Tuesday, January 17, 2023

First “Magpie,” Now “Moonflower”

At the same time as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) closes a deal to show last year’s acclaimed PBS-TV Masterpiece mini-series, Magpie Murders—based on Anthony Horowitz’s best-selling mystery novel of that same name—to audiences across Great Britain, the two networks have also announced they’ll be co-producing an adaptation of Magpie’s 2020 sequel, Moonflower Murders.

A PBS press release quotes Horowitz as saying, “I can’t wait to get started on the scripts of Moonflower Murders. We had a fantastic response to Magpie and, speaking personally, it was a joy bringing Susan Ryeland and Atticus Pünd to life on the screen. There are lots of surprises in the second book, including something I’ve never done before in a murder mystery. It’s going to be great fun.”

Horowitz previously wrote the screenplay for the six-part Magpie TV presentation. Actress Lesley Manville it set to return in Moonflower as editor/sleuth Susan Ryeland, while Timothy McMullan has signed on to reprise his role as famous literary detective Atticus Pünd.

You may recall, I had my doubts about Manville portraying Susan Ryeland, since she is quite a bit older than the character Horowitz described in print. However, she did a splendid job of it, and I expect she’ll be able to recapture the self-doubting depths of that character again in the sequel. (It should be noted that Manville has already had some experience with Moonflower: She read the book for the award-nominated Penguin Random House Audio version.) McMullan, who replaced Timothy Spall (The King’s Speech, Mr. Turner) as half-Greek, half-German detective Pünd, seemed made for that part, too, coming off as restrained but not lacking in self-confidence. I didn’t enjoy the book Moonflower Murders quite as much as I did its predecessor, but there’s every chance I shall think better of the small-screen translation, with Horowitz taking the helm.

The filming of Moonflower Murders should begin later this year.

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