Murder is the name of the game for PBS Masterpiece at today’s conference for the Television Critic’s Association 2023 Winter Press Tour. After landing a hit with the murder mystery adaptation Magpie Murders starring The Crown‘s Lesley Manville, a second series is on the way titled Moonflower Murders which adapts the second novel of Anthony Horowitz‘s Susan Ryeland series. Better yet, Manville will reprise her role as the editor-turned-super sleuth Susan alongside Tim McMullan as the detective Atticus Pünd within the in-universe hit mystery novels.
Magpie Murders quickly rose up as one of Masterpiece‘s finest new series pulling in more than 5.5 million viewers during its run and over 3.1 million streams along with rave reviews. The six-part series kicked off Susan’s detective turn as she received the handwritten manuscript of author Alan Conway’s highly anticipated next Atticus Pünd novel. Before she can finish proofreading it, however, she discovers the final chapter is missing and Alan is dead by an apparent suicide. Upon examining the note he supposedly left and looking deeper into the characters of the book, she starts to suspect foul play and sets out on a hunt to find the final chapter. Collider‘s own Emily Bernard gave the series a B in her own review, specifically highlighting Manville as the linchpin that holds this world together.
The actress will have her work cut out for her in Moonflower Murders as Susan is tasked with solving a much older case. Having left the cutthroat world of editing, she’s now living with her longtime boyfriend and running a small hotel in Crete. She’s contacted about a case related to Conway’s work and, in need of the money to keep things afloat, she takes the opportunity to return to London. Instead of just one mystery, Susan has to solve two. She’s been hired specifically to uncover what happened to the missing Cecily Treherne whose parents own the luxury hotel Susan is staying at. In order to find her though, Susan must solve an eight-year-old murder at the hotel that Conway previously used as inspiration for another of his Pünd novels.
Read Official Statements From the Magpie Murders Team Below
The team behind Magpie Murders was thrilled by the continuation of the Susan Ryeland saga in a new series and, at the same time, a bit shocked at the overwhelming love from media members. Horrowitz, in particular, was more than happy to return to adapting his novels for television, saying in a statement:
I can’t wait to get started on the scripts of Moonflower Murders. We had a fantastic response to Magpie and, speaking personally, it was a joy bringing Susan Ryeland and Atticus Pünd to life on the screen. There are lots of surprises in the second book, including something I’ve never done before in a murder mystery. It’s going to be great fun.
With how big of a success the first series was, Masterpiece is re-teaming with Eleventh Hour Films to recapture the magic. Masterpiece executive producer Susanne Simpson shared her own statement praising Eleventh Hour for helping Masterpiece continue a major hit as well as Manville and McMullan for returning as the series leads:
We’re delighted to partner with Eleventh Hour Films on another ingenious mystery from Anthony Horowitz. Magpie Murders was a hit with our audience, who loved its clever storytelling of a mystery-within-a-mystery. It’s thrilling to know that Lesley and Tim will be returning to MASTERPIECE in Moonflower Murders.
Jill Green, an executive producer for Eleventh Hour, was also especially grateful to have teamed with Masterpiece since it set records at the production company. “We had the best reviews ever for an Eleventh Hour Films drama, which was hugely satisfying given the creative attention given over to every aspect of the series, by every member of cast and crew,” her brief statement read. “So, it is wonderful to be all returning again with the equally complicated and riveting Moonflower Murders.”
Moonflower Murders will release in the U.S. through PBS.org, the PBS App and the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel while U.K. viewers will be able to stream the series through iPlayer upon its release. We’ll have more here at Collider as work on the latest Susan Ryeland series as it gets underway. Check out the trailer for Manville‘s previous murder mystery series, Magpie Murders, below.