Tuesday, February 20, 2018

CRIME SEEN: What to Watch Where? by Kate Derie

If you're like me you're overwhelmed with choices of Mystery TV series to watch but you're never sure quite where, what, or how to watch. Kate Derie, associate editor of Mystery Readers Journal, has a column in each issue called Crime Seen. In the latest issue (Mystery Readers Journal: Big City Cops II), she addressed the multiple platforms and shows for streaming video. Reprinted here is her column: Crime Seen: What to Watch Where? 


Decisions, decisions… Which streaming video services have the most for mystery fans? As in so many existential questions, the answer is, “It depends.” If all you want is to binge on Poirot and Marple, you can get them almost anywhere. But the original Miss Marple with Joan Hickson (beautifully remastered in high definition) is only on Britbox. So here’s a guide on where to find your favorite series. To save space, I have listed only shows that have more than two seasons or twenty episodes. For additional information, see my chart at https://tinyurl.com/myst-vid-sheet.

Acorn.tv ($5/mo.) specializes in British mysteries, some of which have never been broadcast in the US. They include 19-2, Agatha Christie’s Marple, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Brokenwood Mysteries, The Broker’s Man, Foyle’s War, George Gently, Hamish MacBeth, Lord & Master (Dutch), McCallum, Midsomer Murders, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Mr. and Mrs. Murder, Murder in Suburbia, Murdoch Mysteries, Rebus, Republic of Doyle, Trial & Retribution, Vera.

Amazon Prime offers free streaming video to those who already pay a $99 yearly fee for unlimited shipping. They produce several original series such as Bosch, and have a franchise on recent PBS series, along with some “golden oldies.” Boardwalk Empire, Bosch, Endeavour, The Good Wife, Grantchester, Grimm, Inspector Lewis, Mike Hammer, Monk, Peter Gunn, Psych, Roba (Finnish), Route 66, The Sopranos, Whitechapel, The Wire, Yancy Derringer.

Britbox.com ($7/mo.) is just what it says on the tin—all British, all the time, including some fondly remembered classic series. Agatha Christie’s Marple, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Blue Murder, Cadfael, Cracker, Dalziell & Pascoe, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Inspector Morse, Jonathan Creek, Ka-vanagh QC, The Last Detective, Miss Marple (Joan Hickson), Prime Suspect, Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Scott & Bailey, Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett), A Touch of Frost, Vera, Waking the Dead, Wycliffe.

Hulu.com ($8–12/mo.) leads the pack in sheer quantity of mostly US series. Like Amazon, they show several vintage shows that may or may not be as good as you remember. Adam-12, Agatha Christie’s Marple, Beck (Swedish), Blue Bloods, The Bridge (Danish/Swedish), City Homicide, Cold Squad, CSI, DCI Banks, Dexter, Dragnet 1967, Elementary, Flashpoint, I Spy, Ironside, Kojak, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Miami Vice, Murdoch Mysteries, New Tricks, Numbers, Prime Suspect, Rebus, Remington Steele, Republic of Doyle, Rizzoli & Isles, The Saint, Saving Grace, Scott & Bailey, The Shield, Silk Stalkings, Simon & Simon, Southland, Spiral (French), Taggart, Vera, Wallander (Swedish). 

MHz Choice ($8/mo.) is the place for international crime. They have several dozen shows from Scandinavia, Germany, France, Italy and other European countries. All have easy-to-read English subtitles. Most of them are one “season”, which in some cases is really a single mini-series. For longer runs, look at Baantjer Mysteries (Dutch), Beck (Swedish), Maigret (French, not the PBS series), and Tatort (German).

Netflix ($8–14/mo.), like Amazon, has a variety of recent prime-time series plus original productions such as Longmire. Their lineup currently includes Blue Bloods, Broadchurch, Criminal Minds, Death in Paradise, Dexter, Dicte (Danish), Doctor Blake Mysteries, Father Brown, Hawaii Five-0, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Longmire, Luther, Midsomer Murders, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, NCIS, Person of Interest, Republic of Doyle, Ripper Street, Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch), Shetland, The Sniffer (Ukrainian), Wallander (Kenneth Branagh), White Collar.

