The confusing world of ‘Argylle’

Question marks have been raised in the literary world of late about the identity of Elly Conway, the purported author of spy adventure novel, Argylle.

It's all rather confusing but I'll do my best to explain.

Catalogue search for ArgylleEyebrows were raised due to the fact that the eponymous character of said novel is being played by Henry Cavill in a new movie directed by Matthew Vaughn (of the Kingsman films, among others). 

What's so weird about that? Well, it's highly unusual for an unheard-of author to dive straight into the bigtime with a star-studded movie adaptation BEFORE THEIR BOOK COMES OUT.

Then there's the small issue that the film features a character named "Elly Conway" (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) who is also an author of spy adventure novels. And despite attempts by certain media outlets to contact said author via official channels, no contact has been successfully made.

There does exist a (blue check) Instagram account for Elly Conway which posts plausibly writerly things, plugging the book and movie etc, but never photos of themselves. Of course not. Their biographical information on the Penguin website is mysteriously brief - "Elly Conway was born and raised in upstate New York. She wrote her first novel about Agent Argylle while working as a waitress in a late-night diner". Illuminating.

It all smells very much like an elaborate viral campaign for the film, which Vaughn has gone on record as saying is the first of a probable trilogy, the second film of which will adapt the actual novel, Argylle, which came out earlier this month. So this first film isn't even a straight adaptation of the novel, but a movie inspired by the characters and world of the novel. It's all highly irregular and a bit bewildering. Some people (with presumably more time on their hands than I) have come to the conclusion that Elly Conway is actually... Taylor Swift. Partly because they have the same kind of cat (said film-cat, which belong's to Vaughn's wife, Claudia Schiffer, also has their own Instagram, because OF COURSE). While I'd love this outlandish theory to be true, I imagine that Ms Swift is quite busy with other things. She can't be everywhere, folks!

In all likelihood someone attached to Matthew Vaughn's creative team wrote this novel, and even now some intern is taking photos of New York bookstores and brunches and pretending to be Elly Conway on Instagram. Probably.

Another added complexity is that Vaughn has said that the Argylle films will exist in the same universe as the Kingsman films.

Anyway, it's all rather confusing and there's a lot to unpack, clearly.

Me, I will probably watch the movie when it comes out if only to experience the timewarping effects of Henry Cavill's vicious flat-top haircut which may be capable of transporting people back to the early 90s.

And maybe I'll even get around to reading the book... even if I don't know precisely who wrote it.


 A couple of weeks after this post was published the authors of Argylle were confirmed to be Terry Hayes, author of adventure thriller, I am pilgrim and mystery novelist Tammy Cohen. Also confirmed, was that the movie Argylle was in the works first, then the book adaptation was commissioned.

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