I am a lover of all fictional murder mysteries. I simply cannot get enough. When I was around seven, I remember sitting down and watching an old black and white Miss. Marple movie with my mother. She introduced me to them. Margaret Rutherford played the protagonist. I cannot recall what the movie was called, or which book it was adapted from, but I fell in love.
I remember sitting there crossed legged in awe, just taking it in. You would think that at seven I may have found the whole thing a little daunting, but no. I guess the portrayal of Miss. Marple by Ms Rutherford also had a lot to do with it. This Miss. Marple was a larger than life busy body. With energy to spare, she put her all into finding the murderer. She was out of this world and I loved her. Not missing a detail, identifying all of the clues, and then in the end explaining how it all had occurred. It was fascinating. With that being said, it was no surprise when the next time our local mobile library came around, I ventured out of the children’s section and found myself trying to locate every Agatha Christie novel that the small book source on wheels had to offer.
I remember the librarian looking at my mother with a kind of ‘Are you sure?’ expression on her face when I approached her with mum and presented her with the books that I wanted to borrow. Mum smiled. She said something like, ‘She just loves to read’. The librarian smiled back, the books were stamped and we left.
That evening was the first time I was ever introduced to him. The genius and brain of Hercule Poirot. Since then, for me, there has never been another detective that could better his intelligence or mode of detection. Many have tried mind you, but all have failed in their attempts. As for his portrayal on screen. Peter Ustinov did well, Albert Finny (who I love in all else), just was not my cup of tea, whilst David Suchet has stolen the character and made it his own.
I guess that is why where ever I am in the world, I must engage in some good old British Television. No one does the ‘cozy murder’ better. Even though at times the genre is expanded on and made grittier, the essentials are always there. And wow, what a catalogue of great detectives on offer. From Frost to Morse, from Lewis to Dalgleish, the list just goes on and on and on.
These days the investigative skills of Richard Poole in Death in Paradise have me captivated. Not only funny, this sleuth has all the skill of his old school predecessors. Yeah, maybe the stories are not as complex as those by Christie, and a lot easier to figure out, but hey, it’s hard to top the best. I’ve heard that Ben Miller who plays Richard Poole in the series will be leaving soon. So sad, he will be missed. With his quirks, jutting chin and full suit in tropical conditions, the character is a true Brit sleuth through and through. Taking in all he sees and hears around him. Registering everything and then, not until the very end, explaining how it all relates. Bliss.
However, there have been some who have let the side down I feel. One such character is Inspector Lynley. Do not get me wrong, I have watched every episode of this BBC series, and I did like it. I have also ready all of the books, but Lynley is so far removed from the logical, puzzle solving sleuth. There is little deducing and then explaining. Lynley leaves me a little out in the cold. I recall book where he literally accused nearly everyone of being the murderer until he got it right. I mean, where is the deduction in that? No, I prefer the use of the little grey cells, when coming up with an answer, and when you do, you get it right first time. That to me is a conclusion worth waiting for.
And so I end, referencing my title. Bear with me, as I do the best Dr. Evil impersonation that I can, and ask, ‘Inspector Lynley Investigates…….. Or does he?’
(Evil laugh!) Mwahahahahaha!!!
- poirot and marple – fan favorites (xoxoxoe.blogspot.com)
- Final five Poirot’s with David Suchet will not disappoint (tellyspotting.org)