The Case of the Music Guild Murders
is published by
Big Dog Publishing
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A Brief Excerpt
(Act I is set in the office of the Chief of Police. The Chief is at his desk)
Chief. (on Phone) Suzy, send in O'Hara.
O'Hara. (Entering) You wanted to see me, Chief?
Chief. Sit down, Mike. (O'Hara sits) I was listening to the radio on the way in. They say we've got another murder on our hands.
O'Hara. Some guy, if you can believe it, named Heavensent ... Chisholm Heavensent. We found the body floating in the lagoon out by the Music Guild.
Chief. No doubt stamped, "return to sender."
O'Hara. Is that supposed to be funny, chief?
Chief. (Apologizing for sick humor) Sorry. This job's getting to me. Another Director?
O'Hara. Yeah, "King and I," I think.
Chief. That's the second one this year...
O'Hara. Actually, if you count the winter show, this is number three, chief.
Chief. I wonder if this is what Irving Berlin meant when he said "There's no business like show business?"
O'Hara. Is that another joke, Chief?
Chief. What was the cause of death this time, poison, stabbing, strangulation ... gun shots?
O'Hara. Yeah, all of the above. How’d you know? We found him floating face down with a half dozen shivs wounds in his back, and an extension cord wrapped around his neck. He was shot at least nine times, and the medical examiner found rat poison in his stomach.
Chief. Did he have any enemies?
O'Hara. Not as far as we know. Just friends.
Chief. At the Music Guild that can be worse.
O'Hara. Yeah, or even fatal.
Chief. Any possibility this was a suicide?
O'Hara. Not a chance; the reviews were all good. (picking up newspaper. [Prop]) Listen to this. "Chisholm Heavensent has once again presented the people of the Quad Cities with a wonderful gift. Heavensent's "King and I" opened last night at
the Quad City Music Guild, and it was terrific..."
Chief. Any leads?
O'Hara. Nothing hard. But my gut tells me it was a soprano.
Chief. Why not the tenor?
O'Hara. If it was a tenor, we'd have found the soprano in the lagoon. No, Chief, I can feel it in my bones. It was a soprano.
When a third Music Guild director is found floating face down in the nearby park lagoon, Detective Mike O’Hara with the assistance of his boss, the Chief of Police, undertake to bring the murderer to justice. The investigation is confused by the fact that
the victim has been shot, stabbed, strangled and poisoned.
The brutality of the murder causes the police to suspect that the murderer will be found within the Guild’s stable of sopranos.
By: John Donald O'Shea
Cast: 2 M, 3 F
Performance Time: Approximately 30 minutes, 36 pgs.
This play could only have been written by an author who has directed community theater, and who has performed himself. The characters are real; the names, however, have been changed to protect the guilty. True, the author has stretched the truth a tad. But those exaggerations were in fact suggested by the real life actors, and are only the "hyperbolic extensions" of real life events.
Cast of Characters
Chief of Police Nick Tracey
A serious and competent police officer.
Detective Mike O’Hara
A disheveled detective in the mode of
Humphrey Bogart or Peter Falk .
An actress who closely resembles
Katherine Hepburn doing screwball
A beautiful actress who might easily be
mistaken for Marilyn Monroe. She is
dumb like a fox and very likable.
A Gertrude Lawrence-type actress. A
beautiful, talented, bitchy actress.