Murder Most Foul (1964)
What's all this?
You may choose, members of the jury, to believe the prisoner -
that returning from a walk, he found the hanging Mrs McGinty
and was about to release the rope
when Police Constable Wells appeared on the scene.
On the other hand, you may think the accused intended
to cover manual strangulation of Mrs McGinty
for motives of greed,
with clumsy attempts to make his mean crime appear to be suicide.
Madam, either you will have to cease knitting
or I will have to cease judging, which shall it be?
It helps me to concentrate, m'lord.
- It does not help me, madam. - Oh.
If what I have said is the truth of the matter,
then the prisoner was delayed in the execution of his evil subterfuge
by the desperate fight of his victim.
Those scattered banknotes,
that pathetic crushed rose torn from her dress...
He was delayed, I say, long enough for the timely intervention
of the alert Police Constable Wells.
Summing up for a conviction, Inspector.
- Stand you a beer afterwards, Wells. - Thank you.
..had every opportunity of knowing that the unfortunate widow
kept her life savings there instead of in the bank
and that Harold Taylor was bent on securing her meagre fortune.
If the facts as presented to you admit of any reasonable doubt,
then the accused is entitled to the benefit of that doubt.
Members of the jury,
if you have been convinced by the evidence beyond all reasonable doubt,
that the accused committed this heinous crime,
then it is your solemn duty to return a verdict of guilty.
You will retire and consider your verdict.
Might just have time for that beer, Wells.
There's absolutely no doubt in my mind he's guilty.
He was caught red-handed by the policeman.
Prisoner at the bar, have you anything to say...
Not yet, m'lord, the jury is still out.
Surely the time is more appropriate for a very dry Martini, Johnson?
Very good, m'lord.
- Not more tea? - No. They're coming back.
Are you agreed upon your verdict?
What did you say?
We're not able to reach an agreement, m'lord.
Silence. I will not have my court turned into a bear garden.
I suggest you retire for longer.
I'm afraid it would be a waste of time, my lord.
Very well. There will be a retrial at a later date.
If ever there was an open and shut case, this was it.
One jury member was deliberately perverse.
Many more than one, Inspector, I assure you.
11 to be precise.
That woman's made a mockery of my one and only murder.
No! No! No, Mr Swanbridge!
You mustn't turn your back on the audience.
I want them to see the surprise on your face.
Just once more, Miss Rusty, please.
Ah, our lady president.
Carry on, please.
Do please try harder, Mr Swanbridge.
My arm's getting awfully tired.
A little rough at the moment, but it'll be all right on the night.
- Tea? - No, thank you.
You found him guilty, of course.
They did. I did not.
Miss Marple, surely...
Remember our play for the renovation fund, The Lodger's Dilemma?
You remember, Mr Stringer, that the victim in that play
wore a rose to receive her paramour.
He murdered her and the lodger was blamed.
Exactly. Mrs McGinty wore a rose on the fatal night.
Was it to receive her lodger
when we have no evidence of any dalliance between them?
- I hardly think so. - Then she wore it for someone else.
- Her murderer, you think? - I do.
Excuse me, Mr Stringer.
I'm sorry, but he still keeps turning away. What can I do?
We'll have to recast him.
I know, ask the vicar if he'll be kind enough to have a try.
If what you say is so, then an innocent man's life may be at stake.
What can be done?
We can begin by inquiring rather more closely
into the private life of Mrs McGinty than the police have seen fit to do.
Yes, but how?
By returning to the scene of the crime, as it were.
Oh, very good, vicar.
Mr Stringer, if our plan works, you're sure you know your part?
- Yes, I think so. - Down! Down! You may be observed.
- Yes? - I'm collecting...
I'm collecting jumble for the church bazaar.
You're a Christian, surely?
- I should hope so. - Well then?
If it's for the church, there's plenty here.
Oh, thank you.
Got all her stuff here. You've heard of my sister?
Yes, the poor lady.
I always thought she'd come to a bad end - one of those theatricals.
Really? I thought she was a barmaid.
Oh, yes, but she used to be on the stage.
Did it in there you know, with his bare hands.
It comes to the same thing in the end. This way.
She was always sticking her neck out, that one.
She did leave you her cottage.
Didn't have time to arrange her will.
No, it would seem not.
Still I mustn't decry her, my own sister.
Blood's thicker than water I suppose.
Here's her stuff, nothing of value -
probably got it from a jumble sale herself.
She used to swear these rat-tails were mink.
I wouldn't be seen dead in this coat.
Can't imagine why she dressed in rags when she had money.
A real little slut she was.
I remember when she was a kid - always wanted to be an actress.
An actress, I ask you!
Mean, she was, you know, mean!
A touch of rheumatism. I find this beneficial.
- Oh, really? - Yes.
Try rubbing linseed and vinegar into the joints.
- It makes a new woman of me. - I'll bear that in mind. Thank you.
That'll be the insurance man paying out...
They don't like it when the unforeseen does occur.
Persistence, Mr Stringer. Persistence. Foot in door.
- I hope you've brought it in cash. - Brought what?
I don't want the same trouble as when my John passed away.
- I don't understand. - Aren't you from the insurance?
