Sleep With Me was an intriguing choice for ITV 1’s New Year’s Eve drama production. Billed as an erotic thriller, it had a very good pedigree – adapted by the legendary Andrew Davies from a novel by Joanna Briscoe – and a good cast, headed by the reliable Adrian Lester. And it was the type of psychological suspense story that writers such as Nicci French do so well.
The basic premise is that Richard, a journalist and would-be novelist, and Lelia have a seemingly perfect relationship, but their lives are invaded by an apparently mousy (yet at the same time smouldering and intense!) French woman, Sylvie, who has literary ambitions of her own. She seduces Richard, rather improbably I thought, but her real target turns out to be Lelia. And then it emerges that she and Lelia have a shared past, which includes a tragic secret.
I found Sleep With Me to be watchable, and I didn’t regret following it to the end, even though the final plot developments didn’t seem especially credible or satisfying. A harsher view might be that it was neither erotic nor thrilling. The real problem, I think, was that the motivation of Sylvie was ambiguous, and unsatisfactorily conveyed. Maybe the ambiguity was intentional, but maybe it resulted from an uncertainty about characterisation. This impression of uncertainty meant that Sleep with Me was an okay drama, rather than attaining the levels of excellence so often associated with Andrew Davies.
So that’s my reading and viewing for 2009 done. Much more is to come in 2010 – in the meantime, my very best wishes go to all readers and writers of crime fiction for the year ahead, and especially to those who are kind enough to spare some of their time to take a look at this blog.