Theater: Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum

Writing a flawless murder mystery for the stage is probably rarer than committing the perfect crime. Anthony Shaffer has done it in Sleuth. Shaffer, twin brother of Peter Shaffer (The Royal Hunt of the Sun), has written a thriller that is urbanely clever, unashamedly literate, clawingly tense and playfully savage. If it is not the best play of its genre ever, it is neck and neck with the best.

The setting is the study of an English country house, the home of Andrew Wyke (Anthony Quayle), a successful mystery writer. Into the room comes Milo Tindle (Keith Baxter), a travel agent. Tindle...

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