The Jess Lomas Book Club: Crooked House

*A weekly feature in which literary connoisseur Jess Lomas examines the upcoming book-to-film adaptations worth keeping an eye on!*

Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick. That’s the extent of my knowledge of all things mysterious and crime solving, but for those who love a good whodunit, the news of a new adaptation of one of Agatha Christie’s most loved novels, Crooked House, is sure to delight.

The Independent has reported Neil LaBute will direct the forthcoming adaptation by Oscar winning screenwriter Julian Fellows. Fellows is known for rich period pieces such as Vanity Fair, Gosford Park, The Young Victoria and the hit miniseries Downton Abbey. It was said that the success of Downton Abbey has prompted Fellows to reinvigorate the dated Agatha Christie for a new generation.

LaBute has had a serial run of stinkers from Nurse Betty, The Wicker Man and Lakeview Terrace to the awful and unnecessary American remake of the British comedy Death at a Funeral. Despite this, those that know Christie’s and LaBute’s styles intimately are saying this is a match made in heaven, or close to. Fellows commented that “I love the period, I love Agatha Christie and I love the idea of reinventing it. It will be exciting to work with a really vivid, contemporary director – he’s one of the originals around at the moment.”

Crooked House is set in London in the autumn of 1947. Charles Hayward, the narrator of the story, must find the killer of his fiancée’s grandfather before she will marry him. The cause of death is poisoning by eye medication … yeah, a real nasty case. As the investigation begins, the spotlight is cast on several family members who would all financially gain from the grandfather’s death. But as with all Agatha Christie tales – apparently; I’ve never read one myself! – the real killer is far from whom seems most likely and their reasoning is cruel and dark, which should make things slightly more interesting.

The idea of an Agatha Christie film that isn’t playing on the ABC on a Friday night is actually quite intriguing, and with Fellows’ recent series Downton Abbey as a reference to what we can expect as far as his period style, despite having never read a word she wrote, consider me excited about Crooked House!

There is however, no current production dates set as Fellows finishes the second series of Downton Abbey before beginning on this famous mystery, so you have plenty of time to reserve your copy at the local library, head down to your local bookstore or raid your grandmother’s bookshelf!

Discuss: What are your thoughts on an adaptation of Crooked House?

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