Oh, no, madam. I was hoping to interest you in improving your mind.
I was wondering if you'd allow me to show you the new Wonder book.
Come in, Mr... come in.
Murder She Said, Murder She Said, Murder She Said.
This section on our feathered friends is most comprehensive.
Everything from an albatross to a shrike.
- A what? - A shrike.
So named for its incessant chatter and predatory instincts.
It has a habit of impaling its prey.
I've got a woman upstairs. I'll get rid of her and we'll have some tea.
Please don't do that. I can't trespass on your generosity.
Oh, dear, poor Mr Stringer.
Fancy me mistaking you for the insurance man. You're much too nice.
- Oh, really? - Well, of course you are.
You don't really look like a salesman, do you?
- Don't I? - No.
- So you're a bachelor, Mr Stringer? - Er, yes.
Oh, I can always tell and I'm a widow.
I'd never have believed it.
How do you do?
- I see you got what you wanted. - Yes.
Perhaps the gentlemen would care to help me with these?
- Indeed. - Thank you.
I'll leave you the book, Mrs Thomas. Brood on it, will you?
- What about the tea? - Good day, Mrs Thomas.
So, you're a bachelor, Mr Stringer.
- Not staying to tea? - Oh, no, Miss Marple.
Dear me, the lady will be disappointed. Up!
Miss Marple, I assure you, I gave that woman no encouragement.
It is of small importance, Mr Stringer.
Good heavens, I've got it! Jim!
Look, there's the page of the Milchester Gazette
I took from Mrs McGinty's room.
Here's the identical page I got from the newspaper offices.
I've snipped out the same words and letters and produced this.
A rose. A rose?
Milchester 862, please.
Is that Lady Cynthia Waterhouse?
No, this is Mrs Gladys Thomas.
I'm so sorry, I have the wrong number.
As I thought. 862 is the telephone number of Mrs McGinty's cottage.
I'm at a loss.
This type of message is typical of a certain kind of criminal -
Yes, I think Mrs McGinty may have been one.
- Dear me. - Well, consider...
The Cosgood Players gave six performances of Murder She Said
here in Milchester in the week of May 12th to 19th;
The same week, incidentally, as this issue of the Gazette.
Here we have six programmes.
Mrs McGinty attended each performance.
- Why? - It's an excellent play.
True, but her interest was not primarily in the play,
former actress though she may have been.
No, I am convinced she was a blackmailer
and she was blackmailing a member of this company.
- Her murderer, you suppose? - I do.
- I think we deserve a small beer. - Yes, please.
It's you, Inspector.
You gave me quite a turn.
You gave me quite a turn, Miss Marple.
- May I come in? - Well...
It's Inspector Craddock, Mr Stringer.
Oh, how nice.
- Good evening, Inspector. - Good evening.
Are you here socially or officially, Inspector?
Well, a little bit of both shall we say.
That poses an interesting problem.
Socially, I can offer you a small beer.
Officially, I cannot if you're on duty.
All right, Miss Marple, it's official.
Then perhaps some tea. Won't you sit down?
Thank you, no. This won't take long.
We were playing anagrams, Inspector.
Miss Marple, Police Constable Wells informs me
that he observed you this afternoon at the late Mrs McGinty's cottage.
You were impersonating a rag-and-bone dealer.
I certainly was not.
- I was collecting for the church. - Is that so?
If you don't believe me, I suggest you ring the vicar...
Look, Miss Marple, in the past you've been of some small help
to the police and we're grateful,
but at the trial you interfered with the course of justice.
I'd feel a lot easier in my mind and so would the Chief Constable,
if you would promise me here and now not to continue to do so.
You can have that promise freely.
I have no intention of interfering with the course of justice.
- There's no more to be said then. - No.
- I'll say good night. - Good night.
Perhaps we should have confided our suspicions.
That man has just thrown down the gauntlet.
You know what the police are.
The month of September 1951...
This reference to a rose...
These things must have a great significance for our man or woman.
I suppose so.
The difficulty is, the Cosgood Players have moved on.
I read they were at the Palace Theatre over at Halford.
There is no doubt in my mind
that one of these play actors is a murderer.
If you're really convinced of your theory,
I suppose we should in some way, well, act.
Of course, why not?
That's what I must do.
After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Take our bags to the YMCA, Jim.
If I'm successful, I'll collect mine from you later.
I think I ought to wait, Miss Marple.
No, this may take some time.
All I know is that we had over £300 and now we've got nothing.
Where is it? It's a simple question.
- For simple-minded people. - That's mine!
What's the use?
Ah, thank you.
Daddy's very democratic. He doesn't mind who I marry.
You could have put that better!
If he's not asking for a pedigree, you're fine, eh Bill?
You could have put that better too!
Oh! I was looking for Mr Cosgood.
Haven't I seen you before?
Really? I wonder where that could have been?
- I'm not sure. - Probably in another dimension.
Don't take any notice, she's our weirdie.
No, it was in a dream... she and you, George.
- Something to do with death. - Oh, please, Eva. Can I help you?
I have an appointment with Mr Cosgood.
He's probably messing about on the stage. It's over there.
Oh yes, thank you. I'll find him, young man.
