Pharos-Tribune

Columns

September 24, 2013

VILLAGE IDIOT: Murder, she keeps writing

I read and watch a lot of detective stories, and the type I really enjoy are place-centered. The ones where the crimesolver’s hometown is as much a part of the story as the crime that starts the story rolling. New York, Chicago, L.A. and San Francisco have more than their fair share of detectives. So does London, and for some reason, rural England. The butler rarely does it, but mystery readers seem to really love any crime that takes place in one of the “stately homes of England.”

But now, for every mystery story that takes place in a big city, there seems to be one that takes place in a small town. The king of that, on television at least, was “Murder, She Wrote,” which was set in the fictional town of Cabot Cove, Maine. During the show’s 12-year run, 274 people were murdered in a town of roughly 3,500. According to the London Daily Mail, “This gives it an annual murder rate of 1,490 per million — more than 50 percent higher than Honduras,” the current murder capital of the world.

As a successful mystery writer, the show’s heroine, Jessica Fletcher, would travel for business and pleasure, dead bodies piling up behind her wherever she went. If she signed a book for you, there was a pretty good chance that you would die before you ever got a chance to read it. It’s a surprise that no one turned “Murder, She Wrote” into one of those ultra-violent video games. Instead of shooting people, though, in this game you would simply walk Jessica Fletcher through a small town and people would start falling over dead as she passed. If she ever bothered to turn around, she’d see a trail of dead bodies.

Craig Johnson writes a series of very entertaining mysteries featuring no-nonsense, good-hearted Sheriff Walt Longmire, which has been turned into a TV series called, as you might expect, “Longmire.” All the action takes place in fictional Absaroka County, Wyo. — another tiny, out-of-the-way place with more elk than people — but the carnage is equal to any gang-riddled city. Writing on the website Grantland.com, Ben Lindbergh reports that in Sheridan County, the actual sparsely populated Wyoming county where the author lives, there have only been five murders in 12 years. In the TV series, there have been 27 murders in 22 episodes spanning a few months’ time. If that were really true, Wyoming would have to change its slogan from “Like No Place on Earth” to “Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • WILLIAMS: America still the dream Is America really in as bad as shape like many people say it is? I’m 67 and when I look around, I don’t see it.Everything isn’t great but believe it or not, there has never been a time when everything was great, not even in those innocent Fifties we

    July 31, 2014

  • WERNER: The mystery of the Indian grave at Dykeman Last summer I contacted Thelma Conrad, executive director of the Cass County Historical Society, to ask her if she had any information on the Indian grave at Dykeman Park. Thelma had heard of it but had never seen the small marker that tells of the I

    July 31, 2014

  • RAMPBELL: Keeping the sick at home Something strange happened here this week: Lots of workers who’ve never done so before got the right to call in sick. And that’s a good thing.The Big Apple, you see, is joining a handful of other trailblazing cities such as Washington, San Francisco

    July 30, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Patacsil was no ordinary Joe Somebody forgot to tell Joe Patacsil that if he wanted to wrestle at a Big Ten university with black and gold as its school colors ... well, most people who know anything about college wrestling today might have said he picked the wrong one -- Purdue

    July 30, 2014

  • MARCUS: The higher education funding mess Public higher education financing is unsustainable as currently configured. This conclusion was reached by two important groups over the past two years. The National Association of State Budget Officers and the State Higher Education Executive Office

    July 29, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: The state of the reunion “Katy! It’s been so long! How’ve you been?”My God, she’s gained so much weight I didn’t recognize her. It’s a good thing we’re all wearing nametags. I thought it was some distant cousin past due with triplets.“Bob! Long time, no see.”No hair, either.

    July 29, 2014

  • COATS: What to do next with Putin, Ukraine The tragic death of 298 people on board Malaysian Airlines flight 17 in a wheat field in eastern Ukraine marks a moment when words of disapproval and expressions of grief are not enough. This is a moment when action must follow the outrage and rhetor

    July 28, 2014

  • LYONS: The most powerful men in the world? Search the phrase “the most powerful man in the world” and what comes up are photos of grotesquely over-developed weightlifters; also Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. Awfully ironic under present circumstances. It’s a cant term TV news anchors use to

    July 28, 2014

  • CEPEDA: What are students to eat now Remember last year’s hysteria over school lunches? Administrators, cafeteria workers, students and parents across the country freaked out when — gasp! — school lunches were made healthier.News reports throughout the 2012-13 school year — when lunch s

    July 27, 2014

  • HOWEY: Rising up to meet Putin’s thuggery Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads

    July 27, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the U.S. impose a travel ban on three West African nations in response to a growing Ebola virus outbreak?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.