The Mrs Bradley Mysteries

J and I just finished watching the all-too-short series, The Mrs Bradley Mysteries, starring Diana Rigg as a wealthy 1920s-era detective who gives no fucks and delivers sardonic asides directly to the camera.

It was wonderful, and I highly recommend it.

(We came to hear of this from my friend Catherine Lundoff’s Patreon, where she gives Lists of Recommendation of Things. It’s a great idea, and she gives great recs, so I encourage you to support her!)

I was pondering, watching it last night, why it is I adore between-the-wars era mysteries. Phryne Fisher, Peter Wimsey, Poirot, Mrs Bradley, I could probably name more. There’s the settings, yes, but there’s something in the characters I love.

I suspect it’s the Great War.

There is a pervasive sense of loss running through all the mysteries set in this era. A sense of directionlessness, of “I didn’t mean to still be alive yet here we all are,” of “how do I pretend to have a normal life now.” And I love the variety of responses characters have to this. Some hold life more valuable, others, less. Some cling to everything of value with suffocating intensity, others throw their course to the winds.

I particularly love the mysteries written much earlier, not with today’s lens of psychology and understanding of PTSD. There’s practically a code, a hidden language, to describe the way an entire generation of people was wounded.

It’s fascinating.

It led, of course, to a host of things that are delightful to watch in a tv mystery series. Great music, fun clothes, a profound generation gap, massive cultural shifting.

At any rate, I enjoyed The Mrs Bradley Mysteries. If you like Phryne Fisher, I highly recommend it!