It’s not often that a village drama group gets to premiere a new work, but that’s what’s in store for the Whitwell Players.

And the man to thank is director Mark Norman, who has also penned comedy thriller The Art Of Murder.

The curtain will be going up on his creation on Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, with the company aiming to provide entertainment and thrills in equal quantities.

It’s a classic set-up – an isolated manor house, an amateur sleuth, and characters dropping like flies.

Sir John Fitzhall, a retired businessman and art collector living in an isolated manor house, believes he has the skills necessary to be the next Sherlock Holmes. Eager to put his skills to the test and build both his reputation and celebrity, he persuades his butler, Wilson, to arrange a private sale of his art at the house in a bid to flush out a notorious art thief known as The Artful Dodger.

Six wealthy guests arrive at Mulberry Hall for the art sale - a confectionery heiress, the agent for a Dutch art museum, a motor tycoon, pharmaceutical heiress, a lay preacher and a mysterious guest known only as Mr Smith. The problem is that Sir John possesses none of his literary hero’s ability and finds himself all at sea when a killer begins picking off the guests.

With the house cut off by heavy snow and the bodies beginning to pile up, Sir John finds himself well and truly outwitted. The question is, why are these people with no obvious connection to one another being murdered? Just who is Mr Smith and why was he late arriving at the house? And does Wilson know more than he’s letting on?

As Mark says: “It’s a play that pays homage in its own way to a rich theatrical tradition of ‘isolated house on the hill’ comedy thrillers. It’s been great fun to write and rehearse and, judgements on the quality of the script aside, I hope people have great fun watching it.

“The Players have a good tradition of providing high quality entertainment - I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this continues the trend!”

Tickets are £6 for a single, £11 a pair or £20 for a group of 4 and are available from or via the Whitwell Players Facebook page. You can also pick them up from Whitwell Post Office and Stores.

The Players stage three or four productions per year with the bulk of the profits from any production donated local good causes.

In the recent past Sue Ryder Care at Stagenhoe, Whitwell Athletic FC, Whitwell Youth Club, Lime Tree House, Evergreens and New Fellowship Hall Fund have all benefitted from donations.