Inspector Lewis: Falling Darkness on Masterpiece Mystery PBS – A Recap & Review

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Falling Darkness, the final episode of Series III of Inspector Lewis aired tonight on Masterpiece Mystery concluding with a powerful story of personal connections to cast regular Dr. Laura Hobson (Clare Holman). There is a theme of dark family secrets haunting many of the characters, motivating some to the ultimate revenge – murder. Rupert Graves (a Room with a View & Sherlock) guest stars as Laura’s former college housemate Alec Pickman whose randy and dissipated past might be a prime motive for murder.

It is All-Hallows-Eve in Oxford and the fog adds an eerie atmosphere to a festive night filled with costumes, jack-o-lanterns and a bizarre death. Police pathologist Dr. Laura Hobson is on her way to a reunion dinner with two of her former college housemates when she is called to a murder scene and stunned to discover that the victim, Ligeia Willard (Louise Hunt), is the same friend she was planning Continue reading “Inspector Lewis: Falling Darkness on Masterpiece Mystery PBS – A Recap & Review”

Inspector Lewis: Your Sudden Death Question on Masterpiece Mystery PBS – A Recap & Review

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The fascinating and fatal world of quiz challenges is explored in Your Sudden Death Question, the fourth episode of Inspector Lewis Series III airing tomorrow night on Masterpiece Mystery PBS. Six teams of quizaholics have assembled for the weekend at an Oxford College to compete for cash and the honor of facing that final do or die question, unfortunately, none of them ever expected to die in the process. An ensemble cast guest staring Alan Davies as the smooth quizmaster Marcus Richards and Nicholas Farrell as manipulative Professor Charles Milner challenge DI Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whatley) and DS James Hathaway (Laurence Fox) to outsmart the contestants whose brainpower is no trivial matter when it comes to murder.

RL: What do you think of quizzes?

JH: Terminally pointless. Right up there with slugs and black pudding. Continue reading “Inspector Lewis: Your Sudden Death Question on Masterpiece Mystery PBS – A Recap & Review”

Inspector Lewis: Dark Matter on Masterpiece Mystery PBS – A Recap & Review

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Stars, planets and murder are investigated in Dark Matter, a new Inspector Lewis episode on Masterpiece Mystery tonight. This is the third installment of Series III and much lighter in tone than last week’s The Dead of Winter.

When a body is found at the university observatory, DI Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whatley) and DS James Hathaway’s (Laurence Fox) inquiry has the prime suspects all pointing the finger at each other. Could it be the revengeful wife, the astrophysics professor with a past, or a doctor supposedly having an affair with the victim? Robert Hardy (Sir John Middleton in Sense and Sensibility) and Sophie Ward guest star in this new episode where the mysterious elements of the dark matter of the universe have also permeated into a group of academics, staff and students. Here is the PBS synopisis: Continue reading “Inspector Lewis: Dark Matter on Masterpiece Mystery PBS – A Recap & Review”

Inspector Lewis: The Dead of Winter on Masterpiece Mystery PBS – A Recap & Review

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Inspector Lewis continues tonight on Masterpiece Mystery with another new episode of the popular detective series based in Oxford where the death toll since its predecessor Inspector Morse hit the airwaves in 1987 must place this small college town as the epicenter of “malice aforethought” in England. The Dead of Winter involves sad connections to the past, lost treasure and sordid family secrets — all prime motives for murder. This new (to the US) episode guest stars an array of former Austen movie adaptation actors that many Janeites will recognize and reveals some personal insight into the past of Inspector Lewis’ (Kevin Whatley) dishy young Sergeant James Hathaway (Laurence Fox). It is a complete turn-around in comedic tone to last week’s Counter Culture Blues take on Lewis in a psychedelic rock and roll haze. Here is the PBS synopsis: Continue reading “Inspector Lewis: The Dead of Winter on Masterpiece Mystery PBS – A Recap & Review”

Inspector Lewis: Counter Culture Blues on Masterpiece Mystery PBS – A Recap & Review

Image from Inspector Lewis: Counter Culture Blues © 2010 MASTERPIECE

Series III of Inspector Lewis on Masterpiece Mystery begins on Sunday, August 29th with Counter Culture Blues. Duct tapped in rock and roll excess, deception, greed, and of course murder, Lewis and Hathaway investigate the death of a young boy that is somehow linked to the late 1960’s rock and roll band Midnight Addiction. Joanna Lumley guest stars as the lead singer presumed to have committed suicide thirty-five years ago but reappears to reform the band for one last hurrah, before they are too old, too drugged out, or dead. Here is the PBS synopsis: Continue reading “Inspector Lewis: Counter Culture Blues on Masterpiece Mystery PBS – A Recap & Review”