Mr Cos.... oh!
- Are you Jane Marble? - Marple, if you please.
- Very well, get on with it. - It?
I have a performance in half an hour.
Whatever you have chosen to do, do!
Throw your voice to the back of the theatre. I want to hear you.
I can't catch what you say.
I want to hear every word!
Oh, very well.
The Shooting of Dan McGrew...
..by Mr Robert W. Service.
'A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon
'The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune
'And back at the bar...
'..in a solo game sat dangerous Dan McGrew
'And watching his luck was his light-o'-love, the lady known as Lou.
'When out of the night...
'When out of the night that was fifty below
'And into the din and the glare,
'There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks
'Dog dirty and loaded for bear.'
Just give me the gist and get to the climax!
Oh, dear me, that's very difficult.
It's a long poem and there's a great deal behind it.
However, as you wish.
Well now... soon after the stranger has entered this lurid scene,
it becomes increasingly evident there is a growing antagonism
between him and Mr McGrew.
An antagonism which is to end in stark tragedy.
Shall I pick it up at the point when the miner,
seated at the saloon piano, is playing like a maniac?
Yes, yes, please do.
'Then the stranger turned
'And his eyes they burned in a most peculiar way
'ln a buckskin shirt that was glazed with dirt he sat
'And I saw him sway
'Then his lips went thin in a kind of grin
'And he spoke and his voice was calm
'Boys, says he, you don't know me and none of you care a darn...'
Yes, yes, yes, but get to the point, please!
'But I want to state and my words are straight
'And I'll bet my poke they're true
'That one of you is a hound of hell
'And that one is Dan McGrew
'Then I ducked my head and the lights went out
'And two guns blazed in the dark
'And a woman screamed
'And the lights went up and two men lay stiff and stark
'Pitched on his head and pumped full of lead was dangerous Dan McGrew
'While the man from the creeks
'lay clutched to the breast of the lady that's known as Lou
'I'm not as wise as the lawyer guys
'But strictly between us two
'The woman who kissed him and pinched his poke
'Was the lady that's known as Lou.'
Are you still there?
- You were joking, of course. - Joking? Indeed, I was not.
Oh, then I am not joking when I tell you
that if you persist in joining our profession,
your wisest course is to register at once for unemployment pay.
That will not be necessary. I am of independent means.
- Dear lady, I didn't finish. - You made your view quite clear.
No, no, no. I was about to say that your performance had great merit.
Your choice of material let you down.
Yes, definitely duchess parts, regal roles.
I see you with other material performing like an angel.
Is not that the term for a backer of theatrical enterprises?
Droll, very droll.
I meant that you have a lot to offer the theatre, Mrs Marble.
- Miss Marple! - I'm delighted to hear that.
The marital knot is often the bolt on the door to the room at the top.
Do I take it you are offering me employment, Mr Cosgood?
Well, as to that, not exactly employment.
I was thinking rather along the lines of an apprenticeship.
Well, in a word, yes.
Splendid, splendid. Welcome to the Cosgood Players.
Well, now as to lodgings,
I prefer to live cheek by jowl with my colleagues.
Naturally. We're at Westward Ho, Prescott Street.
Mrs Harris is an excellent landlady.
Good, well, I'll just pick up my baggage at the YMCA. Au revoir.
- Cosgood... - Drunk again!
Now look here, George...
This man is not drunk, Mr Cosgood. He's dead.
Arsenic, I'd say. The autopsy will prove it.
Nonsense! He drank too much. It's as plain as the nose on his face.
You say you were on the stage when he came out from the dressing rooms?
The curtain is due up in ten minutes and I now have two roles to play.
There'll be no curtain up today.
My audience will tear the place up!
We'll risk that. I've got questions to ask.
- Questions? What about? - A man is dead - it's usual.
- His dressing room? - Number two.
Can't you get George off the stage and come back later?
No, sir. Number two, you said?
- I knew something would happen. - Really, miss?
Yes, I have premonitions about these things!
Well, I told George, as soon as I saw that strange woman.
- What strange woman? - The one who came to see Driffold.
- Driffold? - Driffold Cosgood, Inspector, me.
What about her?
- Her? - This strange woman.
I'd just auditioned her when George interrupted.
- Is the lady here now, sir? - She'll be somewhere...
- She seems to have gone. - A name and description, Sergeant.
Now, sir, any idea of this lady's name?
I've seen this before.
Not that one, Inspector, this one.
"Remember September 1951. A rose by any other name would smell. Ring..."
Miss Marple! I distinctly asked you not to interfere.
- Inspector, that strange woman is... - Yes, Miss Marple.
Sergeant, escort her to headquarters for a complete statement.
I'll see her later.
After you, Sergeant.
Sergeant, are you sure you didn't mishear what Miss Marple said?
I did not, sir.
No, well. Will you come in please, Miss Marple?
Almost a draw, Sergeant.
Well, please, sit down.
All right, Miss Marple, let us suppose, just suppose,
that Mrs McGinty was blackmailing one of those actors.
Let's say this was the actual blackmail note she sent.
By all means, Inspector.
As it was lying beside the whisky bottle in George's dressing room,
she must have sent it to him.
That does spring to mind.
