The guest who’s dead on time.
Upscale New York college students, friends and roommates Brandon Shaw and Phillip Morgan have just strangled their long time friend David Kentley to death in their apartment. They did it solely to show their superiority as humans both by being able to carry out such a crime without being caught, and by disregarding the life of who they consider an inferior being. While Brandon feels exhilarated by their act, Phillip is nervous, even more so by Brandon’s plan: to hide David’s dead body in an unlocked trunk in their living room, the trunk which will be front and center at a dinner party they will hold that evening, before they dispose of the body after the party. The guest list is also Brandon’s way of showing his superior intellect, as he doesn’t expect to be caught despite it including: David himself, who obviously will not show up; Kenneth Lawrence, David’s best friend; Janet Walker, David’s current girlfriend, and Ken’s ex; Henry Kentley, David’s father; and Mrs. Atwater, a visiting friend of Mr. Kentley’s. Although Phillip is nervous enough by the presence of any of these guests as well their loyal housekeeper Mrs. Wilson, he is most nervous by their last guest, Rupert Cadell, their former prep school house master, who they consider their intellectual equal, and who had in the past stated openly that murder can be justified in certain circumstances. At the party, Brandon prides himself in the open innuendo of the discussion which makes sense if one knows about David’s murder. The question becomes whether this innuendo or any other issue will unmask Brandon and Phillip’s act and thus make it less than the perfect murder they assume it is.