Murdered to Death Act I Scene 2 - Inspector Pratt

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  1. Joan: Oh, I'm terribly sorry... how thoughtless of me. It's just that I've gorwn so used to these things... the blood and brains.

    Dorothy: [wails]
    [Sweep curtain aside left to right, knocking Bunting out of the way. Wander in to center stage. Slowly:] Ah. So... this'll be the lounge. [Scribble in notebook.]
  2. Margaret: Have we been kept waiting all this time just so that you can make such an obvious deduction, Sergeant?
    Inspector. Inspector Pratt. Yes it was obvious, Missus er...
  3. Margaret: Craddock.
    [Wonder to the fireplace while saying] ...Missus Craddock. That's the way I work. Start with the unmistakeable, then proceed to the un-unmistakeable. [Think about this for a bit, then notice the elephant, pick it up and look at it.] Was it obvious to any of you that this elephant has recently been roasted? No, I thought not.
  4. Charles: It's more usual for elephants to be poached, old boy. [Glare at him.] Hmn... just trying to lighten up the proceedings.
    And you are?
  5. Charles: Charles Craddock... Colonel Charles Craddock... retired.
    I see. The wife of Missus Craddock here. [Replace the elephant. Lean on the wall with dirty hand.] Is everyone assembled, Thompson?
  6. Thomkins: Thomkins, sir.
    [Look him up and down.] Hmn... quite.
  7. Thomkins: They're all here, sir.
    Good. Then I'll begin. [Move from fireplace, notice dirt on the wall, try to clean it up, then move away quickly.] I should listen very closely to this, Thompson. You might learn something. We're a bit more sophisticated down in Milton than out here in the sticks.
  8. Thomkins: Sophisticated... yes, sir. Is that one F or two, sir?
    [Scowl at him.] I've assembled you all here to ask you a few questions about the unfortunate and regrettable circumstantials of yesterday.
  9. Elizabeth: Excuse me, Inspector, but we gave statements to one of the gentlemen last night.
    [Move to Elizabeth.] I'm quite aware of that, but I wanted to see you all myself. A good detective can spot a villain a mile off at close range. [Realize mistake, hurriedly.] You are?
  10. Elizabeth: [Be mesmerized by her.] Elizabeth... Elizabeth Hartley-Trumpington.
    [Stare and flirt for a moment, then "come to", move center and loosen tie.] Mmn. So, we are all in the very room where Missus Bagshot was so cruelly and brutally cut down last night. What I would like...
  11. Thomkins: Excuse me, sir.
    Yes, Thompson?
  12. Thomkins: Thomkins, sir.
    Yes, what is it?
  13. Thomkins: Missus Bagshot wasn't actually in this room at the time, sir. She was in the dining room... by the door, sir.
    I was quite aware of that fact.
  14. Thomkins: Sorry, sir.
    As I was saying, the shot which so fatally killed Missus Bagshot was fired from this very room. What I would like...
  15. Thomkins: Sorry again, sir.
    Now what is it!
  16. Thomkins: The shot wasn't fired from in here, sir. The murderer was in the hall and fired through the doorway... sir.
    Thank you very much. I really don't think we need to be such sticklebacks for detail, Thompson.
  17. Thomkins: Thomkins, sir.
    [Pause to collect thoughts, and get anger under control.] The bullet, which killed Missus Bagshot, passed through this very room in which we are now assembled. [Look pointedly at Thomkins.]
  18. Thomkins: Without a doubt, sir.
    First of all, I'd like you all to take up the positions in which you were in when the fateful occurrence occurred. [Wait until most of them get to the door.] Where are you going?
  19. Margaret: To do as you asked, Sergeant.
    Thomkins: They were all elsewhere except for one, sir.
    [Take Thomkins down left.] Then why did you assemble them in here?
  20. Thomkins: You asked me to, sir. In the lounge you said, sir.
    Are you trying to make me look a fool, Thompson!
