THE STORY: The action of the play occurs in an English industrial city, where a young girl commits suicide and an eminently respectable British family is subject to a routine inquiry in connection with the death. An inspector calls to interrogate the family, and during the course of his questioning, all members of the group are implicated lightly or deeply in the girl's undoing. The family, closely knit and friendly at the beginning of the evening, is shown up as selfish, self-centered or cowardly, its good humor turning to acid, and good fellowship to dislike, before the evening is over. The surprising revelation, however, is in the inspector—who turns out to be no copper at all but a mysterious individual with full knowledge of everyone's connection with the suicide. After the false inspector has been shown up, and it is discovered that no suicide had been recorded, an actual copper shows, and a last-minute suicide is reported, which ties in mysteriously with the foregoing.
Produced in London and New York. According to Variety, the play is a psychologically adept work and "an engaging play…Its mood is sustained throughout, so that it is practically always interesting." Though ostensibly a remarkably clear and effective dramatic play, there underlies the whole thing an air of mystic unreality. AN INSPECTOR CALLS is an effective presentation of the strange twists that take place in human beings when their consciences are affected.