Astrid Nielsen and Raphaëlle Coste return to our screens for another season of lightweight crime capers in the Parisian streets.
If you want to avoid all spoilers, stop reading now.
If you saw the first season, you’ll know exactly what to expect – but for the uninitiated amongst you, Astrid (played fabulously by Sara Mortensen) lives with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. She is uncomfortable in most social situations and struggles with communication at times – she rarely makes eye-contact, for example. But she does have extraordinary memory recall and has a finely tuned awareness of her surroundings. She works in the local police records bureau and partners with police detective Raphaëlle Coste (Lola Dewaere) in fighting some of France’s more unusual and bizarre crimes.
Season 2 kicks off in fine Agatha Christie style (one of the characters even references ‘Murder On The Orient Express’) with the murder of a top corporate lawyer in a high-rise building. He’s in a meeting room with various colleagues when a bird – a starling – shatters the window and falls to its death on the floor of the boardroom. Immediately afterwards, a shot rings out killing the lawyer dead. Initial thoughts that the shot came from a neighbouring building are dismissed when Astrid and Raphaëlle arrive; and soon it becomes clear that sleight of hand is at play, and that the bird’s death was simply a misdirection to enable the murderer – who was in the room and not in a nearby building – to kill his prey.
Investigations lead to a number of suspects, including an escort who was friends with the victim, and a once-famous television magician, who Raphaëlle idolized in her youth. Links are also made to a renowned art thief – known as the Starling – who would leave images of the bird at venues where the thefts took place. Is there a connection between the dead bird and this art thief, or is the starling connection nothing more than a coincidence?
The conclusion to the opening episode has more holes in it than a colander, but it’s more about the journey than the denouement itself. Perhaps future episodes will have a more satisfying finale.
We’re very much in the ‘Death In Paradise’ and ‘Midsomer Murders’ stomping ground here; this is very frothy – but entertaining – television that won’t shock or upset you, but will keep you occupied with an engaging storyline of whodunnit and – perhaps more accurately – howdunnit.
Each episode is a stand-alone tale, so you can dip in as the mood takes you. There is a backstory surrounding Astrid’s younger years, but to be frank, it more about each individual mystery than anything more deep and profound about her condition.
If you want an hour of escapism with two engaging leading female stars, and a compelling puzzle to solve, you could do a lot worse than tuning in to Astrid.
‘Astrid: Murder in Paris’ Season 2 launches 31st March on More4 at 9pm. The full box set is available on Walter Presents via All4 immediately after transmission.