Friday, 29 April 2011

Lewis: The Mind Has Mountains – review

Lewis is one of the few television shows that I watch quite often – although as from Sunday evening, I shall be adding Vera to the list. However, I have got behind with the current series and only now am I catching up. So far, the better of the two episodes that I've seen has been The Mind Has Mountains, a title taken from a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

The setup was very good – a psychiatrist conducting a trial of experimental drugs on a group of vulnerable people. One of the guinea pigs, a beautiful young woman, is found dead in a college quad only one morning, and needless to say, it turns out that she was murdered. Alongside the investigation runs a rather tepid subplot involving the attractive forensic pathologist, whom Lewis fancies, and who is seen by Hathaway having a cosy meal with another man.

The murder mystery was a good one, with suspicion moving nicely from one character to another. The key figure was the psychiatrist, and Douglas Henshall put in a very strong performance as an apparently unpleasant egotist who turns out in the end to have another side to his personality. Lucy Liemann was also notable in her role as his sidekick.

As ever with Lewis, the story was strengthened by the setting of Oxford at its loveliest. A reminder, as if one were needed, of the importance of setting in television shows as well as in novels. And it's also true that a particular setting influences the type of story, as does the nature of a particular detective character. For instance, at the moment, I'm thinking about ideas for a new Lake District mystery, and inevitably, they are shaped to quite an extent by the Cumbrian background, as well as by my wish to create a mystery that "suits" Hannah Scarlett.


Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Thanks for this review. This series (Vera, too, for the matter of that) isn't easily available where I live. I always have to wait for the DVDs. Ah, well, worth the wait.

Martin Edwards said...

Indeed. I gather the Vera DVD will be available in about three weeks from now, Margot.

Dorte H said...

We may also have to choose the DVD option, but let´s see. We didn´t have to wait for too long for the first episodes of Lewis so perhaps...

And a new Hannah Scarlett - another treat to look forward to.