These services all have free trials of 7–30 days, so you can try them out for yourself. In sum: If you like British shows, try Acorn for current series, Britbox for older series. (Acorn is also the best value for money.) For a variety of current US series, plus original productions, plus movies, both Netflix and Amazon have great lineups. Hulu has the largest number of series, although not many of them are current. Hulu and Amazon both have several vintage (pre-1980) series, but be warned: the oldies can look pretty bad on a large HD screen. 

So which channels do I personally get? All of them, of course. Any one of them is less than the price of a single movie ticket each month, and provides a great deal more entertainment. The only catch is that we have to have a list next to the remote to tell us where we are watching each series!

Don't forget to check out this Chart of Shows and Where They Appear:

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Cat Olympics

I know my cats would excel in all these events!

Thx, Jayna Monroe, for sharing!


Today is Presidents Day. I usually post my Presidential Crime Fiction list with "Hail to the Chief!" in the subject line... can't do that again this year, but I don't want to slight some of the wonderful presidents this country has had. The following updated list featuring the U.S. President in mysteries, thrillers, and crime fiction is so relevant right now. The list is divided into categories, but I added more titles at the end under 'other' and a separate list of Abraham Lincoln Mysteries. Of course, there are many overlaps, so scroll through them all. This is not a definitive list, and I welcome any additions. Post your favorites in the comments section.

Political Election and Thrillers
Rubicon by Lawrence Alexander
Saving Faith by David Baldacci
Political Suicide and Touched by the Dead by Robert Barnard
Capitol Conspiracy by William Bernhardt
Collateral Damage by Michael Bowen
Three Shirt Deal by Stephen J. Cannell
Executive Orders by Tom Clancy
Impaired Judgement by David Compton
Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon
Term Limits; Protect and Defend by Vince Flynn
The Scandal Plan by Bill Folman
The Power Broker by Stephen W. Frey
Spook Country by William Gibson
Fast Track, Sleeping Dogs by Ed Gorman
The Fourth Perimeter by Tim Green
The People's Choice by Jeff Greenfield
Hazardous Duty by W.E.B. Griffin
The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
The Second Revolution by Gary Hansen
The President's Daughter and The White House Connection by Jack Higgins
The Enemy Within  by Noel Hynd
First Daughter by Eric Lustbader
Drone Threat by Mike Maden
Executive Privilege by Philip Margolin
Presidents' Day by Seth Margolis
The Race, Protect and Defend, Balance of Power by Richard North Patterson
Politics Noir: Gary Phillips, Editor
Missing Member by Jo-Ann Power
Dark Horse by Ralph Reed
Dead Heat, The Last Jihad by Joel C. Rosenberg
Dead Watch by John Sandford
State of the Union by Brad Thor
Capital Crimes by Stuart Woods

Assassination Attempts
American Quartet by Warren Adler
Shall We Tell the President? by Jeffrey Archer
Sherlock Holmes in Dallas by Edmund Aubrey
The 14th Colony by Steve Berry
The President is Missing by Bill Clinton/James Patterson (coming June 4, 2018)
Primary Target by Max Allan Collins
Campaign Train (Murder Rides the Campaign Train) by The Gordons
Glass Tiger by Joe Gores
The President's Assassin by Brian Haig
Potus by Greg Holden
Marine One by James W. Huston
Murder at Monticello by Jane Langton
The Surrogate Assassin by Christopher Leppek
Gideon's March by J.J. Marric
The Kidnapping of the President by Charles Templeton
Pursuit by James Stewart Thayer
Primary Target by Marilyn Wallace
Watchdogs by John Weisman

