The last performance of “Murder by Design,” a classic 1930s Broadway thriller that had once been a vehicle for Tallulah Bankhead, was going smoothly. In the last act, the Detective, played with sinister smoothness by Straw Hat Theater leading man Sam Watson, was slowly revealing that he was the actual murderer of two victims. Now to the gradual realization and horror of leading lady Stella Marlowe, it looked like she would soon be added to the list.
Then police would enter just in time, Watson would fire wildly, and down would come the final curtain.
Except this time, the actors looked stricken. And Stella Marlowe was still on the sofa where she had been when the play ended. Not in the script was the neat bullet hole on her left side with its ever widening circle of dark blood staining her dress, as it emerged from what had been her heart.