such things happen only in books
3 Men, 1 Woman
In this one-act, originally entitled, A Matter of Conscience, a lordly novelist, his wife, their doctor, their maid, her brother, and a visiting stranger are caught up in various deceptions, illusions and mysteries-including a murder mystery in a haunted house. Novelist John’s two pleasures in life are losing at solitaire and lecturing his wife about how there are no plots in life. Of course, his wife is cheating on him with the family doctor, who reveals not only their infidelity but a whole network of jailbreaks, murders, mutilations and buried treasure, all of which has taken place in John’s house.
Such Things Only Happen in Books was first produced November 25, 1931, at the Yale University theater in New Haven, Connecticut, by the Yale Dramatic Association and the Vassar College Philalethis, with The Long Christmas Dinner, Love and How to Cure It, and The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden.
By 1946 (and probably earlier than that date) Wilder withdrew the play from production and publication.
Notes on Publication:
Such Things Only Happen in Books was one of the six one-act plays in The Long Christmas Dinner and Other Plays in One Act (New York: Coward-McCann, 1931). After 1931, it was never reprinted in Wilder’s lifetime and by 1946, it had been withdrawn by Wilder from publication.
Such Things Only Happen in Books was reprinted in The Collected Short Plays of Thornton Wilder, published by TCG, edited by Donald Gallup and Tappan Wilder; and in Collected Plays & Writings on Theater edited by J. D. McClatchy, published by The Library of America in 2007.
Professional and Amateur Productions:
Samuel French Inc.
UK and International:
Alan Brodie Representation Ltd.