Why Do I Love to Watch Detectives, But Not Read Them?

While I share a lot of things about myself on this blog through posts, this you probably don’t know about me. I enjoy watching detectives. Especially English detectives. There is something alluring about finding out along with the characters what is really going on. And sometimes you can’t quite tell until the end who did it. I have a few that I rewatch every few months.

And yes I do have a preference towards the English ones. Mostly because they do have more time to set things up. Often one case takes an hour and a half. In England they are often shown as two episodes but here, in the Netherlands and Belgium, they often get shown in one go. American detectives often are one episode. Things move to quickly and I sometimes feel that they missed a step.

Untitled So why, if I love to watch detectives so much, does the genre of crime, mystery and thriller do nothing for me?

Three reasons. Predictability, characters and mood.

One things that is often a problem for me throughout reading these kind of books that often things are too obvioius. From those I have read I can most of the time guess who it is going to be once I hit the halfway point. The foreshadowing of things is too obvious or the motives towards other suspects just too flimsy. By then I lose interest in the plot.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that I don’t often care for the characters. I need to be able to care about the characters. If they show things of the characters private life, away from a case or the big mystery, I need to care about them. For me the characters are often flat or unlikeable. If I can’t form a bond with them it is hard for me to like a book, especially considering the earlier mentioned reason.

The third reason is mood. For me this genre really needs to set a mood throughout the entire book. I like a bit of eerie or creepy feel as the story moves forward. Unfortunately this doesn’t often happen. This has to do with the first reason I gave. Once there is no mystery it’s hard to retain the mood. But also sometimes this genre gets too technical with coroners. While the proces is interesting, sometimes there is too much detail and it takes away from the mood that the book was trying to set up.

So those were my reasons as to why I hesitate to pick up this genre in book form. Are there genres you love in other formats but hardly ever pick up in book form? And do you have any recommendations for me with this genre? I already have the J.D. Robb books on my list.

To end this post I would like to mention my favorite detectives for you.

Midsomer Murders

The detective that I really got into first. One of the things I love about this series are the interactions between the characters and that it is set on the countryside. I grew up in an area with a lot of small villages, and an awful lot of gossip. So that is a very familiar part to me.


This detective is a spin-off from Morse. Morse is an older detective that was a bit before my time. Lewis was his DS. Now however Lewis is the senior agent, and gets stuck with Hathaway as his DS. The interactions between those two men is so much love. The snark but also the bond they start to form is just great to see. This is currently one of my favorite detectives. Too bad it has come to an end. Hear me weep.

Silent Witness
This detective focuses on coroners. While the first few seasons didn’t do that much for me, one the main character cast gets expanded from one to three, it considerably goes up in quality. Again, the characters are what make this series for me. I am interested in seeing what happens to them. This does take a more scientific evidence based approach than the two above, but it doesn’t go into too much detail. There has been some cast changes in the last few changes, but that hasn’t bothered me yet.

Did you think I was going to forget this? It is still a detective. And again my love for this series has to do with the characters and their interactions. The amount of snark this series has, makes me a very happy fan.

10 thoughts on “Why Do I Love to Watch Detectives, But Not Read Them?

  1. I don’t watch a lot of detective shows although I do like to occasionally. They’re not usually procedural type or CSI type mysteries though- I tend to like the earlier 20th century, country house or cozy variety for whatever reason. So I probably don’t have any good recommendations… as for genre I guess I do watch some sci fi shows that I wouldn’t necessarily read in book form. I mean I like sci fi and fantasy but some things just work better as shows, you know?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, I understand what you mean. I watch more sci-fi shows than I actually read them as well. 🙂 Having lengthy arcs for characters and situations just work better in shows.


  2. I love crime fiction and crime dramas and silent witness has always been a favourite. I know what you mean and many can be predictable but when you get a good one – they are so enjoyable!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I Love to watch and read them. I love the British, but the Scandanavian are also pretty good. If you still want to give this genre a chance I recommend Robert Galbraith (pseudoniem J.K. Rowling) or Karin Slaughter .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some Scandanavian are also interesting to watch yeah, but I don’t get around to watching those as much.
      I tried Karin Slaughter earlier this year, but I don’t think she will be for me. But I have one more by her to read that I own at the moment. I do have the Gailbraith books on my radar, but I have yet to purchase. All those fantasy books get in the way, haha.


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