Giving Midsummer a run for its money as the (fictitious) murder capital of the world, it’s time to journey back to Saint Marie for eight more lighthearted mysteries for The Honoré police force to solve. Ardal O’Hanlon completes his second full series as DI Jack Mooney on BBC One’s Death In Paradise, and it is as charming as ever.
The winning formula remains unchanged: we’re introduced to a new group of people (with a few familiar faces guest starring on a working holiday) on the picturesque (and fictitious) Saint Marie island. The victim is bumped off in a suitable murder mystery fashion, and on the surface, nobody in the group could have committed the crime. Secrets tumble out as the detectives interview the suspects one by one, then (usually around the 45-minute mark), Mooney’s little grey cells are sparked by an innocuous comment, and they work out who did it. Naturally, it’s only legally binding if the killer is unmasked in front of an audience of all the other suspects.
The eighth run of Robert Thorogood’s comfy jumper of a murder mystery sticks to the formula but adds in a (for this show) shocking two-parter that sees the life of one of the team hang in the balance. Without spoiling too much, the storyline does see the exit of another longstanding cast member, but it’s not quite as you might think. On that note, Death In Paradise has changed up its cast a lot since it debuted in 2011, Danny John Jules’ Dwayne was nowhere to be seen here, and yet the core of the show remains unchanged. That’s not to be dismissive of the former cast members; it’s a testament to a formula that works and why the BBC recently renewed the show for two more seasons.
I love a good murder mystery; I grew up watching Poirot, Clue, Murder By Death, and countless others, and it’s a genre that remains my go-to on rainy days. Death In Paradise might be a guilty pleasure to some, but a light-hearted murder mystery that attracts 9 million viewers a week is just the antidote to these frequently chaotic times.
Death In Paradise Series 8 is out now on DVD.