Those Little Gray Cells

As Poirot said, “It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely.”

I’ve always enjoyed watching a good mystery, and no one seems better at developing mysteries than the British. Here are a few of my favorite British mystery series:


Foyle’s War: This series provides a unique backdrop of WWII England that is woven intricately into the mystery plot. The story lines are superb and the characters are unforgettable. We follow Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Foyle (played by Michael Kitchen) along with Sgt. Paul Milner (played by Anthony Howell) and his young driver Samantha “Sam” Stewart (played by Honeysuckle Weeks) as they investigate individual murders while the war rages around them. The writers make great efforts to provide historical realism and truth into each episode. See this website for more information on Foyle’s War.

Hetty Wainthropp Investigates: This is a delightful mix of characters with Hetty deciding at the age that she can begin collecting the British equivalent of Social Security to become a detective. In order to not give away a good story, I’ll just say that through unique circumstances she picks up her apprentice/partner, a young chap by the name of Geoffrey (played by Dominic Monaghan). Another perk with Hetty is that not every episode is about murder since she’s a private detective rather than a homicide detective.

Midsomer Murders: This series is not for the light-hearted. My joke with friends is that they should call this, “Midsomer Serial Murders” because I have yet to see an episode where less than three people die (often in quite gruesome ways). If you can get over the gruesome murder scenes, the script is well-crafted, complex and thoroughly enjoyable. Visit this blog dedicated to Midsomer Murders.


Agatha Christie’s Poirot: This series stars actor David Suchet as Poirot. He captivates, enchants, and brings the writing alive to create an unforgettable, complex and utterly superb series. I have never seen an episode that did not thoroughly captivate with subtle humor, dramatic effort, and mysterious intrigue. See this website for some fun facts about Poirot.

Maigret Collection: I remain saddened that only one collection of this fine series has been released. Featuring Chief Inspector Maigret of the Paris Police (played by Sir Michael Gambon), it is an outstanding series. As the box describes, “concerned more with the ‘why’ than ‘who’, Maigret’s profound perception of the realities of human behavior and extraordinary psychological insight make him one of fiction’s most interesting and unique sleuths.” Not to be missed.

P.S.: OWL owns all the releases to date of the series I’ve mentioned.

Ann Marie White is the Library Director for OWL.

4 thoughts on “Those Little Gray Cells

  1. Foyle’s War is a great show. I never thought about the fact that life somewhat as usual went on in the UK even though they were at war. This is a completely interesting and different take on a detective mystery. We really like the historical context and my kids probably learn more about WWII watching this show then they learn about it at Litchfield HS.

  2. We think Foyle’s War is terrific. Not only does it provide great mystery but it provides a poignant look into the British home scene during WW II. Thanks for having put us on to the series.

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