day or historical, they entertain us and let us know that all will be revealed and justice will prevail.