Yes today is my blog’s first year anniversary (can’t believe the year has gone so quickly), so wherever you are treat yourself to a piece of cake!
I actually put off starting a blog, mainly because I didn’t think I would have anything to say! And even when I did start one I didn’t think it would get that much notice, apart from my family members who all loyally signed up to follow it. So suffice to say I was wrong on both counts. Thanks to everyone who has read and/or commented on my blog.
I thought this post would be a good place to mention a couple of things which are going to be happening soon on and off my blog. First thing is that hopefully in the coming weeks a new type of post will be appearing on my blog. Won’t say any more for now as it is still in the planning stages but I hope you all enjoy it when it finally appears. Secondly, in September I shall hopefully be leading an 11 week course for the WEA (Worker’s Education Association) on Northern Crime Fiction, which I am very excited about.
To finish off my anniversary post I thought I would finish with a quick Top 10 List (in no particular order) of crime novels which I think are deserving of a TV or film adaptation (which haven’t had one already):
- The Moving Toyshop (1946) by Edmund Crispin
Although the ending of this book has been lifted by Hitchcock for his adaptation of Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train (1950), the novel in its entirety has not been adapted and I think it is a shame overall that none of Crispin’s novels have been adapted, as I think they have a lot going for them: a maverick protagonist, oodles of comedy and plot lines which would work well on screen.
2.The Wooden Overcoat (1951) by Pamela Branch
Again I think Branch’s work has a lot of humorous potential for a film adaptation and fits well within existing TV drama, as this book in particular kind of has a similar plot type to the recent (well recentish) drama The Wrong Mans.
3. Case for Three Detective (1936) by Leo Bruce
I think my main reason for wanting this to be adapted is simply because of my interest in who they would cast to take on the parts of Father Brown, Lord Peter Wimsey and Hercule Poirot.
4. The Dinner by (2009) Herman Koch
In contrast to The Moving Toyshop, the interest in adapting this book would be that the majority of its action takes place in a restaurant between four parents who are trying to face what their offspring have done. But what would make this adaptation is the psychological intensity of the story and if done right could become a brilliant film (in my opinion anyways).
5. The Norfolk Mystery (2013) by Ian Sansom
The comic strength of the central three characters was a key reason for me including this book and series really in my list. It has a blend of tropes familiar to Golden Age detective fiction fans, but it also has enough new and unusual aspects to ensure it doesn’t feel like something we’ve seen already. The time period of the setting (the 1930s) also makes it an interesting series to adapt as Sansom touches on the wider issues and one of the protagonists has come back disillusioned, from fighting in the Spanish Civil War.
6. Death of Anton (1936) by Alan Melville
This is my favourite out of the three Alan Melville novels I have read and I think its’ comic genius and its’ overall plot make it a worthwhile book to adapt. What I also liked about this book, aside from the plethora of comedy forms used, is that there is a slightly darker side to it, especially near the end of the book and I think a TV or film adaptation could harness both these aspects to make a great production.
7. Boris Akunin’s Sister Pelagia series
Akunin is a writer I am always telling people to read. His Erast Fandorin series has already had some adaptations made of it (in Russian unfortunately for me), so I decided to include his smaller Sister Pelagia series on my list instead. Sister Pelagia is a fascinating character, a reasonably young nun, who in many ways is like Miss Marple. Her approach to detective work is also enjoyable to read about and I think it would also transfer well to the screen. I also think perhaps that an adaptation might be able to make more of her past, as the stories only hint at her life before she became a nun.
8. Death of a Fellow Traveller (1950) by Delano Ames
Out of the four novels by Ames I have read, I picked this one as I felt it had one of the best plots and it’s use of setting would also work well in an adaptation. Whilst She shall have Murder (1948) is an interesting read I think in terms of setting and locale it would not work so well in an adaptation. Though of course one would hope that if the BBC for instance did adapt it, it won’t go the way of Tommy and Tuppence.
9. The Case of the Constant Suicides (1941) by John Dickson Carr
It has often been said that Carr’s plots do not lend themselves to being adapted due to their complexity. However, I think The Case of the Constant Suicides would be an exception to this rule and its Scottish setting is appealing. Moreover, the comedy of manners style in the novel (mostly centring on Kathryn and Dr Colin Campbell) would also work well in an adaptation.
10. Hans Olav Lahlum’s K2 Series
Another series with solid engaging central characters. The setting and time period of the series e.g. 1960s/70s Norway would fit into current trends for Scandinavian TV dramas, whilst the nods to Golden Age detective fiction (primarily through the character of Patricia) would draw in fans of that genre also. The mysteries themselves are also gripping and the darker side of human nature is also revealed, with German occupation of Norway during WW2 causing long shadows into the present of the novels.
Over to You
Aside from telling me what type of cake you’re eating, let me know what crime novels you think are deserving of a TV or film adaptation.