Search - List of Books by Colin Watson
Colin Watson (1920-1983) was a British writer of detective fiction and the creator of characters such as Inspector Purbright and Lucilla Teatime. He is most famous for the twelve Flaxborough novels, typified by their comic and dry wit and set in a fictional small town in England which is closely based on Boston, Lincolnshire. He worked as a journalist in Lincolnshire and the characters in his books are said to be highly recognisable caricatures of people he encountered in his work.
Total Books: 88
The central character, Inspector Walter Purbright, is perhaps not the most intellectually dazzling detective in fiction. He does, though, provide an unusually solid core of decency and civilisation around which more fanciful and sometimes whimsical events can be strung. His understanding of the case in hand emerges from a process of polite, measured enquiry. Purbright's decency is at the heart of Watson's thesis: that civilised life depends on basic tolerance, decency and the honesty of its guardians. His commitment to total impartiality, his refusal to be deflected by special interests and social position and his scrupulous refusal to cut procedural corners all go to make up a quintessentially English hero.
Four of the Flaxborough novels were adapted for television by the BBC under the series title Murder Most English. The adaptation successfully reflected key elements of the books: the gentle behind-the-times feel of a small English market town, the merciless targeting of the pretensions of the town's bourgeoisie, and his determination that whatever exotic trappings are used to decorate the plot, the central crime is always motivated by money. Anton Rodgers starred as Purbright with Christopher Timothy as Detective Sergeant Love. Colin Watson produced the ninth Flaxborough novel, One Man's Meat, to coincide with the series.