  21. Thomkins: No, sir. That's the last thing you need.
    • [Poke Thomkins with finger.] You'll need to buck your ideas up if you want to make anything of yourself in the force. [Return to center.]
    • For the sake of briefness of brevity I'll conduct the questioning in here.
  22. Bunting: I wish he'd make his mind up.
    [With my back to Joan.] So... which one of you was in here when young Missus Bagshot was so cruelly cut down in her prime?
  23. Joan: [Pokes me on the shoulder and I jump and scream.] I fear it was me, Inspector.
    [Gather myself.] And you are?
  24. Joan: Miss Maple.
    I see. And your surname, Miss Mabel?
  25. Thomkins: Maple is her surname, sir. She's somewhat of a celebrity in the village.
    Right. Thank you, Thompson.
  26. Joan: Thomkins, Inspector.
    Quite. And the reason for your celibacy, Miss Mabel?
  27. Joan: It's hardly that, Inspector. It's simply that I've been involved with his kind of things many times.
  28. Joan: Most regrettably, yes, Inspector.
    I see. Regrettable indeed. So... you were the only person alone in the room... [Glance to Thompson] ... when the bullet passed through. Did you see anything?
  29. Joan: I'm afraid not, Inspector. It was traveling rather too fast.
    Yes... as I suspected. [Mime the swift passage of a bullet with my hand.]
  30. Joan: I remember her last words... she must have caught sight of the murderer. She said... "so you've found"... then the shot was fired. I ran to her, but upon examination she was dead.
    I see. Did she say anything?
  31. Joan: No, Inspector.
    Thank you, Miss Marble.
  32. Joan: It's my pleasure, Inspector. I only wish I could be of more help. However, I hope you won't mind me saying that it would perhaps be less confusing if you simply called me Joan.
    [Be confused.] Mmn. [Suddenly spin.] Colonel Craddock? [Go to him.]
  33. Charles: Yes, old boy?
    It was your gun that was used to perpetuate the crime to happen.
  34. Charles: 'Fraid so. Some bounder stole it from the hall.
    Careless... [Go to lean on dining room door.] very careless indeed. [Fall through door, wait a second or two, then pop back in.] Just checking on the dining room. [Pause for thought, blankly.] So... if we piece all that together, what have we got? [Pause... then when no one answers...] Thompson?
  35. Thomkins: I don't know, sir. Missus Bagshot may have been trying to say, "so you've found your gun," implying that she saw the Colonel.
    Exactly. I was wondering how long that would take you, Thompson. What do you say to that, Colonel?
  36. Charles: Preposterous! I was in the lavatory down the hall.
    Do you have witnesses?
  37. Charles: Of course I don't, man. Chap doesn't take witnesses to the little boy's room. Not unless he's up to no good of course.
    According to the statements, your wife was in her room. What about you, Miss Hartley... er.... [Come to Elizabeth's left]
  38. Elizabeth: Trumpington. I was changing. Pierre had just carried up my bags for me.
    Changing... So you were scantily clad... in your underwear.
  39. Elizabeth: Quite naked, Inspector.
    Mmn... [Stare at Elizabeth, then break away to center. Motion Pierre forward.] Pierre... our mysterious Frenchman. Bonjour mon amigo.
  40. Pierre: Bonjour Inspecteur. Je vous aiderai de mon mieux.
    [Nod knowingly.] Where wassey vous when le shirt was fire-ed?
  41. Pierre: Pardon?
    Elizabeth: Pierre does speak excellent English, Inspector.
    Ah. Well in that case I'll conduct my inquiring questions in English... for those not as affluent as I. (Slowly and loudly) Where... were... you... when... the shot... (Mime a gun being fired)... bang... was fired?
  42. Pierre: I... also... was in... my room.
    (Point to your eye.) I see. That leaves two unaccounted for. (Move behind settee, head between Dorothy and Elizabeth. Loudly:) YOUR NAME? (Face Elizabeth.)
