Stylish Television: Magpie Murders

Have to say that I am super excited that the dramatisation of one of my fave ever books, Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, has finally reached BBC One after what seems like an age on Britbox. This superb murder mystery is a dream to read, a book within a book that is almost a homage to Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot, but is also modern, and, at times, irreverent of the very genre it so wonderfully represents. I’m pretty sure that the Detection Club of the Golden age of Crime fiction would’ve been appalled at the anagram at the heart of the story, but Agatha herself would definitely have raised a rye smile.

leAs a book, Magpie Murders is, in my eyes, perfect in every way, and on viewing the first episode this week, I don’t think the TV adaptation is going to disappoint either. For a start, it contains a brilliant role for an older female actress in publisher Susan Ryland, the woman thrust into the art of the mystery after she is delivered a book with no final chapter. Susan is a brilliant role, a strong independent woman, highly respected, in a relationship most definitely on her own terms with a very sexy Greek teacher. She is reliant on nothing and no-one, and Lesley Manville plays her brilliantly. I had slight reservations when my dad said he thought she was too old to play Susan, who he imagined to be in her mid forties, but I can’t agree, she brings just the right amount of sass and gravitas to the role that could be missing in a younger actress.  

And then lets talk about the styling. Susan’s wardrobe is impeccable, and I am certainly not the only one to think this way, as there is already a site dedicated to sourcing some of the incredible outfits she wears. (Check out From chintzy tea style dresses, to silk robes, from wearing a Grace Kelly style headscarf, possibly a nod to the 1950’s sections of the adaptation, to those gorgeous, fluffy knits, Susan is one well dressed woman, an absolute role model to a woman 40+ who wants to be stylish rather than fashionable.

The style is also wonderful for those with a love of the 1950’s. The book within a book is set in the 1950’s, and so we have some beautiful period fashion, with impeccable twinsets, gorgeous veiled hats, and brooches – a particular passion of mine as I seem to be on some sort of crusade to bring back the brooch.

You can currently find all episodes of Magpie Murders on BBC On Demand.


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