We are Holding the President Hostage by Warren Adler
The Camel Club, First Family by David Baldacci
Line of Succession by Brian Garfield
Madam President by Anne Holt
Oath of Office by Steven J. Kirsch
Presidential Deal by Les Standiford
The Kidnapping of the President by Charles Templeton
The Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor

Presidential Disappearances
Missing! by Michael Avallone
Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante by Susan Elia MacNeal
The President's Plan is Missing by Robert J. Serling
The President Vanishes by Rex Stout

Fixing the Election
The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon
The 13th Directorate by Barry Chubin
Atropos by William DeAndrea
The Red President by Martin Gross
The Ceiling of Hell by Warren Murphy
The Trojan Hearse by Richard S. Prather
 President Fu Manch by Sax Rohmer
The Big Fix by Roger L. Simon

Presidential Crisis
Seven Days in May by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II
Vanished by Fletcher Knebel
A Fine and Dangerous Season by Keith Raffel

The President as Detective
Speak Softly by Lawrence Alexander
Lincoln for the Defense by Warren Bull
Mr President, Private Eye, edited by Martin Greenberg & Francis M. Nevins
Bully by Mark Schorr 

The JFK Plot
Too many to list, but...
Mongoose, RIP by William F. Buckley
Executive Action by Mark Lane, Donald Freed and Stephen Jaffe
The Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry

Presidential Families
Loving Eleanor by Susan Wittig Albert
Deadly Aims by Ron L. Gerard
The President's Daughter by Jack Higgins
The Devil's Bed by William Kent Krueger
The First Lady Murders, edited by Nancy Pickard
Murder and the First Lady; Murder at the President's Door (and other novels) By Elliot Roosevelt
Murder in the White House (and other novels) by Margaret Truman
They've Shot the President's Daughter by Edward Stewart

The President's Mind, The 20th Day of January by Ted Allbeury
Warriors by Ted Bell
The Kennedy Connection by Dick Belsky
Enslaved by Ron Burns
The Plan by Stephen J. Cannell
Killing Time by Caleb Carr
The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen L. Carter
First Strike by Ben Coes
Ex Officio by Timothy Culver (Donald Westlake)
The President's Vampire, Blood Bath by Christopher Farnsworth
FDR's Treasure, Lincoln's Hand by Joel Fox
The President's Henchman, The Next President by Joseph Flynn
Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold
By Order of the President by W.E.B. Griffin
Julie Hyzy's White House Chef series
Spin Doctor by M.C. Lewis
The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer
The First Patient by Michael Palmer
Treason at Hanford by Scott Parker
Keeping House by Tucker and Richard Phillips
Acts of Mercy by Bill Pronzini and Barry Malzberg
Love, Lust, and Loyalty by Greg Sandora
The President's Daugther by Mariah Stewart
Ghosts of War by Brad Taylor
Put a Lid on It by Donald Westlake
President Lincoln's Spy by Steven Wilson

An Anthology
Mr President, Private Eye, edited by Martin H. Greenberg. Different historical presidents in the role of sleuth

Abraham Lincoln Mysteries
Abraham Lincoln: Detective by Allen Appel
A Night of Horrors: A Historical Thriller about the 24 Hours of Lincoln's Assassination by John C. Berry
The Impeachment of Lincoln by Stephen L. Carter
Lincoln's Hand by Joel Fox
The Lincoln Letter by Gretchen Elassani and Phillip Grizzell
Lincoln's Diary by DL Fowler
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
The Assassin's Accomplice by Kate Clifford Larson
The Lincoln Letter by William Martin
The Lincoln Secret by John A. McKinsey
The First Assassin by John J. Miller
The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O'Brien
The Murder of Willie Lincoln by Burt Solomon
The Cosgrove Report: Being the Private Inquiry of a Pinkerton Detective into the Death of President Lincoln by G.J.A. O'Toole
President Lincoln's Secret, President Lincoln's Spy by Steven Wilson