Plot Summary of "The Mousetrap" by Agatha Christie

by Audrey Farley, Demand Media

    In 1952 Agatha Christie's murder mystery "The Mousetrap" opened on the stage at a London theater, even though the drama was initially intended to be a radio play. Queen Mary, an aficionado of the author's work, had commissioned the play. Initial performances of "The Mousetrap" were very successful, and critics praised the story. Today, Christi's play is still performed on stage but is also widely read.

    Act I, Scene I

    The play takes place in London in Monkswell Manor around the early 1950s. The first scene of the first act begins immediately following a woman's murder. Mollie and Gile Ralston have just opened a guest house in the Manor, which has recently been renovated. The Ralstons admit four borders, Major Metcalf, Christopher Wren, Mrs. Boyle and Miss Casewell. Mrs. Boyle is very disgruntled and quarrelsome. Giles offers to make her hotel stay complimentary, but she does not accept his gesture. All the guests are snowed in at the hotel. They learn about the woman's murder in the local paper. A fifth traveler, Mr. Paravicini, appears at the hotel after his car has been abandoned in a snowdrift.

    Act II, Scene II

    Mrs. Boyle bellyaches to the other hotel patrons about her unpleasant experience. The other guests try to evade her because she complains incessantly. The local police officers dial the hotel, which triggers concern among the patrons. Mrs. Boyle asks Mollie to verify Christopher's background, as she is suspicious of him. A detective named Sergeant Trotter appears to advise the hotel patrons that a murder has taken place and that the perpetrator is at large, possibly on his way to the hotel. The murder victim's name is Maureen Lyon. She is the wife of a local farmer by the last name of Stanning. Allegedly, the Stannings abused young children who worked for them. Suddenly, Mrs. Boyle is killed, indicating that Mrs. Lyon's murderer has already arrived at the hotel.

    Act II, Scene I

    Shortly after Mrs. Boyle's murder, the police begin investigating the second crime. All of the hotel guests are interviewed. The hotel owners argue, and then Christopher and Giles dispute who should protect Mollie. The guests begin to suspect Christopher of the murders since he meets the police's description of the suspect. Yet, the guests conclude that any of the patrons or the hosts could potentially be the murderer.

    Act II, Scene II

    Upon the sergeant's commands, the guests reenact Mrs. Boyle's murder to identify any overlooked clues. The sergeant pretends to be Mrs. Boyle. However, he has arranged a scheme to trap the person he suspects for a different incident. Suddenly, he reveals he is, in fact, Georgie, a boy who was mistreated by the Stannings. He claims that he alerted his teacher, Mollie, but she refused to help. Mollie confesses such is true. Georgie tries to choke her, but Miss Casewell and Major Metcalf intervene. Miss Casewell then confesses that she is Georgie's older sister, and she soothes and pacifies him until police appear on the scene. Major Metcalf announces that he is a law enforcement officer in disguise. He suspected Trotter (Georgie) the entire time, but lacked sufficient proof.

    About the Author

    Audrey Farley began writing professionally in 2007. She has been featured in various issues of "The Mountain Echo" and "The Messenger." Farley has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Richmond and a Master of Arts in English literature from Virginia Commonwealth University. She teaches English composition at a community college.

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