Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Murder Clinic
Show: The Scrap of Lace
Date: Sep 22 1942

CAST:
ANNOUNCER, Frank Knight
ROSIKA STOREY, the wise, warm, beautiful detective
MIMI, a.k.a. Mrs. Peter John Cruger, heiress
TERESA de GUION, her stern, elderly social secretary
LOUISE MAYFIELD, the innocent victim
VERA McPEAKE, hard-scrabble social climber from Pittsburgh
JACK ROWCLIFFE, the irresponsible playboy
SUZANNE, the French maid
BELLA BRICKLEY, Madame Storey's faithful secretary
BUTLER (2 lines)
GARGAN, the tough-talking working class chauffeur

MFX:

FANFARE

ANNOUNCER:

MURDER CLINIC -- stories of the world's great detectives! Men against murder!

MFX:

FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

Each week at this time, WOR-Mutual turns the spotlight on one of the world's great detectives of fiction and invites you to listen to the story of his most exciting case. Tonight, Madame Rosika Storey in "The Scrap of Lace."

MFX:

FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN OUT BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

Good evening, Madame Storey. Your being at MURDER CLINIC is certainly a novelty.

STOREY:

You're surprised to see a woman detective, Mr. Knight?

ANNOUNCER:

That's right. And even more surprised to see a very beautiful detective.

STOREY:

(CHUCKLES)

ANNOUNCER:

(CHUCKLES) It's a queer business for a woman.

STOREY:

Most people think so, Mr. Knight, but, you see, being a woman gives me one great advantage. My adversaries usually underestimate me.

ANNOUNCER:

Yes, I suppose they would.

STOREY:

(CHUCKLES)

ANNOUNCER:

Now, what's the tale you're going to tell us, Madame Storey?

STOREY:

It's called "The Scrap of Lace." I chose it because it seems to me so unusual a crime -- a strange story of jealousy and death.

MFX:

FOR AN INTRODUCTON, THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

STOREY:

Of course you know the great family of Cruger who ruled New York society for generations. When Mrs. Peter John Cruger the Third died, her mantle descended as a matter of course to Mrs. Peter John Cruger the Fourth. This beautiful and charming young woman -- "Mimi" by name -- inherited not only her mother-in-law's scepter but also Teresa de Guion. Teresa de Guion was the first and certainly the greatest of social secretaries. The story begins one summer morning at Carriswoode, the enormous and rather monstrous Cruger estate in upper Westchester. Mimi and Teresa de Guion were together in the breakfast room. [X]

MIMI:

Oh, Teresa, must we go to that dull dinner at the Bransoms' tonight? I think I'll call it off.

TERESA:

Mimi, you simply can't do that.

MIMI:

Hm?

TERESA:

The dinner's being given for you.

MIMI:

(SIGHS)

TERESA:

I was most insistent that I be consulted about the other guests. After all, my dear, you have certain responsibilities. Your mother-in-law, Mrs. Cruger the Third--

MIMI:

Yes, I know. She was a paragon of the social virtues. (DRY) She didn't mind being bored to death.

TERESA:

Oh, Mimi, you are so lax. What would you do without me?

MIMI:

(LAUGHS) Ah, you worry too much, Teresa. You're living in the past. Your little assistant, Louise Mayfield, could possibly take over very well.

TERESA:

Louise? Louise Mayfield? That-- Why, that child!

MIMI:

My dear Teresa, she's twenty-one and very competent. After all, you trained her.

TERESA:

Yes, and I am very fond of Louise. She's like a daughter to me. But take my place? Why, surely you're joking, my dear!

MIMI:

Ohhh, yes. Yes, of course.

TERESA:

You know, Mimi, I'm a bit worried about Louise. She's been acting very odd lately. This party she's going to tonight -- I have no idea where it is. Or who her hostess is to be.

MIMI:

Well, wherever it is, she'll have a better time than I will. You know, Teresa, I shouldn't be surprised if Louise has been acting strangely because she's trying to keep away from my handsome cousin, Jack Rowcliffe. She doesn't seem very grateful to you, Teresa, for arranging to marry him off to Vera McPeake.

TERESA:

(PROTESTS) Jack Rowcliffe and Vera McPeake are a splendid match. He has family, position. Vera is young -- she can be molded, she can be taught.

MIMI:

(LAUGHS) Oh, certainly, yes. And her father has one hundred millions. But I don't blame Jack for straying from the fold. Louise is very lovely. And I find Vera a very trying guest. In fact, I find it all very trying.

