Mollie Ralston, a tall, pretty woman in her late twenties. Having inherited Monkswell Manor from her aunt, she has decided to turn it into a guest house rather than sell it. Some years earlier, she had taught at the school that the Corrigan children attended. Jimmy Corrigan sent her a letter revealing that his foster parents, the Stannings of Longridge Farm, were abusing him, and he pleaded with her to help. Because she fell ill with pneumonia on the very day that the letter arrived, she did not see it until weeks later, by which time Jimmy was dead. A potential murder victim because of her connection with Jimmy’s death, she is also a suspect in the killing of the other two women who were involved in the tragedy. She secretly went to London on the day Mrs. Stanning was killed and is the first to find the body of Mrs. Boyle.
Giles Ralston, Mollie’s husband of exactly one year. He is handsome and about Mollie’s age. The two married only three weeks after meeting, so his past remains a mystery. He, too, made a clandestine trip to London on the day of Mrs. Stanning’s death, and he wears a coat, scarf, and hat like those seen on the killer.
Mrs. Boyle, a large, middle-aged, querulous woman. A former magistrate, she unwittingly sent the Corrigan children to Longridge Farm. She is strangled at the end of the first act.
Leslie Margaret Katherine Casewell
Leslie Margaret Katherine Casewell, a twenty-four-year-old who looks older. With her masculine appearance, bearing, and voice, and a coat and scarf matching those worn by the murderer, she is highly suspect, especially because she refuses to reveal her motive for returning from Majorca to England after a twelve-year absence. At last, she explains that as one of the two surviving Corrigan children, she has come back to find her brother.
Detective Sergeant Trotter
Detective Sergeant Trotter, a twenty-three-year-old with a London accent. Although he pretends to be a police officer sent to Monkswell Manor to protect the guests, he is actually the insane George Corrigan, who has vowed to avenge his brother’s death. He has killed his abusive foster mother and Mrs. Boyle, and he nearly succeeds in getting the third mouse, Mollie Ralston, before his sister and Major Metcalf stop him.
Major Metcalf, a middle-aged man with a military bearing. Like most of the characters in the play, he is pretending to be someone other than he is. He is a policeman and takes the place of the real Major Metcalf to pursue the murderer. Because he is the right age to be Jimmy Corrigan’s father, who served in the army, he, too, is a suspect.
Christopher Wren, an unkempt and nervous young man. Orphaned at an early age and an army deserter, he matches the description of George Corrigan, especially because he is trying to forget an unhappy childhood. Moreover, he confesses to lying about his name and his supposed occupation of architect. His behavior throughout the play is highly suspect.
Mr. Paravicini, a taller version of Agatha Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot; he is dark, elderly, foreign, and mustached. He is an unexpected guest at Monkswell Manor and claims that his Rolls Royce overturned in a nearby snowbank. Because of his mysterious arrival and his unsettling habit of humming and playing “Three Blind Mice,” which he calls the murderer’s “signature tune,” and because of his apparent effort to look older than he is, he, too, is a suspect. In actuality, he is no worse than a smuggler and black-market profiteer.
Mrs. Boyle is a large imposing woman in a bad temper; she complains about everything. She is disapproving of every effort that Mollie and Giles produce to make her comfortable. She surveys everything with displeasure and looks at her surroundings disapprovingly. Mrs. Boyle was a magistrate at some point. The audience learns just before she is murdered that Mrs. Boyle was the magistrate who sent...
(The entire section is 1,554 words.)