Netflix just added two shows to streaming that will make for a perfect week-end of whodunit happiness for the British mystery fan.
Campion stars effervescent Peter Davison as the eccentric, unpredictable and brilliant high class detective. Bored with his life of ease as a gentleman (what young man in the 30s wasn’t?) he chooses a colorful alias and embarks a new life of crime solving. His sidekick/man servant Lugg (played by Brian Glover) often gets stuffed into roadster rumple seats with the luggage, but does his best to protect Campion on his crazy adventures. I sought this show out after falling for Peter Davison in All Creatures Great and Small and wasn’t disappointed. Be on the lookout for several alumni from classic British television. Gordon Jackson, Ian Ogilvy (Mr. Hudson and Lawrence Kirbridge of Upstairs, Downstairs) and Iain Cuthbertson (Doctor Gillespie of Danger UXB) all make appearances in some of the episodes.
The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries are completely new to me. Having them pop up in my Top 10 Recommendations has been the highlight of my week. There are only 6 episodes, but each are about 1 1/2 hours long and worth every moment. Based on the stories by Ngaio Marsh, Inspector Alleyn (Patrick Malahide) is one of the most un-detective like detectives I have ever seen. Soft spoken, calm and unassuming, he glides his way through high society quietly gathering clues from the upper crust. Even his “Ah HA, you are the murderer!” scenes are almost completely devoid of the dramatics we tend to expect. My favorite aspect of the show is Agatha Troy (Belinda Lang), Alleyn’s lady friend. Troy (as she is addressed by one and all…) holds her own with the good detective, feeding him clues about cases she is involved in and often providing vital pieces of information that solve the crime. She is a well respected artist and one of the episodes revolves around a recent string of forgeries of her work. Best of all though, every episode is packed with beautiful, inventive clothes (including that famous Miss Lemon sweater) and impeccable late 40s hairstyles. I wish I could screencap every second! Extra special guest stars include John Gielgud, Geoffrey Palmer, Tom Wilkinson and Elizabeth Spriggs, who fans of Midsomer Murders will recognize as the bizarro Iris Rainbird from the first episode.