Friday, February 2, 2018

Molly MacRae's "Scones and Scoundrels"

Molly MacRae spent twenty years in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Upper East Tennessee, where she managed The Book Place, an independent bookstore; may it rest in peace. Before the lure of books hooked her, she was curator of the history museum in Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town.

MacRae lives with her family in Champaign, Illinois, where she connects children with books at the public library.

Here MacRae dreamcasts an adaptation of her latest book, Scones and Scoundrels, book two in the Highland Bookshop series:
I worked through this interesting exercise a year ago when my Highland Bookshop Mystery series debuted. Now, with the second book out, and looking over last year’s choices, I think they hold up pretty well. I’m making two changes among the main characters, though, and inviting a new director to the project (and if this were real life, these changes would be very exciting). I’ve also cast some of the secondary characters left out last time, and several of the new characters.

Changes in main character casting:

Caroline Quentin will appear as Janet Marsh, the retired American librarian who dreamed up the offbeat retirement scheme of buying a bookshop in Scotland. Quentin will have to age a few years and assume an American accent for the part, but I know she can do both. I’d previously cast Kathy Bates as Janet. She would have brought intelligence and the right touch of humor to the role, but Quentin will bring those and an incredible spark of joy.

Emma Thompson will appear as Christine Robertson, one of Janet’s business partners. Christine is a Scotswoman returning to her hometown to help run the bookshop and to look after her aging parents. Like Quentin, Thompson is a few years too young for her role and will have to assume an accent. Thompson is half Scottish, though, and spends part of each year in the area where my fictitious town is located, so she’ll have no problem. And I think she’ll have fun slipping into Christine’s “Queen Elizabeth” persona. I originally chose Dinah Sheridan to play Christine. She would have been fantastic, but was an unrealistic choice. Sadly, she died in 2012.

Reprising their roles from the first film:

Linda Cardellini as Janet’s daughter Tallie Marsh, a burnt-out lawyer and law professor who joins the bookshop venture.

Sarah Michelle Geller as Summer Jacobs, the fourth bookshop partner, a newspaperwoman turned baker.

Peter Capaldi as odd jobs man Rab MacGregor.

David Tennant as Constable Norman Hobbs.

Secondary characters not previously cast:

Richard Rankin as Reddick, a member of the Major Investigation Team from the Specialist Crime Division of Police Scotland.

Douglas Henshall as newspaperman and fiddler James Haviland.

Barbara Rafferty as library director Sharon Davis.

New characters:

Jenny Seagrove as eccentric visiting author Daphne Wood (Seagrove is older than Daphne, but she’s perfect for the role).

Olivia Colman as English teacher Gillian Bennett.

Mandie Fletcher has brilliantly directed British comedy series for years, including Clatterford, Absolutely Fabulous, and Blandings. If she were to direct the film version of Scones and Scoundrels, it would be an absolute dream come true.
Visit Molly MacRae's website.

My Book, The Movie: Plaid and Plagiarism.

The Page 69 Test: Scones and Scoundrels.

Writers Read: Molly MacRae.

--Marshal Zeringue