Over the past week I’ve been reading The Edge, a splendid novel by the rather neglected Clare Curzon. It combines many elements of a traditional British mystery novel, a murder taking place at a country house, spooky goings on in the woods and dark family secrets bubbling to the surface with deadly consequences, with psychological insight of a type no writer of the golden age could ever have achieved.
The Edge, like many of Curzon’s other novels seems like an ideal property for some ambitious television producer to snap up, but, so far as I know, none of her books have made it onto the small screen.
This set me thinking about some other authors who seem to have been unfairly ignored. Why, for example hasn’t the work of Cynthia Harrod-Eagles or Dorothy Simpson been adapted for television, both writers have a large enough readership to provide a ready made audience and their plots and characters are strong enough to grab the interest of viewers who aren’t particular fans of the crime genre.
If the television companies aren’t interested why hasn’t the BBC’s otherwise excellent radio drama department tried its hand at adapting their work? They did a splendid job with Peter Turnbull’s P Division stories about a decade ago.
My short list of neglected authors is, of course, entirely subjective, other readers would, I am sure, be able to throw new names into the pot, the general point behind it though is sound enough. When it comes to optioning new crime dramas British television companies are unnecessarily cautious, preferring to revise, yet again, the collected works of Agatha Christie or commission another soap opera disguised as a gritty cop show than take a chance on something new and that is rather a shame.