Sam Mendes on TV case for youth sleuth

Sam Mendes’ shingle Neal Street Prods. has optioned rights to Alan Bradley’s New York Times bestselling mystery series “Flavia de Luce” to develop as a television series.

Story, set in a rural village in post-WWII Blighty, follows the adventures of a precocious 11-year-old sleuth named Flavia.

The young girl, a science enthusiast with a particular passion for poison, lives on a family estate with two sinister older sisters and an eccentric widowed father and uses her encyclopedic knowledge to solve murders.

Bradley’s series has been sold to publishers in 35 countries and been translated into 31 languages. It has snagged a slew of publishing awards including the Crime Writers’ Assn. Debut Dagger Award and the Dilys Award.

TV series will be exec produced by Neal Street’s Pippa Harris and Mendes and co-produced by Julie Blumenthal and Wonderful Films’ William Horberg.

Neal Street has already had success this year with TV series “Call the Midwife,” toplining Jessica Raine, Miranda Hart and Vanessa Redgrave. Series, set in 1950s East End London, became the highest-rated drama series for the BBC since 2001.

“After the success of ‘Call the Midwife’ we were keen to find another high-quality book series to adapt and luckily discovered Alan Bradley’s ‘Flavia de Luce’ books,” said Mendes. “I have always been a fan of the classic British mystery detective genre and ‘Flavia de Luce’ is a fresh and captivating take on it.”

Harris added that the adventures were “rich with multi-layered mysteries, memorable supporting characters and a cinematic period backdrop.”

Deal was made on behalf of the Bulkowski Agency by Hotchkiss and Associates.

Neal Street, which was formed in 2003 with Mendes, Harris and Caro Newlin, has produced pics such as “Revolutionary Road” and “Starter for Ten,” TV productions such as “Stuart: A Life Backwards” and theater hits such as “Shrek: The Musical” and upcoming production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

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