Theater: Chilly Will-he-do-it

Write Me a Murder (by Frederick Knott) gives away its murderer (James Donald) in Act I without defrosting any of its suspense as a superior spine-chiller. British Playwright Knott, of Dial "M" for Murder fame, has worked a twist on the conventional whodunit by fashioning a will-he-do-it.

Donald is the disaffected younger son of the land-rich, tax-poor Rodingham clan. His elder brother (Denholm Elliott), an elegant spendthrift who likes to know where his next cobwebby bottle of wine is coming from, plans to sell the 500-year-old family mansion. The buyer (Torin Thatcher) is an upstart real estate operator who likes to...

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