Monday, May 12, 2014

Classic and Cozy TV by Cozy Mystery Writer Jayne Ormerod

Trivia question:  What TV show premiered December 16, 1972 and featured a not-so-young mystery-writing sleuth?  If you said Murder, She Wrote, you would be off by almost a dozen years. (Jessica Fletcher made her screen debut September 30, 1984.)    
Guess again…
The Nancy Drew Mysteries?  Right decade (1977) but Nancy was a teenager--and not a writer.
Give up?
The answer is The Snoop Sisters, staring Helen Hayes as Ernesta Snoop and Mildred Natwick as Gwyndolyn (aka “Gee”) Snoop Nicholson.  The two team up as mystery writers--Ernesta dictates while Gee takes dictation and offers praise where praise is due.  When not writing, the two help their detective nephew solve murders.
Oh, the charming part is they do so dressed in 1930s haute couture.  It’s so charming. Set against the backdrop of hip and happening New York, they never go sleuthing without a fur stole, fancy hat and gloves--or even a muff! And they always have a pocket book dangling from their elbow. They have a chauffeur who carries them through the streets of New York in a 1930s Lincoln Touring Car, but sometimes they drive the car themselves as if they were the only people on the streets. Lots of horn-honking ensues.   
It’s not a big surprise if you haven’t heard of it, as its run on NBC was limited to 1 movie and 4 episodes, but what clever and funny episodes they were!
While I was too young to remember the original run (I was alive, but had much more sophisticated tastes, like Gilligan’s Island or Bewitched.)  But my father talked about The Snoop Sisters show for 35 years.  He got such a kick out of the two elderly ladies who had healthy doses of murder-solving smarts and were clever and witty to boot. Yes, Dad was a big Murder, She Wrote fan, too, but got his fill of JB Fletcher thanks to reruns.  It seems The Snoop Sisters were destined for obscurity, until the DVDs were released recently.
I received my DVDs last week and gave myself a Mother’s Day treat by curling up on the sofa and seeing what had charmed my father all those years ago.  It turns out Ernesta and Gee were women after my own heart.  Consider this bit of dialogue after a long day of mystery writing…

Gee:  “Shall we go on?”
Ernesta: “No, that’s enough for tonight."
Gee:  "Shall we have a little tipple then?”

I write alone, so I never have conversations like that, I but do enjoy a post-writing tipple myself!
Here’s another bit of witty banter…

                Gee: “That’s so like Alexander.  He so likes to play with words.”
                Ernesto: “And often loses.”

             If for some reason you find yourself with a block of time on your hands (perhaps like my friend Sue who is laid up with a multi-broken ankle!  Or maybe it's just a yucky rainy day...) and you're tired of reading and want something light and funny and well—for lack of a better word—"cozy" to watch, I encourage you to spend an afternoon with The Snoop Sisters. It's a time-warp within a time-warp, and great fun!



  1. I guessed Jessica Fletcher, too -- thanks for reminder of the Snoop sisters - I'm with your dad on that.

  2. Excellent! I've never heard of this show! Now I've got something new to look for. (And btw, I ALWAYS talk to myself). :)

  3. What fun! Helen Hayes is classic. I would imagine Murder She Wrote was inspired by the Snoop Sisters. There is nothing like the original!

  4. Love it. I didn't know about the Snoop Sisters. Now I'll look for them - and maybe have a little tipple.

  5. I love the old mysteries. I found them on the internet.. I will have to watch them.

  6. Thanks for all the comments! I think anyone who is a fan of Murder She Wrote will recognize the Snoop Sisters as a precurser. I only wish there were more episodes. It was part of the NBC Sunday Mystery rotation for 1 year, along with Banacheck and a few other long-forgotten shows!

  7. I loved this show. :) If I remember correctly, the relationship with the nephew had a little ARSENIC AND OLD LACE kind of vibe to it. It was a while back. I'd love to see it again.

  8. Many of those 'long forgotten shows' are rebroadcast on cable channels - and I watch them much more often than I watch anything new. The writing and the plots are so much better - vastly superior style and content, IMO. Thank you for the reminder, Jayne.

  9. That show sounds a lot of fun. In Australia the Miss Fisher mysteries are very popular on TV. Set in Melbourne in the 1920's and based on the Kerry Greenwood books, Miss Phryne Fisher is as classy as they come.

  10. I remember this series! My mother was a huge fan. Thanks for the fond memory. <3