Yes, But We Call it Research…

Hi there, guys and dolls! Sometimes writing involves the filling of creative tanks, so today I’m writing about some of the favorite whodunnit/detective shows that my girls love to watch. There is such a wealth of creative projects out there that have come from some very clever people in the form of all sorts of media and projects – books, artwork, movies, even conversations that entertain and inspire the mind. Some may call it being a couch potato, but I prefer the term ‘visual research.’ All of these have such wonderful and intriguing stories and are beautifully filmed with exceptional attention to detail that make them not only thought provoking but a joy to watch.

It was hard to narrow it down, as there are so many great series out there, but here are six that my girls have been watching lately, both set in the past and present time. Take some time to check them out or revisit them if they are familiar to you. Also, do comment and mention some of your own personal favorites.MV5BMTIwNTYwMTE4Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTgzNzA0MQ@@._V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_AL_

AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT – one of the most well done and fascinating series. Of course, they had amazing material to start with, but the production crew and David Suchet in the main role take them right over the top. Yours truly feels her heart warm as soon as the theme starts and even if you have seen or read the stories so many times you know which butler did it, then you can concentrate on the amazing fashion and art deco details. Mainly set in the 1930’s, it is a visual feast with finesse.

MV5BMjEwMzc3OTYwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTY5Mzg5._V1._CR6,1,322,440_SY317_CR9,0,214,317_AL_FOYLE’S WAR – A wonderful series set during World War II, carrying on into the Cold War era. Full of intrigue and mystique, Christopher Foyle (starring the charismatically perfect Michael Kitchen) quietly and firmly sets the world to rights, one fascinating case after another, with a well developed story line of the worlds of the people that surround him.

MV5BMjEzOTUzMDIzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzE2NDAzMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_THE SAINT – Roger Moore and that hair, sigh. Leslie Charteris wrote all about the suave and dapper, 1960’s bon vivant globe trotter who benevolently solves mysteries and breaks hearts, all in the name helping others and getting to the bottom of things. Of course, Mr. Moore went on to be Bond, James Bond, which of course began the debate over who is the best Bond that still exists today with other contenders, but do yourself a favor and get to know the campy charm of Simon Templar.

ENDEAVOUR, MORSE, LEWIS – Yes, I realize these are MV5BMTczNDQ1NDUwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzg1MTUzMjE@._V1._CR221,3,1055,1494_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_all three separate series, but are all so wonderful how the characters and stories spin off from the brilliant Colin Dexter (thank goodness he continues to be so prolific and involved). To fill you MV5BMTI5NTMxOTU3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjU3NTAwMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_in on how this all works, the curmudgeonly lovable Inspector Morse (played by fabulous John Thaw) series was on in the 1980’s through to 2000, with his bright and shiny assistant, Lewis (and I just love Kevin Whately). Lewis picks up in present time, a little older and wiser, with some of life’s harder experiences shaping how he sees the world now.  Now in charge, he has the enigmatic Hathaway (soMV5BNTQzNzM1NzY2N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTg1MzI0MQ@@._V1_SY317_CR10,0,214,317_AL_ charmingly portrayed by Laurence Fox) in tow, who adds his own complexity to the mix. Now then, Endeavour – wow. It goes back to the 1960’s and shows us a young Morse (the handsomely talented Shaun Evans) and how he becomes the thinking and drinking detective. All are visually stunning with captivating soundtracks by Barrington Pheloung, I find myself holding my breath from start to finish watching and listening to these shows, mesmerized and transported in my mind and heart to some little pub on the Thames, watching the houseboats drift by.

MV5BMTI0Mzg5Mzg5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTYwNjAwMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_ROSEMARY & THYME – A true cozy mystery series with two gardeners (played by the delightful and fun Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris) who haphazardly get involved in solving murders while creating living works of art and flirting with the occasional dapper gent or two. The ladies get to travel around England and Europe making the world a more beautiful place one seedling at a time. A great joy of the series is that we get to see the finished creations along with the solving of well plotted crimes.

MV5BMjA4MDgyNDQxOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjQ1NjYxNA@@._V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_AL_MIDSOMER MURDERS – one of the longest running mystery series going today, it’s hard to believe that there is anyone still left alive in Midsomer County :-)! Based on the books by Caroline Graham, the mysteries follow the cases by now two DCI Barnabys (first played by the dapper John Nettles, then replaced by the terrific Neil Dudgeon as his cousin, also a detective, natch), with quirky characters and charming village life. May the series go on and on, as long as more and more victims (er, I mean residences) decide to take up the country life.

So many talented people have put great effort into making these shows so wonderful , but a  special nod of appreciation should be given to the amazing Anthony Horowitz, who has been involved in making and/or creating so many of these projects. And friends, do enjoy your well deserved time on the sofa during these cold, dark nights. Happy watching!

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

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About Barbara Jean Coast

Barbara Jean Coast is the pen name of authors Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff. She is currently hard at work telling the cozy tales of the fictional town of Santa Lucia, loosely based on Santa Barbara in the late 50's, early 60's, known as The Poppy Cove Mysteries.
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