Your Sudden Death Question, this week’s episode of Lewis, was written by Alan Plater, which is usually a guarantee of high quality writing, and Plater did not let us down, with an entertaining story combining two of my favourite things, a quiz and an elaborate murder mystery.
The idea was that Marcus, played by Alan Davies (yes, Jonathan Creek himself) had organised a bank holiday quiz show, taking place in an Oxford college, in which pairs of contestants played for a £5000 prize. One of those involved, Ethan Croft (Adam James) was a know-all who clearly knew something to the discredit of at least one of his rivals. Needless to say, he soon winds up dead in the college fountain. Soon one of the women to whom he’d taken a shine is murdered as well.
Lewis and Hathaway investigate with their customary determination and unravel a host of connections between the quiz players. This was a very good example of the classic ‘closed circle’ of suspects, in the Agatha Christie style, in a story which updates the whodunit traditions, while remaining pretty true to them in all essentials. You either love this sort of thing, or loathe it, and I must say I love it. I especially liked the grumpy old men played by Timothy West and Nicholas Farrell.
I enjoyed the episode all the more because I didn’t figure out the solution, and because there were so many nice touches in the dialogue. I also liked the development of the relationship between Lewis (Kevin Whately) and the pathologist (Claire Holman.) Hathaway (Laurence Fox), who managed to have his guitar nicked when he attended a music festival, was as agreeably quirky as ever. Great stuff.