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What’s Inside the Locked Room?
A Knavish Piece of Mystery – Act 3

October 15th, 2020

You might think that the best way to solve a locked-door mystery would be to open the room and see what’s inside. But what happens when what’s inside provides more questions than answers?

We’ll explore those possibilities today as Prime Stage Mystery Theatre’s podcast A Knavish Piece of Mystery enters its third week with a new episode that considers how the solutions we seek may not be solutions at all.

Also, we’ll take time at the beginning of the show to discuss suggestions for opening locked doors. Some practical, some extreme, and one or two that are maybe a little crazy — all in an effort to anticipate what our master sleuth August LaFleur might do as he attempts to solve the mystery of the sealed room.

You can listen in by clicking here or by using the embedded player at the bottom of this post.

If you’ve missed any of our previous episodes or if you’d like to get a refresher on what’s happened in the story so far, you can access the complete episode directory at the Prime Online podcast page. You’ll find that episode list here.

So get out your axes, hinge-pin pullers, and strips of door-hacking plastic as Mystery Theatre presents Act 3 of our locked-door who-done-it — a mystery in which we discover that the solutions we seek may not be solutions at all, and that the story’s knavish piece of mystery may be more puzzling than even a master sleuth can imagine.

Hit play. I’ll meet you there!

Prime Stage Theatre Presents:
A Knavish Piece of Mystery – Act II

October 8th, 2020

Strange things are afoot at the New Town Theatre!

Two actors are missing. Another has run off to hide in a water closet. And the New Town players are struggling to open a locked room that may harbor a terrible secret.

But August LaFleur holds back. An expert at devising and solving mysteries, he’s convinced that the real answers may lie deeper within the theatre’s renovated rehearsal space.

And so begins an exploration of a haunted brownstone — a windowless building with few exits … and ample places for mysteries to hide.

It all happens as A Knavish Piece if Mystery continues today at Prime Stage Mystery Theatre, and you can hear it all by clicking the player above or — if you missed the previous installments — by visiting the Mystery Theatre podcast library here. It’s all part of the virtual season of new performances being released under the banner Prime Online.

Other performances in the series will include a Zoom performance of Mockingbird, Kathryn Erskine’s National Book Award winning novel (adapted by Julie Jensen), and live-stream performances of Williard Simms’ Einstein, A Stage Portrait and an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

It’s all part of Prime Online’s mission of bringing theatre to you at home.

Also coming up is a virtual preview of Prime Stage’s 2021-22 season of live performances, which will kick off in November 2021 with my all-new adaptation of Frankenstein.

You can hear Prime Stage’s Operations Director Tina Cerny talk about these shows and more in the introduction to this week’s installment of A Knavish Piece.

Click the player at the top of this post. We’ll meet you there.

Countdown to Mystery: Locked Doors

September 30th, 2020

A woman enters a room. Closes the door. Then, from inside, a voice cries “Murder!” When her father breaks down the door, he finds her bleeding on the floor. She is alone. The windows are barred. There is no other exit. Yet the perpetrator is gone!

And so begins The Mystery of the Yellow Room (Le mystère de la chambre jaune) by Gaston Leroux (1908), a novel considered by many to be one of the greatest locked-door mysteries of all time.

Over the years, some of mystery’s greatest writers have tried their hand at the subgenre, each attempting to outdo those who went before. Consider, for example, this locked-door scenario from the back cover of the 1983 Signet reprint of Ellery Queen’s The Chinese Orange Mystery (1934):

No one had seen the fat man enter the luxurious suite; no one knew his name. All his clothes were on him backward, and all the furniture around him was reversed. The room […] was locked from the inside, and aside from him, was empty. [And now …] the man was dead.

How can you not want to read that one? And if you’re a writer, how could you not want to play in that sandbox?

In this series of posts, I’ve been recommending mysteries that feature elements you’ll find tomorrow should you accept Prime Time Theatre’s invitation to join me for the first installment of A Knavish Piece of Mystery. The story features an eccentric detective in the mold of St. John Lord Merridew (Sleuth) and Hercule Poirot (Murder on the Orient Express); a sidekick who complements the qualities of that detective (Zero Effect), an ensemble cast (The Last of Shelia, Murder on the Orient Express), a writer who blurs the lines between life and fiction (Sleuth) and a locked-room puzzle (The Mystery of the Yellow Room, The Chinese Orange Mystery). The fun starts tomorrow at Noon. I hope you’ll join us then … or any time during the days that follow.

That’s one of the nice things about podcast theatre. You can attend at your convenience. Here’s the link.

In the meantime, click the link below to view a 1931 adaptation of the locked-door mystery The Speckled Band, based on a Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyal. It stars Raymond Massey (in his first starring role as a film actor) as the master sleuth and Athole Steward as his sidekick Dr. Watson.

Enjoy, then stop back tomorrow as we unlock the door to A Knavish Piece of Mystery.