Elementary, My Dear Readers

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
For as long as I can remember, my family has been fans of a good mystery. Sunday mornings with my dad were spent watching old re-runs of Columbo, MacMillan and Wife, Banacek, Quincy and McCloud. Later, it was Law & Order, CSI, American Justice, City Confidential and Cold Case Files (the last three are programs which aired on A&E). And it wasn't just my childhood; to this day, I still love watching all of these programs even if they're episodes I may have already seen.

Once again, Sunday mysteries are occupying my time. You see, Sundays are when PBS airs Masterpiece theatre and recently it's been Masterpiece Mystery. They just finished showing Miss Marple Series IV (I was saddened to discover this morning that I missed Poirot Season IX which aired the weeks prior to Marple). They've replaced Geraldine MacEwan, who will always be the best Miss Marple in my opinion, with Julia Mackenzie. She does an adequate job but it's just not the same. I'm glad that David Suchet is continuing on as Poirot though. To me, he's the ultimate incarnation of the Belgian detective even though there's a special place in my heart for Peter Ustinov and my first introduction to the works of Agatha Christie (big thanks to Mr. Wrigley, my grade 6 English teacher).

Immediately following the Marple mysteries, PBS has been showing The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes starring Jeremy Brett. I've never been a big fan of Holmes. To be honest, the only movies about him which I've seen are (I think) Young Sherlock Holmes (which I loved) and Sherlock (which I did not). Sure there was an episode of CSI that centred on a Sherlock Holmes club and it's difficult to not know anything about the character but I've never sat down and watched any of the episodes from this series or Basil Rathbone's interpretation, and have never even picked up one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books. Still awake after watching Murder is Easy, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Much like Holmes' addiction to cocaine, I am now addicted to this series...

Why on earth it took me so long to experience Sherlock Holmes is a mystery to me. I'm kicking myself just a bit for waiting. I'm currently working my way through Brett's series as the great detective thanks to the Sunday re-runs, the local library and YouTube. However, I'm not limiting myself to someone else's interpretation - I'm going to start (or at least attempt) reading the books themselve beginning at, well, the beginning. Is there any other way to do it? I don't know if Holmes will ever replace Hercule Poirot as my favourite detective but I'm open to trying to find out. Jeremy Brett's version of Sherlock Holmes has certainly stolen my heart for the moment (or perhaps it's Brett himself?).

My question for you, my dear readers, is what is you favourite fictional detective and/or mystery?

PS: WOW, I went a little link-happy on this post...


Richard D. said...

I have to admit I was peeved with Marple at first, because I recorded "They Do It With Mirrors" JUST to see Brian Cox, only to find out that he actually isn't in it. Lying TiVo. But, I thoroughly enjoyed the ep and now want to see more! My fave mystery series are Prime Suspect and Cracker, but it's hard to resist the twee-nees of Miss Marple.

SME said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SME said...

Oops, that was me. Richard didn't sign out.
Anyway, I was wrong: Brian Cox IS in "They Do It With Mirrors", but I mistook one of the other eps for that one. So now I will proceed to watch the one with Brian Cox and shut the heck up.

Wandering Coyote said...

I grew up with all the guys you mention as my dad is Brit and we watched Mystery & Masterpiece Theatre all the time.

Can't stand Poirot, though! Yuck!

I LOVE Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren. I can watch those over and over again and never get tired.

I am totally loving Law & Order UK right now.

In fiction, I love Elizabeth George's Lynley/Havers duo - they are awesome.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I love Minette Walters, Ruth Rendell and PD James - all the current grand dames of mystery.

And I did quite enjoy the character of Stephanie Plum for a quite a few books, but then she got a little tedious.

SME said...

I actually loved the Poirot series. Probably because those were the only Agatha Christie mysteries I read as a kid. (To this day, I haven't read any Miss Marple.)

tweetey30 said...

I love reading so its hard to say who is my favorite.. But I have one of these Doyle books here on my book shelf.

sp said...

Jeremy Brett is Sherlock Holmes for me. However, my favorite fictional detective is Jane Tennyson from the Prime Suspect series. What a cool detective and Helen Mirren plays her so brilliantly.

Milla said...

I gre up with Murder She Wrote :)
And Tenente Colombo, of course.

On Sunday morning after church we used to watch the series of 'Charlie Chan', like this one for example: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0024968/

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