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A Song for Leonard

A Noir Mystery from Seventies New York


Suzanne Finch's story and her infatuation with Leonard Cohen provides material suited to screen adaptation and the production of a song book featuring her music.

In 2016 Chris Canning wrote a screenplay titled "Bedeviled - A Song for Leonard Cohen". Set in New York, and intercut between the late Seventies and late Nineties, this Film Noir script won a Drama Award at the 2017 Cannes Screenplay Contest, was a Finalist in the 2016 Hollywood Screenplay Contest and was the winner of the Empire Drama Award at the 2017 New York Screenplay Contest.

A songbook written in collaboration with Eden Iris, and with production assistance from Bruce Lynch (ex Cat Stevens producer) features the songs of both Suzanne Finch and the character, Elody.

For a copy of the screenplay please contact the author by email:

c c canning


Charles Bateman, a young English architect working in New York in the late Seventies is mugged by a girl on Madison Avenue and becomes involved in a brief struggle in which his attacker is killed by her own gun.

Though identified by the police as Suzanne Finch, a singer/songwriter and drug addict with a string of offences, the explanation for her killing fails to satisfy them and throws suspicion on Charles and his relationship to his attacker. Under pressure to establish his own innocence, and to come to terms with his role in her death, he sets out to investigate the girl’s background and the causes of her slide into addiction. Who was she and what brought her to the point of desperation to pull a gun that ended her own life? And why had she written a love song to Leonard Cohen?

As he traces Suzanne’s downfall through the club where she sang, the squalid squat where she lived at her death, and the songs that she left behind, he becomes haunted by her tragedy and the evidence of her rejection by a family of religious zealots.

Returning to New York 18 years later he finds his name on a Border Alert and is forced to try and track down the Law Agency that placed it there years ago. As he becomes aware that he is under surveillance by unidentified accusers he resolves to revisit the events of his past in the hope that he can unearth the unanswered questions that still hang over the night of his mugging. 

When he employs Elody, a young student of Performing Arts at NYU, herself an aspiring singer/songwriter, he finds a point of focus in the unwrapping of his story and a model to help him understand Suzanne’s musical aspirations and talent. 

Meanwhile, he realises that the adherence of Suzanne's family to the strict biblical interpretations of The Revelation Church of Ephesus is shared in common with two of the key investigating officers in the NYPD and he tries to track them down.

As the story unfolds and he feels his accusers growing closer and more threatening his relationship with Elody deepens. The clues, he discovers, lie in the lyrics of Suzanne's songs. The prospect of Suzanne being able to live again through her music and of Charles being able to lay the blame for her death where it properly belongs finally hinges on his ability to evade the very real physical danger he now finds himself in and to correctly interpret those musical clues.

A Psychological Drama and Romance with a strong musical thread related in the present tense intercut with parallel events in flashback.

Read the Opening Excerpts from the book version of "Bedeviled"

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