Theater: Scalp Tingler

DEATHTRAP by Ira Levin

The murder-mystery thriller is a theatrically endangered species. Seasons go by without one, and there have been seven lean years since the last dandy scalp tingler, Sleuth. Deathtrap is a congenial successor—literate, amusing, booby-trapped with scarifying surprises, a brimming tumbler of arsenic and Schweppes.

Actually, no one is poisoned. Garroting and fiendishly induced heart attacks are more the tools of this particular evening of murder. Oh yes, and a handsomely lethal crossbow.

The rule in reviewing thrillers is to be elusive. Tell the beginning but never tell the middle and...

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