A former magazine editor and award-winning journalist, Janice has written speeches and articles for, among others, the Cabinet Office, Home Office and Department for International Development. In screenwriting, Janice's first feature film RETREAT was released by Sony Pictures (co-written and directed by Carl Tibbetts) which starred Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton and Jamie Bell. Janice’s stage plays have been performed at Theatre503, The White Bear, Hen & Chickens and TheatreN16. She was also one of six female playwrights selected by All The Rage Theatre for its Seize The Stage festival at Rich Mix. Her play NETHERBARD has twice been performed by Budding Rose Productions. Janice has had television scripts in development with Slim Film & TV and with Retort (part of FreemantleMedia). Her sitcom TWO LADIES was  performed at the Museum of Comedy in June 2019.

Janice was selected for the Triforce Creative Network year-long mentoring scheme and featured on the BBC New Talent Hotlist. She won Best New Screenplay in the 2014 British Independent Film Festival.

 

Janice Hallett

Janice Hallett - The Appeal cover.png
Janice's debut novel, THE APPEAL, published by Viper (Serpent's Tail) in January 2021. TV Rights Optioned. 
The Sunday Times best crime novels for January 2021

Joan Smith’s dazzlingly clever top pick completely trumps Richard Osman

January 8 2021, The Sunday Times

Traditional crime fiction is enjoying a revival at the moment: the television presenter Richard Osman recently invented a bunch of amateur sleuths for his first novel, The Thursday Murder Club. Osman’s premise — that the residents of a posh home for the elderly actually retain their faculties and are able to outwit the police — makes it a toe-curling read. But that didn’t stop it becoming one of last year’s bestsellers.

The queen of cosy crime, Agatha Christie, portrayed village life as a microcosm, its apparently serene surface under threat from people with a lot to hide. Hallett does something similar, using her characters’ apparently artless messages to hint at a raft of destructive secrets. Her novel opens with a leading QC asking a couple of law students, Charlotte and Olufemi, to review the material collected in a murder investigation. The QC is preparing an appeal and he wants an unbiased opinion on the prosecution case. Like the reader, the students are unaware of two crucial facts: the identity of the person convicted of the murder and of his or her victim. The latter device has been used before, notably by Lucy Foley in The Guest List, but Hallett’s decision to rely entirely on documentary evidence — there are no flashy forensics or graphic post mortem examinations in her novel — creates a hugely satisfying intellectual challenge.

Hallett has previously written for the theatre and the plot revolves around an amateur theatre company, a milieu whose petty vanities and shifting alliances she knows well. The murder follows fraught rehearsals of a production of All My Sons, overshadowed by the life-threatening diagnosis of the director’s infant granddaughter. The family sets about raising an eye-watering sum for experimental drugs from America, and there are laugh-out-loud passages as members of the company resort to increasingly unethical stratagems to raise the cash.

Yet it becomes apparent that the child is being exploited, and less sentimental members of the cast suspect a fraud. Despite the contemporary references, this is a classic set-up for murder, with a motive that Sayers or Christie would recognise. Hallett uses the epistolary form to superb effect in this terrific debut, demonstrating that violent crime tears the social fabric — but only because it was fraying to begin with.

 

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