With all the uncertainty brought by the proposed opening of schools and the continued COVID-19 situation, escaping for a while to another time and place can be way to deal with stress. England during World War II and the subsequent years of rebuilding are themes of another difficult time in our history. All the major cities in Southern England took direct hits from Germany’s Blitzkrieg and as a result many of the males of fighting age were in the war effort in France or further abroad. To keep their country producing essential crops and war-effort production, England passed a National Service Act in late December 1941 where all men and women between the ages of 18-60 were eligible for some aspect of national service. Home Fires and Land Girls are great examples of life for women under the National Service Act and can be checked out from Abilene Public Library on DVD format. This same war effort is where the three characters in the first series Foyle’s War are shown in civilian roles in Hastings, Sussex, England.
The main characters in "Foyle’s War" are Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (played by Michael Kitchen), Foyle’s driver, Samantha "Sam" Stewart (played by Honeysuckle Weeks), and Detective Sergeant Paul Milner (Anthony Howell). Christopher Foyle wishes to work with the War Department, but is thwarted in that effort and realizes that citizens need a good detective during wartime too. As he does not drive, he is assigned a driver from the Motor Transport Corp. who is a spunky young woman eager to learn police procedure and leave her former life as a vicar’s daughter. Milner is a veteran who saw action in the Norway campaign and lost his leg at Trondheim and now is unfit for active duty, but eventually finds solace in police work.
The writer of "Foyle’s War," Anthony Horowitz, is also credited with twenty-two seasons an counting of Midsomer Murders. Horowitz pays great attention to detail and the show moves with the historical events of the Second World War. He consulted with the Imperial War museum to get the proper facts for multiple episodes and as the show progresses, his characters slide into MI5 roles in post-war Britain as intelligence gatherers. The premise of "Foyle’s War" is that while World War II is taking center stage, day-to-day life is still happening for local citizens. Foyle, Sam, and Milner face unique war-time crime regarding the black market trade, profiteering and murder. "Foyle’s War" can be found on DVD and Hoopla at your Abilene Public Library.
These days, we are often told that "we are all in this together" and "we must work together" to slow the spread of COVID-19 and eventually get back to normal. Watching these shows let us know that we are not the first to face similar challenges, and that we can move forward, hopefully alleviating anxiety and giving us a short escape from today’s issues. Drop by your library, whether online or in person, and we’ll help you find your best escape.
Article Contributed by Janet Bailey, Technical Services Manager at Main Library