Sarah Phelps to adapt Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse

Sarah Phelps is one of this country’s leading screenwriters, and her work adapting the works of Agatha Christie has been nothing more than miraculous (although some have been less than enamoured with the reworkings). Last month we brought you news that Gwyneth Hughes would be adapting Death Comes As The End for the BB, quite possibly for this Christmas.

The fear was that Phelps was done with Christie, but news reaches us today that this may not be the case.

Per the Radio Times, Phelps has signed up to adapt Christie’s stand-alone novel, The Pale Horse. She was quoted as saying:

When I was working on And Then There Were None [in 2015], there was a little voice in my head saying that I could write a quintet and cover 50 years of the tumultuous blood-soaked 20th century within the genre of the murder mystery. Having now done the 1920s, the beginning and end of the ’30s, as well as the 1950s, the next one is going to be set in the 1960s.

Agatha Christie plants these little clues in her books and I pick them up and run with them. I’m honouring the secret, subversive Agatha. There’s something dangerous about her – and there’s a lot of academic work to be done on the tension in the novels between the book she knew the public wanted to read and the one she wanted to write. I always think I’m doing the version of the book she wanted to write.

So, The Pale Horse, then.

To understand the strange goings on at The Pale Horse Inn, Mark Easterbrook knew he had to begin at the beginning. But where exactly was the beginning? Was it the savage blow to the back of Father Gorman’s head? Or was it when the priest’s assailant searched him so roughly he tore the clergyman’s cassock? Or could it have been the priest’s visit, just minutes before, to a woman on her death bed?

Or was there a deeper significance to the violent squabble which Mark Easterbrook had himself witnessed earlier? Wherever the beginning lies, Mark and his sidekick, Ginger Corrigan, may soon have cause to wish they’d never found it.

Look out for it in 2020.

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