Monday, 19 November 2007


I feel a strangely proprietorial interest in the BBC’s latest costume drama with an all star cast, because Cranford (aka Knutsford) is the town of my birth and my firm has an office in King Street, which got a name check in episode one of the adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s classic. I thought it was excellent, although from a narrowly parochial point of view, it was a pity that the key locations were not shot in the town. The screenplay makes it clear that the people of Cranford are a proud and sturdily independent lot, and the rather anonymous, though pretty, street scenes, did not adequately convey the vibrancy and character of the real place. But the script was first rate and the performances excellent. I spotted John Bowe (the killer in the very first episode of ‘Prime Suspect’) and the estimable Philip Glenister (Gene Hunt from ‘Life on Mars’), among the cast. I shall certainly keep watching.

As far as I know, I’m the only novelist to hail from Knutsford (it’s not exactly a massive claim to fame, I do realise…) and it’s a town I hold very dear. I featured it in a short scene in my second book, Suspicious Minds, but it takes centre stage in my most recent short story, ‘The Mystery of Canute Villa’, which appears in Mike Ashley’s new anthology of Dickensian whodunits. It’s a tale which brings together Elizabeth Gaskell and her friend Charles Dickens, and results in a fictional resolution of a tragic mystery from Gaskell’s personal life.


Juliet said...

Fascinating stuff! And worthy of submission to the Blue Plaque Committee perhaps?

Where can I buy this book of short stories? Sounds just right for Christmas.

Martin Edwards said...

Great idea, Juliet. I think Mike Ashley's Mammoth Book of Dickensian Whodunnits is available in 'all good bookshops', but in this day and age, that's a diminishing number..