LOUISE:

(OFF) Miss de Guion?

MIMI:

Oh, there's Louise. (CALLS) Uh, Louise, we're in the breakfast room! Uh, come in here, my dear!

LOUISE:

Good morning, Mrs. Cruger. Miss de Guion, did you want me this morning?

MIMI:

Uh, no, Louise. I did. Teresa insists we go to this dinner tonight. Jack and Vera are going with us. We'll be leaving around seven. Uh, tell Jack, won't you?

LOUISE:

Must I, Mrs. Cruger?

TERESA:

Mrs. Cruger has asked you to deliver a message. Do so, my dear.

MFX:

BRIDGE

LOUISE:

Jack, I came only to tell you about the dinner.

JACK:

Oh, Louise--

LOUISE:

Please! Must we go through all this again? Why don't you leave me alone?

JACK:

Because I'm mad about you, Louise. Can't you understand? I'm in love with you. I want you to marry me.

LOUISE:

You? Marry and support a wife? Don't be silly, Jack.

JACK:

It does sound silly, doesn't it? But I'm changed, I tell you. You've changed me, Louise. I love you. There's - there's nothing I wouldn't do for you.

LOUISE:

And what about Vera McPeake?

JACK:

(SCOFFS)

LOUISE:

No, Jack. I'm afraid you've been bought, paid for, and delivered. Vera won't let you go so easily.

JACK:

I'll tell her tonight that I'm through, Louise. I'll meet her at the dinner and tell her, and then I'll come back here to you.

LOUISE:

Come back if you like, Jack ...

JACK:

Good. I'll be back at about--

LOUISE:

... but I won't be here.

JACK:

Where're you going, Louise? (NO ANSWER) Well, why don't you tell me? (NO ANSWER, REALIZES) It's another man. I know. It's another man. Who is it? (NO ANSWER) Who is it?!

LOUISE:

This nonsense has gone far enough. What I do is my own business. Do you understand that, Jack?

JACK:

No! It's my business! You're mine, Louise, do you hear? You're mine! I'll have you or no one else will!

LOUISE:

Jack! Let go of my wrist.

JACK:

Louise, tell me--

LOUISE:

You're hurting me! Please!

JACK:

Louise, I want to know--

LOUISE:

Let me go!

VERA:

(APPROACHES) Well, Jack--!

JACK:

Vera!

VERA:

Still making passes at the servants, I see.

JACK:

Perhaps it's just as well you saw. Might as well have this out now.

VERA:

Shut up. I can handle this. It's pretty easy to see what Miss Mayfield's little game is. She thinks she'll marry into the great Cruger clan. Well, let me tell you, Miss Mayfield, Jack hasn't got a cent to his name and never will have!

JACK:

Vera, please--

LOUISE:

I understand perfectly, Miss McPeake. I assure you, I have no ambitions in Mr. Rowcliffe's direction.

VERA:

Quite the lady, aren't you, Miss Mayfield? Well, watch your step. Sure, I know what you all think of me. Vulgar. Common. Heh. But let me tell you. We common-clay McPeakes from Pittsburgh know how to get what we want. And we know how to keep it. Think that over, Miss Mayfield. Think that over.

MFX:

BRIDGE

SFX:

KNOCK AT DOOR

LOUISE:

Yes? Come in.

SFX:

DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES BEHIND--

SUZANNE:

Mademoiselle? Miss Louise? Madame Cruger has sent me to help you dress for your engagement.

LOUISE:

Come in. How thoughtful of Mrs. Cruger to send you, Suzanne. Have they gone?

SUZANNE:

But oui. Ze car, she left long ago. [?] were not happy. Monsieur Jacques, he say nussing. And mademoiselle, his fiancee, the ugly one, she-- Hm. How you say? She very angry. Even Madame, she want not to go.

LOUISE:

Well, let's not think of them, Suzanne. I'm happy, and I'm going to have a wonderful time.

SUZANNE:

Well, mademoiselle is très charmant. Very lovely. It is a tryst you go to, n'est-ce pas? It is for your young man that your eyes shine so, hm?

LOUISE:

(LAUGHS) Maybe. You're too smart, Suzanne. How do I look?

SUZANNE:

Oh, ravishing, mademoiselle. He weel eat you up, you are so lovely.

LOUISE:

Suzanne, you are a darling.