- So she was blackmailing him. - It would appear so.
If there's anything at all in what you say, he murdered her.
On the face of it, yes.
Are we to suppose that in a belated fit of remorse he poisoned himself?
- Perhaps. - Or did someone else poison him?
Inspector, may I ask you a question?
If you had simply found that note in the victim's dressing room
and knew no more about it, what would you have made of the affair?
The man was being blackmailed and had decided to end it all.
Yes, that's what I thought.
It could be that the note was left on purpose, so you would think that.
Miss Marple, it's been a long day. What are you suggesting now?
I am suggesting that the murderer of Mrs McGinty
and the murderer of George Rowton are one and the same.
As to who murdered George Rowton, I don't yet know... but I will.
As to who murdered Mrs McGinty, I do know.
He is being held in Milchester jail awaiting a retrial,
necessitated by the stubbornness of a certain member of the jury.
He killed her for her money.
Ah, yes, that £100 that was found by her body...
Doesn't it occur to you, Inspector,
that it wasn't Mrs McGinty's savings at all, but her pay-off?
So whoever she was blackmailing brought the money, killed her,
then hearing the lodger, left her behind in panic?
- No. - Well then, what?
I propose that, like the note,
the money was left behind deliberately.
Obviously so that the police would leap to the conclusion
they have leapt to.
If I were you, I would examine the bank accounts of these people
to see if one of them happened to withdraw £100,
either on or about the time of Mrs McGinty's death.
I will investigate your theories.
In the meantime, please go home to Milchester and stay there.
I'm afraid that is out of the question.
My work will keep me here indefinitely.
I have accepted an engagement with the Cosgood Players
and a Marple's word is her bond. Good day.
"Actor, playwright, impresario, a man of many talents..."
Might have used a better photo.
It says here I'm 48!
Listen to this, "Lady Sheila, stage-struck adopted daughter
of Lord Upward, and bride to be of juvenile lead Bill Hanson, said" -
and I quote the quote -
"This doesn't alter our wedding plans, daddy's very democratic."
Bully for daddy, eh Bill?
- Arthur, you're an absolute stinker. - Crawl back under your stone.
It's all good stuff. Absolutely no rubbish.
- Notoriety helps the box office. - Too true.
Have you read this, Ralph?
"Ralph Summers, matinee idol of Mother's Day,
now an ageing, overweight, barmaid fancier."
Let me see that!
You're a nasty little joker.
I think that's very funny, and so true.
That's a nice wifely thing to say.
Your taste does run to barmaids. There was that one at Milchester.
- Remember... - Shut up, Maureen!
- Yes, Mrs Harris? - Your new one's here.
Dear lady, I feared we had created an unfortunate impression on you
in view of today's accident.
Oh, no. I had a little business to attend to.
Well, you're here.
Boys and girls, meet Miss Marple. Miss Marple, the company.
- Hello - How do you do, everyone.
There's cocoa on the tray. The beer's extra.
Yes, of course, a nightcap. Do sit down.
Name your poison, dear lady. I mean...
Cocoa please, Mr Cosgood.
An excellent brew. I can recommend it.
By the way, the police are looking for you.
- Oh, yes, I have spoken to them. - You have?
Why don't we revive A Kind Of Murder as a tribute to George?
Well, Miss Marple and Dorothy are perfect
for the two scheming sisters.
- I couldn't play a murderess. - Couldn't you?
One of us could. He or she's had practice.
What's that supposed to mean?
Well someone slipped a noxious dose into old George's whisky...
..and that someone is in this room.
Oh, belt up!
Oh no, no, I'm not having this,
in front of a new colleague too.
There's no question of George being murdered by a member of my company.
The whole thing is obviously some ghastly mistake.
No, you're wrong.
One of us is a murderer and you feel that too, don't you?
Well, my dear, it's hardly for me to say.
- Stop it! Stop it! - Bill!
Stop talking about it. I can't stand it any longer.
You know. You know it was me.
You and your insinuations and sarcasm.
- What do you mean? - I'm going to finish you.
I'll close your big mouth once and for all.
Let go of me. Let me go!
- That had you going a bit. - Well...
You know what your trouble is,
you can dish out jokes but you can't take them.
- I think that was in very bad taste. - Yes, so do I.
I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset anybody but him.
Well, you've upset me.
For heaven's sake, I've had enough. I'm going to bed.
I'm feeling a bit tired myself. If I might be shown my room?
Oh, certainly, dear lady.
It's been a trying day. Very trying indeed.
So glad to be one of you. Good night.
Mrs Harris will show you up.
Come on then, number ten, upstairs.
Thank you, Mr Cosgood. Good night.
You shouldn't take too much notice.
Strange lads, but their hearts are in the right place.
I'm sure they are. Good night.
Good night, dear lady.
You'll soon feel at home. We're all one big happy family.
I hope you know what you're doing, dear boy.
You'll find this comfortable. He did.
- He? - The deceased. You know, Mr Rowton.
Well, breakfast is at 8:30. No cooking in the rooms.
Put a shilling in the gas if you're cold. Don't waste the light.
No male callers upstairs.
Oh! Naughty pussy! What are you doing in there?
