British crime drama: Excelling at the mediocre

The easy thing to say is that British television is just updating Agatha Christie, the most successful mediocre writer there has ever been. They recreate her “Mayhem Parva” to use the crime writer Colin Watson’s happy description of the Christie school of village detective fiction, and over-complicated plots. The result, however, is not quite as benign as Christie would have wanted.

If the British public and a slice of the international audience want to see murders set among the English upper-middle class they also want to see the English upper-middle class murdered.

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