Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Currently Watching: Inspector Alleyn Mysteries (BBC TV series)

I was browsing through a department store the other day, when I came across an interesting DVD in the TV series section; the 'Complete First Series' of the BBC's Inspector Alleyn Mysteries, the 1990s TV series starring Patrick Malahide as the upper-class British detective penned by New Zealand's own Dame Ngaio Marsh.

Although I walked away a few times, I couldn't resist (in the end), going back and purchasing the DVD set. So along with crime fiction I am currently reading (BANGKOK HAUNTS by John Burdett), I now have crime fiction I am currently watching, too.

The Complete First Series includes five episodes from the series (based on Ngaio Marsh books such as A MAN LAY DEAD, FINAL CURTAIN, and DEATH IN A WHITE TIE), as well as the 1990 pilot based on Marsh's book ARTISTS IN CRIME.

I am greatly looking forward to watching the TV versions of the six Ngaio Marsh tales, and will probably post reviews of the episodes (or the entire series) on this blog in future.

Have you watched the BBC series? If so, what did you think of it? What is Malahide like as Alleyn? What other classic crime fiction and classic detectives would you like to see brought to the small (or big) screen?


  1. I have the series on DVD burning a hole on my desk, awaiting a free evening to watch them.

    Naturally I'd quite like to s Sam Shephard make an appearance on the small screen...

    I have read Bangkok 8, but not Bangkok Haunts. I did enjoy 8

  2. I've watched the first four of the series so far. It's been so long since I've read Marsh's books that I really can't comment on the faithfulness, but I have found that BBC generally doesn't take too many serious liberties when it dramatizes these works.

    Patrick Malahide comes across as a rather soft-spoken and sometimes harried Chief Inspector Alleyn. He tends to be overly serious and somewhat lacking a sense of humor.

    I think Belinda Lang is cast perfectly as Agatha Troy, as is William Simons as the hypochondriacal Inspector Fox.

    I've read the first two Burdett books: Bangkok Haunts and Bangkok 8.

    I wish someone, preferably BBC, would dramatize the series by Karin Fossum, Peter Robinson, Eliot Pattison, Ingrid Black, and Fred Vargas. Now those would be something worth waiting for.

  3. Someone is serialising the Adamsberg books by Fred Vargas. The last 2 Sundays I enjoyed a very well-made two part TV episode from the series, based on Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand. According to IMDb, there are also episodes based on The Chalk Circle Man, Seeking Whom He May Devour, and Have Mercy on Us All. Of course they are all in French.

  4. Wow, brilliant that Vargas is being serialised but I bet you can't get it in England, only Iceland!

    I have seen this Ngaio Marsh series on Amazon and have even bookmarked it, so it is good to read this feedback about it. Back in about 2006 I wrote a blog post asking for people's advice on good crime-fiction DVD box sets, and i bought about 20 of them. In the intervening 4 years I have found time to watch two. So - I think Insp Alleyn will have to wait a while......;-)

  5. Maxine, 20 crime fiction DVD boxed sets! If someone breaks into your house and steals your DVDs I will be suspect numero uno.
    I am going to record these Inspector Alleyn mysteries showing at the moment on a cable channel and hopefully find time to watch them.
    Vargas on TV must be interesting but I have a picture of the characters Adamsberg and Danglard clearly in my mind and don't want that spoilt.

  6. Oh, is that what Alleyn looks like? ;D

    No, we have not had the opportunity to watch it in Denmark.

  7. Ah, in French. English subtitles perhaps?

  8. Fred, being shown on Icelandic TV it naturally had Icelandic subtitles, but you can get the DVD of Have Mercy on Us All with English subtitles from Amazon UK...

  9. Bibliophile,

    Thanks for the information. I'll look into it.

  10. I personally love the show and the books. If you haven't read them, do.