Trifles opens at the farmhouse which is the scene of the murder of John Wright who, as his wife puts it "died of a rope around his neck.” His body was discovered by Mr Hale, a neighbor, who called into the farm to enquire whether Wright would be prepared to share a party telephone line with him.
Hale is recounting this information, telling the county attorney, George Henderson and the sheriff Mr Peters as they attempt to find clues that will either implicate his wife in his murder or clear her. Hale tells Henderson how, on arriving at the farm, en route to buy potatoes from town just after 8 o clock, and in an attempt to persuade Wright about the telephone, Mrs Wright is somewhat preoccupied and , although her husband is home, Hale cannot see him. He learns the reason for this, in between Minnie Wright's laugh, is " ‘Cause he’s dead.”
Hale continues that he and Harry, a helper who was going to town with him, investigate further and find Mr Wright's body upstairs. Mrs Wright tells him that someone must have entered the house in the night but that she heard nothing because “I sleep sound.” Harry then calls the coroner, Mrs Wright moves to another chair and Hale finishes " ...I guess that's all I know that you don't."