  43. Dorothy: Dorothy Foxton. Mildred was my Aunty.
    Mmm. That would make you her nephew.
  44. Dorothy: Her niece, Inspector. I helped her.
    I see. She had trouble getting about?
  45. Dorothy: Not really, no.
    So why mention her knees?
  46. Dorothy: I didn't! Look, I live here. I was in kitchen when I heard the shot.
    Thomkins: There is a connection door from the dining room to the kitchen, sir.
    [Move to Elizabeth's left] I noticed that Thompson.
  47. Thomkins: Sorry, sir.
    [Sit down between Dorothy and Elizabeth.] So, what did you do? [Look at Elizabeth.]
  48. Dorothy: I ran into the hall... there was nobody there, so I came in here and found... Aunty.
    [Two beats... then] Thank you, Miss Foxglove. [To Bunting.] So, that just leaves you.
  49. Bunting: Bunting, sir.
    [Pull him DC] Yes, I'd deducted that. The faithful family container. Where were you?
  50. Bunting: The cellar, sir... stock-taking.
    And where is the cellar?
  51. Bunting: Down there, sir.
    Where is the door?
  52. Bunting: At the end of the hall, sir.
    I see. You can show me it later.
  53. Bunting: As you like, sir... it's just an ordinary door.
    [Dismiss Bunting. Pause.] Very interesting... very interesting indeed. So where does that leave us, Thompson?
  54. Thomkins: Seven possible suspects and not a corroborated alibi between them, sir.
    Charles: Look here, Inspector, you can't think it was one of us. Respectable people, dash it!
    [To Craddock] And you have a better theory?
  55. Charles: Course I have. Thought you'd work it out yourself. Burglar feller enters house... finds gun... spotted by Mildred... Blighter shoots her.
    That is a possibility, Colonel. Quite a strong possibility.
  56. Thomkins: But Missus Bagshot does seem to have recognized her killer, sir.
    Which is why I immediately dismissed it. Why are you trying to cast suspicion elsewhere, Colonel? Keep an eye on him, Thompson.
  57. Charles: What are you suggesting! Complete balderdash!
    [Down center] So... where do we go from here?
  58. Joan: I suspect I know where you're leading, Inspector.
    [To Joan] You do? Well perhaps these good people don't share our little secret, Missus Marbles.
  59. Joan: In my experience, it's a most crucial point.
    Oh, yes... the utmost cruciality. [Pause.] I'll let you take over, Thompson... it'll be good experience for you.
  60. Thomkins: Thank you, sir. I assume we're looking for a motive, sir?
    Joan: Well done, Constable.
    Exactly. What was the motive?
  61. ...
    Joan: There may be a will, Constable. Invariably a very good starting point.
    Thomkins: Thank you. Does anybody know...
    [Down center] Thank you, Thompson... I'll take over now. Does anyone know of a will?
  62. Dorothy: I think I may be able to help you, Inspector. Aunty mentioned it to me once... I believe it's held by the solicitor.
    And do you know the terms?
  63. Dorothy: No... no, I'm afraid not.
    Pity. Anybody else?
  64. Bunting: Begging your pardon, your worship.
    [To Bunting] Inspector will suffice.
  65. Margaret: Or Sergeant.
    Bunting: Missus Bagshot did once say that if anything happened to her she'd leave me a small pension. Will that be all right, sir?
    I'm afraid that's not up to me. Do you know anything else?
  66. Bunting: Well I did once accidentally hear her telling someone else about the will, but I didn't catch the details.
    And who was she talking to?
  67. Bunting: I can't say, sir. I don't want to get anyone into trouble.
    Charles: Trouble! That's it... that's how I know your face... some kind of trouble. Have you ever been to India, Bunting?
    If you don't mind, Colonel, I'm asking the questions. [Pause.] Have you ever been to India, Mister Bumsting?
  68. Bunting: No, sir.
    Pity. Another dead end.
