Patricia Routledge shines in this light mystery series, about a kindly ex-housewife who decides she's going to tackle crime. Think Miss Marple, but stouter, more practical, and married. With Derek Benfield and Dominic Monaghan (in his first ever role, long before he got "Lost") backing Routledge up, "Hetty Wainthropp Investigates" is a entertaining and unusual series for mystery buffs.
The second season of this series chugs along pleasantly, with Hetty investigating a new round of mysteries: a spiritualist who may be scammng people, an old lady suspected of poison pen letters, and some undercover work in a women's shelter. And Geoffrey runs into a problem when his romance with a suspect's daughter threatens to derail his place at the agency.
After the successful first season of "Hetty Wainthropp Investigates," its makers thankfully didn't get swelled heads. Instead, they stuck to what worked: good chemistry between the lead actors, small-scale stories that (usually) don't focus on murder, and a heroine who isn't about to retire just because of her age. It is a very fun series -- just don't take it too deadly seriously.
Unlike your average detective show, the stories are light and sweet, and dosed with lots of coincidence and more-than-average doses of humor, such as poor Geoffrey wailing as he's dangled over a drop: "Please don't! I may not bounce!" It does have a high level of coincidence, which makes it sometimes hard to believe that the mysteries are solvable.
The the second season has the same slow-paced, cozy feel. But it can turn dark quite quickly. All the same, the small, personal level of the mysteries is a pleasant change from national scheming and massive heists; these are very realistic ordinary people, with very plausible problems, and Hetty seems like a good detective to take them on.
Routledge (best known as the infuriating Hyacinth Bucket) gives a good performance as Hetty, who can be a hard-knuckled sleuth one minute and a grandmotherly sweetie the next. Dominic Monaghan gives an even more solid performance as the teenage sidekick Geoffrey, a studied antidote to WB dolls, and is backed up by Derek Benfield as Hetty's likable husband Robert.
Perfect for curling up on a rainy day, under a blanket with a cup of something hot. The second season of "Hetty Wainthropp Investigates" makes up for its lack of mysterious prowess by being so enchantingly down-to-earth and cozy.