The Mystery of Mr. E
a murder mystery musical movie
…featuring 10 catchy songs and a baffling mystery puzzle that’ll keep you guessing until the end!
Twin brothers John and George Danes call themselves ‘The Generalists’, and do all sorts of strange jobs for all kinds of peculiar people. They’re about to set off to their next mysterious assignment at Idlewyld House (with no idea what job they’ve been hired to do there) when a strange man knocks at their door. This stranger knows that John and George are on their way to Idlewyld House, but he won’t say how he knows. When asked who he is, he says only, ‘I am the murderer’, and then he disappears.
Arriving at Idlewyld House, the Danes twins ask their host, Peter Landrigan — son of the late Harriet Landrigan, the most beloved and bestselling romantic novelist of all time — if he has invited them there to solve a murder. Peter Landrigan assures them that nothing of the sort has happened. Then one of the other guests is found dead at the foot of the stairs…
Watch a short trailer…
The Story Behind the Movie
The Mystery of Mr. E had two sources of inspiration. One was Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, which made a huge impression on me when I first saw it. I came away buzzing and inspired, determined to write a Mousetrap of my own. Minutes later, I had an idea I loved for what I thought of as an inverted murder mystery: a man, a stranger, turns up at the home of a detective and says only four words: I am the murderer. He then disappears without offering any clues to his identity, and the detective’s job is to find the murder that ‘goes with’ that murderer.
My second source of inspiration was a school play version of Romeo and Juliet starring my daughter. The music and drama teachers had very sensibly decided to perk it up by turning it into a musical. It was absolutely brilliant, and it made me realise that the times I had been Definitely Not At All Bored at the theatre had all, without exception, contained either a baffling murder mystery or some brilliant, memorable songs.
‘Wait…’ I thought. ‘Why has no one ever written a murder mystery musical?’ (It turned out they had: Murder For Two by Kellen Blair and Joe Kinosian is a work of genius. But I didn’t know about Murder For Two at this point.) I decided my murderer-with-no-murder idea would be the perfect hook for a murder mystery musical and suggested it as a possible future school play to the drama and music teachers at my children’s school. They loved the idea. So I set out to write a classic, family-friendly, puzzle-based murder mystery musical with lots of suspects and clues, and also with a lot of very catchy tunes.
Soon this new musical, The Mystery of Mr. E (words by me, and brilliant music by the aforementioned music teacher, Annette Armitage) was making appearances at schools and literary festivals all over the UK. One of the schools to stage it was St Michael’s Catholic High School in Watford. Laura Turner, the Head of Drama who directed the show at St Michael’s, asked me if it would be okay if her partner, a film director, filmed the production for posterity and the parents of those involved. That director was Martyn Tott…and before too long, Martyn and I found ourselves discussing the possibility of his making a proper feature film version of The Mystery of Mr. E. And the rest is…
You thought I was going to say ‘The rest is history’, didn’t you? No. I was going to say — I am going to say — the rest is a whole different story involving, among other things, a super-successful medical robotics start-up company (yes, really) and me getting inspired by what ought to have been the opposite of inspiration. Intrigued? Well, I’m going to be telling the whole story, in instalments, in my newsletter – so sign up below if you want to hear all the insider movie gossip about The Mystery of Mr. E the movie!
Directed by Martyn Tott
Screenplay by Martyn Tott and Sophie Hannah
Release date: 1 December 2023
Based on a new and completely original stage musical of the same name by Sophie Hannah and Annette Armitage.
If you love Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap and musicals with catchy songs, then you will love this movie!
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