Having apparently adopted “Screw it, just make them all 30” as its adage for any and all adaptations of female literary detectives, CBS has put a series about a young Miss Marple into development. The beloved Agatha Christie spinster is being transformed into a much younger California bookshop owner, who makes the natural transition into private detective work when she realizes that things in her small California town “aren’t what they seem.” (Possibly because someone keeps tearing down other people’s posters on the store’s Community Events board, the darkest of bookstore crimes.)
Miss Marple has been adapted numerous times over the years, although usually by people willing to accept a sexa- or septuagenarian protagonist as part of the price for playing the Marple game. (Even the producers of the anime series Agatha Christie’s Great Detectives Poirot & Marple allowed the inquisitive amateur detective to hold onto her “old maid” status.) It’s not the first time that a younger, sexier Marple has been bandied about, though; back in 2011, Jennifer Garner was attached to a film version of the character, a project which was presumably shut down in the intervening years by an irate fusillade of crumpets and doily-laden hats from the furious Marple hordes.
The new series is just the latest entry in CBS’s new strategy of doing all of its drama development from the safety of a paperback bargain bin; besides the ongoing success of Elementary, the network has just announced a new show about Nancy Drew as an NYPD detective, and previously floated plans for a series about Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn as crime-solving lawyers.