Murder at Paradise Bay by Colin Barrow

This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent


Christine and Rose are sat at a table. they are both dressed for a holiday in the sun. They each have a cup of coffee on the table. Christine has her mobile phone on the table. They can drink as and when it feels natural to do so.

CHRIS: (sighs and sits back) You can’t beat a nice coffee in the sun, can you?

ROSE: What you can’t beat is not working and sitting in the sun!

CHRIS: Which is why we’re on holiday! Two weeks of doing nothing.

ROSE: We can’t just do nothing. It’s an Island paradise, we must explore and see its beauty.

CHRIS: When I said, “doing nothing” I meant no work and being away from a husband!

ROSE: (calmly realising) Oh! This is the first time you’ve been away without him, isn’t it?

CHRIS: He says he doesn’t trust aeroplanes so we’ve always taken a holiday within driving distance. So, this time, as he couldn’t get the time off work, I’ve come here with you.

ROSE: To an Island paradise under tropical blue skies.

Christine’s mobile phone rings and she looks at it

CHRIS: Talk of the devil, one husband checking in. (Answers the mobile phone)

Peter’s side of the conversation is heard either through a sound system or just off stage.

CHRIS: Hi, Peter.

PETER: (loud) Chris, is that you?

CHRIS: (having pulled the mobile phone quickly away from her ear due to the volume of his voice she gently holds it approximate from her face) It’s me; and don’t shout?

PETER: (loud) What did you say?

CHRIS: (holds the mobile phone right in front of her mouth; loud) I said don’t shout!

PETER: (in reaction and still loud) Bloody hell, Chris, why are you shouting? That nearly busted my eardrums.

CHRIS: (holds the mobile phone in front of her mouth with less volume) Hold the phone and speak as normal.

PETER: (loud) What?

CHRIS: (loudly into the device) I said, “hold the phone and speak as normal”.

PETER: (loud) But you’re a long way away!

CHRIS: Technology will sort that out. Just speak as normal. (Tentatively easing the mobile phone back to her ear)

PETER: (normal voice tone) Oh. Is that better?

CHRIS: Spot on.

PETER: Oh, well that’s good then. You got there, okay?

CHRIS: Yep, good flight and all checked in.

PETER: Is it nice?

CHRIS: Lovely. I’d prefer it to be more modern, but it seems clean enough.

PETER: How’s the weather. Have you got enough warm clothes?

CHRIS: It’s hot, sunny, blue skies and not rained for yonks. I kept telling you, I won’t need warm clothing.

PETER: The weather could be horrid for you tomorrow. The rain is banging down here and I think it’s heading North in your direction.

CHRIS: I’m several thousand miles South in a hot dry region.

PETER: Really! I must have googled the wrong place then. What’s the food like?

CHRIS: We haven’t had any yet. It’s only eleven in the morning.

PETER: (with surprise) Is it! Blimey it’s evening here. I gave the dog his dinner, but I couldn’t find what you left me in the fridge.

CHRIS: If you look for a plastic box with an orange lid you will find a stew. You just got to heat it up.

PETER: Ah! - I thought that was for the dog! But don’t worry, I’ve phoned for a pizza.

CHRIS: (holding her hand over the mobile phone; to Rose) He’s only been and given his dinner to the dog!

ROSE: (chuckles) What’s he having now, dog biscuits?

CHRIS: (lightly laughs) It wouldn’t surprise me! (Back into the mobile phone) Now listen to me. In the deep freeze clearly labelled is a meal for each day for you. All you have to do is unwrap and put in the microwave. In the pantry are tins of dog meat - for the dog! Have you got that?

PETER: Clear as day. And I found the tins of dog meat looking for something for me. Hey, Chris?


PETER: I found a box of loose biscuits in the pantry near the dog food. Flipping lush they are. Where did you buy them so I can get more?

CHRIS: On the floor of the pantry there is a yellow and brown sack marked doggie treats. There’ll be more than enough for you and the dog in there ‘till I get home!

There is a silence with the mobile phone conversation as Rose is beside herself with the giggles

PETER: (being slightly subdued) Chris!

CHRIS: Yes, Peter.

PETER: Have I been eating dog biscuits?

