A Lighter Shade Of Noir

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oooh, orphan

Film Noir
Film Noir Film Style

A Lighter Shade Of Noir is a play by Patrick Derksen which was originally published in 2014. The production is a comedy about 20th century noir films. It is a film genre about detectives, mystery and crime dramas made in the 40s to the late 1960s filmed in black and white. They had stories with femmes fatales, doomed heroes or anti-heroes, and tough witty detectives. The term "film noir" is French for "black film", because the films were made in black and white. It was introduced to Hollywood by a movie critic named Nino Frank in 1946. He would describe the genre as melodramas, an over dramatic drama film.


Trent Trowel

Trent Trowel is the main character in the series. He is a parody of the stereotypical tough, incompetent Private Investigator in most noir films. He speaks out loud instead of talking in his head. He has an assistant named Miss Flannigan, and a love interest called Shirley Holmes. His greatest enemy is the town's gangster, Big Bill.

Shirley Holmes

Shirley Holmes is another main character. She is a female parody of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes who is a confident and intelligent British Detective who fights crime with her sidekick Dr. Watson. Her nemesis is Maureen Artee, a professional, who falls in love with Trent Trowel.

Tracy Dyck

Tracy Dyck is another main character. She is a strict, no-nonsense, stalwart, police detective who hates private investigators. She runs the police force with Sergeant Maloney.


Jean-Louis-Philippe Eustache is another main character. He is a refined inspector with a thick French accent and attitude. He has his sidekick, Monsieur Silencieux, who doesn't make a sound. His greatest achievement is retrieving the mask of the twentieth dynasty pharaoh, Tutenmose the Second from Le Cambrioleur.

Miss Beatrice

Miss Beatrice is another main character. She is an elderly Detective who is a grumpy know-it-all. She is helped by her niece Jane, a resentful teenager who does all of Miss Beatrice's Detective work. Miss Beatrice has a love of English muffins, and a no-good neighbour Ethel who often steals her English muffins.

Dr. Watson

Doctor Reginald Watson is a side character. Watson is Shirley Holmes' assistant who grows tired of Holmes' know it all attitude, and his treatment as second best. He is in love with Miss Flannigan, and often exchanges letters with her.

Miss Flannigan

Miss Flannigan is a side character. Miss Flannigan is Trent Trowel's long-time Secretary. She gets annoyed at Trowel's lack of respect for her and resents Trowel for always taking credit when a case is solved.

Monsieur Silencieux

Monsieur Silencieux (Mr Silent) is a side character. He is named this because he can not speak, all he can do is listen to Jean-Louis-Philippe Eustache. Monsieur Silencieux soon grows tired of being out of the spotlight.


Jane is a side character. Jane is Miss Beatrice's niece, and she is forced to do all of her Aunt's hard work while Miss Beatrice takes all the credit, Miss Beatrice also likes to ramble on about boring old stories. Jane soon gets fed up with being left in the shadows and seeks revenge.

Sergeant Maloney

Sergeant Maloney is a side character. Maloney is Tracy Dyck's second-in-command; Maloney isn't as strict as Tracy and has always dreamed of being promoted to Captain, so when the opportunity presents itself he is more than willing to betray Tracy.

Big Bill

Big Bill is a main villain. Big Bill is a stereotypical Italian mobster and Trent Trowel's arch rival. Any crime in the city can be traced to Big Bill, or it used to because Big Bill eventually wants to retire and he sets up a flower shop, to make his girlfriend Clarice happy.

Tony, Vinny, Candy and Mario

Tony, Vinny, Candy and Mario are Big Bill's Henchmen, they are prototypical dumb and cowardly criminals who do Big Bill's bidding.

Maureen Artee

Maureen Artee is a main villain. Maureen Artee is a cunning British criminal mastermind. She is Shirley Holmes' arch nemesis. She tricks a postman into thinking that she loves him to use him to try and set up Shirley Holmes.

Le Cambrioleur

Le Cambrioleur is a main villain. Le Cambrioleur is French for The Thief, this is because Le Cambrioleur is famous for stealing the twentieth dynasty pharaoh, Tutenmose the Second's mask, but his brilliant plan was foiled by his greatest enemy Inspector Jean-Louis-Philippe Eustache.


Ethel is a main villain. Ethel is Miss Beatrice's noisy no good old neighbour, she is a self absorbed narcissist who likes to steal Miss Beatrice's English muffins.

Mr. Smith

Mr. Smith is a sub-character. Mr. Smith is a hapless postman who falls in love with Maureen Artee, but things turn sour when it is revealed Maureen Artee had just been using him to get rid of Shirley Holmes.

