The Ralstons get a phone call from police headquarters saying that they should expect a visit from a detective. Sgt. Trotter (Ara Bohigian) arrives on skis and explains that a woman just murdered in London had a note in her purse mentioning Monkswell Manor, and there were indications that another murder might take place here. Years before, the murdered woman was responsible for abusing three children she was caring for at a farm nearby. One died and the other two were taken away.
The sergeant concludes that the murderer is among them and is proved correct when one of the guests is found strangled. To ferret out the culprit, he gathers everyone together and has them explain where they were at the time of the crime, to no conclusion.
Everyone is under suspicion. Each one of the young couple lied about not having been in London at the time of the first murder, and each is about the age to have been one of the two mistreated children. All of the men have the same color overcoats and felt hat as the London murderer.
What’s a sleuth to conclude? On the same grandmotherly parlor set, 2nd Story is balancing a murder mystery with a spoof of the genre, Jack Sharkey’s The Murder Room, in alternating productions beginning July 12. It’s a little meta-mystery option for postmodernists self-conscious about having enjoyed something so déclassé as a whacking good Agatha Christie murder yarn.