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The Real Inspector Hound

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,693 ratings  ·  102 reviews
The ultimate parody of the stage and literary convention of the country-house mystery. 'It's an object of pure, virtuoso craft and display, as luxuriously self-sufficient as a netsuke or Faberge Easter egg. But it's as nearly perfect in its kind as a P.G. Wodehouse plot; tiny, ludicrous and beautiful as an ivory Mickey Mouse...It's time we stopped dismissing comedy as an i ...more
Paperback, 44 pages
Published January 1st 1968 by Samuel French, London
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,693 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-for-school
I have no clue what just happened, but I think I enjoyed it?
عماد العتيلي
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing

This play is truly a maze. Sure, it is hilarious, but it leaves the reader with a peculiar sense of loneliness and strangeness! Just like life itself! I think that this play is meant to represent reality.
“MOON: Does this play know where it is going?
BIRDBOOT: Well, it seems open and shut to me”

While reading this play, readers cannot figure out where it is going. We, humans, actually ask the same question regarding life: Where is it going?

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In my opinion, I think that Moon is the mos
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Hilarious and clever! It was a parody of Agatha Christie's famous 'The Mousetrap'. Every scene, character and action of the genre was wroughtly exaggerated and overstated to play on the traditional conventions. Stoppard played on everything to make it comical and humourous. It also shows how the 'cosy' murder mysteries are sometimes a little bit illogical and too coincidental (especially where Mrs Drudge comes in) but it is also how mysteries work. The little coincidences in mysteries are often ...more
I like Tom Stoppard. I really do. Shakespeare in Love and Rozencrantz and Guildenstern, really inventive takes on the Bard.

But this blows everything else out of the water. To take your standard blase muder mystery and explode it into a post-modern absurdist reflection of modern society and aesthetic idiocy (much like my phrase "post modern absurdist reflection of modern society") is pure genius. You can really tell that it's excellent though because even without delving into the figurative depth
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Suggested to me by my gf. Glad I listened to her: A very short but very entertaining read. Puckeridge, you cunning bastard!
Lara Hu

I feel rather bad – it does not seem particularly fair to give a low rating if you know from the start the book is not your cup of tea. I doubt it was bad, but I could not care for it at all. One of its main issues is certainly the fact that it is a play. I simply cannot enjoy plays the same way I enjoy novels. But then again, The Importance of Being Earnest was not entirely lost on me. So perhaps my rating is not all that unjustified after all? The stage play itself, though, might be interestin
Jan 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit
Ha! Fantastic. Hilarious. Lighter fare than some of his others, but definitely worth the read. Am planning on remembering the "Stand-ins of the world stand up" speech. ...more
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
wonderfully metafictional.
Christina Packard
A short play that would be fun to watch. Free online to read.
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
"How long have you been a pedestrian?"
"Ever since I could walk."

I do always love me some Stoppard. This wasn't my favourite play by him and I think I'd give it 3,5 stars, mainly due to the buildup. As the characters also readily admit, the pacing was odd and slow to start with, which made it less invigorating than I'm used to from Stoppard -- but of course that is part of its genius. This play is a parody of British crime like Agatha Christie and can easily be read in the light of crime shows l
Apr 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Oh, I've got a soft spot for metafiction, silly names, and Agatha Cristie, so I enjoyed this one a fair bit (even though I am reading it for school). It's short, sweet, and as twisted as a pretzel. Especially loved Moon and Birdboot's "criticisms", the poking fun at the pretentious, plaittutde stuffed language of critics never fails to make me laugh. To be honest, I don't read many plays so my critical taste is pretty underdeveloped, and I was pretty confused about the blocking at first. But luc ...more
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So I went to see 'The Mousetrap' last night, and I just *had* to re-read this afterwards. What a cleverly written, hilarious disaster of a play xD The detective genre has always interested me, especially when an author subverts the 'rules' of the genre, and Tom Stoppard is an exceptional example of the funny results this can produce. I've always believed that plays are meant to be seen, rather than just read, but of course you can't be lucky enough to see EVERY play, so reading them is the next ...more
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it, play-scripts
FYI: (Black Magic is a British brand of boxed chocolates created in 1933; sold as an affordable version of an expensive luxury product; marketed as a courtship gift.)

Just a few of the crazy bits that jumped out at me as I began reading:

"The Help" answers the phone: "Hello, the drawing-room of Lady Muldoon's country residence one morning in early spring? ... Hello?" (This bit is repeated several times.)

(The sound of a wheelchair approaching down several flights of stairs with landings in betwee
Judith Graham
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Not used to reading a play as a book and part of a book group so found it quite hard going by myself. However, as we planned to read it over a meal I waited and found the humour in it (or was that just the way we acted it out?)
It is actually a play within a play and each act becomes more confusing than the last! Not sure what the plot is to be honest - murder, womanising concealed identities. What a laugh we had though. Look forward to reading another play.
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
We watch two reviewers watching a country house murder mystery play and eventually they are drawn into the action. This is very clever stuff and also gives some insight into how our own emotions as readers or viewers feed into our love for mysteries. I need to see more good productions of Stoppard on the stage.
Philip Raymond Brown
Apr 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I performed in this play in College. The writing is brilliant and hilarious. Although I have forgotten the lines from many of the plays that I acted in in my youth, I can still do Stoppard’s monologues. They are brilliantly crafted and have become a part of my life. He is known for many great plays but in my opinion, this is one of his best.
A play within a play within a play. 4th walls broken down left, right and centre; leading to a metafictional mayhem of immense proportion. A who done it were every body knew that nobody did. Confusing but amusing... mad dogs and Englishmen.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A la Pirandello's Six Authors, this play is also a self-referential meta-drama. The effect here presents itself as an absurd comedy whereas Six Authors hinges around tragedy and philosophy. Both are equally great. ...more
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was one that keeps you on your toes! Loved reading it - can't imagine how I would keep up with it live if I was seeing it for the first time on stage. But worth the price of admission for Mrs Drudge alone. ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Not as good as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, but still humorous. In some ways, it feels like it's too short. ...more
Raghunath Kalpana-Ananth
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: comedy
Absurdist. Lot of Meta - elements. Play with in a play and a parody at that. A little confusing to read. Must have been better watching the performance rather than reading it.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: college
One of my favorites. I had forgotten I had read this is college until a friend put it on his list.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“Puckeridge, you cunning bastard.”
The fuck did I just read
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tom Stoppard is one of the most brilliant playwrights in all of English literature and “The Real Inspector Hound” continues that legacy. Witty and riveting to the end.
Grace Harris
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very unique and entertaining
John Blais
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A clever play with one character becoming another, and in the end we see who the real Inspector Hound is.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
A riotous play that has so much creative meat for a production to work with
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
stoppard certainly knows how to write an interesting play. I recommend reading at least Christie's The Mousetrap before reading this, for context ...more
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Sir Tom Stoppard OM, CBE, FRSL, is a British screenwriter and playwright. Born Tomáš Straussler. See ...more

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