In the movie Murder by Death, a parody murder mystery by Neil Simon, the detectives show up at the house as though invited for a murder mystery weekend, a la "And Then There Were None".

The characters play roles parodying literary and film detectives Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Nick and Nora Charles, Sam Spade, and Charlie Chan, and their familiar attendants. For example, the Charles[tons] were accompanied by their non-famous dog "Myron".

Early in the film, the party's host, Lionel Twain (played by Truman Capote), handwrites invitations to each, but through his orders to the blind butler, ends up getting them mailed without stamps. Additionally, the address within is stated incorrectly.

How were the invitees to deduce where and when to arrive? I'm hoping it is not dependent on the practice of postage-on-delivery, which is an outdated practice, but generally used to communicate free with businesses rather than private individuals. Also, I'm not sure postage-on-delivery would have worked for the Euro addresses to Marbles (Miss Marple in England) or Perrier (Poirot in Brussels).

I also don't wish to base this on a mundane standing order by each to accept all mail, even postage due, as prospective detection business offers.

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure that the address is incorrect. It is given as "22 Lola Lane" and when we later see the House it is number 22 - I think Twain is just the name of the owner - not the name of the road.

Regarding the missing stamps I suspect that either Lionel Twain did notice, that they were missing (after all the butler did misplace the stamps in his presence) and corrected it later or that those letters didn't made it to the invitees and nobody came, so Twain send some new invitations for another weekend.

I am more surprised that apparently it was enough to just put the name of the guests and their city on those envelopes, but not a street address. Were all of them famous enough that the postal services knew where to deliver those letters?

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