Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010 The golden age of murder mysteries

The 1930s and 1940s were the days of Lord Peter Wimsey, Albert Campion, Gideon Fell, Ellery Queen. These were the Gentleman Detectives, who with great civility and wit solved murders, restored jewels, and saved kingdoms, all without breaking a sweat. I have loved these books, have read and re-read them over the decades, always fearing that this time the villain would win but knowing that justice would eventually triumph. It is much more fun than today's more complex and dark stories.

Thanks to the wonders of Netflix Watch Instantly, I've been working my way through Wimsey, Campion and now a post-World War II series: Ngaio Marsh's Inspector Alleyn mysteries. Marsh herself had a rich association with theater, producing plays in New Zealand. This may account for some of the intricate plotting.

Of course I quarrel with the casting of all of these series, because I have such a firm understanding of how the actors SHOULD look! Troy is too severe and looks older than Roderick Alleyn, Albert Campion is rather too well-fed to be as dashing as I know him to be, and Lord Peter does look as dopey as he supposedly disguises himself to be. But it's a grand treat all the same.


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