SFX:

KNOCK AT DOOR

SUZANNE:

(MOVING OFF) Yes? Yes? Who is it?

SFX:

DOOR OPENS

BUTLER:

(OFF) A letter for Miss Mayfield.

SUZANNE:

(OFF) Oh, thank you.

SFX:

DOOR CLOSES

SUZANNE:

(RETURNS) It is a letter for you, mademoiselle.

LOUISE:

For me? Why, it's a thick one, isn't it?

SFX:

ENVELOPE SLIT OPEN, OBJECT REMOVED

LOUISE:

Oh! How lovely! What an exquisite handkerchief! Why, who could have sent it to me?

SUZANNE:

Madame Cruger must have sent it. It is one of the six she bought in Paree. It is perfect, mademoiselle, for your costume, n'est-ce pas?

LOUISE:

Oh, it's lovely! What a darling Mrs. Cruger is.

SUZANNE:

Oui, she is most generous. Shall I put ze scent -- ze perfume on it, mam'selle?

LOUISE:

No, thank you. I'll do it myself, Suzanne. Oh, just put that bottle of gardenia perfume on my dressing table, please.

SUZANNE:

Oui, mam'selle.

SFX:

GLASS BOTTLE PLACED ON TABLE

LOUISE:

Now you can go, Suzanne. I won't need you any more.

SUZANNE:

Merci, mam'selle. Bonsoir, mam'selle.

LOUISE:

Good night, Suzanne, and thank you.

SFX:

DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES AS SUZANNE EXITS

LOUISE:

(SIGHS, TO HERSELF) Oh, it's so lovely. One more drop.

SFX:

GLASS BOTTLE PLACED ON TABLE

LOUISE:

(SNIFFS PERFUME, SIGHS CONTENTEDLY, COUGHS, GASPS)

MFX:

SNEAK IN OMINOUS THEME ... CONTINUES IN BG

LOUISE:

(GASPS, HOARSELY) Suzanne? Suzanne! Help!

MFX:

RISES TO CRESCENDO ... CONTINUES IN BG

LOUISE:

Suzanne! Help! (COUGHS, WEAKLY) John-- John--

SFX:

BODY SLUMPS LOUDLY TO FLOOR

MFX:

HUGE ACCENT ... THEN MOURNFUL BRIDGE

TERESA:

In all my years of experience, Mimi, I have never had to cope with anything so - so - sordid!

MIMI:

Teresa, how - how can you think of appearances with Louise, that beautiful child, lying in there dead?

TERESA:

But I must think of them! After all, Dr. Plummer refuses to sign a death certificate.

VERA:

That old fopper, with his hints of foul play--!

JACK:

Maybe he's right, Vera. Maybe--

VERA:

What do you mean, Jack?! What do you know of Louise Mayfield's death?

JACK:

Well, I--

TERESA:

Stop wrangling, you two! Dr. Plummer was kind enough to give us thirty-six hours. He's risking a great deal going as far as that. Oh, why doesn't Madame Storey get here? Are you sure you acted wisely in calling her in, Mimi?

MIMI:

Well, it was either she or the police. You said she had a reputation for discretion.

SFX:

KNOCK AT DOOR

TERESA:

Come in!

SFX:

DOOR OPENS

TERESA:

Yes?

BUTLER:

Madame Rosika Storey and Miss Bella Brickley.

SFX:

DOOR CLOSES BEHIND--

TERESA:

Thank heaven you're here, Madame Storey. This is a terrible situation. Terrible. Oh, but let me introduce you. I am Teresa de Guion. This is Mrs. Peter John Cruger the Fourth ...

MIMI:

How do you do?

STOREY:

How do you do?

TERESA:

... Miss McPeake ...

VERA:

Hello.

STOREY:

Miss McPeake.

TERESA:

... Mr. Rowcliffe.

JACK:

How do you do?

STOREY:

How do you do, Mr. Rowcliffe?

TERESA:

It was good of you to come so quickly, Madame Storey. This unfortuante accident is likely to create a distressing scandal for Mrs. Cruger.

STOREY:

Accident, Miss de Guion? From what you told me over the phone, I gathered Louise Mayfield had been murdered.

TERESA:

Nonsense. We don't know that, Madame Storey. Nobody does. We only know Louise is dead, poor child. We found her when we returned last night from our dinner party.

MIMI:

It isn't nonsense, Teresa, and you know it. Madame Storey is perfectly right. It'd be very foolish to ask her help and not give her all the facts.

