Death In Paradise: Ep. 1

“Murders do not happen in a room with seven people.”

Terry Pratchett

For reasons unknown to everyone but the BBC, the episodes of Death in Paradise, a vaguely Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery drama set in the Caribbean, have no individual titles, so I will be referring to them by their episode numbers, which is a rather inelegant system but what can you do?

Why do I say that Death in Paradise is like Agatha Christie, given that it’s set in the modern-day Caribbean? Well, for one thing, there is a limited number of suspects who could all see each other at the time of the murder; for another, Inspector Poole’s lengthy Story of a Murder at the end in front of all the suspects (an utterly ridiculous plot device, by the way, since it affords the murderer ample opportunity to run away); and for yet another, the Confused Foreign Detective – Poole being an Englishman persevering in wearing suits in 96 degree heat (I’m assuming this is Fahrenheit, because they’re all still moving around and not dead – well, apart from the murder victim, obviously).

There’s also that vague air of surreality overhanging it all: a plantation owner has just been murdered but the tone is nevertheless rather cheerful, with plenty of comedy generated by the culture clash between the English detective and his Caribbean colleagues. It is Agatha Christie’s genteel story as it might be written today.

But I do like those genteel murder mysteries, and I like Death in Paradise – just so long as I remember that it is all a complete fantasy.


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