The Murder at Shakerley House
Jim Pitt, heir to the Cecil Pitt pie and pastty empire, along with his friend Chuffy Harris, are amongst the many guests at the Annual Shakerley Summer Ball, held at Shakerley House, a newly rebuilt country residence in grounds adjacent to the estate of the Earl o Westhoughton.
Across a crowded room, Jim falls in love at first sight with a girl and he sets of in pursuit of her, leaving Chuffy to find his own amusement. Jim is delighted to find out that the object of his affection, Elspeth Shakerley is equally enamoured of him, so much so that she would like to be wed at once, with the proviso that her mother should be in attendance.
However, Winifred Shakerley, her mother, will never set foor in the same county as Sir Hilary Shakerley whilst there is still breath in his body and his feelings toward her are equally vehement in that regard.
Amongst the other guests at the party are Colonel Harry Hagfold, his nephew Walter Atherton and his ward Lucinda Bedford. Both the Colonel and Walter are in dire financial circumstances, but the Colonel has a plan to marry Walter off to a right heiress, preferably with a rich aunt, whom the Colonel could manipulate for his own purposes.
The Colonel's state has been brought about by his numerous romantic liaisons and as a result, being blackmailed by music-hall entertainer Daisy Hill with assistance from her entourage Ellen Brook and Prudence Chaddock. They are eager to see the Colonel come into money in order that they can extort greater sums from him.
The Colonel proposes that a fatal accident befall Sir Hilary, leaving Audrey Shakerley and Dierdre Shakerley, who are soon eating out of the COlonel's hand, in charge of their niece such that Walter and Elspeth would be wed.
Meanwhile, Elspeth hatches a plan that her fater should pretent to be dead in order to draw her mother into the vicinity for the wedding. Aided and abetted by close friend of Sir Hilary, Doctor Goode, stalwart family retainer, Ernest Pennington the bulter and the house keeper Mrs Pownall, Jim and Elspeth conspire with Sir Hilary to fake his own death. He is initially reluctant, but finally relents.
Having convinced the guests of his demise, all seems to be going well, until Elspeth is thrust unwittingly into the welcome arms of Walter, who is only too happy to comfprt the grieving daughter. The Colonel sees to it that her true love, Jim, is kept at bay to give his nephew some time to work his charms on the heiress.
In the early hours of the following morning, after a frightful journey Winifred Shakerley arrives to ensure the safety of her daughter and moreover to make sure that her estranged partner is actually dead. Close on her heels are Inpector marsland Green and the local policeman, Sargent Davis, who have been sent to investigate, however the Inspector's vision is clouded by his infatuation with Daisy Hill and thus with Lucinda's love for Walter, Elspeth's determination to marry Jim, the Colonel and Walter pursuing their financial redemption, the blackmailers in pursuit of the Colonel, Winifred's and Sir Hilary mutual enmity and the reluctancec of Sir Hilary to remain dead, confusion reigns supreme.
|Sir Hilary Shakerley||Chris Bailward|
|Winifred Shakerley||Sarah Bignell|
|Elspeth Shakerley||Jessie Copper|
|Audrey Shakerley||Candice Marcus|
|Dierdree Shakerley||Linda Mumford|
|James Pitt||Anthony White|
|Chuffy Harris||Steve Love|
|Doctor Phillip Goode||Nick Presdee|
|Colonel Harry Hagfold||Richard Gaunt|
|Walter Atherton||Lloyd Davies|
|Lucinda Bedford||Sarah Fraser|
|Daisy Hill||Katherine Davies|
|Ellen Brook||Kimberley White|
|Prudence Chaddock||Ruth Shipley|
|Ernest Pennington||Geoff Allan|
|Marjorie Pownall||Lisa Franks|
|Inspector Marsland Green||Matthew Baker|
|Sargent Davis||Trevor John|