Thursday, June 22, 2006

Summertime Murder

"Murder is murder. You stop believing that and we might as well not be fighting the war."

A good murder in an quiet English village ranks rather high on my comfort list. (Granted, it's probably not quite so enjoyable for the poor murdered person.) Last summer I watched lots of episodes of "Midsomer Murders," and now I've discovered "Foyle's War." I have a feeling that these mysteries (and a strong cup of Tazo Earl Grey tea) will give me some delightful afternoons this summer.

Foyle's War is the rare mystery series that does more than plop a good detective into the middle of a decorative and bygone era. Created by writer Anthony Horowitz, Foyle's War makes profoundly resonant use of British society in 1940, a terrifying time in which the threat of an Axis assault on England disrupted ordinary life in often horrible ways, from the resettlement of city children (into the care of rural strangers) to a spike in xenophobia to a loss of personal freedoms. Against this heady backdrop is the near-solitary figure of Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen), a London investigator who would rather be fighting Hitler abroad but is stuck solving domestic homicides--generally sparked by wartime fervor--with the help of a plucky driver and a steadfast assistant. Kitchen's magnificently measured performance and Horowitz's masterful grasp of the moral and dramatic issues of his battle-scarred milieu make Foyle's War a must.

~ review


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