Clarice Latriche

Clarice Latriche is a sub character. Clarice Latrich is a femme-fatale women with mysterious motives, Trowel starts to fall in love with her until it is revealed that she is actually already the girlfriend of Big Bill.

Mayor Defehr

Mayor Defehr is a sub character. Mayor Defehr is a steryotypicla Mayor Quimby like Mayor, who threw a gala to celebrate the detectives, but things take a turn for the worst when his beloved pet dog George is dognapped.

Mrs. Benedict

Mrs. Benedict is a sub character. Mrs. Benedict is the owner of the Victoria Grand Hotel, she is a wealthy socialite who bosses around her husbend. She is distraught when her Hotel is robbed.

Mr. Benedict

Mr. Benedict is a sub character. Mr. Benedict is the co-owner of the Victoria Grand Hotel, he is bossed around by his wife. He owns a small quiete bakery instead of managing the Hotel.

Beverly Stewart

Bevery Stewart is a sub character. Beverly Stewart is the most famous singer in the country, she has a celebrity attitude and has been kidnapped once, but yet again she is kidnapped once more.


The Janitors are sub characters. The Janitors are low paid grumpy hotel workers, who have a talent for dancing.


Trent Trowel's Office

Trent Trowel's Office is somewhat run-down, with old wooden furniture, a dead plant, papers, photos, and letters stacked on every available surface. There is a window that looks out into the bricj wall of the neighbouring building.

Victoria Grand Hotel Ballroom

The Victoria Grand Hotel Ballroom is lavishly decorated, with fancy art on the walls, tables with food, a chandelier, etc. There is a bench or set of chairs, and a table with a long cloth that reaches to the floor (under which is the imaginary trap door).

Street Café

The Street Café has a small table and chair for two. There could be a façade of a restaurant in the background, or it can be isolated with a spotlight.


Gigantic Feather, Notepad and pencil

Several flower bouquets, Palm-tree souvenir

Egyptian Mask, Love Letter

Newspaper, Maps

Painting Of Beverly Stewart, English Muffins

Coffee cup, Fancy Handkerchief

Stuffed toy dog, Pistol (toy)

Mop and Broom, Invitations To Gala

Dog carrier (small), Rotary Phone


The Story is about Trent Trowel, an incompetent Private Investigator who gets invited to the International Detective Gala. The Gala is to celebrate the detectives for their great work, and items from their best cases are displayed. The night turns sour when Tracy Dyck, a Stalwart female police detective arrives and stirs up the Inspectors. Soon Beverly Stewart a famous singer arrives at the Gala. Then a voice is heard from the hallway, the voice is none other than Shirley Holmes who waits for a proper introduction. The lights go out and all the items are stolen and Beverly Stewart is kidnapped. The detectives inspect the crime scene for clues. They find a trapdoor hidden behind a table but Shirley Holmes persuades everyone that the door wasn't opened. Then Captain Tracy Dyck arrives and tells the detectives to leave so she can bring in a forensic team. The detectives say no and there is arguing until they agree that the detectives shall have twenty four hours to solve the case, after that Tracy will take over. The detectives split up, Trowel and Eustace go to open the trapdoor when they are meet by Big Bill and his gang. Big Bill explains that he didn't steal or kidnap anything. He says that he's retiring crime and opening up a chain of flower shops for his girlfriend Clarice. Shirley and Watson meanwhile are in a café going after Maureen Artee. Shirley confronts Maureen Artee who explains that she had no involvement and tries to persuade Watson that Shirley was the criminal mastermind behind the theft. Miss Beatrice goes to the park to meet Ethel, they sit down and chat about each others gardens when all the detectives arrive, saying that they got a phone call to come to the park. Then the sidekicks come to confront the detectives who they believe were the criminals behind the robbery and kidnapping. The sidekicks have the detectives arrested, the sidekicks leave and a mysterious figure breaks the sidekicks free. Le Cambrioleur who explains that him and Eustache are actually long lost siblings. The detectives go to Trowels office where they find a Love Letter on Miss Flannigan's desk from Watson, in the letter explains the sidekicks plans to frame the detectives as revenge for their years of miss treatment. The detectives confront the sidekicks and Watson goes mad, he pulls out a gun and aims at Holmes when Trowel goes infront of Holmes with Watson distracted Shirley delivers a round house kick knocking out Watson thus saving the day.


  • Patrick Derksen Theatre Folk[1]
  • Theatre Folk Page[2]
  • Film Noir list and explanation[3]
  • Brittanica.com Explanation[4]
  • What is film Noir Explanation[5]