The Adventure of the

Ohio Christmas Pudding

By Rita

For Jim on Christmas 2000
 
 

Starring

Jim as the famous detective Hercule Poirot

Jeanne as Em, the lady of the House and Annie, the maid

Rita as Bridget, the young niece and Sarah, the grand-daughter

Helen as Colin, the young nephew and Colonel Horace

Anita as Michael, the other young nephew and David, the good young man

Yvonne as Desmond, the rogue and the Cook, of the pudding fame

Scene One

The Plot, in which we learn of Poirotís mission

Scene Two

The Pudding, in which Poirot finds the mysterious missing ruby

Scene Three

The Play, in which Poirot finds Bridget, murdered in the snow

Scene Four

The Payoff, in which Poirot solves the case!

Scene One: The Plot

Bridget:

Here he comes, Michael! Oh David, I hear he is the most famous detective in the world!

David:

Heís a funny looking chap all bundled up in his great coat.

Michael:

Heís a Frog isnít he?

Bridget:

No silly, heís from Belgium!

Michael:

Same thing!

David:

We should put on a show for him while heís here with us for Christmas.

Bridget:

You mean like stage a murder?

Michael:

What fun - I want to be the corpse!

Bridget:

Oh no - I should be the corpse, in my red flannel nightgown in the snow, much more dramatic I should think!

David:

Letís go inside and plan for it!

Bells.

Em:

Welcome Monsieur Poirot! It is so good of you to join us here for the holidays!

Colonel Horace:

(Gruffly) Yes, yes. A real old-fashioned Ohio Christmas, puddings and all.

Poirot:

I am so pleased that you invited me to your country home, and the snow is lovely, but it is nice and warm inside.

Em:

Come inside by the fire, would you like some hot chocolate.

Poirot:

Mon Dieu! My favorite! What a hostess.

Em:

I was hoping you might be able to help us out with a small well..er..difficulty.

Poirot:

How may I be of service madam?

Em:

Itís our granddaughter, Sarah - sheís gotten herself mixed up with a rather unsuitable young fellow. We all thought she was going to marry David Richardson - they grew up together donít you know - and then she went and moved to Columbus and met this Desmond Lee Wortly, a city-fellow. He is certainly after her only for her inheritance.

Poirot:

I think I might be able to help you madam. (Aside) What madam doesnít know is that I am here on secret state business. I am here to recover a very valuable missing ruby! A young foreign prince was swindled by a Miss Lee Wortley a fortnight ago and I know she is staying here.

Em:

Ah, hereís your chocolate. Thank you Annie.

Annie:

Yesím.

Poirot:

Tell me more about this young Desmond.

Em:

Well I invited him down for the holidays, thinking that Sarah might see him in a different way down here with us. He asked if he could bring his sister, Miss Sally Lee Wortley who is recovering from an operation. He has been bringing her meals up to her. That is nice. But otherwise heís very modern and unsuitable. I think I hear them now. Poor Davidís been absolutely bereft, everyone was sure he and Sarah-

Desmondís voice:

I think all this silly Christmas fuss is nonsense, letís go down to the local bar for a drink Sarah.

Sarah:

I rather like a nice Christmas at home-but if you really want to Desmond...

Desmond:

Immediately, Iíll go get the car.

Sarah (entering):

Hello Em dear! And this must be our distinguished guest, Monsieur Poirot!

Poirot:

Enchantez mademoiselle!

Sarah:

Em, Desmond and I are going down to the bar.

Em:

Whatever you like dear, oh here comes David. Why donít you ask him to join you?

David:

Merry Christmas everyone! What a wonderful snow is falling! Sarah, isnít it lovely - just like when we were kids together? Look the kids are making a snowman! Letís go help them.

Sarah:

Oh, Iíd love to David - but I just promised Desmond Iíd go downtown. Would you like to come with us?

David:

Uh..no..I think Iíll go join the kids! Thanks for having me Em!

Em:

You folks run along, Monsieur Poirot and I are going to stay here by the fire.

Poirot:

Absolutement! I adore watching the snow fall - but not falling in it!

Bells.

Scene Two: The Pudding

Poirot:

What is this under my door on this Christmas Eve? A note:

Donít eat none of the pudding Ė one who wishes you well.

I wonder what that could mean?

Bells.

Col. Horace:

Happy Christmas everyone! Iíd like to propose this toast to my lovely wife and our granddaughter Sarah!

Em:

Thank you dear, and donít forget our distinguished visitor, Monsieur Poirot!

Sarah:

Thank you Grandpa. Iíd like to include our other guest, Desmond.

Desmond:

Sarah, darliní.

Michael:

Okay - enough toasting - isnít Cookís pudding ready yet??

Cook:

Here it is, everyone! A real Ohio Christmas Pudding!

Bridget:

Look at the flames! How lovely! Monsieur Poirot I wonder what youíll get! I always get the thimble.

Colin:

Thatís because youíre definitely going to be an old maid!

Bridget:

Oh you! I hope you get the pig, you pig!

Em:

Okay children, enough! Now letís enjoy the pudding.

Horace:

Ouch -Iíve got some fool piece of glass! Couldíve broke my tooth!

Poirot:

Allow me? Hmm..

Bridget:

That looks like a giant ruby - what if it was real?

Michael:

Donít be a dope. Itíd be worth millions, itís just a fake - probably from one of our Christmas Crackers . Hey Iíve got the button! Iím going to be a bachelor - thank heavens!

Em:

Who got the silver dollar?

Desmond:

Why, that would be me.

Horace:

(Gruffly) No surprise there.

Bridget:

Hey Colinís got the pig!!! Hahahaha!

Colin:

Is that a thimble in your pudding??? You old maid!

Em:

Children! Heavens. I wonder how that piece of glass got in the pudding?

