by Kathleen Costa
Open up…BritBox! A Wonderful Surprise!
Online streaming is an extremely popular and inexpensive form of entertainment often offering television shows or movies with a specific focus. In the case of BritBox, viewers are given access to a large variety of popular British favorites and current hits. This self-proclaimed Anglophile could not pass up adding BritBox to my choices for an evening’s fun and binging multiple episodes of favorites and new discoveries. Enjoy comedies like Are You Being Served?, Again! (With the original cast…Must See!), Up the Women (Sufferage and comedy…a delight!), The Vicar of Digby (Dawn French is brilliant!), and dramas like Ballykissangel (Big Irish Favorite!), Cold Feet (Fortysomethings!), and Dickensian (A real Dickens world!). But it’s the crime dramas like Cadfael (Derek Jacoby is engaging!), Hetty Wainthropp Investigations (Patricia Routledge at her best), Morse (My all-time favorite…John Thaw), and a true cozy mystery Rosemary & Thyme that got me hooked.
Rosemary & Thyme has become my top favorite British television mystery with twenty-one binge-worthy cozy episodes…delightful, clever, very engaging, and just plain fun. First aired on ITV in 2003 and ending in 2007, it was originally created by Brian Eastman (producer of Agatha Christie’s Poirot) to entertain his wife, an avid gardener. But, you don’t need to be an “avid gardener” to enjoy this British delight. We have two middle-aged, educated women whose skills and background provide them the insights to recognize mayhem, collect clues, informally interviewing suspects and witnesses, and often with a bit a peril, uncovering the perpetrator and motive for murder! Each episode, enveloped in a murder investigation, also takes us to various garden settings all over England and a couple across the English Channel providing fascinating and informative facts, tips, and ideas for gardens of all sizes. This is a can’t miss program!
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme… for Murder?
Here we have two women. Laura Thyme (Pam Ferris), a former WPC (Woman Police Constable), is now set to also become a former wife. After twenty-seven years of marriage, her husband has asked for a divorce—something about a twenty-three-year-old yoga instructor is mentioned. She packs her bags, takes one last view of her lovely garden, throws a rock through front window, and directs the cabbie to head to the station. She’ll spend some time with close friends and develop a plan for the rest of her life. Rosemary Boxer (Felicity Kendal), professor with a doctorate in plant pathology, is often consulted when a garden is in need of care or attention. However, after eighteen years as a professor and senior lecturer at Malmesbury College, she unexpectedly receives the proverbial pink slip. She slaps her superior, stomps off, and wonders what she’ll do now. Their lives aren’t what they thought it would be, but meeting under murderous circumstances, they sow the seeds as friends and grow a delightful partnership.
The first episode, “And No Birds Sing,“ brings our ladies together after Laura’s friend is found in the aftermath of a single-car crash dead of a heart attack. Laura’s WPC background makes her very suspicious of the circumstances authorities hold as an accident. She and Rosemary discover a connection with the consulting job for which Rosemary has been hired, and together they work to determine if the connection could have led to murder. Rosemary’s friend is suffering from a severe case of dermatitis, and Laura has a niggling feeling that something at the estate is familiar. Together they reveal old crimes and misdemeanors, and in the process discover the ailment damaging a grove of non-indigenous trees.
Rosemary & Thyme Earns 5+/5 Blooms of Entertainment!
BritBox has More to Offer Gardeners!
These programs offer delightful fun and informative ideas for any gardener.
Gardener’s World is a popular garden show with inspiring ideas and down-to-earth advice.
The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge has six amateur garden designers competing to win the opportunity to design and build a garden on Main Avenue.
The Instant Gardener is a refreshing twist on a traditional gardening show with people being select for a garden makeover.
A Garden of Delights…and Murder!
There are several full-length and commercial-free episodes of Rosemary & Thyme available on YouTube. Start here with the first episode to whet your appetite, and you’ll be hooked. The video and sound quality is very good.
Cozy Gardening Mystery series
For the passionate gardener or the patio potter, I highly recommend these series and books that combine clever mysteries and rich characters with informative insights and tips into all things gardening.
Potting Shed Mystery by Marty Wingate; six extraordinary books follow Pru Parke, gardener and ex-pat now living in England. I highly recommend this series, especially book six, Beat Laid Plants.
Peggy Lee Garden Mystery by Joyce and Jim Lavene; eight exciting books follow Peggy Lee, owner of the Potting Shed Garden Shop. Book Seven, Lethal Lily, is an all-time favorite!
White House Gardener Mystery by Dorothy St. James; three books follow Casey Calhoun, Assistant White House Gardener. Book One, Flowerbed of State, is an absolute delightful read!
China Bayles Herbal Mystery by Susan Wittig Albert; twenty-six full-length books along with a favorite of mine, An Unthymely Death and Other Garden Mysteries: A Treasury of Stories, Herbal Lore, Recipes and Crafts.
Going Beyond the Books and the Shows…
A large backyard or even a “green thumb” are not prerequisites to be able to enjoy a garden setting. Any gardener wannabe can use various pot sizes and repurposed items to create a quiet space on a balcony or patio. From wheelbarrows to metal buckets, baskets to wooden boxes almost anything can be used. A variety of clay pots planted with your favorite vegetables can be placed an old ladder or replace the seat of an old chair with a planter box for your favorite flowers and ferns. Add a comfy chair and you can stream or read your favorite mystery!
Check out this link for some clever ideas: www.architectureartdesigns.com/14-marvelous-ideas-for-using-old-ladder-in-your-garden.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.