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Perhaps they do make them like they used to
on 23 December 2011
This is an excellent 'pantomime' murder series that could have been written at any time in the last fifty or sixty years. By 'pantomime', I mean unreal. Of course, it's all the better for that, because we have become over-used to gritty detectives with hard-boiled plots. These are more Agatha Christie than John Rankin, and that does require a different approach.
First of all, there's the premise - a Met officer seconded from London to a (rather dangerous) Caribbean island. It's a former French colony that somehow came under British control (odd enough, that, but it does allow voodoo to crop up more than once). I suppose the unreality was inevitable since it's a joint British/French production, filmed on Guadaloupe. The population includes a large proportion of bloodthirsty ex-pat Brits (who may have transplanted from Midsomer village), a sprinkling of French-speakers, and many black Caribbeans who have the sense to avoid the really serious crimes. It is a slight disappointment that the whiff of political correctness is strong - the murderer is usually the white man (or woman) - but this is easily forgiven since the stories are so unreal anyway.
What redeems the series is the chemistry between the four main characters, which is strong. Ben Miller plays a detective who softens and becomes less anally-retentive as the episodes pass by, whilst Sara Martins is a likeable and excellent foil. Most of the crimes are solved by flashes of inspiration, rather than detective work, but that is what we were once used to from the likes of Columbo, and it does not detract from several entertaining 1-hour episodes.
Well worth five stars!