We are thrilled to announce the exciting news that author and journalist Jeremy Craddock’s upcoming true crime book The Jigsaw Murders: The True Story of the Ruxton Killings and the Birth of Modern Forensics has been optioned for TV by Tod Productions and production partner, STV Productions in a deal negotiated by Marc Simonsson at SoloSon Media in association with Hardman & Swainson.
The History Press acquired UK & Commonwealth (exCanada) rights from Joanna Swainson in January for the title, and are set to publish in 2021. The Jigsaw Murders is an in-depth exploration of the 1930s murders that captured press and public interest, and the ground-breaking forensic techniques that led to the arrest of Dr Buck Ruxton.
In September 1935, Dr Buck Ruxton strangled his wife Isabella, whom he suspected of having an affair, in their Lancashire home while their three children slept in their beds. When the nanny, Mary Rogerson, disturbed him in the act, he killed her too.
He dismembered and chopped up the bodies, before disposing of them in a number of bags in a ravine on the Scottish borders. When first discovered, it was unclear how many bodies the police were dealing with. The world’s media went into a frenzy over the so-called ‘Jigsaw Murders’.
It took the genius of Professors Sydney Smith and John Glaister and their ground-breaking forensic techniques to piece together the identities of the bodies, pointing the finger of suspicion firmly towards Buck Ruxton.
The Jigsaw Murders tells the whole story of these gruesome killings for the first time, bringing to life the enigmatic and charismatic Ruxton himself, and his victims Isabella Ruxton and Mary Rogerson.
Elaine Collins, MD of Tod Productions said: “Jeremy Craddock is a hugely talented writer and journalist, who is not only determined to excavate this brutal story and the consequent scientific breakthroughs that still influence today’s forensics, but to give an unprecedented voice to Buxton’s female victims. I’m excited to develop this complex and multi-layered crime story for television, to give presence to the victims, and to dramatise the characteristically brilliant scientists at work in 1930s Scotland.”
Jeremy said: “I am absolutely thrilled that The Jigsaw Murders has been optioned for TV by Elaine Collins and Tod Productions. I am a huge fan of her work, especially Shetland and Vera, and I feel privileged that she has seen potential in my work. This is a story that has haunted me since I was a child, a landmark case that changed the way forensic pathologists help to solve murders. And yet it is a case that is largely forgotten today. Most previous accounts focus solely on the lurid aspects, ignoring the human drama behind it all. My book – and hopefully a TV drama – will tell the full story of the people behind the sensational headlines for the first time.”
David Mortimer, Managing Director of STV Productions, said: “We’re thrilled to have Tod as part of the STV Productions family and The Jigsaw Murders is a fantastic addition to their already strong development slate of distinctive, high quality shows. There’s a real appetite for true crime based drama and we’re delighted Elaine Collins at Tod has seen the huge potential in this exciting new work, which we know will hold tremendous appeal.”
Jeremy Craddock is a journalist and author. Born in the Lake District in 1968, he worked for more than 20 years on newspapers and magazines in the north west of England. One of the biggest stories he covered was the Lady in the Lake murder case in 1997. He now teaches multimedia journalism at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he also contributes to a media law podcast, Bang to Rights.
You can read STV’s press release here.
You can read the Bookbrunch article here.