Come along. Off you go.
What are you doing?
I couldn't sleep.
Why would that Marple woman want to sneak out of the house so early?
How should I know?
Perhaps she's just eccentric.
She certainly looks it.
Oh darling, you're not going all creepy are you?
Really, you could haunt a house.
I do wish you hadn't wakened me. Now I'll start fretting again.
- Put it out of your mind. - It's easier said than done.
Where can one go on honeymoon these days? Everywhere is so old hat.
Hey, what do think about Moscow?
How can you care about that after what happened?
Life must go on, darling, George or no George.
Were you in love with him?
No... it was all over.
I hated him.
Don't worry, darling.
I won't tell anyone.
Mr Stringer! What are you doing in that get-up?
Just training to get into peak condition for any emergency.
Is there one already?
No emergency, but a very interesting development.
Oh, do stop bobbing about and come over here.
Not a date, a play
and by my new employer, Driffold Cosgood himself.
- You do see the significance? - No.
Well, follow me, Jim. Follow me closely.
It seems to me that whomever Mrs McGinty was blackmailing
must have had some connection with the production of this play in 1951
and is with the Cosgood Company.
The author himself?
- Perhaps. - How did you come by it?
- I found it on my pillow. - What?
It was left there deliberately.
Then the murderer knows! He's been on to you all the time!
He's playing cat and mouse with you.
- Two can play at that game. - Miss Marple, I'm deeply disturbed.
Don't get yourself in a state.
I'm not in a state... I'm cold.
Oh, dear me.
There we are.
That's better, isn't it? Tuck it well round.
What organisation would be likely to keep a record
of all professional theatrical productions?
The censorship people.
To be sure. The Lord Chamberlain's Office in London.
I'd be obliged if you would go there post-haste
and enquire into the history of this play.
Where it was produced in 1951, who was in it and so on.
It may have been played in many theatres.
I hardly think so - I've read it.
Very well, I'll take the next train up.
Good. To your task and I must fly.
I wish to be at the table when they come down.
Thank you, Mrs Harris.
I seem to be a trifle early.
No, the others are a trifle late. Not that I'm complaining.
If they're not down in time, I've got six cats to feed.
Good morning, Florrie.
Good morning, good morning.
Good morning, Mr Cosgood.
- I trust you slept well? - Like a toff, thank you.
Nothing like sleep for knitting up the ravelled sleeve of care,
as the bard so aptly pointed out.
What's that you find so engrossing?
- Your play, Mr Cosgood. - What?
This is your play?
Yes. Yes, it is.
- Where did you find this? - In my room last night.
- Now isn't that extraordinary? - Yes.
I assume poor George must have borrowed it. Don't let me stop you.
I've finished reading it.
Ah well, let's see how the good Florrie serves us today.
How do you find it?
- The kipper? - The play.
Oh, I beg your pardon. The play.
I find it most interesting.
- How very gratifying. - Has it ever been produced?
Oh, no. I completed it only quite recently.
I have high hopes for it though.
Those must sustain you.
They do, dear lady. They do.
I was up half the night thinking. I want to ask you a question.
- Oh? - Yes.
Could you believe in Miss Marple as a lady detective?
I don't know any lady detectives.
Maybe not, but what do you think?
She's hardly typecasting.
You're quite wrong. She's perfect.
- What are you getting at? - I have an idea!
Keep the theatre closed till Monday, let the publicity build up,
then reopen with Out Of The Stew Pot.
That old potboiler!
A murder mystery! We've got one of our own. Why not put one on?
You may have a thought here.
With Miss Marple as the Honourable Penelope Brown.
Now I do see what you mean.
Yes, by Jove, it's brilliant!
- You're familiar with it of course? - No.
A classic of its kind. I'll fetch the scripts.
Ralph, call the theatre. Tell them we're rehearsing all week.
I wouldn't think I'm anyone's idea of a detective.
Not anyone's, Miss Marple, but you're mine.
You're certainly mine.
Get it on me... and keep it on me.
Now you've all read the play. Let me put you in the mood.
The scene is a filthy attic in Soho
in the very heart of London's square mile of vice
and worse, a dim figure is flitting about the stage - that's you, Bill.
You play Sidney, assistant to Penelope Brown -
amateur criminologist - that's you, Miss Marple.
Sidney is looking for something...
searching... searching... searching...
A step on the stair outside.
I, as the father, am about to enter with my delinquent son, Stanley -
that's you, Arthur.
Sidney freezes, then darts to the place of concealment.
Sorry, guv. Testing.
All right, don't stand about grinning!
Just testing indeed. Now where was l?
I come in with my son.
I beg him to tell the police all he knows about Rona La Plante's death.
He sneers at me... rejects me.
Then the climax of the scene -
I detect a movement behind the alcove curtain.
I cross to it, pull it aside to reveal...
- What do you want? - A call for Miss Marple.
Why didn't you say so?
Miss Marple, you're not in this scene.
Take it from my entrance.
Bill, you're concealed over here. Arthur, you and I come in.
You're living here? A son of mine?
Yes, Mr Stringer.
You were right, Miss Marple.
Remember September was put on in 1951 -
a try-out performance at Pebblestone-on-Sea.
