Anthony Horowitz's best-selling novel Magpie Murders has been given the TV treatment, with all six episodes now available to stream on BritBox UK.


The cast boasts a number of familiar faces, including Lesley Manville (The Crown season 5, Mum, Phantom Thread), who plays Susan Ryeland, the editor of a publishing house who sets out to investigate the death of Alan Conway (Game of Thrones' Conleth Hill), one of the authors on her books.

He was writing a murder mystery novel titled Magpie Murders, which is missing a final chapter. If Susan can get her hands on that, she'll uncover the truth about what really happened to him.

Magpie Murders

Speaking to and other press at a Q&A, Manville discussed what appealed to her about her character: "What was really nice about getting to grips with her is that she's an unconventional woman – she has chosen a life of independence; she's chosen to be quite out there with the way she presents herself; she's not conforming to anything stereotypical about a woman of her age; she's got a really good job; she's very bright, but she's also really interested in her car and her clothes.

"She doesn't want to get married; she's got this Greek lover who's great, but she doesn't want to live with him all the time. She hasn't got children. She's sort of taken an unconventional route and I liked that."

Manville also revealed that she looked to journalist Emily Maitlis for inspiration when constructing Susan: "I saw her once at the BBC. I was waiting in reception and she was kind of running across the foyer doing things, and she looked fantastic.

"She had an amazing outfit on. It was like 10 o'clock in the morning and she had high heels on, the lot, and I just thought, 'Yeah, that's really interesting,' because I think you can form images of what you think somebody in that position should be dressing like, and you can think about Susan and be like she's a publisher, and maybe she could be a bit plain. And I just thought, 'No, come on. Let's go a little bit Emily with her.'

"So it's those aspects, it's that mixture of style, and her brilliant mind. Emily has got that. And so I thought, 'Yeah, I'll pinch that little bit of her and turn it into Susan.'"

Magpie Murders Lesley Manville
Eleventh Hour Films

Manville praised Horowitz's writing, but went on to say that she was unsure about how the story, which employs a book within a book format, straddling both a contemporary and period setting, would translate to the screen: "All I could think after I'd read the book was, 'How the hell is he going to... marry these two worlds successfully?'

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"I was also hungry to do something like this, to do something in this vein. I haven't really led anything like a murder mystery before and I thought the whole package was very alluring."

Magpie Murders is available to stream now on BritBox. If you’re looking for something else to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide and keep up to date with all of the latest news over at our Drama hub.


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