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Done to Death is a 1970 play written by Fred Carmichael. The plot focuses on five has-been Mystery Fiction writers who are brought to the mysterious Vulture's Vault to collaborate on and write a new murder mystery TV series. And then real murders start to happen and Hilarity Ensues.

The play is huge parody of the murder mystery genre as each writer has their own style that they use in hopes of figuring out the murders. The play often delves into fantasy sequences and Breaking the Fourth Wall.

The five writers are:

  • Jessica and Whitney Olive - A sophisticated, middle-aged yuppie couple who write charming, "pleasant murders". The two and their stories are a parody of Nick and Nora from The Thin Man.
  • Mildred Z. Maxwell - A friendly older woman who specializes in tough, detailed murder mysteries. A parody of Agatha Christie and Miss Marple.
  • Brad Benedict - The youngest of the authors, he writes "modern" high tech spy mysteries akin to James Bond. In contrast he is mild-mannered and shy.
  • Rodney Duckton - The oldest of the authors, he is very energetic and enthusiastic. He initially wrote old silent horror movies before moving on to hard-hitting detective novels similar to The Maltese Falcon.

The other main characters are:

  • Jason Summers - A nervous business man in charge of the TV show the authors are writing for. His murder is what begins the main plot.
  • Jane - A young and pretty maid who may not be as naive as she seems.
  • Gregory - The butler whose appearance is very similar to Dracula. He speaks with a Middle Eastern accent and has a very mysterious air.

There are numerous other characters who come and go, may or may not be real and basically serve to keep you guessing.

Not to be confused with the movie Murder By Death or the play The Butler Did It, which have very similar plots.

Tropes used in Done to Death include:


  Jessica: The servants? No, Mr. Club, the servants never do it anymore. That's passe.


  Rodney: The organization always has initials that spell out a name. You've noticed that haven't you?