Very interesting, particularly as the author claims
that he's only recently completed the work.
That may have been embarrassment.
The Lord Chamberlain's Office remembers it
because it was booed off the stage halfway through.
That doesn't surprise me in the least.
The point is, was there anyone we know in it?
I have obtained a full cast list
and in it occurs the name of Margaret McGinty.
Now tell me, apart from Mr Cosgood,
who else in this company was connected with this production?
No one? You sure?
All right, Jim. I was just thinking.
Of course it's possible that someone has since changed his or her name.
Look, Jim, drop the cast list in to me at Westward Ho, will you?
Thank you. Goodbye.
I'm sorry if I startled you.
Mr Cosgood is asking for you on the stage.
Thank you. I'll go.
This was in props. It should do the job.
All right. Let's try it.
Ah, there you are, dear lady.
We've devised an embellishment to the scene where you confront Ralph
with the truth about Rona La Plante's death.
Instead of merely knocking over the lamp and making good his escape,
Ralph suggests he also attempts to kill you.
- Really? - Yes.
He knocks over the lamp, shoots at you and then bolts.
- I see. - He misses, of course.
Nothing like a loud report for keeping an audience alive.
- Do you find this alarming? - Oh, no. Not at all.
Right, then, let's set the scene.
Ralph, you'll be over here, rifling the escritoire.
The Honourable Penelope will enter through the French windows here.
Right! Positions, please.
Miss Marple, in, now.
I thought I'd find you here, Faber.
- You! - Yes, me!
Stay where you are.
Violence will avail you nothing. The grounds are swarming with police.
- They've nothing on me. - Oh, yes they have. You see...
You see, Mrs McGinty's dead!
You made a mistake, didn't you?
You certainly did, dear lady.
What did I do?
- You said, "Mrs McGinty's dead". - Did I?
Yes, it's Rona La Plante who's dead.
Yes, how silly of me.
I must have picked it up from your play, Remember September.
My play? There's nobody of that name in it.
The name McGinty's on my mind, for some reason.
I know, it was that barmaid murdered at Milchester.
There was a trial last week.
Yes... that's it.
May I try it again please?
Yes, yes, only let's do it properly this time.
I'll do my best.
All right, Ralph, make your move.
Seen this in the evening paper?
"Police Baffled In Theatre Mystery".
Not that, this.
"Grand Charity Reopening Monday.
Driffold Cosgood proudly presents his company in a murder drama.
First night proceeds in aid of the Police Benevolent Fund."
I can just hear the Chief Constable agreeing.
- Have you got those bank statements? - On your desk, sir.
Well did anyone draw out £100 about the time of Mrs McGinty's death?
- Yes, sir. - Well, who?
- The dead man, George Rowton. - Why didn't you say so?
I just did, sir.
Well, well, well. It was as simple as that - suicide.
There's a visitor for you.
Oh, thank you.
- In there. He's a male. - Oh, I see.
- Oh, Inspector. - Good evening.
I missed you at the police station. I had no idea you had come here.
No, I'm sure.
Your visit is most inopportune.
At rehearsal today, I set in train a certain stratagem
which I think will force our murderer to make a move tonight.
I very much doubt it.
Our murderer, as you put it, is dead.
I beg your pardon?
Look. George Rowton's bank statement -
important item underlined, namely a withdrawal of £100.
So that explains it.
- I thought you'd see. - Yes, indeed.
I admit the motive for Rowton's murder had eluded me until now.
He wasn't murdered. He killed himself.
- You really think so? - It's obvious.
Mrs McGinty blackmailed him, he drew out of the bank to pay her off,
murdered her and left the money to incriminate the lodger.
- That theory has a familiar ring. - What?
Oh, you did suggest something like that.
The point is, the lodger's innocent.
Rowton did it and then took the easy way out - couldn't stand the strain.
The case is wrapped up. I'm going to tell the Chief Constable.
- I wouldn't do that if I were you. - Why not?
I think you're wrong.
- You do? - Yes.
I think our murderer got the money to pay Mrs McGinty off George Rowton
in a way which made it necessary for Rowton to be disposed of later.
Only a woman's mind could have dreamt that one up.
It may irritate you, Inspector, that women sometimes have superior minds.
You will simply have to accept it.
Oh, don't you need this?
- Good night, Miss Marple. - Good night, Inspector.
- Good evening. - Good evening.
Oh, that's where you are!
They like to sleep up here when they can find an empty bed.
Come on, your liver's nice and hot.
Dinner gong in two minutes. Come on, babies.
Miss Marple, I was hoping to catch you before you went down.
Yes, I thought it was time we had a little chat.
That's it. Overture and beginners please.
That means you.
- No male friends in rooms, madam. - Don't be absurd, boy.
Well, perhaps I can escort you down.
I'll give dinner a miss tonight.
I'm feeling a trifle queasy.
- Nothing incapacitating, I trust? - Oh, no. A good night's rest...
- Well... I'll... leave you then. - Thank you.
Take care, dear lady. We mustn't be without you Monday, must we?
Oh, my dear. I was just...
Bitter almonds... cyanide!
This is tragic, absolutely tragic.
When the press hear this, we will be turning them away from the theatre.
