I love a good British mystery. I grew up with them on PBS (in the dark times, before cable and streaming services like Roku and Amazon Prime) and these days, they’re easier to find than ever. One I’d like to recommend is Foyle’s War.
This series, which ran from 2002-2015 (twenty-eight episodes) is set in wartime Britain, beginning around early 1940 and continuing into the 1950s and the Cold War. Created by Anthony Horowitz, it follows DCS Christopher Foyle, charged with keeping the peace at home during a time of fear, privation, and new roles for women. In the first episode. Foyle, who doesn’t drive, is assigned a female driver named Sam. Sam, a pretty blonde, is serving her country in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), a branch of national service which trained females as mechanics and drivers. Think that sounds far-fetched for 1940? Not at all. In fact, Queen Elizabeth herself served in the ATS as a mechanic during the same period.
I discovered the show because of my readers. Some of them thought the actor playing Foyle, Michael Kitchen, looked like their idea of my Chief Superintendent Anthony Hetheridge. I noted that “Anthony Hetheridge” came from the name of another actor, Anthony Hopkins, but nevertheless, when I look at Kitchen, I can see him as my sleuth.
Foyle’s War has all the elements of a good cozy. A wily sleuth, fun supporting characters, humor, moments of genuine emotion, and (of course) murders to be solved. It also contains wonderful period data. For those who are deeply interested in Britain during World War II, I recommend Juliet Gardiner’s indispensable book, Wartime Britain 1939-1945. If that’s too much (the paperback is about three inches thick) Foyle’s War will serve as a fun and entertaining Cliff Notes version.