VERA:

What facts, Mimi? Just because that old fossil of a doctor, Plummer, won't give a death certificate-- If you ask me, it's a nice little scheme to get you to hire this Storey woman and split whatever she can manage to get out of ya.

TERESA:

(ADMONISHES) Vera!

STOREY:

That's an interesting idea, Miss McPeake, though I must confess that so simple and clever a scheme would never have occurred to me. But surely Dr. Plummer offered some other reason for refusing a death certificate.

MIMI:

Yes. He says-- Oh, it's impossible but-- He says Louise was asphyxiated.

VERA:

Old fool! There isn't a gas outlet in the house.

STOREY:

How helpful of you to know that, Miss McPeake. You won't mind, will you, if I check for myself?

VERA:

(SNEERING) I don't mind what you do.

JACK:

Oh, what's the use of all this? We've nothing to tell. All of us were at a dinner party, twenty miles from here, together. When we got home after eleven, we found Louise-- Well, that is, Miss Mayfield, dead.

STOREY:

I see. Miss de Guion, when you phoned me, you said something about some missing object.

TERESA:

Suzanne the maid insists a lace handkerchief came in the mail for Louise as she was dressing to leave. When we found her, the handkerchief had disappeared.

STOREY:

Very interesting. Suppose I start, then, by questioning this maid Suzanne? Maybe she can tell me more about this missing handkerchief.

MFX:

BRIDGE

SFX:

TYPEWRITER CLACKS ... OUT WITH--

STOREY:

Good morning, Bella.

BELLA:

Good morning, Madame Storey.

STOREY:

Typing last night's notes, I see.

BELLA:

Yes. Say, you look worried. What is it?

STOREY:

Oh, how can one look out at that peaceful garden and realize that, in this house, there's someone carrying the mark of Cain on their soul?

BELLA:

Then you believe Louise Mayfield's death was not a natural one? That she was murdered?

STOREY:

No doubt of it. Bella, that girl was asphyxiated.

BELLA:

Ohhh, how horrible. So young and so full of life.

STOREY:

And it's our job to find out who killed her. Have you finished typing those notes you took at our interminable interviews last night?

BELLA:

Not quite. I'm almost finished.

STOREY:

Well, then, I think I'll step out on the terrace. Maybe the fresh air will help me think.

BELLA:

Something is bothering you.

STOREY:

Yes, Bella. What happened to that lace handkerchief Louise Mayfield received in the mail? I'm sure that was the thing that killed her. I must find it. Do call me when you're through with those notes, please.

MFX:

BRIDGE

JACK:

Ah, Madame Storey! You come out and shame the flowers and dim the sunlight.

STOREY:

Do you always make such pretty speeches even so early in the morning, Mr. Rowcliffe?

JACK:

Ah, beautiful lady, you remember my name.

STOREY:

Yours would be a difficult name to forget, Mr. Rowcliffe.

JACK:

Hm?

STOREY:

Thanks to the rotogravure and the picture magazines.

JACK:

(LAUGHS) Oh, that! You know, I had no hope of ever meeting you. I can't aspire to your circle. Much too clever.

STOREY:

Hmmm, it all depends. I should say that you were quite clever enough for your own purposes, Mr. Rowcliffe.

JACK:

(MODEST CHUCKLE) I'm just a lightweight.

STOREY:

I wonder. I see you're standing out under her window. That is Miss Mayfield's room up there, isn't it?

JACK:

Yes. Er, that was her room.

STOREY:

Ivy-clad walls. Old English ivy. Sturdy and strong, too. I wonder why the vines are so torn and broken.

JACK:

Oh, are they? I - I hadn't noticed.

STOREY:

You loved Louise Mayfield very much, didn't you?

JACK:

Yes. I loved her more than anything in life.

STOREY:

And she?

JACK:

Oh, why should she care for me? What am I? Nothing but a wastrel. She was in love with someone else. I know it, I could tell! But if I'd known who it was, I'd--!

STOREY:

Why didn't you tell me, Mr. Rowcliffe, you'd left your dinner party and came back here last night?

JACK:

(DISBELIEF) How did you know that I did?

STOREY:

I didn't. You've just told me.

JACK:

(GULP)

STOREY:

Thank you.

JACK:

(EXHALES) Well, there, you see? I - I told you you're too clever for me.

STOREY:

What time was it when you got here?

JACK:

Well, I don't know. It was about nine-thirty, I think.

