The latest series of Lewis came to an end with Falling Darkness, an episode written by a highly experienced screen writer, Russell Lewis. It was set at Hallowe’en, and focused on Laura Hobson (Clare Holman), the attractive pathologist whose slowly developing relationship with Lewis (Kevin Whately) has been one of the recurrent themes of the series.
The concept of encountering friends, and ghosts, from the past, is at the heart of the story. Laura is about to meet up with two friends and one-time housemates from student days when she is called to a crime scene. When she arrives, she finds that the victim is one of those friends, whose name is Ligeia. Soon another murder occurs – and the scene this time is the same student house where Laura and her friends lived twenty years ago. The second victim is a girl called Rowena.
Now, if you know your Edgar Allan Poe, you will be ahead of me here. Ligeia and Rowena are characters in one of Poe’s doom-laden stories. Reasoning this couldn’t be a coincidence, I decided there must be a Poe theme to the plot, and this neatly led me down entirely the wrong track in my attempts to figure out what on earth was going on. The red herrings that piled up included the warnings of a mysterious spiritualist, which turned out to have nothing to do with the explanation for the crimes, as far as I could tell. Shamefully, for a crime writer, I finished the episode still unclear about the motive for poor Rowena’s murder.
Throw in a mysterious disease which this time was relevant to the story (I’d never heard of it before, but according to a quick internet search, actually it affects only a small number of families worldwide) and you might think I found this was an unsatisfactory episode. It wouldn’t have worked as a novel, yet somehow – thanks mainly to a string of terrific performances by a high calibre cast – it made good Sunday evening TV viewing. I’ve enjoyed this series, and I’ll miss it. But I’m sure Lewis will be back, and I hope Laura will be, too.