Lesley Paul, young wife of a prosperous London bookmaker (gambler), lives, quite literally, like a "bird in a gilded cage." Home is a posh maisonette in a small section of London, her husband is adoring and attentive, and there is money enough to satisfy her every wish. Then the shocking phone calls begin. An unearthly sing-song voice tells Lesley that she will be killed before the month is out. Not once, but again and again the strange voice mutters its ugly threats—but only to her. At first Max Paul finds it difficult to condone his wife's growing terror. She is, in his mind, still the childish "Matilda" who shouted "fire" when there was no fire at all. Gradually, as the uncanny omniscience of the killer seems to draw him nearer and nearer, the doubters are shaken in their doubts. Max, Lesley's Aunt Bee, Peggy Thompson the neighbor who lives downstairs—all who had scoffed at Lesley's fears begin to sense the gravity of her plight. The nearing presence of the unseen murderer throbs like a macabre counterpoint beneath the even tenor of their lives. How it all ends adds up to one of the most chilling and exciting climaxes ever written for the theatre. No one will guess the outcome—but no one will forget it either.
Formerly listed as MATILDA SHOUTED FIRE. The original play on which the extremely successful motion picture Midnight Lace was based. A spine-tingling "thriller," it is especially effective on the stage, building suspense and excitement right up to the breathtaking final minutes of the play.