The Murdoch Mysteries remain one of my favorite feel-good shows - the characters are awesome, the murders always interesting, and the science is fun. I've read critiques that some people object to Murdoch (and even more so, Julia) being so progressive, but wasn't this the age of suffragettes (New Zealand granted women the vote in 1893) and other social upheavals in the wake of the rapid changes in society and technology? In my season 1-3 DVD box there were also the 3 original tv movies with Peter Outerbridge as Murdoch - those are very different (much darker and therefore probably more historically accurate, but with much less humour), and I was interested to see if they were closer to the original books.
Having read the first Murdoch mystery now, I can say that they are - although they are much more graphic. However, while unsurprisingly Yannick Bisson's Murdoch remains my favorite, I was somewhat disappointed that book!Murdoch is actually the one I like least. Not that I actively dislike him. He just remains... bland, as are most of the other characters. Actually, my favorite character was probably Joe, the stable boy, and we only got one scene from his POV. And there is almost no hint of the scientific curiosity and open-mindedness I love about Murdoch (despite him taking his Catholicism much less seriously than either one of the screen!Murdochs).
So this is a lot of words about a book that had a solid mystery at its center but somehow remained colorless, despite the historical detail. I guess I'm ranting a bit because it simply surprised me that I was so disappointed - normally, books are better (or at least different but equal) to their screen adaptations, because they allow for more insights into the characters and give more background and character/relationship development.
I think I'll listen to the second Murdoch novel, maybe he'll grow on me, but so far, for probably the first time ever I'm really glad the adaptations diverge so much from the original.