Since I’m telling you about this very good half hour show on the Cozy Mystery site, I better “warn you” that it’s not a mystery. However, it is written by one of the best mystery writers of our time: Simon Brett. (That’s right, the same Simon Brett whose 1987 Charles Paris mystery – What Bloody Man Is That? is on the Crime Writers’ Association – Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time list!)
A lot of you are already familiar with one (or more) of Simon Brett’s mystery series: Fethering Mystery Series, Charles Paris Mystery Series, Mrs. Pargeter Mystery Series, or his Blotto and Twinks Mystery Series – not to mention his stand alone books.
My husband and I started watching After Henry (a British half hour sitcom with a lot of heart) not knowing Simon Brett had written a book by that title (After Henry), nor did we know that he wrote all the episodes in this terrrific four season TV series.
After Henry stars the fantastic Prunella Scales (Miss Mapp in the Mapp & Lucia television series and Sybil Fawlty, long-suffering wife from Fawlty Towers) as Sarah. Sarah, a widow, lives in a multi-floor house with her mother (phenomenally played by Joan Sanderson) and her young adult daughter (more terrific acting by Janine Wood). The “catch” is that they all live on their own floor – in their own apartments, but Sarah is barely ever alone! Unfortunately Sarah is sandwiched between the top floor’s daughter and her mother in the bottom floor. This all leaves Sarah with more of a caretaker’s duties – dutily taking care of her mother as well as pampering her daughter.
The chemistry between the three women is really touching – as well as humorous. Sarah works in a small, cozy bookstore that specializes in rare books. Russell, her boss (played perfectly by Jonathan Newth) often finds himself listening to Sarah’s family problems, and lending her advice on how to deal with the frustrations she has to endure. Sarah’s mother often visits the bookshop, so Russell sees first-hand what Sarah is up against! The rapport between Russell and Sarah’s mother is terrific. Russell sort of plays along – while knowing what the situation really is… which is a lot different than Sarah’s mother sees it.
After Henry aired from 1988 to 1992 and is set during that time frame. All three characters have their own well-furnished apartment/floor and as I mentioned before, the bookshop is very Cozy. This “sitcom” harkens back to that time >>> I find myself telling my husband that some of Sarah’s outfits look like those I wore while teaching school. (That’s really beside the point!)
I strongly recommend After Henry. It’s not a mystery but it sure is good!
P.S. My husband and I are watching this series on Acorn TV.
For more Cozy viewing ideas, click on my Cozy Mystery TV & Movies page.