Well, March beckons and so we’ve left Saint-Marie for another year. Eleven years of locked room mysteries and impossible crimes (mostly) and I’ll be honest, I was a little concerned about the latest series. First and foremost, after a somewhat lacklustre Christmas special, I was concerned that it would only be six episodes long! But no, it’s another full series, so those concerns were allayed.
So join with me while I take a look over the series (without spoilers, although hand on heart, I’m going to have to mention the mid-series cast change) and see how Series 11 stacked up. And whether Rob Thorogood and his team outwitted me this year…
Robert Thorogood back on scripting duties and on absolutely top form. I’ve already blogged on this one, so see what I said on that one here.
Death on the golf course and more of an alibi buster than an impossible crime. A satisfying mystery and while I worked out bits of it, it’s still 2-0 to the DIP team.
In which a lone skydiver is stabbed in mid-air. Oh, this one was good. When I saw the teaser the previous week, I turned and announced to my wife exactly how it was done. There is, of course, only one way to do this one – see Edward D Hoch’s The Problem Of The Old Oak Tree. Well, it turns out that there’s another way… A clever mystery, a clever method and some nice misdirection – but I worked out most of it, so 2-1.
In which Florence goes undercover. Mostly concerned with what happened, rather than whodunnit, I’ll just say that the murderer was bloody lucky that certain things happened the way they did. It’s an odd one to decide whether I got this one or not… you know what, I’m going to void this one. If I explain why, it’d be spoiler-time, so it’s still 2-1.
In which a young pop star in rehab dies from an aspirin allergy, and Darlene, Dwayne’s ex-girlfriend, is blamed for it. A nice re-introduction for the new regular character and a mystery that while not exceptionally deep, still had me guessing wrong. Although I will say that the murderer did a lot very quickly at one point and it’s a good thing no one noticed… Oh, and 3-1
A woman phones the Saint-Marie police station to report a murder, only to be found dead in her swimming pool. Unfortunately all the possible suspects were together from the time she made the call to the police arriving. Either something a bit different from the show, or a plot that was too slight for an hour and hence needed a massive red herring to pad it out. Again, far too much luck for the problem to appear as it did. This one didn’t really work for me, in part for the use of one of my least favourite impossible crime gambits. But the killer is pretty inevitable, so let’s say 3-2
A rap artist is shot in the head, despite the studio being in total darkness. This one didn’t really work for me, plotwise, especially when the killer is only caught because of their fingerprints – yes, Neville works out the how, but not the who, and that doesn’t really feel right for this show. And surely someone else would have seen… something. I guessed wrong (as I didn’t have the fingerprint info) so 4-2.
A chess grandmaster dies during an exhibition match from contact poison that had been smeared on the queen. Except the pieces had been under lock and key so how was the poison administered? Well, there was only one way, wasn’t there, which does point the finger at the killer. Perhaps if the pieces had all tested negative for poison? There are easy enough ways to do that – by saying where the poison was, it gives the game away. So 4-3. You win again.
The thing is with this show is even when the cases aren’t top notch, the cast are having so much fun that it doesn’t matter. Ralf Little is outstanding as Neville – while his various neuroses and allergies have been necessarily dialled right down, there’s still a lovely moment in Episode Three when he decides that the only way to inspect the crime scene is to go skydiving himself… The rest of the cast – Josephine Jobert, Shantol Jackson, Tahj Miles, Ginny Holder, Don Warrington and Elizabeth Bourgine – have wonderful chemistry and really shine, and every episode has some lovely comic moments amidst the investigations. I did think that Naomi (Shantol Jackson) had more to do before she gets her promotion, and the flirty chemistry between her and Marlon seemed to disappear. I do hope we keep this team together for as long as possible – I was dreading the subplot involving Neville’s sister ending with him leaving the island with her, but thankfully, it looks like Neville will still be solving ridiculously complicated murders next year. And I’ll be there trying to beat him to it…
I tend to dip in and out of this show – I was a bit less impressed than you with the airplane solution but it is an excellent episode. Ralf Little is great in it but I always wish Elizabeth Bourgine had more to do. Shall really miss Jobert.
Next series is the last so presumably it will end with Neville marrying the Commissioner’s daughter and a guest list that includes all who’ve come and gone (apart from Ben Miller)
Where did you hear that it’s finishing? First I’ve heard about it.