Sunday 21 April 2013

Endeavour, Broadchurch, and does murder go on forever?

Endeavour continued this evening with another episode from the reliable Russell Lewis. A special feature of Fugue was the inclusion in the cast of Abigail Thaw in a small part as a journalist, a nice touch, given the many memorable performances of her father John in Inspector Morse Another enjoyable Oxford whodunit, the plot a serial killer story with a bundle of classic, and indeed classical music, ingredients. I gather that the first episode had very good ratings, and they were well deserved.

Then, tomorrow evening, comes the final episode of Broadchurch. I'm away, so it may be a few days before I catch up with whodunit. However, just before I set off, I'm scheduled to do an interview on Radio Cumbria's breakfast show, to discuss not only Broadchurch but also, more generally, the eternal appeal of the whodunit.

I touched on this very subject on this blog last week, and for all the changes in society and styles of writing, I see no end in sight for the whodunit. Millions of people still enjoy the form, and I'm tempted to say that it's as popular as it's ever been. This would not have surprised Agatha Christie, even though, as a modest woman, it's clear that she didn't expect her own books to last (why else would she, in some of them, have given away the solutions to earlier puzzles?)

I have in my collection a book that Christie signed for a friend of hers at the height of the Second World War. It must have been a very frightening time. Yet, as she said in her inscription, "Wars may come and wars may go, but murder goes on for ever!" It's true in real life, sadly, but much more happily, I think it's also true of fiction. The whodunit mystery has real staying power, and the number of TV whodunits I've reviewed since New Year's Day rather bears that out.

By the way, I'm still not quite sure about Arne Dahl. I watched the new story, Bad Blood, last night, but I rather feel the writers are struggling for effect, unlike Russell Lewis.

Finally, my trip has a detective fiction connection, of which more in a few days. Meanwhile, a review of Peter Lovesey's new book will appear while I'm away from home.


Anonymous said...

Martin - An excellent post, for which thanks. Like you, I don't see any end any time soon for crime fiction. The format in which we experience it will change, but not the genre. It's too much a portrait of human nature for our interest to wane in my humble opinion.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Margot, you've expressed it perfectly!

Sextonblake said...

The murder story is a box in which you csn put anything: Philosophy, comedy, soap-opera, horror, drama, sociology, or even simply more puzzles. The reader or viewer can get all of this but still know that they will get their detective puzzle. It's guaranteed. It's the original 'two for the price of one' deal.