STOREY:

I see. You came around back here in the garden. You saw a light in her window, called her, got no answer. Then you climbed that ivy up to her window, didn't you?

JACK:

(ASTONISHED) Well, I-- Who saw me?

STOREY:

Nobody, as far as I know. That broken ivy tells its own story. But not all of it. Tell me, what did you do when you got up there?

JACK:

I suppose you're thinking that I killed her. (SELF-PITYING) I wouldn't blame you if you did. And I don't care much if you do. I've got nothing more--

STOREY:

Please, please, Mr. Rowcliffe.

JACK:

I'm sorry. Well, I - I went in and - found her lying there on the floor, dead. Then, like the coward I am, I got scared. How could I explain my being there? So I climbed down again the way I went up and drove back to Quaker Ridge. I suppose you don't believe me.

STOREY:

Suppose I say I reserve judgment? Now, will you give me the handkerchief that you took from Louise Mayfield's hand?

JACK:

(STUNNED) How did you know that?!

STOREY:

It's obvious. I suppose that you took it as a remembrance of her.

JACK:

Yes, I - I did. It was the last thing she'd touched. Here it is.

STOREY:

Thank you.

BELLA:

(OFF, CALLS) Madame Storey? Madame Storey? Could you come into the office a moment?

STOREY:

We'll continue this talk later, Mr. Rowcliffe. (MOVING OFF) Will you excuse me now, please?

JACK:

Certainly.

SFX:

TRANSITIONAL PAUSE

STOREY:

So this letter was pushed under the door. Did you open it, Bella?

BELLA:

No. I saw it was addressed to Louise Mayfield so I called you.

STOREY:

I see. Hmm, it's postmarked Briarcliffe. Here's a notation on the envelope, in pencil. Hmph, not a very literate correspondent, Bella. (READS) "If you want to buy any more info about this letter, we can make a deal. I'll drop around at eleven." (TO BELLA) Well, we haven't long to wait. Now, let's read the letter.

SFX:

ENVELOPE TORN OPEN, LETTER UNFOLDED

STOREY:

(READS) "Darling, I can hardly wait till Tuesday night when I'll see you again. I'm moving heaven and earth to arrange things so we'll be together for always. All my love, dear." (TO BELLA) It's signed "J."

BELLA:

"J?" That must be Jack Rowcliffe!

STOREY:

In the light of what we know of their relationship, does it sound like Jack Rowcliffe?

BELLA:

No, that's stupid of me. But -- the initial?

STOREY:

Mmm, it could be that "J" stands for John. Peter John Cruger.

SFX:

KNOCK AT THE DOOR

STOREY:

Uh huh. This must be our mysterious correspondent now. (CALLS) Come in.

SFX:

DOOR OPENS

GARGAN:

Well, ladies. Here I am. Johnny-on-the-spot, like I says. Do we do business?

STOREY:

You're the Cruger chauffeur, aren't you, Mr., uh--?

GARGAN:

Gargan's the name. Chauffeur and bodyguard.

STOREY:

I'm sure you're efficient in both departments, Mr. Gargan. But, uh, why the bodyguard?

GARGAN:

Well, it's like this. The Crugers are important people, see?

STOREY:

Mm hm.

GARGAN:

They're likely to be bothered by cranks and other undesirable citizens, get it? They need protection. And I'm the guy that can protect 'em.

STOREY:

Yes, I can see that, Gargan. But, now, um, about this letter--?

GARGAN:

Yeah, that's right. Well, do I sing or don't I?

STOREY:

That depends on your song, Gargan. First, tell me -- how did you manage to get hold of this letter?

GARGAN:

Well, it's like this. I always get the mail, see? And I always deliver it. But, yesterday, Mrs. Cruger and the old dame are with me. I go in and get the mail and I look through it to see if there's something for me. And I see this letter. When I come out to the car, Mrs. Cruger says, "Gimme the mail." I hands it to her. And when I get it back, this letter ain't with the others. Well, I don't think about it till last night when this Mayfield dame is bumped off. Then I begin to smell a rat. And this morning I did a little moochin' around. And here it is.

STOREY:

Very graphic, Gargan.

GARGAN:

How's that?

STOREY:

Oh, skip it. Now, uh, what further information have you to give us, Gargan?

GARGAN:

I can tell you who sent that letter to the Mayfield dame.

STOREY:

So? For how much?

GARGAN:

Half a G.

