Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1260
Act I opens at Andrew Wyke's country house. The acclaimed mystery writer is working on his most recent novel, when the doorbell rings. At the door is Milo Tindle. Andrew has invited the younger man over to discuss Andrew's wife. Marguerite.
Milo wants to marry her. Andrew does not think that Milo will be able to keep Marguerite in the lavish style to which she has grown accustomed. However, Andrew has a mistress himself, and he is more than happy to have Marguerite taken off his hands. He proposes a plan, which he has already worked out: Milo will "steal" some jewels that Andrew owns and sell them abroad. Thus Milo will have the money needed to support Marguerite; Andrew will be done with his lavish wife and, at the same time, get a hefty settlement from his insurance agency.
Milo is initially suspicious. He is afraid of getting caught, and he is also afraid that Andrew will actually try to frame him for the theft. However, the lure of the money is too great for Miio, and he agrees to the plan.
Andrew has determined that Milo must actually "break in" to the house to make the theft look real. He also wants Milo to wear a disguise. After the two men go through a hamper filled with costumes, Mito ends up dressed as a clown.
Milo goes outside to the shed, where Andrew has left a ladder. He uses the ladder to enter the upstairs gallery through the window. Milo wants to go straight for the safe, but Andrew insists that he ransack the house a bit, to make it look like he is looking for the jewels. Then Andrew takes Milo to the safe, explodes it, and hands Milo a jewel box. Andrew declares that, to make the burglary seem more real, they must enact a scene in which he, Andrew, surprises the burglar, and the two men struggle. He will then be able to give the police a false description of the intruder. The two men begin to toss things around the room and wrestle a bit. Out of his desk drawer, Andrew pulls a gun, which Milo can use to keep Andrew at bay. Andrew shoots several of the items around the room and then points the gun at Milo, while tying him up. Still holding the gun, Andrew declares that he is going to kill Milo He agrees that they have been playing a game all evening, a game in which he kills Milo, and no one suspects him. He tells Milo that he invited him over to create a foolproof murder scene. Milo tries to talk Andrew out of the plan. Andrew resists Milo's plea and pulls the trigger Milo falls down the stairs and lies still.
Act 2 takes place two days later. Andrew is at home when the doorbell rings. He lets in Inspector Doppler of the Constable's office. Doppler is investigating the disappearance of Milo Tindle. Andrew claims to have met Milo a few months ago, but Doppler tells him that Milo had reported that he was coming to see him, Andrew, two nights ago. He also tells Andrew that an eyewitness who was passing the house two nights ago claims to have seen a struggle taking place and to have heard three shots fired from a gun. Doppler then went to Milo's house, where he found the note that Andrew had sent him
Realizing he is trapped, Andrew explains that he and Milo were playing a game called Burglary. He tells Doppler that Milo left about 9:30 that evening, and he hasn't seen him since. He says he only wanted to teach Milo a lesson. The story he tells Doppler is as it was portrayed in act 1. He then adds the information that he shot Milo with a blank bullet. Milo was so scared, however, diat he fainted. He regained consciousness a few minutes later and went home.
Doppler does not believe Andrew's explanation and looks around He discovers bullet holes m the wall. At the spot where Andrew claims he shot Milo with the blank, Doppler discovers blood. Doppler looks out the wmdow and asks about the mound of earth in the garden, which Andrew had not seen until then Doppler...
(The entire section contains 1260 words.)
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