Whether in written or video format, a cosy/cozy mystery has specific “rules” it abides by so the reader/viewer is not shocked or pained. What are those rules? Have a look below:
- Those who are murdered are not characters that are beloved or well-developed (sometimes not even introduced before we learn of their death.
- Animals are always left alone and remain safe, and may even help solve the murder (i.e. “The Dumb Witness” episode of Poirot)
- The sleuth is an amateur of some sort, either way, not officially part of the local police department, or if they are (as in Midsomer Murders or Inspector Morse), they do not live in the BIG municipality (i.e. London) and their position taken was initially seen as a demotion to the countryside.
- The setting is in a everyday town or village of some sort and you have the opportunity to see the “going-ons”.
- Glimpses into the sleuth’s life humanizes them reveals unique talents/gifts as well as playful “flaws”
- Often the sleuth will have a side-kick that “fills in the gaps” for the sleuth and has a likeable personality, complementing the main sleuth (or sometimes they act as a team as in Rosemary & Thyme.)
While Britain has long produced many mystery writers and television series from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Agatha Christie to Gladys Mitchell (Mrs. Bradley Mysteries) to more recently Caroline Graham (the creator or Chief Barnaby of Midsomer Murders series fame) and M.C. Benton (Agatha Raisin), it is the cosy mystery that has captured so many viewers around the world.
I will share while I did view and enjoy Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren (and I know many TSLL readers have enjoyed Luther and Broadchurch), I could not watch those episodes more than once as the emotional investment is too taxing. However, I can and regularly do watch many of the British cosy mysteries on the list below as they are just that, cosy, comforting in their own way (apart from the murder ;)) and offer scenes of everyday life (apart from the murder), hilarious scenes in some shows and characters you cannot help but love along with English country villages and towns that are absolutely lovely to peruse whilst I should be paying attention to the plot.
Below is an alphabetized list of cosy British based mysteries I have viewed and enjoyed for one reason or another. I will share that Poirot, Agatha Raisin, Rosemary & Thyme, Miss Marple, Midsomer and each of the Inspector series as well as Shakespeare & Hathaway are at the top of my list and are enjoyed frequently on repeat, but again, each is to my liking and each of us will be drawn to different series for different reasons. Oh, and I adored Mrs. Bradley Mysteries, even though it only had one season.
- Agatha Raisin (start with “The Quiche of Death” and then begin the Series 1,2,3, etc.)
- Death in Paradise
- Father Brown
- Hamish McBeth
- Inspector Lewis
- Inspector Morse
- Midsomer Murders
- Miss Marple
- Mrs. Bradley Mysteries
- Queens of Mystery
- Rosemary & Thyme
- Shakespeare & Hathaway
If you are looking for even more cosy mystery book series and television series, this blog shares a magnificent compliation of them all, alphabetized and ready to explore for your next good read or view.
Interestingly enough, what I also find delightfully entertaining is that many of the actors from one series will appear in a different role or more predominant role in a later and entirely different series. For example, in Mrs. Bradley Mysteries, her “side-kick”, her chauffeur is played by a young Neil Dudgeon (he even poses nude for an art class in one scene) who is the current Detective Chief Inspector John Barnaby in Midsomer Murders. Chief Inspector Lewis is in a Miss Marple murder episode as a very young and obedient police officer. And Matthew Horne who is Agatha Raisin’s colleague and friend from the city plays a small role in a Miss Marple episode “The Secret of the Chimneys”.
Okay, I have revealed I watch quite a bit of British cosy mystery television. Time to let you catch up ;). Enjoy!