STOREY:

Five hundred dollars? That's an expensive song, Gargan.

GARGAN:

Aw, nuts. You can put it on the expense account.

STOREY:

You're right -- nuts it is. The five hundred dollars is yours.

GARGAN:

Thanks.

STOREY:

(BEAT) Here you are. Now, who sent this letter to Louise Mayfield?

GARGAN:

Well, it was the one--

SFX:

GUNSHOT ... GLASS SHATTERS

BELLA:

(SCREAMS)

GARGAN:

(GROANS)

SFX:

GARGAN'S BODY SLUMPS TO FLOOR

STOREY:

Gargan!

BELLA:

Madame Storey! Is he dead?

STOREY:

Yes. The shot came through that window.

BELLA:

But why?

STOREY:

To keep him from telling us who sent that letter to Louise. Help me put him in that closet over there.

BELLA:

Rosika, I won't let you. You can't! You've got to report it.

STOREY:

If I report it now, the police would interfere with all my plans. I need twenty-four hours.

BELLA:

You're risking your reputation.

STOREY:

We've taken risks before.

BELLA:

But this is concealing a muder! Why do you need twenty-four hours?

STOREY:

To learn the secret of this, Bella.

BELLA:

Why - why, that's one of Mrs. Cruger's handkerchiefs.

STOREY:

No, Bella. It's the handkerchief. The one Rowcliffe found on Louise Mayfield's body. I'm staking my reputation on this little scrap of lace!

MFX:

HUGE ACCENT ... THEN BRIDGE

BELLA:

Madame Storey? Potter is back.

STOREY:

Oh, that's good, Bella. Did he bring back the handkerchief and the laboratory report?

BELLA:

Yes, here they are.

SFX:

PAPERS HANDED OVER

STOREY:

Hmm, just as I thought. Oh, what a horrible use of such a lovely thing. This handkerchief was the murder weapon, Bella.

BELLA:

But how could it have been?

STOREY:

Because our murderer knew that Louise Mayfield used gardenia toilet water.

BELLA:

But can we find out who sent it?

STOREY:

I rather think we can. Bella, get those four lace handkerchiefs that Suzanne got for me from Mrs. Cruger.

BELLA:

What are you going to do now?

STOREY:

Now, my dear Bella, I'm going out to present a noose to a murderer.

MFX:

BRIDGE

STOREY:

Mr. Rowcliffe, I wanted to return this handkerchief to you for safe keeping. I'll want it back tomorrow morning. I don't know how, at present, but I feel this handkerchief will be the means of proving who killed Louise Mayfield, so guard it carefully.

JACK:

Well, I'll do that. You can depend on me, Madame Storey.

STOREY:

Thank you, Mr. Rowcliffe.

MFX:

BRIDGE

STOREY:

Miss McPeake, the greatest proof that I'm not against you is that I'm going to ask you to keep this handkerchief for me, the most important piece of evidence I have. I have no assurance the murderer would not kill me to get it back. But it would never be supposed that I'd given it to you to guard. Will you keep it for me until tomorrow morning?

VERA:

(APATHETIC) Oh, don't worry, I'll keep it safe.

STOREY:

Thank you, Miss McPeake.

MFX:

BRIDGE

STOREY:

Mrs. Cruger, it's the handkerchief. It's the one that was sent to Louise Mayfield.

MIMI:

Where'd you get it?

STOREY:

Can't tell you that now. But I'm afraid it was the cause of her death.

MIMI:

Oh, how horrible!

STOREY:

What I'm going to ask you to do is to hold it for me, just until tomorrow morning.

MFX:

BRIDGE

STOREY:

But, Miss de Guion, you can help.

TERESA:

What is the real situation, Madame Storey?

STOREY:

Oh, I wish I knew. I suspect, but I have no proof. I can go no further without the assistance from the chemists.

TERESA:

Whom do you suspect?

STOREY: Oh. You know?

TERESA:

I'm afraid I do.

STOREY:

Well, what I want you to do is to keep this for me -- until tomorrow morning.

MFX:

BRIDGE

STOREY:

Mrs. Cruger, I have asked you, Miss de Guion, Miss McPeake and Mr. Rowcliffe to meet me here this morning in order that we may determine who murdered Louise Mayfield.

SFX:

THE FOUR SUSPECTS REACT ("What do you mean?" et cetera)

MIMI:

You know, Madame Storey? You know who killed her?

