Saturday, January 30, 2016

Guest Post: David Roberts

Aline here. Today I'm delighted to introduce David Roberts, seen here in Iran recently in typically adventurous pose. David is the author of a very stylish series set in the 1920s, that most stylish of all eras, with his detective Lord Edward Corinth – and if ever there was a name that cried out to feature in a TV series, this surely is it.

What’s in a name?

Apple, Brooklyn, Cruz, Harper, Romeo – wherefore art thou Romeo? What’s in a name? A lot! First who would call their detective, let alone their child, Apple, Romeo or even Cruz? Harper? Yes, possibly – see Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series.

But Tommy and Tuppence? Never! And yet, there we are! How wrong can we be? Agatha Christie’s silly stories featuring the two gay young things have been televised not once but twice. The second time – just a few weeks ago on BBC 1 no less – featuring David Walliams as Tommy and Jessica Raine as Tuppence. Walliams has no charisma but that didn’t matter as the script was rotten, the production and direction feeble and the up-dating to the 1950s risible.

At least Jessica Raine was seen to be reading Dorothy L Sayers’s Strong Poison. Now, Harriet Vane. Lord Peter Wimsey – those are names to die for!

So why did the Tommy and Tuppence series get made? Because of the brand name, dummkopf.

I mean to say – what chance would you have if your detective was stuck in the Shetland Islands or called Vera? None at all, you would think, yet Ann Cleeves has two series on British TV at the moment.

Now, you can see I am objective, unprejudiced and without even the tang of bitterness you’d expect in a disappointed crime writer. The fact that I have penned a superb ten-novel series set in the 1930s featuring Lord Edward Corinth and Verity Browne has nothing to do with it.

Yes, the fact that Columbia Pictures bought an option for an obscene amount of money but did nothing with it is amusing but so many friends of mine have been in comparable situations, it is hardly worth mentioning. I don’t complain. I whinge instead – not an attractive habit.

The solution is simple. To correct a foolish mistake on the part of our parents, a mass christening will be held next Tuesday and we’ll all be given the names we ought to have been given at the font so many years ago – Agatha Christie. Problem solved, murder avoided.

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