Murder in the Library by Chris Shelstone
This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent
MURDER IN THE LIBRARY
A Comedy Murder Mystery Event
RAY BENTOS – A Famous Novelist
FREYER BENTOS – His Wife
KAY – Their Daughter
KEVIN – Their Son
VIOLET – Kay’s Daughter
WILL SCREWEM – The Family Solicitor
IVOR TRUMP – Ray’s Agent
ANDY – Ivor’s Son
NB : KEVIN & ANDY can easily be changed to either both female or male/female
The guests have all arrived at the Library for Ray's Book signing
session to release his latest Murder Mystery Novel - "The Faceless
Corpse". It’s also a special Birthday – his 60th. Ray has just
been murdered, but it's too late to cancel the arrival of the family
friends and guests, and the Police want everyone to stay where they
are until statements have been taken. The performing area includes a
typical book signing desk with copies of books and a big advertising
poster. There is also a table with drinks and snacks and a birthday
cake. The action can actually take place in a Library but if there is
a stage, then the action can take place in the round with the drinks
table and book display on the stage so that some of the action can be
Ray enters, dressed in a white suit with a large bloody knife wound
showing on his neck. He wanders through the audience to introduce
himself to his guests. There is an eerie version of ‘Sound of
Silence’ by Disturbed, playing in the background.
RAY: Good evening everyone. Now you're probably wondering why I'm
looking like death warmed up with a huge knife wound across my neck. I
expect I look like the walking dead. In fact, I am dead. Oh yes I am.
You see I was here to sign my latest novel for you all but instead -
well - I'm not looking too healthy, am I? It’s my birthday as well.
I was looking forward to some nice cake.
Someone really had it in for me and I need to try and piece together
who did this horrible thing and why. It's affected my memory - the
last few days leading up to my death are all a bit of a blur. All I
know at this point is that I can see you and you can see me, but
nobody else can see or hear me. God knows why. Anyway, I was quite
pleased with my lot, until now. Talented author, my work extremely
popular, earning money, comfortable life. It's been a struggle in the
past, but just when I'm enjoying life this happens.
I was here at the library earlier with all the family to set things up
before you arrived. I only went outside for a bit of fresh air and a
coffee whilst you lot were all arriving. One of them must have crept
up behind me. Must have been quick - I blacked out straight away.
I'll kill the rotten swine who did this. Oh - I can't, can I? But
perhaps through your good selves we can bring the person responsible
to justice. Yes? Are you with me on this? Well you'll have to be - the
police insisted everyone stays here until statements have been taken.
I just can't understand why anyone would want to do such a thing. I'm
an easy-going bloke, very talented. I mean you only have to read my
novels - my latest book "The Faceless Corpse" is a cracker. Lots of
twists and turns and perhaps my best yet.
The family are in the back room - it's been a big shock for them, so
they'll look a bit down in the mouth like. To be expected when you
lose a famous, popular, good looking man like me. I mean, I expect you
lot are gutted as well. I can hear some of them now - let's see what
we can piece together?
Enter Freyer and Will
Freyer is very materialistic, likes her jewellery & dresses
RAY: It's Freyer, my wife, and Will, my solicitor.
FREYER: Look Will, all the guests are here - hello everyone. Thank you
so much for coming on what was supposed to be a happy book signing
celebration for Ray. It's a horrible tragedy, and we need to find out
who did this.
WILL: Absolutely we do, yes. Someone has a lot to answer for this.
RAY: Too right they have.
FREYER: You found him Will, didn't you? What happened?
WILL: The last I knew he went outside for a break whilst we finished
off in here. We were all milling about, in and out of the rooms. Then
the guests had all arrived and someone said ‘Where's Ray? He should
be here.’ I went outside the back to look for him and...
FREYER: Okay, Will - don't upset yourself.
WILL: Terrible business. And today of all days. Not that...
FREYER: It's happened, and we just need to deal with it. Oh, before I
forget Will, have a look at my new ring (flaunting the jewellery). My
WILL: Freyer, you should be thinking about your loss right now.
RAY: Yes Freyer, you don't seem too upset.
FREYER: Different people deal with grief in different ways Will. I'm
shocked of course, appalled at who could do such a thing. I loved him
to the moon and back, but this is my way of dealing with it. I need to
surround myself with nice things. It's a protection mechanism -
besides, I'm showing it to you because I need it insured. It's worth
RAY: How much!?
WILL: Phew - a pretty penny then. I'll sort it for you first thing.
RAY: I bet you will. More commission for doing nowt. This guy needs a
close eye kept on him now I'm not there to do it. He's done more dodgy
dealings in the past than I've had hot pot suppers. But I knew that. I
did hire him for next to nothing.
WILL: By the way, have you nearly finished the next Ray Bentos Novel?
FREYER: Nearly Will, but I need a bit more time to do the finishing
touches. Just working on the closing scene.
WILL: You did a brilliant job on the last one. No one would ever know.
