Monday, 21 May 2012

Lewis: The Soul of Genius

The Soul of Genius, with a screenplay by Rachel Bennette, was the first instalment of the new series of Lewis, shown last week. By a happy coincidence, it was screened just before I set off for a week-end in Oxford, and very enjoyable it was too.

Writing for Lewis must, I suspect, be both easy and difficult at the same time. Easy because the basic infrastructure – the characters and setting – are so strong and appealing. Difficult because it is so hard to avoid the trap of formula. I thought Rachel Bennette – not a writer I’m familiar with – rose to the challenge superbly. It’s one of the best crime screenplays I’ve watched for a long time.

I say this even though she used two plot elements – one of them to do with “The Hunting of the Snark”, the other a particular kind of club – that I’ve played around with myself in the past, without doing anything much with them. I felt she used them very cleverly. I feared she was going to come up with the familiar ploy of having the killer turn out to be someone the cop fancied. But her solution was neat and unexpected. Very good.

As for Oxford in real life, it was as enchanting as ever. Among the highlights was a trip to the revamped and deeply impressive Ashmolean Museum. The younger Edwardses are both due to face exams shortly. But the exams, however difficult they may prove to be, are a small price to pay for living such a privileged existence for three years. And thankfully there aren't so many murders there in real life as there are in fiction. 

(By the way, Blogger still isn't letting me upload photos - is anyone else suffering similarly?)


Puzzle Doctor said...

I really enjoyed this too. It took me a while to realise the point of the Snark plot not really going anywhere - I think that was my fault for being a bit slow - but it was a great couple of hours of television. Of course, being an ex-Oxford person, there's the added joy of watching people walk through doorways and materialising halfway across the city to liven it up too.

I've received a few odd glances on my blog for my comments on Lewis but I do feel that it has grown beyond its founder. Morse at its best was probably better than Lewis at its best, but Morse at its self-indulgent worst was much worse than a bad episode of Lewis.

Looking forward to the next three.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Puzzle Doctor, I was similarly bamboozled. I agree on the comparison with Morse.

Alistair Macfarlane said...

Hi Martin..... been awhile.
I knew this guy but had no idea he had written any books.
I knew he was well known for a Canadian TV show called The Beachcombers.