Sweet mother of Lucifer, every time I turn around there's another googly-eyed detective with an eccentric habit solving an increasingly ludicrous crime before the hour is up. Is it a law that every network must have a crime drama with a detective who sees ghosts/uses obscure mentalism/possesses some manner of irritating OCD/exhales a lot in dimly lit areas for at least 15% of the show?

Crime shows on TV are as ubiquitous as Billy Mays after midnight. As with every trend, there has to be backlash at some point. Could that tide break on the heads of novelists, too? Will crime fiction in the book world also go the way of the late King of Shouting Until You Buy Something?

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Speaking of Canada, I turned on the TV the other night to find a Jennings "Murdoch" mystery underway. This is definitely in the old PBS mystery style, though perhaps a step more intelligent. Maureen really has hit on something with this, and I'm very proud of her!
I used to thinks Jennings absolutely top drawer, but the novels have been getting a bit too permanently dark. Considering I just got a tongue-lashing from a male fan for writing a novel without any "joy" in it (my latest), I can see that one needs to give the reader a bit of hope now and then. :)
I dont think we get the Jennings show so far.
I think I know the one you are talking about. Very good. I like much of the "Mystery" series, including Poirot and even Cadfael, even though I had trouble getting through the books I read.
Can't abide Cadfael, either in print or on TV, though they had a fine actor playing the part.
Yes, Ben, the whole PBS Mystery thing was very influential for me, too. I guess the closest that TV comes to that tradition these days is HOUSE, a medical mystery show based on Sherlock Holmes and Watson with House being the drug addicted but brilliant Holmes, who has no empathy for his fellow man but is driven to solve the "mystery".

The stories are also outlandish -- they have to be to survive today, I think -- but they do hold up as mysteries. I think that's why they are so popluar. Viewers can watch medical drama without realising they are watching classic mystery at the same time. The characters and stories would work equally well with less outlandish plots.
The plots are a bit outlandish, but if the point is to have a brilliant diagnostician, you've gotta have some crazy challenges. I worked the medical news beat for several years, and most of the House cases have at least a toehold in reality. There's even a book (written by a friend) ... gotta plug him!
I always felt Columbo was inspired by the cop in the book The Exorcist, he had the rumpled, friendly approach an dthe, "Just one more thing," before he left the room.
I believe Columbo was based on a real detective in L.A.P.D. Homicide. That was the word at the paper. Can't remember the name. Thirty years ago. :-)
The books came later, I'm pretty sure. The series was based on a short story, turned into a play, and then a pilot. All written by Levinson and Link.

The real detective was not Italian, the story went. Polish or something. But he was LAPD's ace detective, and always played stupid, and wore rumpled clothes.
I think I read one Columbo book. Boring! Peter Falk really brought the character to life in that he was everyman, not flashy or too good looking. The thing I liked best was the fact that the viewer knew who the villian was and the crime had to be solved through good old fashioned deductive reasoning, no bells and whistles.
Oh, Ben, you're singing my song with this one! Ghosts, eccentric and annoying habits, mental telepathy, Svengalism, you name it! Honestly! Where are the guys who were proud to do the leg work to solve a crime?

Will TV burn out CrimeShows? Not likely. Will there be a backlash -- goodness I hope so! I hope this trend works its way up to such an incredible height of ridiculosity that the bubble bursts and we get back to some good old fashioned sleuthing!

Oh, I gotta go -- that Mentalist guy is about to crack the case wide open by insisting that some really doe-eyed filly looks directly into his big blue eyes for 30 seconds!
I'm looking forward to THIS tv show next spring. Elmore Leonard's character, Raylon Givins

there's a trailer somewhere


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