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Theatre / The Pajama Party Murders

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The Pajama Party Murders is an interactive murder mystery written by Eileen Moushey. Bartholomew T. Cosmo, inventor of the very profitable Cosmo Inflatable Neck Pillow, has died, and he has bequeathed his fortune to his heirs, the Cosmo cousins On One Condition, that they stay the night in Cosmo Manor. Harvey T. Pettibone is the slick lawyer in charge of discharging the fortune. Dexter Cosmo is a would-be playboy who has been saddled with taking care of his half-brother, Eddie Cosmo, who is very troubled. Melanie Cosmo is a vampish southern girl who seems out for whatever she can get. Bertha Cosmo is a spinster who is the assistant warden at a school for wayward girls, and Myrtle Cosmo is a Canadian missionary who is not all that she seems. Complicating Pettibone's task is that multiple impostor heirs (members of the audience) have shown up, and the housekeeper, Lola, who was supposed to help him pick out the right heirs, has come up missing.


Predictably, first one body is found, then another, and the characters and the audience are left to figure out who the murderer is, and where Uncle Cosmo hid his extremely valuable patent rights paperwork.

This work exhibits the following tropes:

  • Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble:
    Pettibone: Good evening, one and all. My name is Harvey T. Pettibone and I am the attorney and EXecutor I mean, exECutor for the late Bartholomew Cosmo.
  • All There in the Manual: Several details of the Cosmo cousins' history exist only in the stage notes, which means that the actors have to work them into improv before the show.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Eddie is confused by ambiguous words, frequently turns to his calculator to work out the math of the situation, goes into sudden fits of rage, and is in general extremely inappropriate.
  • Conviction by Contradiction: Pettibone's deduction that Myrtle is actually Lola is based off of a number of somewhat flimsy contradictions largely based on what others have said and some on off-stage details.
    • Myrtle is noted by Cosmo to be a non-swearing, non-drinking missionary, but swears and drinks during the show.
    • Lola's purse had allergy medication in it, but the body was wearing a corsage.
    • Lola's purse had an empty glasses case. Only Myrtle and Pettibone are wearing glasses.
  • Game Between Heirs: While the ten million dollars are to be equally split among the surviving heirs, the patent rights will only go to the heir who finds the patent.
  • The Ghost: Lola, the housekeeper, is missing at the start of the play with the characters frequently speculating on who and where she is. This is partly answered when her body is discovered. Except that the body is of Myrtle Cosmo, Lola having stolen her identity.
  • On One Condition: The Cosmo heirs stand to inherit ten million dollars, but only if they are determined to be the true heirs and they spend the night in the manor.
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  • Plot-Triggering Death: The plot is set off by Cosmo's death.
  • Real Dreams Are Weirder: The dream that led Myrtle to become a missionary.
    Myrtle: Uncle Cosmo, you did enjoy this story, didn't you? May he rest in peace. Yes, it was a dream. I was at Niagara Falls. And I was naked, except for about six floppy disks. The five and a quarter size. And I had on stereo headphones. And I kept running into little souvenir shops, looking for my cookie sheets. And all of a sudden, there was Elvis and Boutrous Boutrous-Gali and Geraldo, or maybe it was Tony Orlando. And they put me on this giant cupcake and my feet kept sinking into the icing and then through the headphones I heard a voice that sounded an awful lot like Leonard Nimoy, saying, "Go to the Horshoe Falls, Go to the Horshoe Falls." And then there was Charlton Heston, riding down the Niagara River on my missing cookie sheet, like it was a surf board, laughin' and goin' over the Falls. And I knew it was true. The best view of the Falls IS from the Canadian side. And that's what decided me - I'd become a Canadian missionary.
  • Royalties Heir: Uncle Cosmo made his money from his invention of the inflatable neck pillow. Ownership of said patent is the prime prize of the contest.
  • Spotting the Thread: Myrtle is revealed to be Lola when someone points out that she just swore and has been drinking, when she'd just been said to be a "non-drinking, non-swearing missionary".
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: After a bottle of arsenic is discovered, everyone becomes suspicious of what they've ate or drunk, convinced that they're poisoned. Because the poison was in the ice cubes, only one of them was.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: In the first tape, Uncle Cosmo replies back to Pettibone.
    Cosmo: Well, Pettibone, we can take care of them, can't we?
    Pettibone: We can?
    Cosmo: Of course we can!
  • The Vamp: From early in the script, Melanie attempts to seduce Pettibone and repeatedly hints to the rest of the cousins that if one or more of them were not to survive the night, there'd be fewer shares to divvy up.
  • Video Wills: Cosmo leaves a series of three recordings indicating his wishes. He has apparently already prepared for the likelihood of impostors, and heavily implies in the tapes that he knows that the cousins will try to bump each other off.


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