A new crime novel by bestselling author Cara Hunter has been optioned for TV by renowned film director Sam Mendes.

Ms Hunter, who lives in north Oxford, is the author of six thrillers featuring Oxford-based detective inspector (DI) Adam Fawley.

The novels set in the city have been incredibly successful following the publication of her debut Close To Home in 2017 and it has been estimated that someone in the world buys one of her thrillers every 50 seconds.

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Now the author has branched out by writing Murder in the Family, a London-based standalone novel not involving DI Fawley, although he is expected to return at a later date.

Oxford Mail: Cara Hunter Cara Hunter (Image: Photo: Cara Hunter)

Ms Hunter said: "I wanted to write a standalone anyway, and then I got an idea that I couldn't have done as a Fawley book anyway - basically 'True-crime TV meets Agatha Christie'.

"It takes the mixed-media approach I've used in the Oxford books (and which people really seem to like) and pushes it even further, so this one is solely the screenplay of a crime show where a team of experts are investigating a 20-year-old cold case.

Oxford Mail: Murder in the Family

"I've also added TV reviews, chat-room conversations, emails, maps and all the rest.

"The Christie twist is that right from the start the reader knows one of the people involved in making the programme is the actual killer - though of course the participants don't know that.

@booked_up This sounds soo good to me! I need to be able to solve it before the characters do! #booktok #bookworm #bookgirlies #tbr #mysterybook #solvingcrime #internetslueth #thrillerbooks #thrillergirlie #toberead ♬ Criminal Minds - Main Theme - Geek Music

"It was such a blast to write, though fiendlishly complicated, rather like three-dimensional chess. The TV rights have already been bought by Sam Mendes' production company, which is just amazing - I still can barely believe it."

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Ms Hunter said the publication of her latest novel also went viral on social media channel TikTok.

She added: "Nothing to do with me - pure luck.

"Someone posted a video of themselves opening it and it's since had four million views there and another three million on Instagram.

"Staggering - the power of social media. I think it may have caught people's attention because you could see on the video that it looks really different inside from a conventional book. Whataver it was, I'm just very thankful."

Fans who are keen for another novel featuring DI Adam Fawley need not worry as the author is also keen for him to return.

She added: "Adam will be back. I'm working on one now - it's nice to reacquaint myself with him."

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Oxford Mail: Film director Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes has lived in Oxfordshire and is best known for James Bond movies Skyfall and Spectre and dramas such as American Beauty, Road To Perdition and Revolutionary Road.

Ms Hunter will be in conversation with TV presenter Geraldine Peers on Thursday for the latest in a series of My Jericho talks.

The talk takes place at St Barnabas Church at 6.30pm. Entry is £5.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

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