Apart from Ray of course. You know his work so well.
FREYER: Yes I do, don't I. Just a little insurance policy for me.
WILL: Brilliant idea of yours, Freyer. We keep the books to ourselves
and in the event of his death they can be released as originals on the
basis that they were previously unpublished works.
FREYER: Yes - but I didn't expect this to happen to him.
RAY: I'm getting some memory back now. See what's been going on behind
my back? I found out about their little scam a few days ago and
confronted them separately. It seems they are not letting on to each
other that I know. (He starts shouting at them) It's no use pretending
to each other that I didn't know what was going on. Damn. They can't
FREYER: Anyway - we'll talk about it later - I hear the kids coming.
Enter Kay and Kevin. It's obvious that Kay has been drinking and she
still has a bottle in her hand. Will goes to the drinks table.
RAY: Here they come - my little Rays of sunshine. Hah! Get it? Little
Rays of sunshine?
KAY: (in a temper and shouting) Don't tell me what I can and can't do.
I'm going out tonight and that's that.
KEVIN: Tell her Mum - she won't listen to me. Dad has just been killed
and she wants to go out with her friends - probably on another
FREYER: You are going nowhere my girl. The police will want to talk to
all of us.
KEVIN: See - I told you.
KAY: (mimicking) See - I told you. Shut yer gob little goody two
shoes. If I say I'm going out, then I'm going out and you or the
Police or anyone is not going to stop me.
KEVIN: Don't talk to me like that - tell her Mum. She's been drinking
again. You know what Dad said - he wants you out of the house until
you sort your drinking problem out.
KAY: Yeah, well Dad's not here now, is he? Just back off Kevin before
I clock you one.
FREYER: All right you two - that's enough. I think you had better go
and sober up. You're making a scene in front of our guests.
KAY: I couldn't give a..
FREYER: Stop it right there, Kay. Do as you're told and have some
respect. Where's Violet? She needs keeping an eye on.
KEVIN: Violet's in the back room on her iPad. She's (referring to Kay)
in no fit state to look after anyone.
KAY: Me - in no fit state? Me? You've no room to talk.
KEVIN: What are you going on about?
KAY: Oh, come on. Your little secret's out now and Dad knew all about
it just before he died, didn't he?
FREYER: What little secret? What's going on?
RAY: Ah - I think more of my memory is coming back - you had better
listen to this one.
KAY: Your favourite son here has been a naughty boy, haven't we?
KEVIN: You've had too much to drink.
KAY: Hah! You and Dad thought he was out with friends in the evenings
and all the time he was secretly working as an escort for the more
FREYER: What? Is this true?
KEVIN: Don't listen to her - she's a spiteful cow who's had too much
KAY: And an escort that gives extra favours to his women friends at
the right price. He's making loads of money.
KEVIN: She's lying.
KAY: Dad found out about it the other day and threatened to cut him
out of his will over the whole thing. I can prove it. Look (showing
his mobile) I found his profile online.
KEVIN: Give me that you stupid idiot.
They grapple for the mobile and get into a bit of a tussle and start
arguing. Freyer tries to intervene but thinks better of it. Will stays
well clear. They end up by the drinks table and Ray pours some water
over Kevin's head.
KEVIN: What the? What the hell did you do that for?
KAY: What do you mean? I didn't do it.
KEVIN: You're the one with the bottle in your hand.
KAY: (examining his hair closely) That doesn't smell or feel like
alcohol to me. It's just water.
WILL: Do you know - I'm sure I saw a glass hovering over your head.
WILL: A glass - I'm sure I saw it hovering over your head.
KEVIN: How much have you had to drink, Will?
WILL: You know I don't drink alcohol.
KAY: Well perhaps you should. Did you see anything Mum?
FREYER: No, I didn't see anything. You must have imagined it, Will.
WILL: I did not imagine it. Well - I don't think so.
Enter Violet– she is mid-teens and is very argumentative.
FREYER: There you are, Violet - are you okay?
VIOLET: (very angry) What's going on? I can hear you from outside.
FREYER: It's okay - stay in the back room for a while.
VIOLET: Not until you tell me what's going on.
KAY: We're just having a discussion.
VIOLET: A discussion!? You were shouting and arguing. And you've been
KAY: We'll talk about it later - just stay in the back room.
VIOLET: No - I won't - and you can't make me.
FREYER: Now come on, Violet - be a good girl.
VIOLET: (stamping her feet)I’m staying here until you tell me what's
KAY: Look - do as you're told - now! (She tries to grab her arm to
push her out).
VIOLET: Get off me. Leave me alone. I hate you! I hate you! I hate
you! You're horrible. You're all horrible.
Violet storms out.
RAY: That went well then. She's got a bit of a chip on her shoulder,
KAY: That’s the problem with Violet. She’s always just one letter
away from being violent.
