CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Sue Limb: A murder mystery

PUBLISHED: 11:55 07 April 2015 | UPDATED: 11:55 07 April 2015

I’ve discovered a new enthusiasm in my later years: it’s murder

I’ve discovered a new enthusiasm in my later years: it’s murder

Archant

Morse’s lady love often turns out to be the victim, or occasionally the killer, or sometimes she will commit suicide, depressed at the impossibility of becoming Mrs Morse

I’ve discovered a new enthusiasm in my later years: it’s murder. Not as a participant, although I could cheerfully murder certain fictional characters: Rob Titchener in The Archers, for example. And I have been known to exterminate lily beetles, though I always apologise.

An addiction to whodunnits runs in the family. My mother’s bedside table was never without a paperback sporting a dagger on the cover. I’m so squeamish and cowardly, just seeing a picture of a dagger made my hair stand on end in terror. But now it’s been creeping up on me. Creeping up on me? - Help! There goes my hair again!

I dipped my toe in the water with Miss Marple - the Joan Hickson version, obviously. It was the sunlit glimpses of 1950s St Mary Mead which lured me in: Morris Minors, the village green… OK, murder did happen, but the victims usually had the taste to get murdered decorously, perhaps in a fine Georgian vicarage. Pills were smuggled into their cocoa by a charming professor, or they were gently strangled by an artistic lesbian.

The genre captivated me: the setting in the past seemed cosy and reassuring, and Marple herself became a role model, peering over her glasses and analyzing human motivation whilst knitting matinee jackets. Her frequent aside, ‘I’ve been preternaturally stupid,’ has become my motto – only in my case it’s true.

Currently I am discovering Morse. When it was first on, somehow I only caught glimpses of it – morsels of Morse – but I recently acquired the box set and now I’m hooked. There are 33 episodes available – one for every year of Jesus’s life – though I suspect that may be a red herring.

There are enough red herrings in Morse to open a delicatessen in Stockholm. As with Marple, the setting is beguiling. Oxford is quietly and complacently being magnificent in the background, and Morse’s taste for grand classical music makes the whole thing purr along like a Rolls Royce. Although I still have to avert my eyes from the gory bits. I’m the sort of person who drives slowly past road accidents and looks the other way.

John Thaw’s pale handsome face with its cold blue eyes are perfect for TV, but unlike Marple, Morse is fallible. He gets things wrong, his default emotional mode is grumpy, and he has a fatal susceptibility to female beauty. I enjoy spotting the beautiful woman, usually on the cusp of middle age, who will light his fire. But of course she can’t be allowed to get past first base. (What is first base, by the way? Not all that base, presumably.) Because Morse must remain a lonely bachelor.

So Morse’s lady love often turns out to be the victim, or occasionally the killer, or sometimes, just for a bit of extra spice, she will commit suicide, understandably depressed at the impossibility of becoming Mrs Morse or even just a regular date.

I watch the interminable episodes late at night, after my chap has fallen asleep on the sofa, and to keep things peaceful I have the sound turned down to a gentle murmur and the subtitles on.

But what I really need are subtitles which would give me even the faintest idea of the plot. Because though I love whodunnits, I never have a clue who has dunnit. Indeed, even when the denouement has been reached and it’s all explained, I can only echo Byron’s comment on Coleridge’s attempts to explain Metaphysics: “I wish he would explain his explanation”.

So why do I enjoy whodunnits so much? It’s a mystery.

------------------

This article by Sue Limb is from the April 2015 issue of Cotswold Life

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

Mon, 13:15

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Mon, 12:23

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search