Thursday, May 5, 2011

Vicki Delany's "Among the Departed"

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most popular crime writers. The fifth book in her critically acclaimed Constable Molly Smith series set in the mountains of British Columbia is Among the Departed from Poisoned Pen Press.

Having taken early retirement from her job as a systems analyst in the high-pressure financial world, Delany is settling down to the rural life in bucolic, Prince Edward County, Ontario where she grows vegetables, eats tomatoes, shovels snow, and rarely wears a watch.

Here she sketches out some ideas for cast and director of an adaptation of her latest novel, Among the Departed:
This is a tough one. I get one channel on my TV (with rabbit ears) and don’t go to the movies often, so the question as never crossed my mind. I consulted far and wide for recommendations of who would be best to play my characters.

I think the Molly Smith books would work better as a TV series than as a movie. Although each book stands on its own in terms of plot (i.e. the central problem or mystery is resolved at the end of each book) characters change and grow over the course of the series. In the first book, In the Shadow of the Glacier, Molly Smith is a brand new police officer, young and green and very very eager. She makes a lot of mistakes but by book five, Among the Departed, she is more competent and more confident of her own abilities. Not only Molly grows, but the marriage of her co-protagonist, Sergeant John Winters, changes and not necessarily for the better. One of the sub-plots of Among the Departed is how Molly’s mother, Lucky, deals with a massive change in her own life.

So, if we were casting The Constable Molly Smith series for TV I’d like it to have a solid Canadian cast and crew. There is a wonderful young up and coming actor in Toronto named Dana Fradkin who’d be a great Molly. She’s the right age, mid-twenties, very pretty with that attitude that I can only call “tomboy” which allows Smith to be believable as a woman making a success of herself in a man’s profession.

For John Winters, who else but Colm Feore? I’ve seen Colm many times at Stratford and he even looks like I imagine Winters: lean and handsome yet without fake movie-star looks. Lucky Smith, Molly’s mother is an important role so I’d suggest Wendy Crewson. Down to earth, practical, feisty, yet a woman who (although she doesn’t know it) is very attractive to men. And for Eliza Winters, former supermodel and highly intelligent businesswoman – Sonia Smits would be perfect.

No, no you tell me. Hollywood is calling, not Toronto TV. If you insist, Rachel McAdams would be a good Molly Smith and my children tell me that George Clooney has to play John Winters. For Lucky, Kathy Bates would be perfect and I’d like Susan Sarandon to play Eliza because she can do beauty as well as intelligence. For director, let’s have Martin Scorsese because he’s great at police dramas.

Oh, and can I have a small part? I can play Ingrid, the night dispatcher at the police station. She’s tough and can really bark out “Five-One? Come in Five-One.”
Read an excerpt from Among the Departed, and learn more about the book and author at Vicki Delany's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Among the Departed.

--Marshal Zeringue