“So you want to commit a murder.” This is the first line in a book purchased by Myron Bernhart. And here’s a guy who knows his books since he’s collected some rare ones and proud of it. That is until his nagging wife, Marge, decides to sell them. He tries to reason with her but is argued down, not only by her but the Civic Arts League, her cronies who, of course, meet constantly at their house. When all else fails, Myron realizes it’s time to take drastic action and plans it all out. Of course, his imagination tends to wander a bit--from German psychiatrists to CSI investigators to hard-boiled 1940s-type detectives. So he sets up the perfect murder. His wife is home alone, he has an airtight alibi, and he prepares his victim a “special” glass of tea. Everything is working, just like the book said. Marge takes the glass of tea, sits on the couch and quietly brings the glass up to her lips…when the doorbell rings. From here on it seems as if everybody shows up! Marge’s women’s club, a rare book collector, Myron’s buddy Jack, and, worst of all, Marge’s domineering sister! And in the midst of all the confusion the wrong person drinks the “special” tea…and dies! What follows is a parade of policemen, blackmailers, and in-laws as Myron wonders just what went wrong. And you will, too, in this fast-paced comedy-mystery where nothing seems to go right, even when you go by the book. Of course, that’s when the title of the book is “Murder for Dummies.”
PAT COOK TALKS ABOUT
“MURDER FOR DUMMIES”
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
A: I have always been a huge fan of James Thurber and ran across "The Catbird Seat" online. After reading it for the umpteenth time I got to thinking about Thurber's most famous character, Walter Mitty. Then I wondered what if this type of person decided to get rid of his wife, how would he go about that? That's what got me off and running, with this story of a bookworm who plans just such an enterprise and, like Mitty, fantasizes all sorts of ramifications. It was great fun to write and got me to go back to read more Thurber...and Benchley...and Perelman...
Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE PLAY? WHY?
A: It would have to be the fantasies. Those were SO much fun to come up with, as with all fantasies whether onstage or in real life.
Q: WHERE DID THE CHARACTERS COME FROM?
A: I believe I answered that one, for the most part, in the first question. The other characters in the show I would have to attribute to another idol of mine, George S. Kaufman.
Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
A: To introduce those who aren't familiar with Thurber to this lovely brilliant wit. I do hope they'll get as much of a kick out of his works as I have. Those who know Thurber already know just what I'm talking about.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
A: Just that I hope this show beings them a laugh or two.