#191: Five to Try – My Favourite Jonathan Creek Episodes

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Once upon a time he was fully justified in looking this smug…

Dan at The Reader is Warned shares with TomCat and myself an enthusiasm for the impossible crime in fiction, and has put up this list of his five favourite episodes of once-great impossibilty-fest Jonathan Creek.  Much to the dismay of, I’m hoping, every single right-thinking person in the world, Jonathan Creek has gone somewhat downhill of late, so such a review of past glories is probably in order, especially if you’ve only encountered the show in its recent, non-windmill form.  Because it used to be amazing.

So, below are my top episode picks, arranged by first broadcast date; I’ve also stuck to just the normal, hour-long series episodes because, well, it’s another way of narrowing down from a superb field.  So that’s why ‘Black Canary’ isn’t on here, before anyone asks…

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#186: On Daemons’ Roost (2016) and the Sad Decline of Jonathan Creek

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Aware of my fondness for the programme itself and an impossible crime in general, people keep asking me what I thought of the recent Jonathan Creek Christmas special ‘Daemons’ Roost’.  And I keep having to relive it by telling them.  The only sane response is therefore to write it all down here and direct all future enquiries to this post on my blog (which might at least get me some readers…).  I apologise in advance.  This is not going to be pretty.

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#59: On Locked Rooms and Impossible Crimes in fiction – something of a ramble

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I was recently reading a book on the promise of it providing a locked room murder, to which I am rather partial.  When said murder arrived, it took on this approximate form: a large indoor hall with a free-standing stone chapel inside it which has one door and no windows or other points of ingress, a crowd witnesses a lady entering said chapel – which is deserted – alone and the doors are shut, only for them to be opened some time later and said lady found beaten, bruised and devoid of life.  It’s moderately classic in its setup and should therefore provide some interest, but once I read the details of the crime I gave up on the book and will not return to it (in fact, it’s already down the charity shop).

This is not due to any squeamishness on my part, or a particular problem I had with the writing or the characters – both were fine, if unexceptional – but rather just because it just wasn’t interesting.  It is hard to put this in words, which is why I imagine this post may run rather longer than usual, but there were simply no features of intrigue to me in that supposedly impossible murder.  And so I got to thinking…forget plot or prose or atmosphere, take away all the context of an impossible crime, particularly forget about the solutions: what makes an interesting fictional impossibility? Continue reading