We're stuck without someone to play the housekeeper.
- You can't have it both ways. - We must!
We owe it to Dorothy.
You're already the good-time girl and the vicar's daughter.
Sheila, would you play the housekeeper if I got you a wig?
Oh, Driffy, you make me sick. You don't care about poor Dorothy.
All you care about is your play and your stupid old self
and no, I won't play the housekeeper!
All right, Miss Marple. Cyanide gas, but how?
- I think I can explain that. - No doubt.
I take it from your tone that you did not have second thoughts
about seeing the Chief Constable yesterday.
- If you can explain, please do so. - Very well.
So what? My wife has one.
Presumably she doesn't cook candle wax.
No, she doesn't.
There is a little at the bottom of that saucepan.
This is what happened.
The murderer set the dials
so that the gas came on at 12:55 precisely
under this saucepan that contained a small wax cup of acid
and a pellet of sodium cyanide.
The wax melted, the acid flowed over the pellet.
Result: a sudden release of cyanide gas. Lethal.
At one o'clock precisely, the gas turned itself off...
Leaving nothing but an innocent saucepan on the hob.
Yes. That means whoever we're looking for must have specialist knowledge.
Exactly the same murder method is employed in our play on Monday -
Out Of The Stewpot.
Any one of the company could have done it.
The way things are now I am tempted to arrest the whole lot of them.
- Really? - Yes, really.
What you've found out, what we've found out... look at what we've got.
He told you he'd only just written Remember September
and yet we know it was produced in 1951.
Victim one, Mrs McGinty was in it.
This fellow Summers, we know he took Mrs McGinty out
when the company was in Milchester, the week she was murdered.
His wife, Maureen, knew about this and she didn't like it.
Then there's this spooky girl, Eva.
She was having a romance with victim number two, George Rowton,
and he tossed her aside like a...
- Worn-out glove, sir? - Yes.
Then there's young Arthur - that note was typed on his typewriter
and as a result, victim number three.
There is a point here.
In 1951, the younger members of the company would have been children.
Yes, by George.
If that performance of Remember September in 1951
started this whole thing, then none of those youngsters -
Eva, Bill, Sheila, Arthur - could have anything to do with it.
Anyone could have gone into Arthur's room and used the typewriter.
- He's here. - What?
- He's here, sir. - Oh, yes.
- Would you wait here a moment? - Wait?
I wonder why the iron was hot?
- What are you doing here? - Well, I...
You asked me to drop in the cast list when I passed.
You know, Remember September.
You were passing at 2:30 in the morning? Come now.
As a matter of fact, the Inspector was kind enough to send a car.
He thought I might succeed where he had failed to persuade you...
- To desert my post? - This is a dangerous place.
- These are dangerous people. - Only one of them.
- The time has come for plain speak. - Please, Jim, I'm thinking.
It's here that the answer lies.
Driffold Cosgood, Ralph Summers, Margaret McGinty, Rose Kane.
Mr Stringer, we have here in addition to Margaret McGinty,
an actress called Rose Kane.
I don't understand.
Don't you see? "A rose by any other name would smell".
- The blackmail note. - Oh!
Mr Stringer, tomorrow I must do some digging.
- Digging? - Yes, into the past.
You mean this Rose Kane?
You seem to remember her well, Mr Tumbrill.
- What is your interest in her? - I simply want to trace her.
I've been outside the profession for many years now
and so the only way l...
If you're an old friend of hers, I'm afraid you're in for a shock.
- Oh? - Poor Rosie was hanged.
- What? - Yes.
A terrible business, terrible business.
Not so soon after breakfast, thank you. You were saying?
Oh, yes, terrible. I shall never forget it.
She opened in this play somewhere in the sticks.
It was a unique flopperoo, it didn't even run the night.
Anyhow on the same night, believe it or not, she poisoned her husband.
- Did she indeed? - Yes, she did.
She sent her kid out to buy half a pound of garlic sausage
and then doctored it with weedkiller.
There was a child?
Must have been 10 or 11 at the time.
- Boy or girl? - Never saw the kid myself.
Can't even remember its name.
Some friend took it in for a bit then popped it into an orphanage.
That friend, was her name McGinty?
Yes, that's right. Maggie McGinty, blonde, flighty.
Why ever did Rose do it?
- Usual thing - another man. - Who was he?
He never came forward and she never named him.
Then it could be the lover or the child.
I wonder if I might have this photograph as a keepsake?
Oh, by all means. Yes, by all means.
One of mine that got away, you might say.
I won't take up any more of your time.
- Evelyn! - I beg your pardon?
Rose's kid. Evelyn, that was the name.
Nothing like champagne for a champagne occasion.
Uncommonly civil of you, dear lady.
- What about a toast? - Of course, of course.
To success, to us, all of us
and particularly to our hostess, long life, dear lady.
Oh, Mr Cosgood, such lovely flowers.
- Who's that? - What?
She was an actress called Rose Kane.
Why do you ask?
I don't know, but somehow she means death.
It's something to do with George.
Five minutes, boys and girls. The party's over.
All you have to do is speak your lines clearly,
try not to trip over and we'll run longer than The Mousetrap.
