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''Done to Death'' is a 1970 play written by Fred Carmichael. The plot focuses on five has-been MysteryFiction writers who are brought to the mysterious Vulture's Vault to collaborate on and write a new murder mystery TV series. And then real murders start to happen and HilarityEnsues.

The play is huge parody of the murder mystery genre as each writer has their own style that they use in hopes of figuring out the murders. The play often delves into fantasy sequences and BreakingTheFourthWall.

The five writers are:
* Jessica and Whitney Olive - A sophisticated, middle-aged yuppie couple who write charming, "pleasant murders". The two and their stories are a parody of Nick and Nora from ''Film/TheThinMan''.
* Mildred Z. Maxwell - A friendly older woman who specializes in tough, detailed murder mysteries. A parody of Creator/AgathaChristie and Literature/MissMarple.
* Brad Benedict - The youngest of the authors, he writes "modern" high tech spy mysteries akin to ''Film/JamesBond''. In contrast, he is mild-mannered and shy.
* Rodney Duckton - The oldest of the authors, he is very energetic and enthusiastic. He initially wrote old silent horror movies before moving on to hard-hitting detective novels similar to ''Literature/TheMalteseFalcon''.

The other main characters are:
* Jason Summers - A nervous business man in charge of the TV show the authors are writing for. [[spoiler: His murder is what begins the main plot.]]
* Jane - A young and pretty maid who may not be as naive as she seems.
* Gregory - The butler whose appearance is very similar to {{Dracula}}. He speaks with a Middle Eastern accent and has a very mysterious air.

There are numerous other characters who come and go, may or may not be real and basically serve to keep you guessing.

Not to be confused with the movie ''Film/MurderByDeath'' or the play ''The Butler Did It'', which have very similar plots.
!!Tropes used in ''Done to Death'' include:

%%* AffectionateParody
%%* TheAlcoholic: Whitney and Jessica, the characters in Mildred's fantasy story.
* AlliterativeName: Vulture's Vault, Bradley Bruce Benedict. [[HypocriticalHumor Mildred Maxwell can't stand it.]]
* AsYouKnow: In a rather gratuitous example the authors explain who the people are to the actual people. (Jessica explains who Brad is ''to Brad''). Then Jason reintroduces all five. It arguably becomes FridgeBrilliance at the end of the story.
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Parodied. Anyone who suspects that Jane is the murderer claims that she is using this trope to her advantage. Jess and Whit's fantasy is all about trying to prove this theory.
** Played straight with The Girl and Stephanie Mildaur.
* TheBrainlessBeauty: Jane, who is described as being as dumb as she is pretty. TheIngenue in Rodney's horror fantasy.
%%* BreakingTheFourthWall: [[spoiler: Or, rather, no wall to begin with.]]
* BrickJoke: "This kitchen is definitely salami."
** "The knife slid out of his back as if it was sliding out of a wedge of camembert cheese."
** Ungeuntine in the lipstick.
* TheButlerDidIt: Discussed.
--> '''Jessica''': The servants? No, Mr. Club, the servants never do it anymore. That's passé.
%%* ButtMonkey: Jason, Rodney
* TheCasanova: Jack Club, Brad's characters. Parodied when Rodney attempts to play Jack Club in his fantasy, as he cannot seduce Jane the way Jack would be able to.
* ChekhovsSkill: The Authors's ability to make their imaginations come to life is set up in Act 1 and then becomes very important as they investigate the murders in Act 2.
%%* ConversationalTroping
%%* CoolOldGuy: Rodney.
%%* CoolOldLady: Mildred.
%%* DeadpanSnarker: Mildred and the Olives.
%%* {{Deconstruction}}
%%* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler: Jane]]
%%* DwindlingParty
%%* FemmeFatale: Jessica and Jane during the Jack Club fantasies. Jane and the secretary in Brad's fantasies.
%%* FilmNoir: All of the ''Jack Club'' fantasies.
* FunWithAcronyms
--> '''Rodney''': The organization always has initials that spell out a name. You've noticed that haven't you?
%%* GenreSavvy: The authors, some more so than others.
%%* GoldDigger: Gender inverted with George and Martha.
* HalfwayPlotSwitch: A large part of the TwoActStructure. Act 2 is almost like a different play with the same characters.
%%* HappilyMarried: Whitney and Jessica.
%%* HardDrinkingPartyGirl: Jessica
%%* HelloNurse: All of the women in the Brad and Jack Club fantasies.
%%* HystericalWoman: Jane
* IndecisiveParody: Is both an AffectionateParody and tries to be a {{Deconstruction}}. It also combines numerous different syles, creating huge MoodWhiplash. Act 1, Scene 1 is also drastically different from the rest of the show.
* TheIngenue: The Girl in Rodney's horror fantasy, Stephanie Mildaur, and Jane.
%%* LampshadeHanging
* TheMole: Brad's fantasies are all about trying to find one.
* MsFanservice: The Secretary (who wears nothing but a bikini).
* OnlyAFleshWound: Averted. Rodney is horrified to discover that getting shot ''anywhere'', even in a fantasy, really hurts and is lethal, as opposed to how he always has his characters shaking off injuries like they're nothing.
* OnlySaneMan: Jane is the only character who seems to care that people are dying.
%%* ThePerryMasonMethod: Jess and Whit's technique.
%%* PunBasedTitle
* RealityIsUnrealistic: The Authors are consistently surprised by things turning out realistically rather than how they would write it.
%%* RichBitch: Martha
* ShoutOut: The alcoholic couple in Mildred's fantasy who do nothing but fight are named [[Theatre/WhosAfraidOfVirginiaWoolf George and Martha]].
%%* StylisticSuck
%%* TenLittleMurderVictims
%%* TitleDrop
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: The Olives and their martinis (or really alcohol in general).
** The Olives also like, well, olives.
** All the authors are fond of cheese.
* TwoActStructure: Act 1 is all about setting up the backstory and the author's styles (as well as their ability to make their imaginations come to life). Act 2 is all about solving the murders. A really major example of a HalfwayPlotSwitch.
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: No one is fazed by the imagination scenes in Act 1, Scene 1. Later, Jane is frustrated that no one else is fazed by the murders.
%%* TheVamp: Jane in all of the fantasies.
* VillainousCrush: The MadScientist in Rodney's horror fantasy.
* TheVoiceless: The characters in Rodney's silent movie fantasy.
%%* WorldOfHam