A mystery play, like a mystery novel, is based upon the suspense of a murderer among the characters, and the attempt to discover who this is. A truly enthralling one successfully casts doubt on everyone of the characters’ innocence and The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie certainly does that. Everyone is up for grabs, which is why I think she doesn’t break “the rules” by having the detective be the culprit. Especially since she makes it guessable that he isn’t actually a detective. She clearly establishes from the beginning that she isn’t going to make discovering her secret plot twist very easy for us. And yet, because it’s Agatha Christie, we know that the clues are in our hands to unravel the mess. These classic elements of a good mystery are undoubtedly what has made this the longest running theatrical show.
The performance we attended on Thursday was interesting for me because I had already seen a production of The Mousetrap, last fall in Cedar City, and therefore, already knew who the murderer was. This being the case, it was fascinating to see the play unfold and recognize each of the clues as they were laid out- some of which were red herrings, and some of which were given nonchalantly, but were actually of substantial importance.