CHRIS: You have, but there’s nothing to worry about you’ll get a nice shiny coat!

PETER: (a grown his heard) Got to go. I’m feeling sick.

The call finishes and Chris places the mobile phone onto the table

CHRIS: He’s never been left on his own before.

ROSE: (calming her giggles) Evidently.

CHRIS: To my knowledge the furthest he’s even been is six hours by car and even then, he wasn’t on his own.

ROSE: What about your honeymoon?

CHRIS: That was it! One week in the back of beyond in a self-catering dilapidated hovel six hours drive away from civilisation!

ROSE: So, he has no passport then?

CHRIS: He’s got one. Just afraid to use it! Says his photo looks like he been shot at and missed. But in truth he’s afraid to fly or sail and would have no idea what to pack for clothes. He’d go to the North pole with shorts and a Tee shirt and somewhere hot as hell dressed for winter. (Giggles)

ROSE: (chuckles) On the subject of photos. I don’t take any photographs!

CHRIS: (with intrigued) Why not? People always want to see photos.

ROSE: In my expedience after a few, people have that look of boredom. The look of - not another bit of beach, not another flowering tree, not another table of drinks. And then what happens, you forget all about the photos and never look at them again.

CHRIS: (calmly agreeing) You do have a point. I’ve been like that myself after people come back from wherever with endless photo’s thrust upon me to look at.

ROSE: The chalet is not bad.

CHRIS: Bathroom could do with a bit of attention.

ROSE: You expect five stars at three-star prices.

CHRIS: It’s better than three stars being two star or even less.

They laugh a lightly as Judith enters in quite a breezy flouncing manner from the garden.

JUDITH: Oh, hello. Not seen you before, have I?

ROSE: We only arrived this morning.

JUDITH: (inviting herself to sit with then) Do you mind?

CHRIS: Not at all. Would you like a coffee?

JUDITH: (sitting) Wouldn’t mind a Gin and Tonic.

ROSE: (with surprise) It’s only eleven in the morning!

JUDITH: (dully) Is it? Course when you are here for almost twelve weeks, one day seems like the next and you lose all track of the time.

ROSE: (surprised) Twelve weeks, lucky you.

JUDITH: (quite matter of fact) I come every year to this little bit of paradise to get away from it all. Like they say, “all birds fly south in the winter”. What chalet are you in?

CHRIS: Number nine.

JUDITH: I’m in number ten. I always have number ten, nice views of the beach and so quiet, you’ll love it. (Introducing herself) I’m Judith by the way.

ROSE: This is Christine, I’m Rose. It’s nice to meet a friendly face.

JUDITH: (as a throw away remark) Oooph, we’re all friends here at the Blue Lagoon.

CHRIS: This complex is a little outdated, don’t you think?

JUDITH: (enthused) That’s part of its charm. The Blue Lagoon was built in the late nineteen fifties and they’ve not wanted to lose that charm of the period. So, this little place with its twenty-four chalets have stayed more or less trapped in a time capsule. (With smugness) Wonderful, isn’t it?

ROSE: In an odd way it is. It’s like a bygone age that has a tranquillity about it.

JUDITH: That’s why most who stay here are returning guests. A safe bolt hole away from the hurly burly of the modern world. (Inquisitive) Are you two - err - an item?

ROSE: (quickly dismissing) Good Lord, no. Chris is married and I’m single, we are just friends. We both work for the same company but in different departments.

Alfredo enters from the building

ALFREDO: Ah, Judith, our two new guests you have met I see?

JUDITH: (with a soft fondness at C & R) Isn’t he adorable? (Mouths quieter and can be still heard) But off limits I’m afraid to say. (To Alfredo) It’s very quiet here this morning, where is everyone?

ALFREDO: (a little sarcastic) Avoiding you I expect!

JUDITH: (taken aback) What?

ALFREDO: (tapping her shoulder) Just my little joke.

JUDITH: (tapping her hand on his) You are naughty.

ALFREDO: I understand into town some have gone.

JUDITH: (a little taken aback) Oohh, well they never asked me if I wanted to go too! (To Chris and Rose - cheerier) You’ll love Paradise Bay, lovely quaint little fishing town, full of character where nothing happens.

