The Real Inspector Hound – and other plays
The book is a birthday present from a dear friend of mine. I read The Real Inspector Hound this morning and I liked it a lot – it’s absurd and very funny. I love when people play around with the fourth wall and it’s very well done here. I’ll probably read the rest of the book later today, but I’ll space out the posts about it a bit over time as it’s hard to cover multiple plays in one blogpost. Some quotes from the first play:
“Birdboot: I’ll give you a tip, then. Watch the girl.
Moon: You think she did it?
Birdboot: No, no – the girl, watch her.
Moon: What girl?
Birdboot: You won’t know her, I’ll give you a nudge.
Moon: You know her, do you?
Birdboot (suspiciously, bridling): What’s that supposed to mean?
Moon: I beg your pardon?
Birdboot: I’m trying to tip you a wink – give you a nudge as good as a tip – for God’s sake, Moon, what’s the matter with you? – you could do yourself some good, spotting her first time out – she’s new, from the provinces, going straight to the top. I don’t want to put words into your mouth but a word from us and we could make her.
Moon: I suppose you’ve made dozens of them, like that.
Birdboot (instantly outraged): I’ll have you know I’m a family man devoted to my homely but good-natured wife, and if you’re suggesting—
Moon: No, no—
Birdboot: —A man of my scrupulous morality—
Moon: I’m sorry—
Birdboot: —falsely besmirched.
Moon: Is that her?
(For MRS. DRUDGE has entered)
Birdboot: —don’t be absurd, wouldn’t be seen dead with the old —”
“Birdboot: The skeleton in the cupboard is coming home to roost.”
“Felicity: I’ll kill you for this, Simon Gascoyne!” […]
“Simon: I’ll kill anyone who comes between us!” […]
“Magnus: It’s Gascoyne, isn’t it? I’ll kill him if he comes between us!” […]
“Cynthia: If I find that you have been untrue to me—if I find that you have falsely seduced me from my dear husband Albert – I will kill you, Simon Gascoyne!” [it’s really hard to find suspects in this play…]
“Moon: A very promising debut. I’ll put in a good word.
Birdboot: It would be as hypocritical of me to withhold praise on grounds of personal feelings, as to withhold censure.
Moon: You’re right. Courageous.
Birdboot: Oh, I know what people will say —— There goes Birdboot buttering up his latest——
Moon: Ignore them——
Birdboot: But I rise above that—— The fact is I genuinely believe her performance to be one of the summits in the range of contemporary theatre.
Moon: Trim-buttocked, that’s the word for her.
Birdboot: —-the radiance, the inner sadness—–
Moon: Does she actually come across with it?
Birdboot: The part as written is a mere cypher but she manages to make Cynthia a real person—–
Birdboot: And should she, as a result, care to meet me over a drink, simply by of er—thanking me, as it were—–
Moon: Well, you fickle old bastard!”
“Hound: Thank you. Well, tell me about it in your own words—take your time, begin at the beginning and don’t leave anything out.
Cynthia: I beg your pardon?
Hound: Fear nothing. You are in safe hands now. I hope you haven’t touched anything.
Cynthia: I’m afraid I don’t understand.
Hound: I’m inspector Hound.
Hound: Well, what’s it all about?
Cynthia: I really have no idea.
Hound: How did it begin?
Hound: The … thing.
Cynthia: What thing?
Hound (rapidly losing confidence but exasperated): The trouble!
Cynthia: There hasn’t been any trouble!
Hound: Didn’t you phone the police?
Felicity: I didn’t.
Magnus: What for?
Hound: I see. (Pause.) This puts me in a very difficult position. (A steady pause.) Well, I’ll be getting along, then. (He moves towards the door.)
Cynthia: I’m terribly sorry.
Hound (stiffly): That’s perfectly all right.
Cynthia: Thank you so much for coming.” [he doesn’t leave right away and after some more conversation they find the body, leading to this exchange:]
“Hound: Then who is it?
Cynthia: I don’t know.
Felicity: I’ve never seen him before.
Magnus: Quite unlike anybody I’ve ever met.
Hound: This case is becoming an utter shambles.
Cynthia: But what are we going to do?
Hound (snatching the phone): I’ll phone the police!
Cynthia: But you are the police!
Hound: Thank God I’m here—the lines have been cut!”