Pie in the Sky is Certainly Sweet Watching

I discovered a British series that appeals to me today. It is called Pie in the Sky and it starred Richard Griffiths, the actor that played Harry Potter’s uncle in the Harry Potter movies. In the show, Griffiths plays Henry Crabbe, a policeman for 25 years who is looking forward to retirement so that he can realize his dream of opening a gourmet restaurant. Crabbe has a talent for cooking that does not go unappreciated by his colleagues on the force.

Crabbe’s boss joined the force at the same time as Henry but while Henry concentrated on doing outstanding police work, his boss concentrated on the political side of things and worked himself up in the ranks of the force often on the back of Henry’s hard work. When faced with the prospect of losing his star detective to retirement, his boss figures out a way to coerce Henry to continue to help him solve the hard cases.

Henry has the eye for details of all great detectives with an ample helping of stubbornness that is the hallmark of effective people in any profession. He may not be as flashy as Sherlock Holmes, or Poirot, but he is amazing in his quiet attention to the behavioral patterns that point to the solutions to his cases. He is not one to accept the first potential solution that arrises without vetting it completely. And it is his persistence in pursuing the truth that keeps us glued to our seats until the credits roll.

The acting is brilliant, the characters are well rounded, the writing is pitch perfect. It is as much a treat to watch as I imagine it must be to eat one of Henry Crabbe’s gourmet creations. Henry Crabbe is a character of great integrity and huge heart. Do yourself a favor and check him out if you get a chance (I watch him on Acorn TV, a bargain subscription for any Anglophile.)

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.

There’s Just One More Thing…

What is it about mysteries that hold our attention so strongly? Even when we know who committed the crime we are desperate for details. It is like a giant jigsaw puzzle and we are trying to see the pattern in the pieces as we fit them together one by one. We are called upon to judge the veracity of each witness’ testimony. We are often called upon to use our experience of human psychology and our observations of human behavior to deduce what actions make sense and which ones are suspicious. And yet, it is not just an intellectual activity but also an emotional one.

We want the good guys to win and the bad guys to get caught. We are disturbed when our expectations are not met. When the good guys are corrupt and the bad guys have laudable motives it rankles.

On the other hand, we love to see the detective get led down dead ends following up on red herring leads. Especially when we have been given all the same evidence that the detective has and have managed to avoid the red herrings.

In the last twenty years or so detective stories have divided into two separate categories, the forensic procedural where the science is the star and the detectives just do the leg work to collect more physical evidence, and the psycho drama where the detective has to immerse themselves in the psychology of the suspect to figure out what he did and how he did it. Both are equally valid approaches.

When boiled down to the basics, most mysteries are quests for the solution to the puzzle. How did the criminal pull of the crime? How are they attempting to escape incarceration? What inventive schemes did they come up with to attempt their crime and how does the detective thwart them? Figuring out these details is the job of the mystery writer. Unveiling these details in such a way that the reader figures out the mystery just as the detective solves it is part of the art of the genre.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.