CHRIS: (cheerily) Sounds perfect.

ALFREDO: (to Judith) Would you like a drink?

JUDITH: I’ll have a black coffee.

ALFREDO: (lightly shocked) Is that all, nothing more?

JUDITH: (as if succumbing) Well, if you insist. Put a good slug of Brandy in it too!

ALFREDO: (more factual) I was asking if you wanted a snack with it? As you said yesterday that you must try not drink alcohol before mid-day.

JUDITH: (throwing her hand in a carefree manner) Well - it must be after mid-day somewhere in the world! (Gives a short laugh) And I’m not in need of a snack, must watch the waistline you know.

ALFREDO: (to Chris and Rose) And ladies, anything can I get you?

R & C: (in unison) I’m fine thank you! (Lightly laughs of saying the same thing at the same time)

Alfredo exits into the building

CHRIS: (with curiosity) So, you said most of the guests are regular patrons here?

JUDITH: (quite matter of fact) Nearly all. Course, some keep themselves to themselves. (A little quieter) And there’s always a few new odd bods like yourselves.

CHRIS: (amused) Never thought myself as an, ‘odd bod.’

JUDITH: (surprised) Haven’t you? Oh! (More explanatory) What I mean is, we’ve all been an odd bod at some time.

Sandra enters from the garden and Judith casts a hand toward her as she sits at a table

JUDITH: That’s Sandra. She an odd bod. You know, a new guest. Well maybe not quite new, she’s been here three weeks, maybe a month. But seems to have settled in well. (Quieter) Nosey sort of creature, always asking questions.

ROSE: (with intrigue) What sort of questions?

JUDITH: (in a slight flippant way) Well - just questions! (More direct) Made reasonable friends with Colonel Meecham.

ROSE: Who’s Colonel Meecham?

JUDITH: Been coming here for five or six years now I suppose. (With a slight frown) And the funny thing is, I know very little about him.

ROSE: Maybe he doesn’t want people knowing about his private life.

Alfredo enters from the building with Judith’s coffee during her next line

JUDITH: (taken aback) Really! (With a relaxed tone) Well, I suppose that might be it. (More forthright) But he and Abi have quite an affinity, wouldn’t be surprised if something is going on between them.

ROSE: (raising an eyebrow) Really!

Alfredo placing the coffee down in front of Judith

ALFREDO: One black coffee and a drop of Brandy included.

JUDITH: (upbeat) If it’s only a drop, I may have to have several coffees, (casts a hand) hah!

CHRIS: (interrupts; puzzled) Hang on, who’s Abi?

JUDITH: (pulls a face of distaste) Says she an artist and not very successful by what I hear. She does those things that looks like someone has thrown up on the canvas. Been coming here for three years might be four. (A little quieter) But she seems to get plenty of money from somewhere. (Quickly glances about and still with a quieter tone) Wouldn’t surprise me if the Colonel isn’t a bit of a sugar daddy for her.

CHRIS: (lightly amused) Passion under tropical skies.

ALFREDO: And they have come back from the town. (Goes to Sandra to take her order and exits into the building when done so)

JUDITH: (with jollity) Ah. It’s time to meet the gang.

CHRIS: (unsure) Gang?

JUDITH: (frowns not understanding why Chris is unsure) Yes, gang. (Stands) You’re either in it, or out of it.

ROSE: (declining) Actually, we’d sooner be out of it.

JUDITH: (taken aback) Really! How odd. (Brighter) Still, too late now, I’ve decided you’re in it. (Goes to Sandra and silent stage chat to her)

CHRIS: (leans toward Rose in a lower voice) We’ve only been here an hour and we’ve already become part of a gang! (Pulls a slight face)

ROSE: (in a low voice) Sounds awful, we shall have to make our excuses. (With more fear and nods toward Judith) Mind you, I don’t think some will hear of it!

CHRIS: (in a more normal voice) Maybe she’s the sort that says things just for the sake of it.

ROSE: (amused) That’s what you’re hoping for. (More soberly) But personally, I feel she’s one that likes to hold court and there will be no escaping.

CHRIS: (lightly laughs) What a worrying thought.

Colonel Meecham and Abi enter from the building

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