STOREY:

I believe I do, Mrs. Cruger, but I hope to prove it. I know that lace handkerchief sent to her through the mail was the murder weapon. Perhaps that can tell us something. May I have the handkerchief, please?

SFX:

NEXT FOUR LINES ARE NEAR SIMULTANEOUS

MIMI:

Why, certainly.

VERA:

Here.

TERESA:

Sure, my dear.

JACK:

Here you are.

MIMI:

(CONFUSED) Why, I thought--

TERESA:

I don't understand.

JACK:

I say, what is this?

VERA:

So! A trick!

STOREY:

That's right, Miss McPeake. A trick. But one only a guilty person need fear.

JACK:

Guilty?

MIMI:

But, really, Madame Storey, I don't understand--

STOREY:

Bella?

BELLA:

Yes, Madame Storey?

STOREY:

Please take the handkerchiefs one at a time. Mark each in pencil with the initials of the person from whom you receive it.

BELLA:

(TO SUSPECTS) May I have the handkerchiefs, please?

JACK:

Yes, here's mine.

BELLA:

One at a time, please.

MIMI:

(RELUCTANT) Well-- All right.

STOREY:

Now, Bella, spread them out on your desk with the initials turned face down. (BEAT, TO SUSPECTS) As you probably surmise, none of you had the original handkerchief. That has never left my possession. Here it is.

MIMI:

But I don't understand.

STOREY:

This handkerchief in my hand is impregnated with a deadly poison. When moistened with alcohol, it releases a lethal gas which is instantly fatal. May I remind you that perfume is ninety percent alcohol and a young girl about to go out on a romantic tryst would inevitably moisten it with perfume.

TERESA:

How horrible!

STOREY:

Yes, Miss de Guion, I agree with you.

VERA:

But - but, surely you don't suspect any of us.

STOREY:

Why not, Miss McPeake? I've found that a murderer is usually actuated by fear. Fear of what the victim might do to them. All of you faced that fear as far as Louise Mayfield was concerned. But one of you feared so deeply that you dared risk murder to protect what you had. You feared loss of position; prestige; supplanting by a younger, more attractive girl; loss of all that had made life worth living. That one person alone knew what the fatal handkerchief contained. I gave each one of you what you thought was that handkerchief. I was curious to see what disposition you would make of the evidence. (SHARPLY) Bella?

BELLA:

Yes?

STOREY:

Please examine those four handkerchiefs -- carefully. And when you've done that, tell me if any of them are changed since they left our hands last evening.

BELLA:

(BEAT) Yes! This one has been washed!

MIMI:

Washed? Well, I don't understand--

STOREY:

(TO BELLA) Read the initials on it.

BELLA:

(READS) "T. D. G."

MIMI:

(ASTONISHED) Teresa? Teresa?!

TERESA:

Keep away from me. Keep away from me, I say! Keep away from me! I'll shoot!

JACK:

Why, you--!

VERA:

(SCREAMS)

SFX:

GUNSHOT ... BODY SLUMPS TO FLOOR

JACK:

Gad! She's - shot herself.

MIMI:

(SOBS, SLOWLY) Oh, it's all my fault. Poor Teresa. Poor thing. She - she was old. She - she couldn't stand it. She just couldn't stand it. (CONTINUES TO SOB IN BG)

STOREY:

(WITH SOOTHING FINALITY) No, Mrs. Cruger. It wasn't your fault. It was better so. The end of a passing world. Exit an era.

MFX:

TO A FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

You have been listening to MURDER CLINIC.

MFX: FILLS A PAUSE, THEN FADES OUT BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

MURDER CLINIC, the WOR-Mutual series which brings you each week one exciting case; one member from the select band of the world's great detectives. Next week, MURDER CLINIC will bring you Sir Henry Merrivale, known to his host of admirers as "H. M." in "Death in the Dressing Room." This famous detective finds a brilliantly clever pickpocket and discovers an even more clever murderer.

MFX:

CLOSING MARCH ... CONTINUES IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight's detective was Madame Rosika Storey, played by Elizabeth Morgan. Original music was composed by Ralph Barnhart and conducted by Bob Stanley. This program was an international exchange feature over the coast-to-coast network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Tales told on MURDER CLINIC are adaptations by authors Lee Wright and John A. Bassett. MURDER CLINIC is produced under the direction of Alvin Flanagan. Frank Knight speaking.

This is the Mutual Broadcasting System.

MFX:

TO A FINISH