Mark Gatiss Joins Lesley Manville & Conleth Hill in 'Moonflower Murders'

Lesley Manville as Susan Ryeland reading the new Alan Conway novel in 'Moonflower Murders'

Lesley Manville as Susan Ryeland reading the new Alan Conway novel in 'Moonflower Murders'

Eleventh Hour Films/Masterpiece

While the actors' and writers' strikes here in the States have caused TV schedules to be delayed and, in some places, outright scrapped, those of us who are fans of British TV and PBS have been far more fortunate. As we noted at the time of the strikes, neither the Writers Guild of Great Britain nor Actor's Equity was legally able to sympathy strike along with their American counterparts due to Tory mandates. Also, public television contracts with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA are separate from the ones negotiated with the commercial American Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). That means filming for most of our British favorites continued, like the sequel to Magpie Murders, Moonflower Murders.

Magpie Murders was Masterpiece's biggest surprise hit of 2022. Based on the mystery novel written by Anthony Horowitz, best known for the long-running fan-favorite Midsomer Murders and hits like Foyle's War, it seemed like an unlikely candidate for TV. The book is not just a whodunit but a meditation on why readers love the format of mysteries in the first place. It contemplates why reading detective novels is so satisfying, and why, over a hundred years after Agatha Christie published The Mysterious Affair at Styles, we still love these "cozy crime" stories. It does that by presenting a novel within a novel where the author is murdered, and the ending of the novel inside the novel may hold the key to who killed him.

However, the series managed to brilliantly solve this problem by having Horowitz, who is a master of TV detective writing, adapt his own work. He created a show within a show to dramatize his novel-within-a-novel, the result of which was an extraordinary piece of television for which he received an Edgar Award. Now, the series is back with a sequel, based upon his follow-up novel, Moonflower Murders, which has just wrapped filming in Dublin and Crete.

Lesley Manville as Susan Ryeland and Timothy McMullan as Atticus Pünd are on the road again in 'Moonflower Murders'

Lesley Manville as Susan Ryeland and Timothy McMullan as Atticus Pünd in 'Moonflower Murders'

Eleventh Hour Films/Masterpiece

Moreover, along with the returning cast of A-listers that made the first season such a delight, Season 2 had signed on a new batch of major players to portray a new set of suspects, who will also double up, portraying their character counterparts within a new novel.

Mark Gatiss as Parris/Berlin is nattily dressed in 'Moonflower Murders'

Mark Gatiss as Parris/Berlin in 'Moonflower Murders'

Eleventh Hour Films/Masterpiece

Here's the synopsis for the Magpie Murders sequel:

Moonflower Murders is the second novel in Horowitz’s Susan Ryeland series, and once again uses the story within a story format. Published in 2020, it was lauded as “a richly plotted, head-spinning novel” by the New York Times and picks up where Magpie Murders left off.

Susan has left publishing and is living in Crete with her long-time boyfriend, Andreas. But her idyll is disturbed by the shadow of a murder committed at a British country hotel eight years ago. Alan Conway visited the hotel and wrote a novel based on what happened there. Cecily Treherne, the young woman who helps run the hotel, read the book and believed the wrong man had been arrested. Now she has disappeared. Can Susan uncover the secret hidden in the book and find Cecily before it is too late?

Daniel Mays as Locke/Chubb, Pippa Bennett-Warner as Madeline, and Tim McMullan as Atticus Pünd are all looking for the guy who did this in 'Moonflower Murders'

Daniel Mays as Locke/Chubb, Pippa Bennett-Warner as Madeline, and Tim McMullan as Atticus Pünd in 'Moonflower Murders'

Eleventh Hour Films/Masterpiece

Moonflower Murders will see Lesley Manville (The Crown) return to the lead roles she originated in Magpie Murders as book editor turned sleuth Susan Ryeland. She'll be joined once more by Timothy McMullan (Patrick Melrose) as famous literary detective Atticus Pünd. Also returning for the Magpie Murders sequel in addition to Manville and McMullan are Alexandros Logothetis (Midnight Skin) as Andreas, Daniel Mays (Your Christmas or Mine) as Locke/Chubb, Claire Rushbrook (Wilderness) as Kate, Conleth Hill (Holding) as Alan Conway, Matthew Beard (Funny Woman) as James, and Sanjeev Kohli (Stonehouse) as Sajid Khan.

New cast members for the second adventure include Mark Gatiss (Nolly) as Parris/Berlin, Rosalie Craig (Anatomy of A Scandal) as Lisa/Melissa, Pippa Bennett-Warner (Gangs of London) as Madeline, and Adrian Rawlins (Slow Horses) as Lawrence/Lance.

Rosalie Craig as Lisa/Melissa hugs herself in 'Moonflower Murders'

Rosalie Craig as Lisa/Melissa in 'Moonflower Murders'

Eleventh Hour Films/Masterpiece

The six-part series was written by Horowitz, who once again adapted it from his own novel. All episodes were directed by Rebecca Gatward (Bad Sisters). The series was produced by Suzanne McAuley, who also produced Magpie Murders, and executive produced by Jill Green for Eleventh Hour Films. Moonflower Murders is a co-production of Eleventh Hour Films for Masterpiece and BBC in association with Salt Films. It is distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Television and PBS Distribution in North America. None of the production partners were struck companies in the WGA or SAG strikes. 

Moonflower Murders will air on most PBS stations in the U.S. and on BBC One in the U.K. No release date has been set as yet, but with most of the spring 2024 schedule complete, it's a solid bet that it will probably follow its predecessor and debut as part of the Masterpiece Fall 2024 lineup.

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Magpie Murders

A mystery author dies and a search for a missing chapter in his new book leads to murder.
Magpie Murders: show-poster2x3


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice:

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