PBS is presenting an all-female detective lineup this Fall, and the show firmly ensconced at the center of this block of mystery programming is the highly anticipated new series Magpie Murders. Based on the 2016 novel by British author Anthony Horowitz and adapted by the same, the story is the debut of his amateur detective Susan Ryeland, who begins the series as the book editor to author Alan Conway, the mastermind behind the best-selling Atticus Pünd detective series. But when he dies after turning in the manuscript to his next novel, Ryeland discovers she has two mysteries to solve: Where the last chapter of his novel went and who it was that killed her friend.
Horowitz, who was already well-known for writing scripts for Midsomer Murders, first conceived of Ryeland and the story within a story of Magpie Murders while working on the hit show. Though the series is only currently ordered for a six-episode single season, Horowitz already has a sequel novel out, 2020's Moonflower Murders. With a stellar cast led by Lesley Manville, it is exp[ected to probably land a second order, if not more. (We are having a major Manvillaissance right now, with Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris in theaters, The Crown coming to Netflix, Sherwood a hit in the U.K., and World On Fire Season 2 filming.)
Magpie Murders debuted in the U.K. earlier this year and earned rave reviews from U.K. TV critics. However, it was noted the series changed quite a few of the novel's details to achieve the same "story within a story" conceit that makes the mystery so delightful. With high marks, the debut as part of PBS' Masterpiece lineup is expected to do well, especially considering it will have Miss Scarlet and the Duke Season 2 as a lead-in.
The first teaser for the upcoming show introduces a bevy of suspects that Ryeland will be investigating as part of Conway's murder.
Here's the series synopsis:
Book editor Susan Ryeland is given an unfinished manuscript by best-selling mystery writer Alan Conway featuring Conway's longtime main character, detective Atticus Pünd. When she attempts to attain the final chapters from Conway, she finds herself in the middle of a shocking mystery case of her own that will change her life in ways she never expected.
Manville co-stars alongside Conleth Hill (Vienna Blood) as author Alan Conway, with Timothy McMullan (Patrick Melrose) as Manville's imaginary partner in crime solving, detective Atticus Pünd. The rest of the all-star lineup of suspects includes Daniel Mays (Line of Duty), Alexandros Logothetis (The Island), Claire Rushbrook (Home Fires), Matthew Beard (Dracula), Pippa Haywood (Bridgerton), and Michael Maloney (Mr. Selfridge). Horowitz wrote all episodes based on his own work, and The Full Monty's Peter Cattaneo directed all six episodes.
Magpie Murders will debut on most PBS stations starting Sunday, Oct. 16, at 9 p.m. ET (between Miss Scarlet Season 2 at 8 p.m. and Annika at 10 p.m.) and stream as a binge on PBS Passport starting the same day. As always, check your local listings.