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The Play : A Secondary Cause of Death . . . by Peter Gordon

Play to be performed by : The Tethera Valley Players.

( The players from the Three Valleys of Lorton, Loweswater and Buttermere )

Location : Loweswater Village Hall, Loweswater , Cumbria, Uk ( NY 140 210 )

Date and time: Thursday to Saturday, 20th to 22nd November 2008 .


Preparations : During Sept / Oct 08 in Shatton Hall Barn, courtesy of Brian and Margaret Heard.

A comedy "who-done-it" by Peter Gordon.



The scene is set in a stately home where the Colonel ( Peter) is entertaining guests.

The Colonel talks to Count Puchlik( Alan), a Polish gentleman staying for the weekend.

Cynthia Maple (Carol) discusses the 'Murder Mystery play' that will be the after dinner entertainment.

A round of applause greets Laura as she makes her entrance as the cook. " Dinner will be at Eight "

The Count checks his dictionary in order to understand the conversation

Penny takes the part of The Colonel's nurse.
Inspector Pratt - " I've got a gun - do you want to see it ?"

The hapless inspector ( played by John ) has arrived to protect the Colonel

as his wife has escaped the asylum . . . and is out to kill him.

I will protect you like a stalking . . err . stalker.

Lily the cook explains that her job is an alias for her real work . . . a 'secret agent' looking after the Colonel's well being.

She explains that the Count's credentials are false, just an alias . . . . . " adopted by aliens" repeats Pratt a little later !

The Count laspses into the German vernacular . . .
. . . and is overheard by Martha and reported to the authorities.

Martha the housekeeper (Margaret) reports to Henrietta. "It's my duty . . . to say what I heard".

Soon after however, she is abducted through a secret door by someone . . .

and we are faced by our first murder mystery . . .
. . . then a second apparent death - that of the Colonel.

Who is responsible and who wants the Colonel dead . . . and why does he immediately reappear in the doorway, very much alive ?

The answer is that it's now the mystery play and the first chap was the colonel's identical twin, played by Longfellow (an actor).

But wait . . . he's a jolly good actor . . . the poor fellow has managed to stop his own pulse !

- - - o o o - - -

We break at the end of Act One with more questions than answers.

Two people are dead, under the very eyes of the Police Inspector.

- - - o o o - - -

Act two opens with Inspector Pratt, Henrietta . . . and a body !

Click here or on the photo for a brief video

The video should open and play in your Windows Media Player.

[ It may take a minute or so to download on slower connection speeds - please be patient]

They thought the body inder the shroud was that of Longfellow (from act one) but in fact we have another murder to contend with.

The nurse had been done away with . . . and the murder weapon . . . was the Inspector's penknife !

The Count offers Inspector Pratt a cigar - "To make him look distinguished."

This kind gesture is a double edge sword

as the cigar is an exploding one.

The Count wants to do away with Pratt

because he is getting in the way of his plans.


Unfortunately the inept inspector disposes of the cigar in the teapot

which duly explodes in the outer room, causing the death of Henrietta

and injuring the Count.


Things are not going to plan for anyone !

Our delightful Lady Isadora (Betty) has a darker side too !

She hates the colonel and want him dead because he ordered her husband to his death in the first war, 20 years previously. She wants revenge.

She tries to shoot him but the gun failed to work . . .
. . .so she resorts to the "Candlestick in the Library" plan.

The Colonel appeards to die after all, but at the hands of an unexpected murderer. Cynthia sees it happen and chases Lady Isadora out of the room.

Soon after Isadora is found in the garden, apparently killed by a blow on the head from a falling flowerpot, dislodged by Pratt from an upstairs balcony.

Now that's six dead and one seriously injured . . . are you following this ?

The inspector tries to reason it all out, but the best he can do is decide that he is implicated in all of these untimely ends and so must arrest himself !

Lily (the cook, alias the secret agent) explains what has been going on.

She calls in Longfellow the actor much to Pratt's delight . . . "I didn't kill you after all"

No it was just my skill as a dramatic actor . . . "I pretended to die".
Pratt makes notes as Lily reveals the true plot.

The first murderer was Cynthia. She planned to bump off the Colonel, substitute Longfellow, sell the house and run off with the money.

The nurse would have known of the deceipt and so had to be removed. Unfortuately the houskeeper had borrowed the nurse's cape and had been murdered by mistake. Pratt is vindicated again. He handed Longfellow (or was it the Colonel) a cigar as a goodwill gesture, not realising that it too would explode.

The Colonel returns very much worse for wear, but reported that he had given the cigar to Longfellow before it went off.

" All that's left of the poor fellow is his shoes"

But wait, there's a twist in the tail . . . . It was the colonel who died.

Longfellow is acting again.

He saw his chance of making his fortune as planned.

To the audience he reveals his true itentity as the actor.

- - - o o o - - -

But the final twist, in the twist in the tail .....

is that the Colonel's wife has returned home

with murderous intent,

confuses the actor with her husband

and the curtain falls to the sound of a gunshot.

- - - o o o - - -

Longfellows's plans of impersonating the Colonel have backfired

and he too lies dead, unable to realise his mercenary ambitions !



The cast return to the stage for their final curtain call . . . to well deserved applause.


Oh yes . . . next day we dismantled the set and returned it to the barn for another year.

The hall is clear once again . . . all we are left with are a few props and a lot of really good memories.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with with my Cannon G7 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . The satisfaction of successful three night run, here in the valley.

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How did we get the "show on the road" ? Oct / Nov 2008 Tethera Players 2008 preparations