  69. Thomkins: I think Mister Bunting was going to tell us about the will, sir.
    I know, Thompson, I hadn't forgotten. Will... well?
  70. Bunting: I don't remembers, sir.
    Don't remember what?
  71. Bunting: The question, sir. It's the shock, sir... my legs have turned to jelly.
    Come, Mister Bumsting... don't trifle with me. You were going to tell us... Thompson?
  72. Thomkins: Who knew about the will.
    Well don... just checking... So?
  73. Bunting: It was Miss Dorothy, sir.
    Ah... now we're getting somewhere. [To Margaret] Why didn't you mention this before?
  74. Margaret: Because my name isn't Dorothy. [Points to Dorothy.]
    I realize that, Missus Haddock... don't underestimate me. [To Dorothy, from her right.] I haven't mentioned the will to you earlier, Miss Foxglove, because I felt you were already too upset. However...
  75. Thomkins: You did actually, sir.
  76. Thomkins: A minute ago, sir. She denied all knowledge.
    Very good, Thompson... you're getting the hang of it now. Why did you lie, Miss?
  77. ...
    Dorothy: I didn't do it. I didn't kill her. You've got to believe me.
    Joan: I believe you, my dear.
    [To Center] Fortunately, Missus Marbles, I'm not so gullible. [Act out, leaving room, finish center again.] Miss Foxglove had a strong motive and, what's more, a very good reason. She was in the kitchen, which made it easy for her to stealthily teal into the hall where she stole the gun. Shortly after stealing the gun, she stole slyly to the doorway and shot the shot that got Miss Shogbot... Bogshot.
  78. Dorothy: I didn't!
    I think that ties things up nicely. Thompson, charge her.
  79. Thomkins: Pardon, sir?
    Charge her. Then we'll take her down to the station.
  80. Thomkins: I wonder if I might have a word, sir.
    What is it now? [Go to Thompson, DSL] Yes?
  81. Thomkins: I don't think we can charge her, sir. We don't have any real evidence.
    What's the matter with you, man... we can soon make some up!
  82. Thomkins: But if it doesn't stick, sir?
    Course it will. When I've finished with her she'll be like putty in my hands. [Move away.]
  83. Thomkins: I was only thinking of your reputation, sir.
    What? [Move back to Thomkins.]
  84. Thomkins: If we don't make a real case.
    [Pause... move back to center.] Mmn... That will be all for now. Don't leave the house. I may have further interrogations and questions later.
  85. Dorothy: What about me?
    Same applies to you, Miss Foxglove... especially to you.
  86. ...
    Charles: Wondered if I could have a word, old boy? Somewhat confidential... delicate matter and all that.
  87. Charles: Bit tricky. Wouldn't want my wife to get wind.
    I see. She has a history?
  88. Charles: What of?
  89. Charles: No, old boy. You've missed the point. Can I rely on your discretion?
    Naturally, Colonel. Anything you say will go no further than my ears.
  90. Charles: I do know a bit about the will. Mildred said that she was leaving me five thousand pounds.
    I don't think that amount need concern us.
  91. ...
    Thomkins: And how long as this...
    Do you mind, Thompson?
  92. Charles: Close on thirty years. Died down a bit over recent years of course. Hate the wife to find out. Wouldn't want to upset the old apple cart, if you take my meaning.
    I see no reason why she should. We're all men of the world, Colonel.
  93. Charles: Dashed grateful. All of this sets a chap's head spinning. Think that's everything though... made a clean breast. Any objection if I take a turn around the garden?
    There's no need for us to take turns, Colonel. I have pressing matters here.
  94. ...
    Thompson: I hope you weren't doing what I thought, Miss Maple.
    [Go to the end table and start playing with ornament.]
  95. ...
    Joan: And I expect the Inspector would like one as well. I won't be a moment.
    [Break the ornament, shove it in my pocket. Take out magnifying glass.]
  96. Thompson: What do you think so far, sir?
    I don't know. It's a tricky one, Thompson.
