Masterpiece Mystery

Sir Ken and I have a lot in common

So it turns out that Ken Branagh -- or Sir Kenneth, as he's now known -- has something in common with me.

In most areas, we're far apart. He's mastered Shakespeare plays; I don't understand them. He's been knighted; I've seen "Camelot."

What we have in common, however, is illustrated by an exceptionally inept serving tray that it took me months to make in shop class. This remains on exhibit at the family cottage -- which my grandfather built, shortly after building his family home. The building-stuff trait bypassed me entirely.

Old Inspector Morse: He's younger (and less cranky) now

"Masterpiece Mystery" starts its summer spurt this weekend on a strong note.

Sunday (July 1) brings "Endeavour," a terrific prequel to all those old "Inspector Morse" mysteries. Then are four straight "Inspector Lewis" films. The first (July 8) is excellent, the second is so-so, the third is quite good. I haven't seen the fourth yet.

For now, however, let's savor "Endeavour," and be glad that more early-Morse filmsare being made. Here's the story I sent to papers:

"Zen" and the art of mystery maintenance

A new "Masterpiece Mystery" character is arriving, bringing mixed blessings. The "Zen" stories are mixed -- excellent on July 17, impenetrable a week later -- but the settings and characters are terrific. Here's the story I sent to papers.


For most of its three decades,”Mystery”
was geographically limited.

Englishmen kept killing each other.
More English folks (with occasional exceptions) caught them.

The best show on Sunday(s)

For two straight Sundays, it will be easy to name the best show on TV. These are in the "Wallander" series -- richly crafted movies starring Kenneth Branagh as a Swedish detective.

Those run Oct. 3 and 10 in most areas, Oct. 10 and 17 in Lansing. Here's a story I sent to papers:



Imagine you're Kenneth Branagh and
you've conquered almost everything.