Monday, August 2, 2021

Catriona McPherson's "A Gingerbread House"

National-bestselling and multi-award-winning author Catriona McPherson was born in Scotland and lived there until immigrating to the US in 2010, where she lives on Patwin ancestral lands.

She writes historical detective stories set in the old country in the 1930s, featuring gently-born lady sleuth, Dandy Gilver. After eight years in the new country, McPherson kicked off the comic Last Ditch Motel series, which takes a wry but affectionate look at California life from the POV of a displaced Scot. She also writes a strand of contemporary psychological thrillers. The latest of these is A Gingerbread House, which Kirkus called “a disturbing tale of madness and fortitude.”

Here McPherson dreamcasts an adaptation of A Gingerbread House:
I don’t want a movie. I want a telly series a la Broadchurch. Okay?

A Gingerbread House is the story of three women chasing a dream, who all walk into a nightmare. The best friend Ivy never had, the parent Martine never knew, the happy-ever-after Laura pines for ... these are the breadcrumbs strewn on the path.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, Tash Dodd is on a quest of her own to right a wrong.

So far, so Disney. But the setting is a grey town in the post-industrial central belt of modern Scotland and there are no princesses here. Ivy is a book-keeper, Martine is a grant-writer, Laura has a phone-accessory retail business too close to Etsy for her liking, and Tash drives a delivery van.

With all that in mind, here in order of appearance is my dream casting of the main four, plus some supporting characters that I did actually cast while I wrote the story.

Tash: Fern Brady. She’s perfect. She’s the right age. She’s got the right accent. (She’d have to coach the others.) The only glitch is she’s a stand-up comedian, not an actor.

Ivy: Brenda Blethyn. Looking like Vera Stanhope, but with a completely different personality. Ivy is shy and self-effacing, silently judging most of the time. There would be a lot of face-acting and Brenda Blethyn is the mistress of that.

Martine: Nina Sosanya. You might remember her from Last Tango in Halifax. She’s fifty-two and Martine is thirty-ish. But you’d never know she was fifty-two so I’m sticking with it. Martine is brisk on the surface, a bit broken underneath. I think she’d be a treat to play.

Laura: Jodie Whittaker. She’s stepping down from playing the Doctor in Dr Who; she’ll have the time. And she’s mostly played absolute poppets, hasn’t she? So this will give her a shot of being thoroughly unlikable, at first anyway.

Adim the newsagent across the road: Nick Mohammed. I love him! He is hysterical as his stand-up character Mr Swallow and adorable paired with David Schwimmer in Intelligence. He’s the only reason I care that I haven’t got AppleTV and can’t see Ted Lasso.

The Hollywood sisters at the nail salon: Scarlett and Ava Moffatt. They are break-out stars from a reality programme called GoggleBox. It sounds daft – we watch people watching the highlights of the week’s telly – but it is hilarious and joyful stuff, as well as an excellent way to out pseuds and snobs, in my (correct) opinion.

So, we’ve got A Gingerbread House starring – I’m doing the credits in the order I think their agents could get – Fern Brady, Jodie Whittaker, Nick Mohammed, Nina Sosanya, with the Moffat Sisters, and Brenda Blethyn.

You’d watch that, wouldn’t you?
Visit Catriona McPherson's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Turning Tide.

--Marshal Zeringue