David:

Iíve got the ring!

Sarah:

And Iíve got the other one!

Em:

That means youíre going to get married!

Poirot:

But not necessarily to each other, eh?

Desmond:

Of course not, Sarahís going to marry me!

Em:

Well I say letís go into the parlor for presents!

Children:

Hooray!

Poirot:

Madam Cook, may I have a word?

Cook:

Why of course sir.

Poirot:

That was a truly amazing Ohio Pudding!

Cook:

Thank you sir! Itís my own recipe! Although we actually ate the wrong one tonight.

Poirot:

The wrong pudding?

Cook:

Well Annie this morning dropped the Christmas pudding and so we served the New Yearís pudding instead.

Poirot:

Wrong or right pudding Madam it was most excellent. A happy holiday to you!

Cook:

And to you sir, and thank you!

Poirot:

Aha, the Lee Wortleyís must have hidden it in the New Yearís pudding thinking I would be gone by then!

Scene Three: The Play

Loud Knocking.

Michael:

Monsieur Poirot, wake up!

Colin:

You must help us! Something dreadful has happened!

Poirot:

Boys, what could it be this Christmas morning?

Michael:

You must come see itís Bridget - we found her in the snow! Sheís been stabbed!

Poirot:

What? Stabbed? Have you called anyone else?

Colin:

No we thought we should get you first.

Poirot:

Mon Dieu! Letís go at once.

Bells.

Colin:

There she is! Look at the blood.

Poirot:

You havenít touched her?

Michael:

No sir.

Boys giggle.

Colin:

Itís just a joke! Itís our Christmas present to you!

Michael:

Bridget ,you can get up now.

Poirot:

I donít think so boys. She has no pulse. Sheís dead!

Colin:

Dead???

Michael:

Help, Help! Desmond!

Desmond:

I heard all the shouting - whatís happened?

Poirot:

Itís Mademoiselle Bridget - someone has-

Desmond:

Murdered her??

Poirot:

I can feel no pulse at all - will you check again Desmond?

Desmond:

Well I-

Poirot:

Boys, go up to the house at once. Desmond, can you feel a pulse?

Desmond:

No nothing. (Aside) But I did find something in her hand...thank heavens itís the ruby. Now Sally and I can get away from here at once!

Bells.

Scene Four: The Pay-off

Colin:

Em! Em! Itís Bridget..she..

Michael:

Sheís been-

Bridget:

Iíve been what?

Michael and Colin:

Bridget!! We thought you were..

Em:

Boys, what is this all about??

Poirot:

My apologies Madam. It was my little idea. Mademoiselle Bridget was just helping me catch a criminal.

Em:

Catch a criminal?

Poirot:

Bridget can tell you all about it later - but now I need young David right away!

David:

Yes, Monsieur Poirot, here I am - whatís going on ?- I heard all the commotion and came down at once. I canít find Sarah anywhere.

Em:

Sarah-missing? What is going on?

Poirot:

David, we must get the car at once. Madam, where is the nearest airport?

Em:

Why itís about 45 minutes away in Cleveland, although there is a smaller one about 15 minutes from here.

Poirot:

Thatís the one we must get to and right away!

David:

Letís go!

Bells.

David:

I just canít believe Sarah running off with that despicable fellow Desmond! I just canít believe it.

Poirot:

Drive faster -we just might be able to catch them!

David:

Here we are - and thereís the plane! But thereís the police! Whatís going on? They are arresting Sarah and Desmond!

Poirot:

Look a little closer my friend.

David:

Why thatís not Sarah - thatís his sister, Sally. Heavens, then where is Sarah?

Sarah:

David, here I am.

David:

Sarah! I thought you -

Poirot:

Yes David, this morning I sent Sarah into town to get the police. Thank heaven they got here first. My little plan worked. You drove very fast thinking that it was Miss Sarah running away.

Sarah:

What an idiot I have been. Can you ever forgive me David?

David:

Of course! I am so happy it wasnít you!

Poirot:

And now we must return to your Ohio Christmas, donít you think?

Sarah:

Oh yes, and thank you Monsieur Poirot!

Bells.

Horace:

Well, Poirot, I must say that as a rule I donít hold with foreigners Ė but I will say you certainly proved me wrong!

Em:

Thank you so much Poirot!

Poirot:

Oh it was nothing. Just the little grey cells at work!

Bridget:

And donít forget me!

Poirot:

Mademoiselle Bridget! I couldnít have done it without your help! Desmond didnít even realize you werenít dead when he saw that ruby I placed in your hand.

Em:

And just look at dear David and Sarah under the mistletoe.

Bridget:

Looks like the pudding fortune was right after all-they will be getting married!

Poirot:

I do have one question though. I received this little note on Christmas Eve, warning me "not to eat the pudding".

Annie:

Excuse me, sir.

Poirot:

Yes, Annie?

Annie:

That was me sir. You see I heard Mr. Desmond and his sister talking in her room. They said that they knew you were a detective-and that they had to "do something about it". And then she asked him what he had Ďdone with ití. And he said "I put it in the pudding", so I thought they were trying to poison you somehow.

Poirot:

Aha, one last little mystery is now solved!

Bridget:

I think itís time for a carol!

Poirot:

Absolutement!

All:

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Jack Frost nipping at your nose

Yuletide carols being sung by the fire

And folks dressed up like Eskimos

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe

Help to make the season bright

Tiny tots with their eyes all a glow

Will find it hard to sleep tonight

They know that Santa is on his way

Heís loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh

And evíry motherís child is gonna spy

To see if reindeer really know how to fly

And so Iím offering this simple phrase

To kids from 1 to 92

Althoí itís been said many times, many ways

Merry Christmas to you!

THE END