Back home in the mystery genre: Shetland and Jack Irish

As part of the Tractor Big Year, preparing for self publication in small licks every day, one decision has become clear. I’ll self publish the nuclear book but first will come number one in a series of murder mysteries, and to have any hope of promoting that, I need to return to that genre. A book omnivore, lately my reading has been all over the shop but my core reading preferences are murder mysteries and literary novels. I’ve decided to immerse myself once more the mystery genre.
As a start, I’ve watched the first three episodes of two recent, classically inclined, mystery TV series, Shetland and Jack Irish.
Shetland, based on the series novels of Ann Cleeves (which, to my regret, I have not read), about a policeman in the Shetland Islands, represents one perennial sub-genre, the police procedural. I began with Series 1 from 2013 (there are now four series!). Murders are committed and solved, amidst which the hero, Inspector Jimmy Perez, copes with life as a widower and father of a teenager. Douglas Henshall is superbly cast as the dedicated, principled Perez, and the rest of the cast is just as adept. Tight scripting and lush landscape cinematography add to an experience that is at once familiar and exciting.
Jack Irish, a scarred, barred solicitor existing around the edges of Melburnian society and illegality, was a creation of Australia’s finest mystery writer, Peter Temple (recently deceased). A couple of Jack Irish movies have been made, plus an earlier TV mini series. Netflix has a new season (from. 2016) in which fresh plots spiral out from the Temple books. Guy Pearce has always played Jack Irish, and here he is superb in a lengthy drama involving a shady church and Philippine crime. This is a PI novel, one in which the PI is almost shambolic but nonetheless a true hero, and the script progresses sharply and dramatically. Supporting roles by Marta Dusseldorp and Claudia Karvan are terrific, and all the regular bit players circling the persona of Irish are brilliantly cast.
I’ve only watched the first three episodes because I’d downloaded them, and travelling to Europe has shifted my apparent domicile so that episodes four onwards aren’t available to me until I return to Australia. I can’t wait to watch more once home.

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