Doc On The Box – Monk Episode 6.13

MonkSurely all of my readers must have encountered Monk before, but just in case. Adrian Monk is possibly the greatest detective in the world. At least he would be if he wasn’t almost crippled by a list of phobias (over a hundred at last count), exacerbated by the one case that he can’t solve – the death of his wife, Trudy. Now he works as a consultant for the San Francisco police department alongside his assistant Natalie (or Sharona in the early episodes).

In this episode (chosen at random again), Monk is at a crime scene when Natalie overhears a police report that her daughter Julie has been murdered. Racing to the scene, they find that it is some that shares the name Julie Teeger. And then a second Julie Teeger is found dead. And now there is only one left…

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Doc On The Box – Castle Episode 4.6

Up to the present day with my random trawl through mystery television. Castle is a favourite watch of mine – it features Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle, a crime author who, desperate for a new muse, latches himself onto Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) of the NYPD. At least that’s the set-up initially – by this episode, it’s just sort of accepted that Castle follows them around on investigations.


In this investigation – I presume a Hallowe’en episode – Jack Sinclair, a TV “Ghostbuster” type, is recording alone in a house with a bloody history. You’ve guessed it – he ends up dead, viciously stabbed. But when the forensic evidence points to the fact that nobody could have been near him when he died (there’s a lot of blood-splatter in all directions, but no break in the pattern where it would have hit the murderer), Castle decides that there must be a supernatural explanation.

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Posted in Castle, Film and TV | 6 Comments

Doc On The Box – Murder, She Wrote Episode 3.22

Murder She WroteSo, while I’m off on a break in Tennessee, I’ve scheduled a few more of my new Doc On The Box meme – where I look at a single (and random) episode of a long running mystery series.

In case you’re unaware of Murder, She Wrote (some people might not be, I guess), it was an incredibly successful series starring Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher, a mystery writer who trips over a dead body roughly once a fortnight. And as luck would have it, in this episode, that dead body is in Tennessee (I think).

Jessica is recording an audio book of her own novel at a studio at the same time that an ex-con country music star is recording his new album (despite bootleg tapes being on the black market already – wtf?). The lights go out and the head of studio is stabbed in his office. Suspicion immediately falls on Greg Dalton, the man who in charge of Jessica’s tapes and who happens to be blind – the only person who could have moved around the studio in the dark…

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Posted in Film and TV | 18 Comments

Murder On A Summer’s Day by Frances Brody

Murder On A Summer's DayKate Shackleton, war widow and detective, is hired by the India Office (where her brother-in-law works) to find the missing Maharajah Narayan, last seen riding off to hunt by himself on the Bolton Abbey estate. After presenting her credentials, the hunt seems to be over before it has started as a body is discovered in the river – but it’s not the body of the Maharajah but that of a local man.

Soon, however, the Maharajah is found, and, yep, he’s been killed too, shot through the heart. But was it a local, in revenge for the Maharajah killing a white doe, or was it someone from Narayan’s circle? As a valuable theft is also discovered, and several other members of Indian royalty descend on the estate, Kate finds herself battling a cover-up in her efforts to find the truth. Continue reading

Posted in Frances Brody, Kate Shackleton | 2 Comments

Doc On The Box – Scooby Doo, Where Are You? Episode 1.14

A new idea for the blog. Many US TV Shows present themselves as mystery shows, but the series are too long to review properly. Basically, by the time I’ve got to the end of the series, I’ve completely forgotten what happened early on – I’m not really a box-set binge watcher, I like to take my time. But these shows are often worthy of a look, so here’s the plan. I pick an episode at random, either from DVDs that I own or by whatever repeat ITV3 or Channel 5 is showing. And then judge the entire series based on that one episode. And first up, the show that helped to start my interest in mysteries. Start the randomiser…

Scooby DooScooby and the gang (this is the classic set-up, btw, not one of the later versions that a 40+ year-old really should know nothing about) read about the problems of C L Magnus, a shipping magnate, whose last few boats have been stolen by the ghost of Redbeard the Pirate. So it’s out to sea to catch a sea-faring spook…

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Posted in Film and TV, Scooby Doo | 19 Comments

Sherlockian Shorts – The Musgrave Ritual

First published 1893 in The Strand magazine, The Musgrave Ritual (or The Adventure Of The Musgrave Ritual) is the sixth story in the second collection, The Memoirs Of Sherlock Holmes.

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Posted in Sherlock Holmes, Sherlockian Shorts, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | 6 Comments

Nothing Is Impossible: Further Problems of Dr Sam Hawthorne by Edward D Hoch

Hawthorne 3Any fan of locked room mysteries should know about Dr Sam Hawthorne. A doctor from the New England town of Northmont who is very happy to relate tales about his time in practice from the 1920s onward – not medical stories, of course, but of the numerous times he helped Sheriff Lens solve impossible crimes, From vanishing acrobats, a gunshot from a dead man to a patient apparently poisoned by Sam’s own medicine, there are fifteen puzzles here for you to solve along with Sam.

Edward D Hoch wrote a ridiculous number of short stories, not quite hitting the 1000 mark before his death in 2008, and 72 of those featured Sam Hawthorne. The first twelve are collected in Diagnosis: Impossible and the next fifteen in More Things Impossible, both, along with this one collected by Crippen & Landru. The second volume is also available as an ebook. Both of those reads are essential for any locked room fan, but what about this one?

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Posted in Edward D Hoch, Sam Hawthorne | 7 Comments