Col points to ‘Fingerpost’

Hawkins brings Pears novel to studio

Columbia Pictures has optioned the feature film rights to Iain Pears’ latest period mystery thriller “An Instance of the Fingerpost.”

The project was brought into the Culver City studio through its 10-month-old London office, run by Sony Pictures Entertainment VP of creative affairs, Diana Hawkins.

Published in the U.S. in March by Riverhead Books, “An Instance of the Fingerpost” tells the story of the events surrounding the suspicious death of an Oxford don in 17th Century England.

A young woman is accused of his murder, and the incident is recalled from the point of view of four witnesses: an Italian physician, the son of an alleged Royalist traitor, a master cryptographer who has worked for both Cromwell and the king, and a renowned Oxford antiquarian. Each tells his own version of what happened, but only one reveals the truth.

In addition to a six-week perch on the New York Times bestseller list, the book has had spots on bestseller lists in France, Holland and Britain as well.

No producer is attached to the project.

Since the Sony office opened last year, Hawkins has been charged with developing projects and exploring financing opportunities from within the European community. She recently took shotgun on the acquisition for Columbia of the comedy “Still Crazy,” starring Stephen Rea and Billy Connolly.