‘World on Fire’ star leads cast of ‘Foyle’s War’ creator’s new PBS crime drama

The first cast announcement has been made for Anthony Horowitz’s new mystery series.

The Foyle’s War creator is adapting his acclaimed 2016 novel Magpie Murders for PBS and BritBox, it was revealed last summer.

Magpie Murders will star Lesley Manville (World on Fire, Harlots) as Susan Ryeland, an editor who is given an unfinished manuscript of author Alan Conway’s latest mystery novel, with little idea it will change her life.

The 64-year-old English actress has a busy couple of years ahead, having been cast as the latest Princess Margaret in The Crown, and with a second season of World on Fire to be filmed too.

Manville commented: “Fans of Anthony Horowitz’s highly acclaimed, thrilling novel will be utterly delighted that it is being made into a 6-part drama. I could not be happier to be playing Susan Ryeland – what a fabulous character for me to grapple with!”

Executive producer Susanne Simpson added: “Anthony’s Magpie Murders is a brilliant ‘mystery within a mystery,’ and we’re so excited that Lesley and Peter will bring their exceptional talents to this series.”

Directed by Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty, The A Word), the series begins filming in England very soon.

Set in 1940s England, Horowitz’s previous crime drama  Foyle’s War ran for eight seasons on ITV between 2002 and 2015.

The official synopsis for Magpie Murders reads: “When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages.

“An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan’s traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.

“Conway’s latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.”

Magpie Murders will premiere later this year on PBS Masterpiece in the US, and exclusively on BritBox in the UK.

Foyle’s War is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.