Inspector Lewis: The Quality of Mercy on Masterpiece Mystery PBS – A Recap & Review

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Masterpiece Mystery will air another encore episode of Inspector Lewis from season II, The Quality of Mercy on Sunday, August 15th. The new season begins on August 29th with Counter Culture Blues guest starring Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous), a great British comedian who has yet to disappoint. Her recent performance in Miss Marple: The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side was hilarious.

This week’s episode is immersed in Shakespearean literary references as a group of Oxford students produce The Merchant of Venice, containing some of the Bard’s most memorable lines:  “If you prick us do we not bleed”, “But love is blind, and lovers cannot see.”,  and “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath…”, which the story draws its title from. As with most Inspector Lewis scripts there is usually one major plot line and two minor ones interlaced. In this instance themes and characters in the play parallel real life involving DI Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whatley) and his partner DS James Hathaway (Laurence Fox) in a double murder motivated by ambition, deceit and revenge. Continue reading “Inspector Lewis: The Quality of Mercy on Masterpiece Mystery PBS – A Recap & Review”

Inspector Lewis: Allegory of Love on Masterpiece Mystery PBS – A Recap & Review

Image from Inspector Lewis: Allegory of Love © 2010 MASTERPIECE

My favorite detective series Inspector Lewis begins again on Masterpiece Mystery this Sunday, August 8th with the encore presentation from Series II of Allegory of Love. Why do I love this series so much? Let me count the ways.

  1. It’s smart: Yes. I’m an intellectual snob.
  2. It’s wise: Laced with literary references, it makes me Google till I drop.
  3. It’s witty: The acerbic dialogue between DI Lewis & DS Hathaway is priceless.
  4. Its locations: I am a hopeless Anglophile, giddy over Oxford’s dreaming spires.
  5. Its fashion: I  positively dote on professors in bow ties and tweed run amok.
  6. Its guest stars: The challenge to place a face is as intriguing as the actual mystery.
  7. It’s sexy: It’s always about the sex, or lack of it in Hathaways’s case.
  8. Its quality: Great scripts, great directing and great stars. Can’t beat it.

Allegory of Love is a season II encore to get us in the mood for the season III premiere, Counter Culture Blues on August 29th. The story is tight and terse and tragic. In an interesting reversal, all of the major players in this mystery appear together in the first scene. We just don’t know how they will all fit in yet. Continue reading “Inspector Lewis: Allegory of Love on Masterpiece Mystery PBS – A Recap & Review”

Masterpiece Mystery PBS 2010 Season Preview

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The game is afoot as crime season begins again on Masterpiece Mystery on PBS this Sunday, May 2nd. The 2010 line-up offers the best in British mysteries presenting a great selection of super sleuths to feed any whodunit addict’s desire for murder and mayhem. Returning in new episodes will be Michael Kitchen in Foyle’s War, Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple, David Suchet as Hercule Poroit, Kevin Whatley as Inspector Lewis and Kenneth Branagh in Wallander. Joining these five master detectives will be the new series Sherlock, a modern day spin on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s popular Sherlock Holmes staring Benedict Cumberbatch as the enigmatic detective. Airing on Sundays at 9:00 pm the series will also feature actor Alan Cumming who returns as host adding more quirky commentary to set the mood. Here is a preview of the summer – fall season. Continue reading “Masterpiece Mystery PBS 2010 Season Preview”

My Christmas Loot

So, I intimated that I had been a good girl this year and Santa listened. Even though the Pride and Prejudice Film Location tour did not materialize, books and DVD’s did, which I am happy to share. Not bragging here, just looking forward to many hours of reading and viewing enjoyment. 

And in this corner weighing in at a hefty 7 pounds and 484 pages is … the ultimate English country home eye candy coffee table book, The English Country House: From the Archives of Country Life, by Mary Miers. Not only are the photographs of some of the most beautiful homes ever created absolutely stunning, the text is as equally rewarding offering detailed descriptions and historical anecdotes. Squee! My meager description can not even begin to give this book the justice it deserves. I implore all Anglophiles and architectural geeks to seek this one out and peruse in awe. 

