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Intriguing British television series available at library

SALISBURY — I love PBS and I particularly love the variety of BBC and other British DVDs available at the Rowan Public Library. I’ve spent the last nine years perusing the collection, and as much as I love “Downton Abbey” and Jane Austen, British mysteries are my continual favorites. There’s a mystery to suit every mood, from the light and amusing to the dark and dangerous.
Old favorites readily come to mind: Inspector Morse, a senior CID (Criminal Investigation Department) officer with the fictional Oxford City Police force is not to be missed and there are still a few videos of this old favorite available at the library for viewing. If like me, you no longer own a VCR, don’t despair. The “Inspector Morse” series continues in two new guises, “Endeavour” and “Inspector Lewis.” “Endeavour” is the first name of Colin Dexter’s immortalized detective and this newer show introduces the viewer to a young Detective Constable Endeavour Morse. The young constable is exceedingly bright and equally arrogant while totally oblivious of the effect his demeanor has on others. Although prior viewing of the original “Inspector Morse” adds to the experience, “Endeavour” is totally effective on its own accord. “Inspector Lewis” reintroduces Morse’s former detective sergeant, Robbie Lewis, now promoted and with his own sidekick, a charmingly brilliant and arrogant Cambridge-educated sergeant. The duo’s chemistry is excellent and I find these mysteries as complex as the original “Inspector Morse.”
Another retake of an old favorite (however, don’t miss “The Legendary Sherlock Holmes”) is “Sherlock,” a series that brings Holmes and Watson back together in modern day London. Witty and fast-paced, the actors’ timing is impeccable and the stories compelling.
Additionally, I never tire of “Oliver’s Travels.” Starring Alan Bates as a recently terminated humanities professor, the cold case mystery he becomes enmeshed in involves humor, intellect, wit, a search for Aristotle and unexpected romance. Other series that provide a lighter side to the usual murder include “Hetty Wainthropp Investigates,” “Rosemary and Thyme,” Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple, Lord Peter Wimsey, “Campion,” “The Last Detective,” “A Touch of Frost,” “The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency” and “Midsomer Murders.” The original “Midsomer” cast provides great entertainment; however, the new DCI John Barnaby introduced in Set 21 brings interesting changes I thoroughly enjoy.
For comedy-drama with a twist, “Vexed” is worth a look. Compared by some reviewers to Leslie Nielson’s “Naked Gun,” this detective duo delivers a British version of the somewhat absurd and irreverent. “New Tricks,” one of the most-watched shows on British TV, brings a fun crew of retired cops and some traditional and not so traditional sleuthing. It is not to be missed.
For World War II connections, look no further than “Foyle’s War” and “The Bletchley Circle.” Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle deals with crime on the home front and the intricacy of criminals taking advantage during and shortly after the war. “The Bletchley Circle,” set in the early 1950s, follows four women who were code breakers during WWII and now lead civilian lives. One of them starts following a police case and turns to her former friends to crack the case using their skills.
Going to the darker side of detective mysteries, look for “Inspector Lynley Mysteries,” “Heat of the Sun,” “Touching Evil,” “Second Sight,” Ruth Rendall mysteries, Adam Dalgliesh mysteries, “Cracker,” “Rebus,” “Prime Suspect” and “Wallender.” For political intrigue, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and “State of Play” are joined by the futuristic “The Last Enemy.” This five-part series convincingly explores political cover-ups and biological warfare with a different twist.

Summer movie series — Headquarters, Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday, “Aquamarine” (PG); Aug. 13, “Argo” (R); Aug. 20, “The Deep End of the Ocean” (PG-13).
East branch, Mondays, 4 p.m.; Monday, “Aquamarine” (PG); Aug. 12, “James and the Giant Peach,” (PG).
South Regional, Wednesdays, 2 p.m.; Wednesday, “Aquamarine” (PG); Aug. 14, “James and the Giant Peach,” (PG).
Movies are free and all ages are welcome. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Anyone under the age of 16 will need to be with an adult to attend “Argo.” Free popcorn and lemonade.
Computer classes: Gone Phishing: How to Avid Getting Scammed — Aug. 19, 7 p.m., South; Aug. 20, 1 p.m., East (registration required, call 704-216-7841); Aug. 22, 9:30 a.m., Headquarters. Classes are free. Sessions are about 90 minutes. Class size is limited and on a first come, first serve basis. Dates and times are subject to change without notice.
Book Bites Club: South (only), Aug. 27, 6:30 p.m., “The Deep End of the Ocean” by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-8229.
Displays for August: headquarters, anime by Robert Clyde Allen; South, lunchboxes with ‘50s and ‘60s memorabilia; East, photo display by Bonnie Cagle.
Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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