The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie Essay

Posted on August 30, 2012

The Aspect of Suspense


In this thesis, I will discuss the significance of using suspense in mystery writing with regard to Christies play The Mousetrap where she uses suspense in the events of the play to make the fascinating. The paper will explain the effect of using these techniques of suspense in mystery writing. Suspense is when an individual experiences gratifying expectation and excitement regarding the outcome of a story. This is a state of becoming in doubt or uncertain with reference to a situation, which, can also appear to be mysterious. Suspense is necessary in writing mystery plays because it captures the audience’s interest and imagination.


In literature suspense, the state where the reader or viewer having the details of the script they cannot exactly explain what will occur in the last part, but the story gives clues that something pleasant or terrible is going to happen. This is a literature style where the author wants the audience to predict what will occur in the context with the story. In the mousetrap, the setting is at an inn in the English countryside called Monkswell Manor, which recently opened by a hopeful couple Giles and Mollie Ralston. The author describes it as a cozy setting in the suburbs of London.

The plot events of the play build suspense when there is an announcement of death of a woman called Mrs. Maureen Lyon on radio this makes the audience suspicious about who the murderer’s identity. Secondly, the situation where most of the guests of the inn including Giles the owner were wearing the same outfit described to be the murderers outfit, which brought suspense concerning the identity of the murderer amongst the guests. Suspense also concerns the disappearance of the two siblings abused by Mrs.Stanning. In addition, suspense created when one of the owners of the inn is wearing the same attire like the murderer hence a suspect, will they exchange anniversary presents or break up. The plays plot is full of suspense, most or the characters have what i can call masked they have different names, this gives the audience suspense in linking the past names of the characters and the new names they reveal as the interrogation continues.

False information creates suspense because it gives details that need investigation, during investigation there is a creation of suspense the audience is wondering about the results of the investigation and wondering who could be the murderer amongst them. Information that is not true tend to create anxiety and imaginary clues about what will happen hence create suspense. False names, locations, and confessions, make the audience want to find the truth. False information creates turmoil, anger, and betrayal, crimes against characters and resentment that will create a basis for suspense. The audience will be alert, anxious, worried and guessing about what will occur the last part the play.

The above discussion clearly shows that the author utilized the aspect of suspense in different elements of literature. The main styles of suspense in the Mousetrap play include; romance, humorous and horrific which are extremely essential to bring out traits of a mystery play. Evidently, horrific suspense created when there is a murder in the beginning of the play and romance suspense, created when the owners of the inn and the residents of the English countryside suspect each other about the murder.

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