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'Mousetrap,' Agatha's three-blind classic

"The Mousetrap" began life as a 1947 London radio broadcast based on a real-life murder and subsequent short story taking its title from a children's rhyme. When Agatha Christie adapted the story for a West End stage, she blocked its publication until the end of the run. Nearly 60 years later, "Three Blind Mice" still hasn't been published in England.

We don't expect Smithtown's "Mousetrap" to play that long. But director Ken Washington's crackling interpretation is worth a look before it closes next month. Just don't give away the ending. It's remained a secret ever since Dame Agatha quashed the short story.

Heather Van Velsor and Rob Schindlar play newlywed innkeepers anxiously anticipating their first guests on the night of a blizzard and a murder in London. As one of the guests is murdered, too, a police detective (earnest Matt Langen) arrives on skis to solve the crime and prevent a third murder. The suspects/victims include haughty Mrs. Boyle, whom we'd like to strangle as played by Joan St. Onge; high-strung Christopher Wren (Eugene Dailey), horsy Miss Casewell (Lindsay DeFranco), haggling Mr. Paravicini (Bill Kahn) and a mysterious major (Douglas Vandewinckel).

On each entrance or exit of Washington's handsome Monkswell Manor set, they keep us guessing, running the risk of murder or arrest.

WHAT "The Mousetrap," by Agatha Christie

WHEN | WHERE Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8, Sunday at 2 and 7 p.m. through April 10, Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. Main St.

INFO $16-$30;, 631-724-3700

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