The UnBook Reporter’s Favorite Mystery/Crime Shows to Relax To

You may have noticed I’ve been on a bit of a murder mystery novel kick lately, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite tv shows too.

1—Midsommer Murders

A British series, Midsommer Murders follows Chief Inspector Barnaby and his Sergeant as they solve murders in the idyllic little villages of Midsommer.

2—Agatha Christie’s Poirot

Based on the character created by Agatha Christie, the titular Hercule Poirot is a Belgian private detective in 1930s England, and sometimes abroad. The show has a distinctly Art Deco look, with beautiful sets and costume. The mysteries are fun too.

3—Columbo

A classic from the ‘70s. Each episode follows the murderer from before the murder through being caught. The through line is Lieutenant Columbo from LA Homicide, who catches them. Known for its tight plotting and intriguing filming techniques, Columbo is still a unique shows decades later.

4—Blue Bloods

Blue Bloods follows a family of cops, from Police Commissioner down to Rookie, and with an ADA on the side. The show neither sugar coats nor delves into the truly gruesome, and it’s one of the few modern police dramas I’ve found to be in this middle ground. Bad things happen but I never leave an episode feeling depressed, and I like that.

5—Murder She Wrote

Running from the m’id-80s through the mid-‘90s, Murder She Wrote stars Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher, a novelist from Maine who just keeps running into corpses. Light and fun, this series sometimes catches flack for not always showing all the clues needed for the audience to solve the case, but if you’re like me and don’t care then it’s still a good romp.

Royal Blood—Fun With Vampires

Royal Blood by Rhys Bowen book cover
Royal Blood by Rhys Bowen

Lady Georgiana Rannoch gets sent to represent the crown at the wedding of her school friend, Princess Maria Theresa. While there, she spots a man climbing up the castle wall, sees her friend with a suspiciously red substance on her lips, and meets up with a certain Darcy O’Mara.

1—The Hazards of Sudden Travel

Like in the first book, there’s a lot of set up up front with this book. It takes Georgie a while to get to the castle. But first she must acquire a maid on short notice, as she’s been doing without due to being broke. Georgie ends up with Queenie, who keeps calling Georgie “miss” instead of “my Lady” and burns Georgie’s best dress while attempting to iron it. Georgie also acquires an overbearing escort, Lady Middlesex. Continue reading “Royal Blood—Fun With Vampires”

Royal Flush—Cozy Mystery Fun in Scotland

Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen book cover
Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen

Another in the Royal Spyness mystery series by Rhys Bowen. This time Georgie travel from 1930s London to Scotland, where the royal family seems to be under attack from one of their own set. So Georgie ends up talked into spying for Scotland Yard.

1—A Crowded Castle

I enjoyed seeing Georgie with her family at Castle Rannoch. Fig in particular, being so unusually glad to see Georgie due to an infestation of unwanted guests. Then there’s to guests themselves—Prince Siegfried, who Goergie’s family want her to marry and whom she thinks of as Fishface; Georgie’s non-royal cousins Lachan and Murdoch, boisterous jokesters; and the infamous Mrs. Simpson and her crowd of Americans. Continue reading “Royal Flush—Cozy Mystery Fun in Scotland”

A Royal Pain—More Cozy Mystery Fun

A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen book cover
A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen

A Royal Pain is the second in the Royal Spyness Mystery series (the first of which I reviewed previously) by Rhys Bowen. We’re back with Georgie—Lady Georgiana Rannoch—in 1930s London as she hosts a troublesome visiting princess.

1—Faster Setup

There’s less setup this time, as less is needed—how Georgie ended up alone in Rannoch house and working secretly as a maid just needs to be mentioned, not fully written out as in the first book. So the first body shows up at the one-third mark instead of halfway through. The plot seems to meander a bit mostly because it takes Georgie so long to start connecting events, and even then she’s reluctant to suspect the princess or others of her “set”. Which brings me to my next point. Continue reading “A Royal Pain—More Cozy Mystery Fun”

Her Royal Spyness—A Fun First Outing

cover for Her Royal Spyness novel by Rhys Bowen
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

Her Royal Spyness is the first in Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness Mysteries series of novels. A light, fun romp through the underbelly of the upperclass of 1930s Britain.

1—The Build Up

Most of the first half of the book is build up, but I don’t mind—and in fact prefer. As Georgie—the heroine—isn’t a detective or any sort of investigator (yet), I’m glad the author takes the time to set things up. And there’s a lot to set up. The world—both in the sense of the time and place, and in the sense of Georgie’s social world as minor English royalty. All the pieces must be set on the board, so to speak—it wouldn’t be a mystery without plenty of suspects. And of course, the all important stakes, which gradually build until Georgie’s family home and reputation, and personal freedom, are at risk. Continue reading “Her Royal Spyness—A Fun First Outing”