Friday, February 1, 2013

It Takes A Village

I love British mysteries. I cut my teeth on Agatha Christy and Dorthy L Sayers. For weeks now, I've been watching British mysteries on Netflix. I sit and crochet and watch for hours in the evening. I'm into about the seventh season of Midsomer Murders. It is just one of my favorites.

I don't know how the country of Britain is subdivided. I haven't been interested enough to look it up and assume it is similar to our divisions. In America we have states that have counties with towns and a county seat. Louisiana has parishes but it is six of one and half dozen of the other. Kentucky is a commonwealth but still has counties.

In Midsomer Murders the towns are usually different but they all appear to be in one sort of county, Midsomer, i.e. Midsomer Worthy I take to mean the town of Worthy in the county of Midsomer. If I'm wrong my loyal Brits readers will kindly correct me. But you get my drift.

While watching the show the other night I got to thinking. This Midsomer place is a veritable pit of sin and murder. I mean, every show is full of the most awful old bats and nosy neighbors, and vicious gossips. Every show has more than one murder. And the nicest people all seem to have these nasty vices or they seem totally naive about all of it.

So, I wondered... exactly what are those little English villages like? Seriously, they're small. All of the Midsomer villages are picturesque, cozy, and people seem so friendly on the surface and then, bam, someone is bashed over the head with a brick, or lamp, or candlestick. If they aren't bashed with something, they're blasted with a shotgun, of which there seems to be a awful lot of in Midsomer. Every one, including Granny has a shotgun. I know Britain has strict gun laws. I mean, even the DCI doesn't have a gun when he goes haring after the murderer. More than once I thought, "Stop, you fool! Get a gun before you go in there!" But no, he never does. And they never kill him! They don't even shoot him. Generally, they don't even hit him. He walks over and just snatches the gun away and that handsome chap that blindly follows him handcuffs the offender. All neat and tidy, despite the fact that this person just murdered half the town with an ax.

I always thought it would be nice to live in one of those villages. My friend, Jilly, moved to one last year. She seems very happy and so much more involved in the local events now. She's invited me to come for a visit and I've been really wanting to do that. But now I'm beginning to wonder. I've seen what goes on in these little hotbeds of vice.

I must ask her if Simon owns a shotgun.


  1. Laughing out loud here! I have never watched midsomer murders as I don't watch much tv, but I can tell you it is totally fictional. Like you hadn't realised that!

    The county of midsomer and the town of worthy do not exist! Britain is divided into counties so for eaxmple i live in the county of Lincolshire which is one of the largest. Morton is a mid sized village and everyone is friendly. So far no one has been murdered here!

    We in Britain are not armed, not even our police. Personally I think that is the best way. I think it is perhaps a cultural thing? I cannot think of any circumstances where I would want to have a gun. I know what you will say but I think in any circumstances the possibility of it being used against me would be greater.

    Come and visit and see for yourself. Surely 2013 has to be the year of the big visit?

  2. Yes!! go for it!! I dare you to go see for yourself!

  3. LOL, I expected Jilly to enjoy this. I knew all that, ladies. I certainly hope the Brits are more civilized than Midsomer would suggest. But I do like the show. I like the Inspector Lewis shows too! Again, lots of shotguns and such. LOL.

    I sorely want to go. It seems as if I am constantly having something interfere with my plans.

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed your post, Cynthia, and also Jilly's response. Joe and I have become hooked on Downton Abbey. Years ago, I also loved Upstairs Downstairs. Dorothy Sayer's stories were also on PBS years ago. They were also wonderful!! I'll have to look for the Midsomer Mysteries on Netflix!

  5. Civilised? I did see a pack of dogs followed by horse riders in red jackets yesterday – not sure what they were hunting. Ashbourne has an annual 2 day sort of footie match in which loads take part on the 3 mile pitch which is simply the town. At Cooper’s Hill there is an annual cheese chasing event. I do know someone in Lincs who shoots geese. Murder is a bit different, though I murdered a pint of Enville ale after a game of golf yesterday.

    1. LOL, Tim, I think the things you mention are actually the kind of things we generally hear about English village life.

      I really like this show and I don't know what started me wondering. Once I start, however, my imagination just takes me places.

      Terri, I watched those shows too!. Loved Upstairs Downstairs. It's on Youtube now. Haven't watched Downtown Abbey but keep hearing about it.

      Glad you all enjoyed it. I don't usually get such attention. It was fun writing it.

  6. I've been renting the Midsomer Murders and catching the episodes on PBS for a while now. They are entertaining to me as well, but I'm always amazed (as I was on the "Prime Suspect" series) how often the police go charging into a potential threatening situation--without a gun! I almost yell at the close of an episode to the Midsomer cops "Where's your gun! This guy you've cornered killed too people." Boy, is it ever civilized. ;-)

    1. I know, right! I watched one last night and I still want to yell at them.

  7. I have to tell you there ARE little villags scattered around the countryside and they really DO look like that. I spent quite a lot of time in the South of England a few years back and visited little villages with names like Petworth, East Meon, Hambledon, Amberley, Bosham, Wickham, or Selborne. These little villages are all different but typically they will have new housing schemes built on the outskirts of the village but the village center will retain its old fashioned charm with tiny narrow streets, stone built cottages or even original Elizabethan timber framed houses, some of which have well maintained thatched roofs. There is often a village green and even a village pond. And so .... some extent they do exist.

  8. Yep I laughed at the post too, partly because I'm also a fan of the series but do sometimes think how ridiculous it is to portray so much crime, especially murder, in our sleepy villages. However I think that the main places you will find owners of guns in the UK is in country areas where there are farms or country estates. That's legally owned guns of course. I'm sure there are more guns in my local area than I'd like but they won't be on any register!


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