Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hannah Dennison's "Murder at Honeychurch Hall"

Hannah Dennison began her writing career in 1977 as a trainee reporter for a small West Country newspaper in Devon, England. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the Willamette Writers, British Crime Writers’ Association and Toastmasters International. Dennison's books include the Vicky Hill mysteries.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Murder at Honeychurch Hall:
What a treat to be able to share my dream cast for Murder at Honeychurch Hall. Since the book is set in England, the characters would ideally be British actors. I come from a screenwriting background so yes I too, have an actor in mind when I begin creating my character. Or at the very least, it’s someone I know.

Here are mine:

My protagonist is Kat Stanford, age 39. She’s just quit hosting an antique roadshow called Fakes & Treasures to start her own business. Kat’s got a great sense of humor. She’s self-deprecating and has a reputation for being clumsy. Tamsin Greig (as Beverly Lincoln in HBO's Episodes) would be perfect.

Iris Stanford, Kat’s 70-yeard old mother, harbors a slew of secrets, one being the reason she moved to Honeychurch Hall in the first place, and the second—Iris secretly writes steamy bodice-rippers under the pseudonym of Krystalle Storm. Gemma Jones (as Bridget Jones’s mother in Bridget Jones’s Diary) has a secretive, selfish and rebellious streak and I think she’d be great.

Lady Edith Honeychurch, mid-eighties, is extremely class-conscious and yet has a scandalous past. Lady Edith still rides sidesaddle to hounds and is a true believer in the British “stiff upper lip.” Who else could play her other than Geraldine McEwan from Agatha Christie’s Marple?

William, mid-fifties, is the current stable manager at Honeychurch Hall. He was the “strongest-man-in-the-world” when he was part of a traveling boxing emporium in the 1960s. William still hangs onto his good looks, biceps and charm only he isn’t quite who he seems. Julian Sands has to play William! It’s been a long time since Mr. Sands played George Emerson in A Room with a View but I like everything he’s in. He has a hint of danger about him that is important to the story.

D.I. Shawn Cropper—early thirties, slightly crumpled in a Lieutenant Columbo sort of way. As a single parent of five-year old twins (his wife died of cancer), Shawn is always scattered but he’s a very good policeman. He’s not remotely Kat’s sophisticated type—but there is something between them that hints at future possibilities. I’d have to borrow Stephan Mangan as Sean Lincoln from Episodes again. Since the chemistry on-screen between Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln sparkles it would be great to pair them up again.

And finally, darling little Harry Honeychurch, age 6. As a boy with a vivid imagination and one who is so obsessed with the fictional fighter pilot, Biggles that he strides around the country estate in goggles, helmet and white scarf, Jonathan Lipnicki would have been ideal. Unfortunately, he’s now all grown up. But as Ray Boyd in the Tom Cruise movie, Jerry McGuire Jonathan is exactly how I imagine Harry would be with his cute horn-rimmed glasses and insatiable curiosity. My Harry would also know the weight of a human head.

I could go on, but would just add that Eric Pugsley, who also lives on the estate and gives Kat and Iris Stanford so much grief, sports the most astonishing eyebrows. After much research I have found my ideal actor—Bogdan Wolynetz from Breaking Bad. Iris was right when she made the comment about Eric’s “beetle-brows” being so alive she expects them to “crawl off his face.”

Thank you for this opportunity to fantasize about “My Book, The Movie.” I used to fantasize about being published, so who knows, anything is possible … apart from Jonathan Lipnicki of course—unless he has a much younger brother.
Visit Hannah Dennison's website.

The Page 69 Test: Murder at Honeychurch Hall.

--Marshal Zeringue