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Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is a mystery of betrayal, blackmail and revenge set in 1912 Britain when the Empire was beginning to fray, a little, around the edges. The English aristocracy led such privileged and protected lives I wanted to stage a murder at the country house of one of their most elite families, causing embarrassment and scandal among a class of people who made the meaning of the term ‘double-standard’ gilt-edged. My family and I had great fun this Thanksgiving casting characters for the movie of the book.Visit Tessa Arlen's website.
The old Merchant & Ivory producer/director partnership would depict the time and place of my novel wonderfully, as in Howards End and The Remains of the Day. But I wouldn’t be averse to the talented Ang Lee’s direction at all. His Sense and Sensibility was superbly directed in what I consider to be the only movie of Jane Austen’s books worth seeing.
Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman’s main character Clementine Talbot, the Countess of Montfort is a word-perfect aristocrat’s wife, but she has a head that tends to think otherwise when it comes to society’s more strait-laced conventions. Clementine is our amateur sleuth – along with her housekeeper – in a subterranean murder enquiry which comes about because Clementine’s son, Harry Talbot, is the most likely suspect for the murder of his cousin. It was not a stretch to cast Emma Thompson. She brings terrific range, intelligence and sympathy to her craft and is extraordinarily humorous and self-aware as is Clementine - and they both have a dash of impatient energy that keep things interesting.
Edith Jackson, Iyntwood’s housekeeper and assistant sleuth, is the novel’s most multi-faceted character. There is a serenity and dignity to Edith that is unusual in the humble servant class. She is composed, self-contained and subtly beautiful in the same understated way that Nicole...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman.
My Book, The Movie: Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman.