|Index||4 reviews in total|
13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Peter Lovesey's Victorian Detective, 27 November 2005
Author: theowinthrop from United States
Detective Sgt. Cribb and Constable Thackeray, his associate, are the
equivalent in Peter Lovesey's first series of novels of Sherlock Holmes
and Dr. Watson. But unlike Conan Doyle's heroes, Lovesey used his
characters to look closely at the mores and ideas of the period from
1870 to 1896. Doyle could not quite do this, because he was writing in
that period and simply took the trappings as normal. Lovesey looks at
the period at how the world of late Victorians was different from ours.
Take WAXWORKS, which is the first of the novels to be turned into a series (for "Mystery" on Channel 13). The novel looks at how Victorian homicides made killers "celebrities" (a trend that still continues), and that one particular trial has gone beyond the norm: the defendant, a woman, did not mount much of a defense on the charge of poisoning a photographer. But after her conviction, evidence mounts suggesting that the defendant's husband and a lover may have better knowledge of what happened, and who really was the poisoner. In the meantime, amidst the hullabaloo of the trial and possible appeal, Lovesey brings in the world of Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum (hence the title) and it's "Chambre of Horrors". They intend to have two new figures in the coming season. One is the woman who is now under sentence of death. The other is the noted English hangman/executioner, James Berry. We see Berry several times in the course of the story, looking pleased with his gaining ultimate fame (his figure will be immortalized at Tussaud's) and he, by hanging the woman, will be giving her immortality as well.
SWING, SWING TOGETHER deals with the events of 1889, where a corpse has turned up on the Thames near Oxford. Was the murder committed by a local Don Juan Oxford Don, who was a suspect in the Ripper case of the previous year, or was it done by one of three men on a vacation on a boating trip? The latter brings in another phenomenon of 1888-89: the popular novel THREE MEN IN A BOAT by Jerome K. Jerome is spoofed several times by Cribb and Thackeray, copying the various misadventures of the heroes of the story. The story also includes a look at the "model" prisons of the age in Britain.
INVITATION TO A DYNAMITE PARTY was about the events (about 1885) when the Fenians were financing an Irish - American inventor to create the ultimate tool against the English. They were financing the "Fenian Ram", an early submarine - the inventor was John Philip Holland, the father of the modern working submarine. In reality financial arguments prevented Holland and the Fenians from working together to the completion of the project, but in the story another Irish patriot has completed such a weapon, and plans to use it against England's mightiest battleship.
I wish the series was shown again. It brought out all aspects of British social and political problems in the guise of mystery stories. THE DETECTIVE WORE SILK DRAWERS was about illegal bare knuckle pugilism. ABRACADAVER was about the salacious after hour music hall performances, and Victorian fondness for magic shows. A CASE OF SPIRITS was about the search for the paranormal that swept 19th Century Europe and America. With Alan Dobie's Cribb and William Simons' Thackeray, they brought a nice sense of humor to the parts, as did their superior, David Waller as the pompous and snobby Superintendent Jowitt. Waller usually was just a break on Cribb's attempts to get really deeply into matters affecting the status quo, but in one or two episodes he was allowed to get entwined into a mystery (one where he returns to a reunion of his minor public school he attended). Waller was a limited actor, but here he shown pretty nicely.
10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Nice Victorian mysteries, 24 July 1999
Author: Rosabel from Ottawa, Canada
Quite a good set of mysteries, the first episode, "Waxwork", being the best. Alan Dobie played the impassive Detective Cribb, and the plots were well written with nice period atmosphere.
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Inventive, rather quirky and charming late Victorian crime series with tongue in cheek humour, 27 June 2007
Author: trimmerb1234 from London
This was a rather unusual series. Set in the late Victorian period it
stars Alan Dobie as Cribb, a Scotland Yard Detective Sargeant. The tone
of the series is set by Cribb's character - from humble origins he has
to suffer fools (his snobbish and social-climbing superior for one)
whose connections have brought advancement, if not gladly then with wry
and tongue in cheek humour. Cribb is at the same time humane and
understanding of human failings - including frequently those of his own
rather hapless staff.
The stories are inventive and rather quirky. Each is quite different from the other in theme and location. Costumes, locations, references to contemporary events and efforts to create a correct period atmosphere, language and manners suggest that the writer and the production went to some pains to achieve authenticity. It also has quality guest stars. It is good, likable and quite intelligent family (mid teens upward) entertainment with some educational value. The British ITV3 network has been repeating the series for several years.
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Cribb of the Yard, 9 July 2006
Author: David Cleghorn from United Kingdom
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As specified, Cribb is the story of one of Scotland Yard's early CID
men. Most of the stories revolve around Sgt Cribb and his Contable
Thackery outsmarting their boss Detective Inspector Jowett. They are
the "Real" police who get their hands dirty in the sewer that was the
Victorian underworld whilst Jowett is a pompous social climber who was
only appointed (it seems) because he went to a "good" school. Jowett
has no understanding of the real world whilst Cribb and Thackeray came
up from the streets themselves so know the underclass.
The best episodes (for me) are: Abracaver - which takes place in a Victorian Music Hall (there's a late night performance in which members of the social elite are invited to witness *shock, horror* naked women. A distinguished Royal personage is present in the audience when one of the acts gets killed); Murder, Old Boy takes place at Jowett's public school reunion. In A Case of Spirits, Jowett goes to a séance with his social chums and someone unexpectedly drops dead. In all cases, Cribb and Thackeray have to impose themselves on Jowett's social world and he is most aggrieved at them doing so.
The stories are based on Peter Lovesey's books (and VERY good they are too).
If you like early Victorian crime, this is for you. DGC.
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