A Question of Death - Come, Sable Night Synopsis

Phryne has invited the madrigal choir over to her house for a rehearsal and to hear the latest gossip. Whilst passing round the champagne cups Claude Greenhill informs her that the clubs lothario Lawrence has dumped Diane whom he was meant to be marrying to take up with Violet her younger sister. One of the other girls Alexandra is gutted as she thought she was next after Diane.

Claude says Lawrence is not as bad a Victor who is the clubs casanova however everyone knows it so none of the girls would fall for him. Phryne notes that Jane who is moping has. Victor comes over and tells Phryne not to believe all she hears from Claude but Phryne reminds him that she knows him. Lawrence joins the conversation and announces that he and Violet are to be married and he wants to choir to sing at the reception.

Diane thrusts a bouquet of roses into Lawrence hands and congratulates him. Lawrence is cut by one of the thorns on the roses. The choir start to sing but halfway through a song Lawrence keels over. One of the choir Anne who is in the medical profession checks him over and proclaims he is dead.

Phryne ushers the choir into another room and calls the doctor. The doctor comes and states Lawrence died from anaphylactic shock and asks what he ate. Phryne lists the foods including strawberries. The doctor says it would have been the strawberries and writes the death certificate. Phryne says if Lawrence knew he was allergic to a food he would have avoided it but the doctor tells her that these allergies can sneak up on people.

Phryne calls Lawrence parents and hires an undertaker. She then asks Anne to get Victor and Claude to come see her. Phryne asks Victor if he put something in the wine that Victor had popped when the wedding announcement was made as he had opened it outside the room. Victor asks why they would think that and Claude says maybe Victor and Lawrence were lovers. Victor said they had been once or twice but Lawrence didn't really like him. Victor says he put nothing in the wine but Lawrence was allergic to bee stings. He also tells them that Lawrence wanted him to marry Diane but he just couldn't and breaks down crying. Phryne sends him to wash his face in the bathroom. Victor returns and Phryne asks him to do something for her she says Jane. She’s in a bad way. I want you to resolve her future, Victor. Settle quite a lot of money on her. I’m not asking you to marry her,’ Victor agrees and Phryne send him back to rehearsal and asks him to send Violet and Alexandra out to her.

Phryne asks them if they knew of Lawrence' allergy. They say no and they thought they would as he told them everything. Violet says Diane might have known. Phryne sends them back to the rehearsal and Claude says it looks like they didn't know about the murder. Phryne agrees but grabs Claude by the ear and says he did though. Claude questions her and she say he is the librarian and arrange the order the music would be sung and he was trying to send a message to someone by doing this.

Claude eventually says the message was for Diane as he knew she was furious and hoped it would shock he out of doing something like this. Phryne realises that Diane must have put bee venom on the thorns of the roses that she gave to Lawrence. Claude says that Lawrence is worth a lot of money and changed his will to include her when he was going to marry Diane but he was short on his income and borrowed money from her and did not pay it back.

Claude and Phryne realise that the venom would no longer be on the flowers so there is no way of proving the crime. Claude says they could call the police but Phryne says they have no evidence. They are thinking about this dilemma when Claude spots a drunken bee climbing out of one of the roses. The pair fall about laughing realising that the death was simply an accident.

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