It’s off to Saint-Marie for the ninth year in a row – nine years, crikey! – and it’s New Year’s Eve! Party time indeed, but it’s no surprise that murder is just around the corner. When a businessman leaves his wife getting ready at their house to go to a big party, she is confronted and stabbed to death by a figure wearing a devil mask.
Suspicion falls on the man’s brother, but when he too is attacked by the devil, DI Mooney and his team find a number of suspects all of whom have cast-iron alibis…
As I’ve said before, Death In Paradise is hands-down my favourite whodunit television show, and part of that is the cast. With no changes from the end of last series (although we know one won’t make it to the end of this one), Ardal O’Hanlon continues his strong performance from last series as DI Jack Mooney. He’s the first of the lead characters to really try and fit into the community outside of his police colleagues – this week, he’s trying to learn to rumba. Aude Legoastelois as DS Duma fits right in, with a hint of backstory that might lead somewhere and Tobi Bakare continues to shine as JP. The star of the team is still Shyko Amos as Ruby – I said it last year, but it would be so easy for her character to be annoying, yet she plays it with such skill and charm… Also, as I said last year, Duane who?
The mystery this week – well, you’re going to spot it or not. I think you could make a good case that even when you spot the crucial thing – which I did pretty quickly – then it perhaps takes a little guesswork to spot the who, especially as… how to not spoil this… one aspect of the motivation seemed to not really be strong enough as a motive for murder.
There’s strong performances all-round from the guest stars, and some nice chemistry between O’Hanlon and newcomer Nina Wadia – and of course, the class added by the peerless Don Warrington is always a joy to watch. So while I did work out/partly guess what had happened, a bit too early than I would have preferred, it’s still such a treat for the show to be back. But as I do, for a reason that I’ve long forgotten, keep score, it’s 1-0 to me, I’m afraid. Game on.