Here are some wonderful historical detective TV shows based on novels.
Adaptations of Agatha Christie’s Novels and Stories
“Miss Marple” – The British 1980s series starred Joan Hickson in the title role and effectively mixed the elements of murder and cozy village life. 12 episodes were made over a course of 3 seasons. The programme also featured such well-known British actors as Peter Davison, Jean Simmons, Paul Eddington and Claire Bloom.
“Marple” (2004-2009) – The newer series starred Geraldine McEwan and later Julia McKenzie in the title role and had a darker, sexier tone than its predecessor, as well as sometimes changing elements of the original novels/stories. 23 episodes were made over 6 seasons with Geraldine McEwan in the first 3 seasons and Geraldine McEwan in the last 3. Other actors who appeared included Joanna Lumley, Ian Richardson, Timothy Dalton and Juliet Stevenson.
“Agatha Christie’s Poirot” (1989-2013) starred David Suchet as detective Hercule Poirot, with 70 episodes filmed over 12 seasons. Hugh Fraser starred as Captain Arthur Hastings and Philip Jackson was Inspector Japp. Other actors who appeared in the show included Samantha Bond, Christopher Eccleston, Emily Blunt, Jamie Bamber and Michael Fassbender.
“Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence – Partners in Crime” (1983-84) starred James Warwick and Francesca Annis. It effectively recreated the 1920’s light-hearted atmosphere of the books and also starred Reece Dinsdale as Albert and Arthur Cox as Inspector Marriott.
TV Adaptations of Margery Allingham’s Books
“Campion” (1989-1990) starred Peter Davison as the wealthy 1930’s detective, Albert Campion while Brian Glover was his manservant, Lugg.
TV Adaptations of Dorothy L. Sayers Books
“Lord Peter Wimsey” (1972-1975) starred Ian Carmichael in the main role along with Glyn Houston as Bunter and Mark Eden as Inspector Charles Parker. 22 episodes were made of this BBC series.
“A Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery” (aka “Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries”) (1987) starred Edward Petherbridge as Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Walter as his detective/romantic partner, Harriet Vane. 3 novels – “Strong Poison”, “Have His Carcase” and “Gaudy Night” – were adapted over 10 episodes.
TV Adaptations of Ngaio Marsh Novels
“The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries” starred Patrick Malahide in the main role which is set in the 1930s and 40s. Simon Williams appeared in the Pilot episode as Alleyn.