Sweet, and not so sweet, mysteries often land in top place on bestseller lists. My reading preferences lie elsewhere, but I watch a lot of them on television. Not so much the home-grown variety, rather British mystery dramas.
We like nothing more than settling into our favorite couch-potato positions with dinner and one of these programs. Far from mindless yet not too intellectually challenging, they're a cool way to get the frisson of foreign travel without having to pack.
Here are 6 reasons why I like British TV mysteries:
- Guns are a big deal. If someone who shouldn't have a gun is found to have one, people are suprised and take serious actions. Many exciting confrontations between the good and bad guys don't involve shooting at all.
- Death matters. When someone dies, especially a child, it means something. The police and detectives mourn, sometimes through a whole show. They aren't desensitized to death.
- Diversity is handled differently. Pakistani and Indian and black actors play roles that have nothing to do with their color or family of origin. Couples form bonds across ethnic and racial lines and it's not a particularly highlighted part of the plot.
- The scenery is so pretty. You get to enjoy the lush greenery, the variegated stone fences, the grazing sheep around English, Welsh, Irish, or Scottish villages, without having to get lost on a poorly marked country road in a car in which you have to remember to pass oncoming cars to the left.
- The plots move fast, and the characters don't talk down to the audience. Less clumsy exposition shows a level of intelligence is assumed in the audience.
- Endings are often speedy. In fact, the bad guy often shoots himself in the head to provide audience closure and tie up loose ends quickly. (Saves court costs too.)
What to Look For and Where to Look