Saturday, 28 April 2012

Castle Mania

One of my favourite witty, warm and clever, always-puts-a-smile-on-my-face, go-to programmes is the recent American TV series Castle (shown here in the UK on Alibi and Channel 5).  As soon as I tell you (if you don’t already know!) that it’s about a novelist working with the police to solve quirky crimes, you’ll spot the connection to my other beloved go-to programme, Murder, She Wrote.  And you’d be right – the similarity in theme is why I first tuned in, but Castle is so much more – and boy am I glad I caught it on Channel 5 repeats and then found the latest seasons on Alibi, otherwise I would’ve missed out on a fab show.

The rather yummy Richard Castle (he really is ruggedly handsome – watch the 2nd / 3rd season credits and you’ll get the reference!), crime novelist extraordinaire, sets his sights on NYPD Homicide Detective Kate Beckett as the muse for his next novel-series character, Nikki Heat – and they begin to work together, though Beckett isn’t too keen to start with; Castle is a kind of civilian consultant in the first season, rising to Beckett’s definite partner and confidante now we’re in the fourth.  There’s plenty of spark, wit and banter between them – they’re both great, admirable characters with quirks and flaws, and they both develop throughout the seasons.  The ensemble cast and characters are also spot-on, warmly and realistically peopling the world that’s being created.

The writing and production of the show is top-notch too – the stories are cleverly plotted, pacy and surprising, so that even a seasoned crime-drama-puzzle-solver such as I often can’t work out whodunnit!; and the wardrobes, look and atmosphere is real yet glossy-enough to aspire to (I sooo want Castle’s apartment...and I’m not even a city-flat kind of girl!).  Plus, as playboy as Castle can be, he also has a strong and loving anchor in his family – almost every episode ends with him at home with his mother and daughter (just as Murder, She Wrote invariably ends with Jessica Fletcher smiling), giving a family- orientated, decent and warm conclusion to each story (okay, okay, so it’s a kind of happy-ever-after ending, but what can I say?  I’m a sucker for happiness at the end of trials and tribulations...and if I want depressing gritty realism, I’ll watch Eastenders!  Clearly, I don’t...)

Anyhoo, what I also wanted to share with you is that, in keeping with the reality of the programme’s world, TV tie-in novels have been released...written by none other than Mr Richard Castle himself (okay, okay, so it’s a ghostwriter and I know Castle’s not really real, but don’t rain on my parade, eh?!).  The first one is Heat Wave, followed by Naked Heat, and they too are fab: well-written (though I admit the second book is sharper, slicker and works better as a stand-alone story for a non-Castle watching reader); with the characters of Jameson Rook and Nikki Heat close enough to Richard Castle and Kate Beckett yet far enough away to be both recognisable and yet characters in their own right.  I personally love the in-joke of staging the books as if Castle himself has written them, including his own dedications and acknowledgements pages...and I think that if you love the show too, you’ll enjoy this tongue-in-cheek homage.  The third novel, Heat Rises, has been released in mass paperback in the States this week and... it was the 20th anniversary of my mother’s death a few days ago, it is, without saying, a difficult time for me at the moment – so I am cheering myself up with my wonderful world of Castle and ordering Heat Rises right now...

...and until it arrives, I’ll be watching marathons of the million episodes I’ve got saved on Sky+ !  (Don’t ask me why but the UK seems to be sooo slow in getting the seasons on DVD – Season 2 is just out and, come next payday, it will be mine!).  When Heat Rises does drop through my letterbox, I’ll be reading it in one gulp, don’t you worry!

“Every writer needs inspiration, and I found mine.”

PS.  I love the actual buildings called castles too – there’s something about spiralling staircases, towering turrets and relics of the past that sparks my imagination.  For my 30th birthday, one of my best friends surprised me with a trip to Warwick Castle, which is medieval-themed with real-live actors playing the parts...  It was a fab day (despite the torrential rain...), and we even got to watch some jousting...  See, I really am a castle maniac!


  1. Ooh I've not seen this or even heard of it, but you're going to have to let me borrow to see/read for myself! If I may, of course! Thanks for the fab comment, in fact I really did make it with you in mind! Ha ha, but couldn't keep it because I wanted to enter it into the challenges, maybe you'll get something similar one day! TC Zo xxx

  2. Hi there Deb...I have to say I've never heard of Castle, ever...but Murder She Wrote that I have heard of, loVed it for books there are soooo many to read and sooo little time, I belong to a book club and we all meet once a month... the book at present i'm finding heavy going, it evokes such emotion that i'm not sure i'll finish may of even read it Ghostheart by R J Ellory...anyways happy viewing of your re-runs...found this and took an excerpt for you...

    So, either by thy picture or my love,
    Thyself away thou art present still with me;
    For thou not farther than my thoughts canst move,
    And I am still with them, and they with thee...

    Taken from Sonnet 47.......Mel :)


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