(Written by Deb, Moorhead Public Library Associate)
You probably already know this, but in case you don’t – PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery is kicking off a new season on June 16th with new episodes of ‘Inspector Lewis!’ As far as I’m concerned, Masterpiece Mystery is one of the few good things about summer since I no longer get to enjoy the temporal freedom of summer vacation. As an added bonus, the mysteries often take place in a gloomy-skied England making it easier to ignore the hot, humid stickiness of summer here in the Fargo-Moorhead area. So, in honor of this occasion I thought I’d draw attention to my favorite ‘Inspector Lewis’ mystery (which we just happen to have in our collection).
Inspector Lewis: And the Moonbeams Kiss the Sea (Series 2 Disc 1)
If you’re unfamiliar with the ‘Inspector Lewis’ series, here’s a brief description: Inspector Lewis and his sidekick, Detective Sergeant Hathaway solve murder mysteries in Oxford, England. The mysteries often revolve around intrigue on the campus of Oxford University. As a fan of most things library-related and with a background in English Lit, ‘And the Moonbeams Kiss the Sea’ is a favorite because a body is found in the basement of Oxford’s Bodleian Library AND the solution to the mystery revolves around Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley (the title of the episode comes from Percy Shelley’s poem, ‘Love’s Philosophy’). Or at least it kind of does.
Beyond these simplistic reasons for liking the episode (which I acknowledge might not be enough for everyone), the situations in this episode are an excellent stage to explore some philosophical questions: What is art? In the creative process, what happens if one can imagine anything but lacks the skill to create it? Or, on the other hand, has the skill to make anything but lacks the spark of creativity to imagine something new? What is fair game in the pursuit of art? Are lies in the pursuit of art more noble that lies in the pursuit of money? Is admiring art as important as creating it, or are critics doomed to always feel like less? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Seriously, I love the balance of snobby intellectualism and working class pragmatism presented in these mysteries. If you haven’t checked them out yet, open a new tab and go to our catalog to put a hold on it. Or should I say catalogue?
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever,
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle;–
Why not I with thine?
See! the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower would be forgiven,
If it disdained it’s brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;–
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?