See you on stage, dear lady.
Don't forget, it's Rona La Plante who's dead.
Well, Driffold, tonight's the night.
- It most certainly is. Got the gun? - Yes.
What does she want to see us about, sir?
I don't know.
Well, Miss Marple?
Good evening, Inspector.
There's something you should know before you go in to see the play.
I think our murderer will try to kill me again tonight.
The first attempt failed.
Poor Dorothy perished instead.
What are you talking about?
The iron was hot, you see. I burnt my hand.
No, I don't see.
When I went into Dorothy's room earlier that night
there was washing on the line.
I think she did her ironing later and forgot to switch off.
Then in the middle of the night she remembered
and went to the kitchen to do so.
She walked into a trap meant for you?
That note was left outside my door deliberately to lure me down.
We are going to stay right here
and not let Miss Marple out of our sight.
You mustn't do that. We must put no obstacle in the way.
- You can't be serious? - Never more so.
You see, our murderer set a trap for me.
I have just returned the compliment.
- Miss Marple, I've brought the... - Let me have it, Mr Stringer.
- Thank you. - What's that?
Life insurance, Inspector.
Beginners on stage, please. Beginners on stage.
Will you please excuse me, gentlemen?
We've been through that before.
You know that I have committed myself to this way of life
and I won't give it up.
You're living here, a son of mine!
I live where I choose.
Come in, Eva.
Now, don't scream.
Don't speak. I'm taking you somewhere where we won't be interrupted.
If you do anything, I'll kill you.
Now, open that door!
A couple of years in jail, what's that? It might be the making of you.
You may think the police are fools, Stanley,
perhaps some of them are but not all, son, not all.
If anyone tries to come through here,
I want to know who it is and what he wants.
Very good, sir.
Hey, what's all this about?
Miss Marple, I've covered every...
- Sheila, have you seen Ralph? - No.
- Where is she? - In the dressing room.
She isn't, you idiot. We've got to find her.
Look, Dad, can't we cut this short?
I'm expecting a visitor in...
..in a few moments.
One of your worthless friends no doubt.
It's the girl I'm going to marry, if you must know.
Look at me!
Look at me!
What's the matter?
I want you to know why you're going to die.
I want to know that too.
You killed him. I don't know why, but you killed him.
By him, you mean George Rowton, don't you?
You were in love with him.
Yes, I loved him and you killed him.
No, you're mistaken, my dear.
He was killed by someone called Evelyn Kane.
I don't believe you.
I know it was you. I've felt it was you from the beginning.
You can't do it!
You're no more capable of murder than I am.
You were quite right, she couldn't have done it.
A pity, I thought she might have saved me the trouble.
- Aren't you supposed to be on stage? - I am, Miss Marple.
Hundreds of people will swear I am,
hiding behind the curtain.
It's very simple really.
Remember when Cosgood dropped through the trap?
I've done the same.
In exactly three minutes I shall be back on stage on cue,
but you, I'm sorry to say, will not be answering yours.
You're Evelyn Kane, aren't you? Rose Kane's son.
Evelyn, what a name. I soon changed that.
The McGinty woman found that out, didn't she?
When you were playing in Milchester,
she recognised you, and as you were marrying an heiress,
she saw an opportunity for blackmail.
She threatened to tell Sheila's father unless I paid her...
..so I kept her quiet.
- Where could I find the money? - George Rowton.
She wanted £100, so I forged George's name on a cheque.
I couldn't let him find that out, could I?
So they both had to die.
Poor old Dorothy...
..that was meant for you, of course.
I had meant to wring your neck, but Eva's been very obliging.
Her fingerprints are on that and I'm on stage.
I borrowed this from Mr Summers.
You can't fool me with a prop gun filled with blanks.
Oh, no, not blanks. A friend of mine procured me some insurance.
I'll risk it.
I should warn you,
I won the Ladies Small Arms Championships at Bisley in 1924.
Bully for you.
I thought I heard something.
Come out of there!
Bill, you stupid...
With a bit of rest and some luck,
the doctor says I should be out of here in a few days.
Splendid. I'm thankful the blow caused no permanent damage.
- Now if you'll excuse me. - Thank you very much, Miss Marple.
There is one thing I thought you might like to know,
as a result of my work on this case,
I'm to be promoted to Chief Inspector.
Oh, I'm so glad. Congratulations.
Yes, well, thank you, Miss Marple.
Not at all, Inspector, Chief Inspector.
Forgive me if I fail to rise, dear lady.
I quite understand, Mr Cosgood.
I've brought you some magazines to help while away the time.
Ah, yes, time, time.
I've been lying here contemplating a bleak future unless...
I wondered if you'd given any thought to my play, Remember September?
It has been rather on my mind.
Dear lady, I have a small confession to make.
I left the script in your room.
I hoped it might make an impression on you.
- It did. - Good.
With one or two minor alterations in the second act,
I have here a very valuable property.
I'm so happy for you, Mr Cosgood.
There is, however, one little snag.
Yes, it's sordid of course, when dealing with the arts,
but a play, whatever its merits, requires a backer.
Mr Cosgood, whatever I may or may not be,
I am definitely no angel!
Goodbye and good luck.
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