Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 462
Andrew Wyke, a writer of detective stories. A tall, well-built man of fifty-seven, he has written many old-fashioned mystery novels featuring the fictional detective Inspector Merridrew. Disdaining the modern detective shows one sees on television, he favors the golden age of mystery fiction, the 1930’s, with stories featuring complex plots and elaborate puzzles. In the first act, Andrew amicably invites Milo Tindle over to his home to discuss Milo’s plan to marry his wife, Marguerite. Andrew’s real intention in inviting Milo over is to teach him a lesson in humility. He persuades Milo to participate in a game to steal Marguerite’s jewels from a safe in the house; Milo can fence the jewels and keep the money to support Marguerite. The game turns nasty, however, when Andrew pulls a gun and threatens to shoot Milo. He explains that he will tell the police that he heard a burglar in the house and shot and killed the man. Andrew has no intention of letting Milo marry Marguerite. When he points the gun at Milo’s head and shoots, the bullet is a blank. When Milo faints at the shot, Andrew wins the game; he has humiliated Milo.
Milo Tindle, Marguerite Wyke’s lover, a slim, handsome man of thirty-five, of medium height, with a Mediterranean complexion inherited from his half-Italian, half-Jewish father. Milo is in the travel business in Dulwich. Humiliated in Andrew’s game, Milo seeks revenge by disguising himself and reappearing at Andrew’s house as Inspector Doppler, pretending to investigate the possible murder of Milo Tindle. Much to Andrew’s surprise, Milo, as Inspector Doppler, discovers clues that incriminate Andrew in the so-called murder. Milo wins his game as he tells the horrified Andrew that the most time he will serve is seven years for manslaughter. When Milo finally unmasks himself, Andrew knows he has found a worthy opponent. Milo, however, has not yet completed his revenge. Milo tells Andrew that he gained access to the house with the help of Andrew’s lover, whom, Milo says, he raped and strangled and then buried in the yard. Furthermore, Milo planted evidence in the house that will incriminate Andrew in the murder. Through a series of riddles, Andrew finds the evidence before the police come to arrest him. In fact, the police do not arrive, because there has been no murder: Milo has humiliated Andrew a second time. When Milo tells Andrew that he plans to take Marguerite away and marry her, Andrew is desperate. Believing that he can make the burglar plan work in reality, and not simply as a hoax, he shoots Milo. As Milo dies, however, he achieves his ultimate revenge on Andrew: As the play closes, the police do arrive.
Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 663
Inspector Doppler See Milo Tindle
Police Constable Higgs See Milo Tindle
Detective Sergeant Tarrant See Milo Tindle
Milo Tindle Milo Tindle, who also plays the roles for characters Inspector Doppler, Police Constable Higgs, and Detective Sergeant Tarrant, comes into Andrew Wyke's life because he is having an affair with Wyke's wife, Marguerite. At about thirty-five years old, Milo, who is younger than Wyke, is earned away by the romance of his affair. He and Marguerite want to marry and live their life in idyllic happiness mhis rooms above his travel agency Andrew scoffs at Milo's plan, claiming that Marguerite is far too accustomed to luxury to maintain such a lifestyle; Milo goes along with Andrew's plan of a faked theft, which will bring in a sizeable amount of insurance money, in order to supply Marguerite with a more...
(This entire section contains 663 words.)
In devising his plan, Andrew is sure that he can best Milo, for he believes himself to be superior to his wife's lover. After all, Milo is (in the prejudiced eyes of Andrew) the son of an Italian immigrant and a British farm girl. He is also one-quarter Jewish. However, Andrew is surprised to find Milo a worthy opponent in the game playing. Unlike Andrew, Milo undertakes the game to seek revenge after Andrew nearly frightens Milo to death in the first stage of this game. He claims to find no real joy in the game itself, despite his facility at it Indeed, as he tells Andrew, he tried to have Andrew punished in the more usual manner, by going to the police with his story, but he feared they would not believe that Andrew tried to kill him despite the physical evidence of the powder burns on Milo's hand. Milo feels he must take the actions he does in order to get even with Andrew. Though he does not acknowledge this, it is clear to the audience that he is also trying to win back his own self-respect.
Milo also takes on the role of Inspector Doppler, who comes to question Andrew about Milo's murder in act 2. Doppler is very skeptical of Andrew's story and is about to take Andrew down to the station when Milo begins to reveal himself through his use of certain words, a vocabulary and style of speaking that Andrews recognizes as Milo's. Milo then peels off his disguise of hair and face makeup and body padding.
Milo further takes on the roles of Detective Sergeant Tarrant and Police Constable Higgs, though they never appear on stage.
Andrew Wyke Andrew Wyke is a successful mystery writer in his late fifties. He tries to maintain the appearance of youth, through hair dye, and virility, through references to a mistress, but he is unable to truly fool Milo. Andrew is obsessed with games and toys. His home is filled with toys of all sizes. He comes up with a plan to humiliate Milo for daring to try to take away his wife. He creates a complex game that the two men will play. Even his choice of costume—a clown suit complete with big floppy shoes—for Milo to wear during the fake break-in (in which Milo is supposed to steal valuables from Andrew so the two men can collect insurance money), suggests Andrew's obsession with games and toys.
Andrew claims that he no longer loves Ms wife and is glad that Milo is taking her off his hands. In truth, he deeply resents Milo's usurping his wife, particularly because he views Milo as inferior to himself due to Milo's parentage and lower-class status. As Milo aptly notes, Andrew is a snob, one more comfortable living in the made-up world of the consummate game player than the real world of people. Andrew's only attempt to cross over to the real world is actually a fusion of the two, as he invites Milo to stay with him so that the two men, equally matched, can continue to play their games together