Amateur Hour

My love for television detectives has been well-documented here in my blog.  I can’t help it.  I was raised on Perry Mason, Mannix, Columbo, The Streets of San Francisco, and many other series.  My preference is for the police detectives, though private investigators certainly have their charm.  Over the years TV has presented us with professionals, whether public servants or P.I.s.  But we’ve also had the talented amateurs to entertain us.  Sometimes they work with the police.  Sometimes they’re just nosy busybodies.  And sometimes a sense of justice drives them.

The amateur sleuth has become a staple in literature, from Miss Marple to Brother Cadfael to Anna Pigeon to dozens and dozens more.  Whether we like matching wits with someone rather like ourselves or we just like to see the bad guy get caught, these adventurers keep us coming back for more.

I have a few favorites among the non-professionals.  You probably do, too.  And I’m sure there will be some people who read this list and think, “Where’s Monk/Rockford/Magnum?”  But I’m limiting this to sleuths who do this for fun or justice or to prove a point or protect an innocent person.  So I’m leaving out cops and P.I.s and even ex-cops – except for Laura Thyme, who was a cop but never a detective and she works with Rosemary Boxer who’s never been a cop and, yeah, I’m being inconsistent.  But this is mainly for the talented amateur who brings a fresh point of view to a case.





So who are your favorites?  Police?  Private eyes?  Amateurs?  Whatever your preference, there’s something for everyone.  Enjoy!


I'd like to echo the

I'd like to echo the appreciation of Angela Lansbury. People who haven't seen/heard her early and mid-career work in films and musicals really are in for a surprise when they check out some of her saucier performances. On another topic, I'd like to give a shout-out for the Brother Cadfael novels by Ellis Peters and the television adaptations starring Sir Derek Jacobi. Shows on forensics are all the rage, but the Brother Cadfael series provides a twist: Its sleuth is working in medieval England with only his rudimentary knowledge of the healing arts, and of basic human nature, to guide him. He's also such a wonderfully humane character and almost too good to be true, except that, as a veteran of the Crusades, he has a military and romantic past. And it catches up with him after he returns to a quiet and contemplative existence in his native land. Both the novels and the TV series are highly recommended.

I do adore Angela Lansbury

I do adore Angela Lansbury and will always stop to watch her movies. She's an exceptionally talented actress. I'm happy that so many people became fans from seeing her in Murder She Wrote

I've also loved Derek Jacobi since I, Claudius and Cadfael is one of his best roles. I've not read the novels, but I like that Cadfael is a complex character -- and Jacobi has the talent to take on that role. And it is very intriguing to see science used to solve mysteries even in medieval times.

Thank you for writing!


So glad to see Murder She

So glad to see Murder She Wrote. I'll never forget seeing Angela Lansbury in The Court Jester! Shocking to one who grew up with a much more distinguished looking Angela. My favorite memory of MSW was watching with Grandmama. She always thought Jessica was smart by having other people in the next room and not confronting the murderer by herself.

Murder She Wrote is really a

Murder She Wrote is really a classic whodunit series and Lansbury was and is in a class by herself.  I loved watching the show with my mother.  smiley

And those who enjoy Murder She Wrote should check out Ellery Queen. It was produced by the same team of Levinson and Link. Ellery Queen is a charming mystery series set in the 1940s and starring Jim Hutton -- yes, Timothy Hutton's father. You'll see where Tim got so much of his talent.

Thanks so much for writing!