5.23.2012

Mystery Fan

Last week, I shared about my journey from TV addict to nominal television watcher. Despite the drastic change in my attitude and habits, I can guarantee that both Peter and I will be glued to the TV for two weeks, come August. {Olympics: London 2012!!} And as long as I stay on top of my professional work, household cleaning, and 2 squares a day (Peter handles breakfast), I also allow myself some down time to check out shows like Monk, Psych, House, Poirot, and Sherlock.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock_holmes

Besides the obvious connection of them all having one-word titles, the other recurring theme seems to be mystery and detection - did anyone catch that? I think I was around ten years old when I picked up my first copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I had already worked my way through the various Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys stories in our home library, but Sherlock was the real deal. He solved mysteries that I could sink my teeth into, and Dr. Watson simply came along for the ride.

After reading every Holmes story that I could find (and getting over the disappointment I felt when I realized Doyle was dead, which meant no new stories by the original author), I moved on to Agatha Christie's vain little Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. I started with one of the most famous Christie books, Murder on the Orient Express, and quickly worked my way through Poirot and, eventually, Miss Marple. Christie was, in my humble opinion, a mystery writing genius.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poirot

Since that time I have tried other authors and their sleuths, including Margery Allingham (Albert Campion), Rex Stout (Nero Wolfe), Tarquin Hall (Vish Puri), Michael Stanley (Detective Kubu), Shamini Flint (Inspector Singh), and Lisa Lutz (Izzy Spellman), just to name a few. Through trial and error I discovered that I actually enjoy the simplicity of Mma Ramotswe's deductions in the charming No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series (Alexander McCall Smith), and the quirky 11-year-old aspiring chemist in Alan Bradley's surprisingly likable Flavia de Luce Mysteries.

But don't be fooled - while I will always be a book-loving, mystery-reading, detective-loyal gal, I have plenty of room in my heart for TV show sleuths. Messy Lt. Columbo (brilliantly played by Peter Falk) captured my fancy as a young child on my father's knee. I loved it every time he turned to the murderer and said, "Just one more thing ..." because you knew exactly what was coming next. I spent hours watching Dr. Mark Sloane solve crimes on Diagnosis, Murder, Ben Matlock successfully defend high profile cases week after week on Matlock, and Jessica Fletcher swoop in with the how, why, and who on Murder, She Wrote.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder,_She_Wrote

Over the last few years, I've developed a liking for some newer whodunit crime solvers, including Mr. Monk and his OCD habits, Shawn and Gus with their inane banter, and the medical mystery solving skills of Dr. House. I have utilized the free services of Hulu (Monk, Psych, House), as well as YouTube and PBS to get my fix of Poirot, Miss Marple, and my new favorite - Sherlock.

I'm not typically a fan of remaking classic characters, but I have to admit that I have completely enjoyed the modern twists of the BBC series. I love the fact that Dr. Watson writes a blog about the cases of Sherlock - a blog which has many followers, I might add. I thought it was a stroke of genius to integrate the classic "Sherlock Holmes" hat into the story by way of a total accident, and it makes perfect sense for Mycroft to be a high up government official - a position that Sherlock uses to his advantage, much to Mycroft's dismay.

He has the classic "look" of Sherlock, with all the modern day technology of C.S.I. or any number of crime dramas. Oh yes, they've changed the stories around a bit - bringing them up to date - but for some reason, it hasn't ruined the originality of the Doyle character (unlike the horrendous changes that were made to several of my favorite Poirot tales). Oh yes, I am a fan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock_(TV_series)

Who's YOUR favorite detective/crime solver?
Books or TV?

12 comments:

  1. We just found Sherlock this week. We are enjoying it too. And I've seen all the same shows as you! I grew up watching Columbo, Perry Mason and Murder She Wrote with my Mom.

    Thankfully I married someone who shares my love of mysteries. We used to watch Diagnosis Murder religiously and his passion for Psych continues even as my wanes.

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    1. Angie - Perry Mason would come on right after Little House when I was a kid, but my mom always pulled the plug after Little House because we had to get started with school. :-) Peter's also a fan of all the older shows, so that makes it fun.

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  2. I grew up watching Murder She Wrote with my parents and still love it for nostalgia's sake. I dream of Cabot Cove!!

    For newer mysteries, I'm a big fan of Criminal Minds on tv, and Sue Grafton's books are a guilty pleasure. I also like the Archer Mayor mystery series, which is written by a local VT author and have a lot of great, quirky, small-town VT details.

    Great post!

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    Replies
    1. Virginia - I've often said that Jessica Fletcher is the friend you don't want to have around - everywhere she goes, someone dies! Not only that, but she has to have something like 20+ neices and nephews, but you never see any siblings! Hahaha!

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  3. We've got a bunch of Sherlock's in our DVR waiting for us to finish season 1 on Netflix.

    I haven't read a TON of mysteries. Though, I was a huge Nancy Drew fan growing up. Isn't Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie a mystery? It's on my bookshelf and to be read soon!

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    1. Molly - Watch them! So fun! Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie IS a mystery - you should most certainly pull it off the shelf and read it. :-)

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  4. I have not read the Sherlock books, but have LOVED the BBC series. Have you seen the end of season 2 yet?! Gasp. So exciting...almost as heart stopping as the end of season 1. Loved this post!

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    1. Kim - I actually haven't watched any of season 1 (can't find it free anywhere, and I'm cheap!), but I've seen all of season 2, including the ending. I have to say though, because I'd read the Sherlock Holmes stories, then I wasn't surprised by the ending (just curious about how they were going to bring him back). Now see, doesn't that make you want to read the books?! :-D

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There are more than 400,000 words in the English language. My only request of you is this: Use them wisely.

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