  97. Thompkins: Thomkins, sir.
    So many suspects... not a corrugated aleebuy between them. The woman who just left... the so call Mabel Marbles... she worries me. Why is she so keen to be known as Missus Jones?
  98. Thomkins: Actually, her name's Miss Maple, sir.
    Really! Or is that just another alias? By her own confession she's murdered before.
  99. Thomkins: No, sir... I think she just solves them.
    And Colonel Haddock. Very fishy. Does he know more than he's saying?
  100. Thomkins: I doubt it, sir. Anyway, if he was guilty, why tell us so much in the first place?
    Easy. As soon as he saw me he realized he'd have to come clean. He's used to dealing with trained men. He recognized my ruthless relentless streak and knew that I'd leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of justice.
  101. Thomkins: I see, sir.
    Strange that he should mention this Mildred woman. We'll need to check... see where she fits in to all this.
  102. Thomkins: She's dead, sir... she was murdered.
    [Look right at Thomkins with the magnifying glass.] Another one! My God, Thompson it makes you shudder to think how far some people will go. You know, I've got a gut feeling. Dorothy Foxtrot's our man.
  103. Thomkins: Woman, sir.
  104. Thomkins: Dorothy Foxton's our woman, sir.
    Ah... I wandered how long it would take before you came around to my way of thinking.
  105. Thomkins: That's not what I meant, sir. You see, you said... [glare at him] It doesn't matter, sir... but I do think there may still be one or two stones left to turn, sir.
    Are you trying to be funny, Thompson?
  106. Thomkins: No, sir.
    Good, it doesn't suit you. [Get back to down stage right.]
  107. Joan: I have your teacakes. I do so hope you like strawberry jam... it's rather my favorite.
    Thomkins: Thank you Miss Maple. Very kind I'm sure.
    Not while you're on duty, Thompson!
  108. Thomkins: Pardon, sir?
    We've got an image to maintain, man. If you want something to do, fetch me the gun. It's in my car. Oh... and do something with this. [Hand him pieces of broken ornament.] Important evidence... can't leave it lying around. When Thompson comes back, I'd like to try a little experiment. [Reach out and take piece of teacake.] See if we can jog your memory, Miss Marbles. [Take a large bite, get jam on the end of my nose.]
  109. Joan: That may be helpful. You know, I feel very uneasy. At this stage I usually have a little inkling.
    Really? Well, don't let me keep you, madam... down the hall on the left I believe.
  110. Joan: I must say that I'm absolutely delighted that you've eliminated me from your inquiries, Inspector.
    [Move to her left.] I wouldn't say that, Miss Marbles... or should I call you Missus Jones? I discount and illuminate no one.
  111. Joan: Well in that case you really must be more careful, Inspector. If I were a deranged killer I could just have eliminated you.
    I think not. I'm a highly trained fighting machine. [Make fighting moves.]
  112. Joan: But I've come across so many cases of poisoning... a most unpleasant death. I do find it such an underhanded method.
    [Counter stage right, schtick with teacake.] Ah, Thompson, about time. [Take gun, schtick with gun.] I intend to try an old and trusted technique to see if Miss Marbles can remember or recall anything else about the event... a reconstitution. You be Missus Bigshot, Thompson... I'll be the killer.
  113. Joan: And would you like me to be myself, Inspector?
    Mmn... good idea.
  114. ...
    Joan: I believe Mildred said she was going into the dining room to find a book.
    Ah... good... already the plot thickens!
  115. Joan: You should be in the hall, Inspector.
    I know... I was going. [Go out into hall.]
  116. Thomkins: I'll go into the dining room to find a book.
    [Poke gun through curtain.]
  117. Thomkins: Oh... you gave me such a shock. So you've found...
    [Shoot Thomkins... Wait until Marple runs past, then come in, holding gun... do schtick, then curtain.]
Card Set:
Murdered to Death Act I Scene 2 - Inspector Pratt
2013-10-04 03:01:32
comedy play

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