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This HBO series, created by and starring Laura Dern and Mike White, keeps going from strength to strength in its second season. Its main attraction: problem character Amy Jellicoe (Dern) who’s bent on exposing the evils of her corporate employer. Dern’s performance is a masterpiece of ambiguity, as Amy continually teeters between valiant crusader and delusional narcissist. Throw in Amy’s tricky relations with her closest co-worker (White), her ex-husband (Luke Wilson) and her mom (Dern’s real-life mother, Diane Ladd), and you have a TV saga of true novelistic richness.

Michael Upchurch,
Seattle Times arts writer

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‘White Heat’

If, like me, you miss Tony Hillerman and his mysteries steeped in Navajo culture, you might like a visit with M.J. McGrath’s sleuth Edie Kiglatuk. Edie is an Inuit hunter/guide with simple needs but a complicated family life on very remote and very cold Ellesmere Island, in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. Edie’s pursuit of a murderer — while warmed by seal-blood soup and hot tea — plays out against the fascinating background of the midnight sun, global warming’s effect on the Arctic and a traditional way of life at a crossroads. (Now in paperback from Penguin books.)

Melissa Davis, NWArts&Life editor


‘Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries’

The Brits aren’t the only ones who do stylish murder mysteries right. The first season of this blithe and snappy Australian TV series, now on DVD, introduces us to the Hon. Phryne Fisher — a gorgeous, lusty, pistol-packing, flapper sleuth (played by the très glam, tongue-in-cheek Essie Davis), who swans around 1920s Melbourne in posh togs, solving crimes for fun on a Champagne budget — and seducing a legion of handsome gents along the way.

Misha Berson, Seattle Times arts writer

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