So this is slightly off topic from books, however I believe that the exploration of fan bases, adaptations of crime books and the crime genre on screen is extremely important in understanding the literary genre in the context of the modern world, so here goes.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is a murder mystery television show based on a series of novels written by Kerry Greenwood and is broadcasted primarily by the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) but can be viewed around the world. It features a titled young woman from the 20s who packs a pistol, keeps a string of lovers and chooses to be unmarried an untied to men who just so happens to enjoy the thrill of uncovering the truth with the help of her loyal friend, DI Robinson, and her faithful household. She is in one word, radical. All the things she does are frowned upon or illegal and yet she keeps doing them. Such a modern female character has inevitably achieved a loyal following across the globe both from the novels she features in and the TV show.
I have carefully been following these fan bases over this holiday season and have been amazed. First of all, these fan bases are filled with teenagers to pensioners and this variety of audience enthralled me. I find it amazing how by making history more approachable by incorporating more modern values but also keeping impeccable historical detail not only are the young endeared to the past but the older citizens of the planet are connected to a newer age. I was overjoyed by seeing a common love of storytelling unite a global group of people in this way. Secondly, what struck me as different about these fan bases is that generally when a book(s) is adapted, it leaves many, many disgruntled people claiming that the spirit of the novel was lost. However, the only major complaint I could find was that the leading lady, Essie Davis, was about a decade older than the original heroine. Although, many of the books’ fans agreed she played the role very true to the way they saw the character in their mind. This may have been because Kerry Greenwood edited many of the episodes’ scripts herself and that the amount of resources available was massive as each episode averaged a budget of 1 million Australian Dollars. And yet, this reconciliation of the original novels and the screen was quite shocking to me. But it also opened my eyes that in a world that is growing back from an economic crisis, such energy can be spent on making sure that different styles of narrative are of the same high quality as each other. Lastly, I never knew Facebook could hold such a treasure chest of insightful comments. On the show’s official page, there are many episodal discussions and among the many comments of how great the show is, there are also very detailed and thoughtful analysis pieces. Some fans take such care to see every detail and every side of the story. I loved seeing such a modern and often superficial website used to make insightful comments and revelations over a global community that would otherwise have a lot more trouble communicating. This showed me that in the modern world, it is so much easier to communicate interesting ideas and that any service that allows for this exchanging of intellectual information should be used.
Overall, I loved that people are building a community around a relatively new way of exploring narrative. The Miss Fisher TV show and +books encompassed many of the same big themes that other books I’ve read in the genre encompassed, such as feminism, love, flashbacks, etc. And yet, in the case of the show, a single gesture which only a very keen eye could see, like a slight caress of the hand with a barely moving thumb, could reveal what would otherwise have taken a lot more explanation in novel form. Television is so knew compared to traditional oral or literary narrative so I was so interested to compare and contrast the two.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries‘ facebook page can be found here