Due to a series of mishaps, such as a truck breakdown and other untimely events, I found myself driving down Ocean Boulevard at 6:20 this morning taking my son to his job.
Except for going to work, I have practically hibernated since the pandemic began. This early morning drive was the first time I have been on the boulevard in months — and I only live about a mile away as the crow flies.
I saw buildings I didn’t realize were there — or had I just forgotten?
It was like I had been away for a long time and everything had changed.
Actually, physically I have been away from the normal locations that I once frequented, and mentally, I have been at a distance also.
Do you want to know where my mind has been wandering for the past few months?
It’s not to the beautiful Carolina beaches, nor even to my beloved Smoky Mountains.
Instead, I have become enamored of quaint English villages with thatch-covered cottages and stately manors that make up the fictional county Midsomer — a charming, rural area that is subject to gruesome, diabolical murders.
Yes, I’ve become addicted to Britbox and Acorn on my smart TV.
“Midsomer Murders” was my first English detective series, and I was hooked.
I followed this series up with “Father Brown,” about the local priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in the fictional Cotswold village of Kembleford who has a talent for solving crime.
He always finds the culprit but also tries to save a soul.
Then I found “Shetland,” based on a book by Ann Cleeves and set on the Scottish islands of Shetland.
I was enthralled by the barren beauty of the landscape and the ocean in the series, and Doug Henshaw as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez captured my heart.
At first I had a difficult time understanding the strong dialect, but after a couple of episodes, I had no problem keeping up with the plot.
Another series of books by Ann Cleeves gave birth to “Vera,” an excellent crime series set in Northumbria with award-winning Brenda Blethyn cast as DCI Vera Stanhope, a frumpy disheveled but brilliant police investigator.
Since these mysteries, I have found one right after another, and, thankfully, there seems to be a endless supply of good English dramas.
I have enjoyed the locations of these dramas as much as the plots.
When the pandemic is over, I’ll come back to reality, but for now I’ll happily roam the British isles looking to solve the next crime.