Comedy, by Ken Bradbury, 2005

This very proper English murder mystery has plenty of suspects and a corpse who assists the police.

The number and gender of characters can be changed to accommodate available participants. Price is for a master script. Make as many copies as is required for your ensemble.


8 - 10 minutes

    Cast Options

  • 2 Females, 3 Males

Product Id: #795

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An excerpt …

The cast: (3m, 2f)

Edith: a maid.

Kensington McPike: a rich, spoiled, and irritating young man.

Inspector Holmes: of Scotland Lawn

Penelope Flibberjibbet: an aspiring actress

Periwinkle Smithmore: a dead man.

(It is a dark and stormy night, somewhere in the hills of Northbrumptonshire, just south of Southwarwicktown, and a bit down the road from Easthamptonwith. )

(The body of Periwinkle Smithmore lies dead on the floor.)

EDITH: (entering) Oh dear, someone’s dropped something on the carpet! (sees the dead body of Periwinkle) What the …! Blimey! He’s dead! Help somebody! (she screams) He’s dead! (she begins jumping up and down going into something of a fit) He’s dead! He’s dead! He’s dead!

KENSINGTON: (entering) I say, what’s all the ruckus?

EDITH: He’s dead, Master McPike! Mr. Smithmore is dead!

KENSINGTON: (looks at the body) Dear me. So he is. And right before dinner. You think we should do something?

EDITH: It’s too late! He’s dead!

KENSINGTON: I can see that, dear girl. After all, I’m his brother. I should be the one screaming and jumping about.

EDITH: Then why don’t you?

KENSINGTON: Very well. (and he goes into a similar fit, jumping and screaming) He’s dead! He’s dead! He’s dead!

PENELOPE: (entering, a very posh young lady whose every move is studied and affected) I say! What’s all the ruckus?

KENSINGTON: (in a screamy voice) He’s dead! He’s dead! Periwinkle Smithmore is dead!

PENELOPE: I hardly see any need to make a scene.

KENSINGTON: (to Edith) See. I told you.

EDITH: But he’s my employer! And someone’s killed him! Whatever shall we do?

KENSINGTON: What say we begin by getting him up off the carpet. Look … there’s a bit of blood starting to trickle out of his left vestibule. Come on now, let’s have at it, shall we? (The three of them bend down and laboriously pick up the dead body.)

EDITH: Oh, he’s all squishy.

KENSINGTON: It’s the blood. Think of it as raspberry jelly or something.

PENELOPE: (dropping her end in horror) Ooooo!

KENSINGTON: Oh, now look what you’ve done, Penelope. You’ve dropped your end. Not at all sporting.

PENELOPE: I can’t touch a dead body!

KENSINGTON: Of course you can. Think of it as a live body that doesn’t complain. After all, you’re an actress.

PENELOPE: But when I’m acting I just … you know … act. This is so … real.

KENSINGTON: Then act like he’s alive but pretending to be dead.

PENELOPE: You think that would work?

KENSINGTON: I’m sure of it. Heave ho, now. (the three again lift Periwinkle, this time plopping him onto three chairs set up to resemble a sofa) There we are. Safe on the sofa.

EDITH: He looks terrible.

KENSINGTON: He should. He really is quite dead. Can you hold dinner for a few minutes?

PENELOPE: Oh, how can you think of dinner at a time like this!?

KENSINGTON: Simple … I’m hungry.

PENELOPE: Quite so. Perhaps we could eat, then deal with dear Periwinkle after dessert.

KENSINGTON: Smashing idea.

EDITH: I … I can’t eat with a dead body lying about in the drawing room!

KENSINGTON: Well, you won’t actually eat with it, you …

EDITH: I mean … mean it’s all too horrible!

PENELOPE: We must call the police.

KENSINGTON: I’m sure they’ve already eaten.

PENELOPE: I mean to investigate, Kensington! Ring them up, Edith! Quick!

EDITH: (picking up a phone) Hello? Scotland Lawn? There’s been a murder! And the dead body is quite deceased. We suspect foul play! Yes, you have a good day, too.

KENSINGTON: Edith, you’re my brother’s most efficient maid. (moving close to her, romantically) I can’t tell you how much you mean to me at a time like this.

PENELOPE: There’s someone at the door!


EDITH: I’ll get it!

KENSINGTON: They always say that.

HOLMES: (entering) No need. I let myself it.

PENELOPE: I say. Jolly quick.

HOLMES: I had a strong tailwind. (offering his hand to each of them) Inspector Watson Holmes of her Majesty’s Royal Scotland Lawn. You are?

KENSINGTON: Kensington McPike, brother of the deceased Periwinkle Smithmore.

HOLMES: Your last name is different.

KENSINGTON: By jove. That does seem curious.

HOLMES: That’s why I’m a detective. I notice these things. And you?

EDITH: Edith, Master Smithmore’s humble, obedient and only slightly coherent maid.

HOLMES: Charmed. And you?

PENELOPE: Penelope Flibberjibbet, engaged to be married to the deceased … and part-time actress in several amateur but promising productions.

HOLMES: Ah yes. Lady Conchitta Bonita in Son of Henry the Third part Four, The Sequel, Part Two.

PENELOPE: You know my work!

HOLMES: I read the papers. And this … this must be Periwinkle Smithmore, lately of Stately Manor.

KENSINGTON: My word. He is sharp.

HOLMES: Well, he was the only one in the room not breathing.

KENSINGTON: Ah! Astute! Astute!

PENELOPE: (throwing herself onto the dead Smithmore and sobbing) Oh, I did love him so, inspector!

EDITH: (also throwing herself onto Smithmore) As did I! As did I!

KENSINGTON: (looks around a bit, shrugs, then) He was my brother! (throws himself down in a similarly mournful pose)

HOLMES: I see. But which one killed him? (Kensington, Edith, and Penelope freeze in their positions)

SMITHMORE: Bit of a puzzle, isn’t it?

HOLMES: Indeed. I don’t suppose you could be of any help?

SMITHMORE: (carefully easing himself off the couch, moving a hand of the frozen actors out of the way to work himself into a standing position) Well, they all had their motives. And it did hurt quite remarkably. (turns to show his back) See the knife? Quite uncomfortable.

HOLMES: Ah yes. Stabbed right through, weren’t you. Painful.

SMITHMORE: For a moment, then … how did Shakespeare put it? “All is nothingness?”

HOLMES: Well said.

SMITHMORE: Thank you.

HOLMES: Now … as to the murderer. I assume you know these people.

SMITHMORE: Quite well, actually. (as he points them out) She was my most trusted maid and also named in my will. He was my dear brother set to inherit my estate, and she was to marry me next Tuesday but had been having second thoughts after I gave her a hugely expensive diamond ring.

HOLMES: Anyone else?

SMITHMORE: No, she was the only one I planned to marry.

HOLMES: I mean suspects.

SMITHMORE: Oh. Not really. Am actually quite popular … was quite popular.

HOLMES: Where were you standing when you felt the blow?


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