RAY: I've always said she needs counselling. It's true about Kevin
though. I was shocked and very upset. What a family I have. I mean
WILL: Can I suggest we all have a drink and calm down a bit?
All except KAY: Shut Up, Will.
KAY: I'll have a drink. (She goes to the drinks table – she is about
to pick up a bottle and Ray moves it out of the way) Hey, come back
you! (She goes to pick it up again and Ray moves it again – the
others are distracted by talking to each other) What the hell's going
on? This bottle keeps moving. Did you hear me? I said, this bottle
KEVIN: Now you definitely have had too much to drink.
KAY: I tell you...
FREYER: That's enough, Kay. You two – out. I'll speak to you later
when I've had a chance to calm down. And sort that daughter of yours
out. She's doing my head in.
FREYER: Out! Now!
Kay and Kevin Exit.
RAY: (to guests) I must apologise for my family Ladies and Gentlemen.
It’s a stressful time and the Police will be here soon.
WILL: (looking around and feeling a bit nervous) Look - I've got a
couple of calls to make on the mobile - I'll go outside.
Ivor enters as Will starts to exit. Ivor wears smart clothes and wears
his watch on his right hand. He has a habit of having the face of the
watch on the palm side of his wrist and checks the time regularly.
IVOR: Ah, Will. It's a sad time for everyone.
RAY: Especially me.
WILL: Yes. Look after Freyer. I'll catch you later. Just need to make
RAY: Ivor Trump, my business associate. Now this will be interesting.
IVOR: Freyer, Freyer. I'm so sorry about Ray.
RAY: I bet you are.
IVOR: Look, if there's anything I can do, just let me know. Anything
at all. It's a big shock and you need a friend. You know I've always
looked out for you and care about you.
RAY: I know what you're up to chum, and you can stop right there.
Ray moves a chair slightly, in anger.
IVOR: What was that?
FREYER: What was what?
IVOR: That chair - I'm sure it moved by itself.
FREYER: Have you been drinking as well?
IVOR: No, I haven't.
RAY: I'm starting to enjoy this.
FREYER: You're a kind man Ivor - I'll get through this. Besides, you
have some explaining to do.
IVOR: How do you mean?
FREYER: Don't come the innocent with me. Ray told me that you were in
financial problems and trying to wrangle more agents’ commission out
RAY: You tell him, babe.
IVOR: Well yes, I did try and negotiate a better deal. As his agent
I've made him millions - It was all very amicable.
RAY: I don't think so.
FREYER: That's not what Ray told me.
WILL: And that's not what Ray told me either.
IVOR: So says the most crooked solicitor there is in these parts.
WILL: When Ray told me about your demands for more commission, I
decided to do a bit of digging into your company financial affairs,
Ivor Trump Publishing Agency Limited.
IVOR: Did you now?
WILL: It seems for a while now that your company's outgoings have been
considerably more than your incomings. This has put the company in a
very weak position.
IVOR: Not that it's any of your business, but I am restructuring the
company. This is standard practice and puts us on a firmer footing.
During this face-to-face exchange Kay, Kevin and Violet enter and
WILL: I think things have gone a bit too far for any company
restructuring - Ray was your last resort wasn't he?
IVOR: (getting agitated) That man owed me. It was me that recognised
his talent when he had nothing. I made him and his family wealthy.
WILL: So, what happened then? Too many exotic holidays? That luxury
car of yours must have cost a bomb. And what about the mortgage on
that 5-bedroom house in Lytham (or local up-market place) - it must be
a drain on your finances.
IVOR: My personal life has nothing to do with the situation. Keep your
nose out of my business.
WILL: And when he refused to bail you out and threatened to take his
business to another publishing agent, you were so mad you killed him,
IVOR: Why would I kill him? He was making me money.
WILL: Because you were desperate. You're up to your eyes in debt. Your
divorce last year cost you an arm and a leg. Ivor Trump Publishing
Agency was about to go to the wall. Ray was your last resort.
FREYER: I've heard enough. (Addressing Ivor) You were a friend. A
business partner. We've known you for years.
IVOR: No - you've got it wrong. I didn't do it.
FREYER: (approaching him) I trusted you. All this time! I can't
IVOR: No, wait! (Freyer slaps him in the face) There was no need for
RAY: That's my girl - you show him.
KEVIN: (approaching, with Kay and Violet following behind) I knew
there was something going on with him and Dad. I never liked you, you
Kevin punches him in the stomach.
RAY: I'm definitely enjoying this.
KAY: You won't get away with this.
Kay slaps Ivor in the face and Will has joined the queue, picking up
the biggest book in the library.
VIOLET: It's my turn – take that – that’s from Granddad.
Violet stamps on Ivor’s foot.
RAY: Well done, girl.
IVOR: (stopping Will from getting any further) Enough! Stop it right
there. I did not kill Ray. We were best friends - I do know however
about your little scam on producing fake Ray Bentos novels.
Stunned shock from everyone.
[End of Extract]