Mystery Party Tips

Do you want to make your Mystery Party an event that your friends will never forget? Here you'll find tips on how to do just that.

12 comments:

The Chief Inspector said...

When you are selecting suspects for your Murder Mystery Party, think of the friends and associates who have always wanted to be in the stage, or who are theatrical in the way they handle daily events. They'll love to play the roles and will add a dimension that really adds to the fun of the mystery - the innate ability to "ham it up."

Remember: not everyone has to have a role. Those who don't help investigate the crime and everyone has a great time. Match your suspects to the mystery scenario and you'll have an event that people will "die for."

The Chief Inspector said...

If you are planning a golf outing, "Murder is Par for the Course," could be a perfect way to add an entertaining twist to the event. Station suspects at the tees and have clues hidden at key spots around the course. The eight-suspect version on the mystery will work best for a nine-hole tournament. Position one suspect at each of the first eight holes and have the Chief Inspector at the ninth hole to fill in any gaps in the investigation. Call me if you have any questions. I'd love to help you plan the perfect golf murder mystery.

The Chief Inspector said...

Add a new twist to your Independence Day get-together, a Fourth of July Murder Mystery. "I Loathe a Parade" is a tongue-in-cheek reference to my personal experience running the Independence Day parade here in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

This holiday in particular would be the perfect occasion to choose role players at an afternoon barbecue, give them a chance to prepare for their roles, then conduct the investigation in the early evening. You might even want to have some basic costuming close at hand to help your suspects get into the mood for their starring roles. You'll be the hit of the Fourth of July festivities with an event that will cap off a perfect day.

The Chief Inspector said...

I received a phone call yesterday from the owner of an inn in Wyoming who's considering organizing murder mystery weekends for her guests. She asked if my kits could be used for a three-day event. (Of course, they can. Call if you'd like to find out how this can be done.)

The weekend, I told her, could be expanded to become a significant community event. By involving local merchants where clues could be hidden and suspects stationed, it can become a win-win-win for the surrounding area. If the merchants supply special coupons for the weekend, the merchant wins by getting new people through the doors. Of course, this means the guests win by taking advantage of the deals.

Needless to say, the inn becomes a big winner by being the focus of attention at an extravaganza that extends the murder mystery beyond the walls of the inn to the entire community and the area.

By thinking creatively, a murder mystery assumes a bigger identity than may have at first been considered.

The Chief Inspector said...

If you are attempting to write your own mystery party, "Mood" (or Theme) and "Setting" are critical to establishing the dynamics of the plot.

Mood/Theme of the Mystery - The mood or theme is the historical reference or specific content of the mystery. Referring to examples from my website, Mysteries on the Net, you could have a Wild West mystery, or a winery mystery, or an all-woman mystery. The mood or theme determines all subsequent work.

Setting - The setting is the location where the mystery is taking place. This could be, for example, in a winery, on a boat, in a mansion, or even at a specific location in a particular city. (Although this is very tricky if members of your audience are very familiar with the location.)

One you've carefully worked on these elements, you can begin your writing in earnest.

The Chief Inspector said...

The food and decorations are important parts of the entire mystery event. Be sure to create an environment that adds to the plot. For period pieces (the 20s, 30s, 40s, etc.), consider finding and framing old photos of people who were famous at that time. For example, "The Cat Screamed at Midnight," takes place in 1936. Why not frame a photo of King George V, Queen Mary or the Prince of Wales? "Murder Plays a Sour Note" is set in 1955. A photo of Eisenhower on the wall would be a nice touch. Or, if you want to get a few chuckles, why not have a photo of Richard Nixon framed and in a prominent spot? You might even want to autograph it to "Roxie," the owner of The Pitz Supper Club.

The Chief Inspector said...

It's a rainy day here in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. And, it reminds me that days like this are the perfect time to formulate motive, means and opportunity for an exciting mystery plot. Somehow the overcast skies and rain coming down on the patio create just the right atmosphere for the murder mystery writing thoughts to flow in the correct direction.

A good thing to remember about writing is that some of the most-productive time is spent looking out of the window in deep thought as the plot begins to weave itself together into the final whodunit.

By the time my plots are ready to go, they've become torrents of tremendous tirades requiring a few simple tweaks to become finished products.

Try writing on a rainy (or snowy) day and you'll understand what I mean.

The Chief Inspector said...

A client approached me with a great fundraising concept. Her non-profit organization, like many other groups, conducts a auction to raise revenue for their primary event. This year, the organization is packing me (I look good in wrapping paper and a bow) with a gourmet meal in a gothic mansion environment to provide a unique item that will attract a premium bid. Plus the murder mystery concept is certain to attract new people to the annual fundraiser.

The Chief Inspector said...

The statement I hear most-often when someone calls about hosting a murder mystery party is, "I've never done one before."

Everyone want to be successful and host an event that will make people feel good and provide kudos to the person who thought of doing this.

My response is very simple. First, it's important to purchase a mystery that has step-by-step instructions - the kind that mean you can't go wrong. Second, the party must be considered "entertainment," and not life or death. (Pun absolutely intended.)

That means that not everyone has to solve the case. The fun is in the total event. Many good whodunits have surprise endings that are undetected until the last page. SO . . . don't be concerned if NO ONE solves the case. The journey is the reward.

The Chief Inspector said...

If you want to orchestrate your mystery over several days, consider "unbundling" your mystery kit. Think of creative ways to use the components in a way that will reveal critical data over a longer period of time. I've used my mysteries for weekend event at hotels and B&Bs. It's simple to do once you see the flow and logic of the plot. Call me if I can help you through this process.

The Chief Inspector said...

Here's an interesting twist on how to distribute the clues at your mystery party.

My daughter, Abby, recently staged "Betting on Death" with a group of her friends in Minneapolis. The person who facilitated the event used her cell phone to send the clues to the investigators.

She timed them so that they were spaced out evenly during the mystery. Needless to say, she had alerted everyone ahead of time that they would have to bring their cell phones with them and to be aware that new clues would be dropped via the phones.

These 20-somethings added a new, interesting dimension to solving the case.

The Chief Inspector said...

Be true to the period of the mystery you are staging. For example, a framed photo of FDR would be an appropriate prop for "Murder on the Petulant Express," while a photo of King George V would work for "The Cat Screamed at Midnight." Then, of course, select the music of the period as background music for your memorable event.