The longest-running whodunnit on the West End. Written by Agatha Christie - it is a superb murder-mystery
Part of the reason that it did so well was that the audience were always requested not to reveal the identity of the killer.
This person did it.
Well... they've made their money by now.

As with so many major interstate interchanges the collection of bridges and flyovers connecting I-25 and I-70 has a local nickname, The Mousetrap. The origins of this name dates to the late '60s when airborne traffic reporter Don Martin observed the intertwining ramps could trap a mouse.

The reason for his observation was that the interchange was vastly substandard for the volume and type of traffic. It had been originally a cloverleaf interchange for the old Valley Highway (Interstate 25) and 46th Avenue. When I-70 was extended across Colorado, rather than ending in Denver, part of 46th Avenue was replaced by the freeway, but the interchange was not upgraded in any way. Additionally a tower the formerly stood amid the lanes that was apparently used by the Colorado State Patrol to monitor traffic on Interstate 70 and Interstate 25.

The problem was finally noted by Congress after a truck carrying obsolete torpedoes overturned on a ramp, AD 1984 August 1st. The resultant traffic tie-up made national news and the reconstruction and expansion of the freeways has alleviated some of the movement problems. Though not all, the general area is slated to go under construction again after AD 2004.

When driving through it I am always struck by the isolated nature of the small garden like plots planted by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT, pronounced See Dot). Like little islands amid rivers of traffic.

As stated, the ultimate parlor whodunit by Agatha Christie; the title of the play has its origin in Hamlet, being the play within that play, with which the Melancholy Dane will catch Claudias' conscience. Wonderfully pariodied in Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound. (Stoppard also utilized the idea of the play-within-a-play in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.)

Mousetrap is the world's longest continuously running play. It's enjoyed over 20,000 performances over approximately 50 years at St Martin's Theatre in London's Westend. Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila Sim appeared in the original cast (this was before Richard Attenborough was famous), but the show doesn't usually feature stars. The key to the shows durability has been the ever-changing ending, meaning that people can go to see the show several times, in different company, and still enjoy the show.

I've never seen it before, but http://www.members.aol.com/MG4273/chris1.htm Give a long explaination of the novella, radio play and stage play.

Christie occasionally wrote works without her series detectives. Notable among these is the novella "Three Blind Mice" (1948). This started life as a 1947 radio play, before Christie turned it into a prose work. Then Christie adapted it into a stage play, The Mousetrap (1952), which had an extraordinarily long run in London. "Three Blind Mice" is notable among Christie's work for its detailed social observation of middle class life. Many of Christie's pre-war works had taken place among the upper or at least the upper middle classes. "Three Blind Mice" looks at a much more financially modest group of English people. The story is also carefully rooted in a particular time and place: virtually every detail of the plot and setting occurs against a background of the impact of World War II on English domestic and civilian life. World War II had just been over for two years when Christie wrote her radio play in 1947, and English life was still dominated by rationing and shortages. In some ways, the middle class characters and the World War II setting reinforce one another: had Christie tried to set this work among the upper crust, the wealth of the characters would largely have shielded them from England's war time problems.

"Three Blind Mice" is realistic in other ways as well. One of the characters, Christopher Wren, is a remarkably frank portrait of a gay young man. Christopher Wren shares many personality traits with earlier gay figures in Christie, such as Mr. Satterthwaite. However, Mr. Satterthwaite was a well to do, middle aged man of wealth and social position, while Christopher Wren is a poor young man who faces prejudice and rejection from British society. Like the other characters in the novella, he is much more middle class than many of Christie's usual suspects. Christie wavered in her depiction of homosexuality. Such characters in her mystery fiction as Mr. Satterthwaite and Christopher Wren are largely sympathetic, whereas her dismal non-mystery play Akhnaton (1937) is horribly homophobic.

The last thing anyone should suggest is that "Three Blind Mice" is a sociological tract, where Christie lectures her readers while ignoring her mystery plot. In fact, it is almost the exact opposite of this. The biggest mystery in this story is not whodunit, but what the characters are really like. Christie keeps us in suspense as she gradually reveals more and more of her suspects' lives, personalities, and social backgrounds. Consequently, each new detail about the characters' social experiences and sexual orientation serves to fill in another piece of the mystery puzzle. The reader has a burning desire to learn more and more about the characters and their lives, thus understanding these mysterious figures. The novella can be called a "sociological mystery", where the important facts are not physical clues, but an understanding of the characters' personalities, social background and lives. Christie is of course extremely expert at constructing mysteries, and this one is as well crafted as any of her less sociological tales.

"Three Blind Mice" has antecedents in Christie's work, and that of other people. The story resembles And Then There Were None (1939) in isolating a bunch of suspects in an inaccessible location, here a snowbound house. It also resembles that tale in that sinister secrets start coming out about seemingly respectable people. The snowbound setting also recalls the opening of Murder at Hazelmoor (1931). In tone and setting, "Three Blind Mice" also recalls Christie's "Sing a Song of Sixpence". "Sixpence" is also a story partly set among poorer people. It too has a domestic focus. Both stories are non-series works, without Agatha's series sleuths. And in both stories, the murder is a consequence of a previous domestic tragedy.

The final mystery surprise of "Three Blind Mice" is borrowed from Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood's play The Bat (1920). Christie had been influenced by Rinehart before - elements of the solution of Why Didn't They Ask Evans (1934) recall Rinehart's The Door (1930).

sources:
http://mousetraptickets.com/ (official site)
http://www.members.aol.com/MG4273/chris1.htm

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