Publisher’s description: The English Country House takes a look at the architecture and interiors of sixty-two stunning houses in a range of architectural styles spanning seven centuries—from the medieval Stokesay Castle to the newly built, Lutyens-inspired Corfe Farm—brought to life through the world-renowned photography library of Country Life. More than four hundred color and black and white illustrations provide an insight into the architecture, decoration, gardens, and landscape settings of these houses, which are set into their architectural and historical context by the accompanying text and extended captions. Rizzoli, ISBN: 978-0847830572 

In November my co-blogger Vic (Ms. Place) at Jane Austen Today wrote an excellent post on French botanical artist Pierre Joseph Redoute (1759-1840) at her blog Jane Austen’s World. It reminded me how much I cherish this artist. Having studied botanical illustration and landscape design in an earlier life, I have long been enchanted by Monsieur Redoute’s floral illustrations and decided I needed a good reference book of his artwork. The Roses by Pierre Joseph Redoute (2000) by Tachen is the ultimate indulgence. A milestone in the history of illustration, this book is a complete reprint of the famous Les Roses, created around 1817 by Redoute, the master French flower painter and includes 195 full color reproductions of the original pen, ink and watercolor illustrations.  

Publisher’s description: Art teacher to French royalty including Queen Marie Antoinette and both of Napoleon’s wives, Pierre-Joseph Redoute had come from an artistic family in the Ardennes and, prior to discovering flower portraits, specialized in religious frescoes. It was during a visit to the Netherlands that he came across the work of Van Huysum. So entranced was he by the Dutch floral paintings that, despite working for his brother painting theatre sets during a lean period in his life, he managed to find time to paint small floral water-colours which soon attracted the attention of leading botanists of the time. Inspired by Empress Josephine’s garden at Malmaison Chateau in Paris, he collaborated with botanist Claude-Antoine Thory to produce “Les Roses“, originally intended as a scientific work but which soon became, due to Redoute’s illustrations, a collectors item which captured the public’s imagination with its beauty. Printed in sections between 1817 and 1824 it soon sold out and unfortunately the actual paintings were destroyed in a fire in the Library of the Louvre. However, the prints have been reproduced time and time again to perpetuate their beauty and inspire future generations. This concise edition, with close-ups of many of the prints, is prettily presented in a boxed set which includes 12 notelets of Redoute’s paintings making it the perfect gift for any rose lover. Tachen, ISBN: 978-3822866290 

When I read my dear friend Julie at Austenonly’s beaming book review of Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England, I knew that I must read Amanda Vickery’s new tome on Regency social culture even though it has an unbecoming cover! Ahem. 

Publisher’s description: In this brilliant new work, Amanda Vickery unlocks the homes of Georgian England to examine the lives of the people who lived there. Writing with her customary wit and verve, she introduces us to men and women from all walks of life: gentlewoman Anne Dormer in her stately Oxfordshire mansion, bachelor clerk and future novelist Anthony Trollope in his dreary London lodgings, genteel spinsters keeping up appearances in two rooms with yellow wallpaper, servants with only a locking box to call their own.  

Vickery makes ingenious use of upholsterer’s ledgers, burglary trials, and other unusual sources to reveal the roles of house and home in economic survival, social success, and political representation during the long eighteenth century. Through the spread of formal visiting, the proliferation of affordable ornamental furnishings, the commercial celebration of feminine artistry at home, and the currency of the language of taste, even modest homes turned into arenas of social campaign and exhibition. Yale University Press, ISBN: 978-0300154535 

Besides my consuming passion for author Jane Austen – I do have a few other guilty pleasures, namely British television and films, and especially detective mysteries. The Morse scion Lewis, or Inspector Lewis as it is called on Masterpiece Mystery in the US, is my recent favorite. Just released on DVD this last summer is Lewis: The Collection: Series 1, 2 & 3.  The irresistible combination of down-to-earth seasoned Detective Inspector Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whatley) and his acerbic, cerebrally smug side-kick Detective Sergeant James Hathaway (Laurence Fox) sleuthing out intriguing murder mysteries set in the idyllic surroundings of Oxford and its University campus is enough to send this Anglophile into a deep swoon. This 13 disc collection contains every full unedited episode broadcast on ITV in the UK so far and runs a whopping 1,114 minutes. You will need a region 2 DVD player for this edition, but honestly, what true Brit – comedy – drama – mystery freak does not have one? ITV DVD, ASIN: B002DH909K 

Wishing you all equally enjoyable reading and viewing in the New Year.


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