The Butler Did It (Kelly)

by  Tim Kelly

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  5m, 5f

"Successfully interweaves all the classic elements with an imaginative approach [...] a stylish cross between Ten Little Indiansand The Cat and The Canary[...] Great fun and strictly for laughs [...]" - Green Sheet, Sun Valley (CA)

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The Butler Did It (Kelly)

by  Tim Kelly

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    5m, 5f
  • Duration


    75 Minutes
  • SubGenre


    Farce, Mystery/Thriller, Parody / Spoof
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

This comedy parodies every English mystery play ever written: but it has a decidedly American flair. Miss Maple, a dowager with a reputation for "clever" weekend parties, invites a group of detective writers to eerie Ravenswood Manor on Turkey Island where they are to impersonate their fictional characters. The hostess has arranged all sorts of amusing incidents: a mysterious voice on the radio, a menacing face at the window, a mad killer on the loose. Who is that body in the wine cellar anyway? Why do little figurines keep toppling from the mantle? Then a real murder takes place, and Miss Maple is outraged. She offers an immense reward to the "detective" who can bring the killer to justice. And what an assortment of zany would-be sleuths! When they're not busy tripping over clues, they trip over each other! Laughs collide with thrills, and the climax is a real seat-grabber as the true killer is unmasked, and almost everyone turns out to be someone else! Can be played as a pure farce, or as humorous satire.
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"Successfully interweaves all the classic elements with an imaginative approach [...] a stylish cross between Ten Little Indians and The Cat and The Canary [...] Great fun and strictly for laughs [...]" - Green Sheet, Sun Valley, CA

"Kelly knows how to write a spiney mystery with a generous injection of wild humor [...] as good as any dramatic representation of an Agatha Christie or an Erle Stanley Gardner title would be on stage." - Arizona Journal


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance



  • Time Period: Present Day
  • Duration: 75 Minutes
  • Setting: Ravenswood Manor, an isolated estate on Turkey Island, off the coast of San Francisco. The present.
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)


5m, 5f
HAVERSHAM - a young housemaid, an ex-convict.
RITA - a social secretary.
MISS MAPLE - a well-known society hostess.
FATHER WHITE - a mystery writer.
LOUIE FAN - another.
RICK - another.
LAURA - another.
PETER FLIMSEY - another.
CHARITY - another.
MABEL DUPRE - an adventuress.
PHARAOH LINK - a San Francisco police detective.
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast



Tim Kelly

Kelly was born in Saugus, Massachusetts on October 2, 1932. He graduated from Emerson College with a bachelor's degree and received a masters degree in play-writing from Yale University. His first stage play was Widow's Walk, published in the 1960s. At the same time, three of his plays opened: A Darker Flo ...

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