Picture this in your mind… It is the gloaming hour… the chilly wind is starting to blow, the skies are filling with rain clouds and you hear on the news; “Heavy thunder storms and ponderous winds will be hitting your area within the hour. Keep safe and stay inside.”
The storm has hit… As you look out your window, you see lightning rods shooting down from the heavens… Your front gates light up… You notice it is half past six as the antediluvian grandfather clock chimes…
The storm has now hit the once serene harbor close by… The Mystic River is filled with choppy, restless waves. The winding road that leads to your estate is lit with tiny, amber lights, making a pathway for all your guests… It has been a long time since you have had company to the Carmine mansion… Within the hour, all of your guests will arrive and then, the drama and mystery shall begin.
Welcome to “A murder mystery at the old Carmine estate in Mystic,” You are the host and hostess of this entertaining, suspenseful and mysterious evening.
Do the words “thunder storm, opera music, jealous man, woman with glasses, blackmail, marriage problems, suspicion, novelist and cigarette smoking, ” mean anything to you? They are Key words for the shadowy evening ahead. 🙂
Inclosed in this blog is EVERYTHING you will need to create this memorable and fun evening.
Your job is to choose at least 6 friends or family members that you would like to be your guests. If you choose to have your Detective played by one of your guests and neither you or your mate want to play that character, invite 7. (Perhaps talk to who you are interested in asking to come and make sure they would be up for it.) (I don’t understand it, but some people just do not like ‘drama.’) 🙂
Your party invitation is ‘Envelope #1.’ Two weeks before your ‘Murder Mystery dinner,’ send out your invitations. Each invitation will have a detailed description of the character they will be playing…Describe the character in full, (how they dress, what their style is…elaborate on your descriptions.) Remind them, they will be arriving dressed in their full attire and should transform themselves into their assigned character as they enter your doors. Before you write up the invitations, decide who the murderer is, as well as the victim… On those two invitations only, write down who the killer and victim is and which one of those characters they will be acting out. Also tell them how the murder will occur and the motive so they can act out their parts to a “T.” They are the only two people , (outside of you and the Detective,) who will know how the game ends. (Make sure you only put that information on those two invitations, (and on your Detective’s invitation as well if you choose for them to be a guest.) Remind them all to keep it hush-hush.) 🙂
Here is your “setting” as well as six characters for the night.
You live in an old mansion in Mystic Connecticut. You love the beauty of the placid river, cobblestone fences, historic graveyards, old, colossal trees and the wondrous eateries nestled upon the water with superb, fresh seafood. You have lived in Mystic for all of your life, but the newly inherited family home is now entirely yours as you are an only child.
The 6 characters, (all fictitious of course,) that your friends will play are your 6 college buddies from your Harvard days. You were all intimate in your happy-go-lucky “Dorm-days,” but somehow, over the years, you’ve lost touch and don’t talk as often. For this murder mystery, I chose for you three females and three males.
Character number one. This is Ava Terran, a “Best Seller” novella writer from France. She absolutely adores hats! (Rarely do you see her without one.) She is single, aggressive, flirty, is known to over react and is a closet smoker. Ava is very wordy and loves to get to know people. (She is a people person.) Everyone is attracted to her quirky style and gorgeous accent. She definitely loves to talk about herself and is always sharing about what a ‘troubled childhood she had.’
Character number two. This is Isabella Giovanni. She is a mother of three, unhappily married, very bored and ready for change. She loves her children and doesn’t want to break up the household. She lives in Rhode Island, loves the serenity of the water with it’s fishing boats heading out to the ocean’s deep in the early mornings. (At times, the charms of living life on the water mesmerizes her and she forgets her troubles.) Isabella has a problem with anxiety, is very shy and only wears her glasses when she absolutely has to. She takes great joy in her new chic look…( she bought a pair of beautiful contact lenses.) She remembers her college love with great admiration and is looking forward to seeing him when she hears he is coming to the party. She dated both Ryan and Zachary in her college years. She was very hurt by one of these men towards the end of their Harvard days…You know what they say about a woman scorned. 🙂
Character number three. This is Alexis Brine. She is one of New York’s top models and adores attention. She is married to hubby number two and adores traveling world wide. She is quick tempered, critical and always likes to be the best at all she does. She also feel deeply in love with one of the 6 college buddies. Alexis was best friends with Jacob. He was her confidant and always made her laugh. Inside, her heart is very tender but she only lets the world see her tough guarded side.
Character number four Is Ryan Scott . Ryan is a single, handsome pediatrician who lives in Noank Connecticut and practices medicine at Hartford hospital. His practice is booming and so is his love life. He is charming, flirtations, very wealthy, loves children and has a an outgoing personality. He is always the clown at every party and loves to make people laugh. He has been known to date more than one woman at a time. (Sneaky!) 🙂 He actually dated all three of the ladies coming to the party at one time or another…
Character number five. Introduce yourself to Jacob Wiles. He is a very much, want- to – be- actor, but for now, settles for being Johnny Depp’s understudy and loves every Pirates of the Caribbean movie ever made. He is very eccentric, has a serious, deep side, loves to watch re-runs, (especially his own,) 🙂 plays cards and adores Las Vegas, where he wins almost every hand of cards he plays. (And that’s a lot! ) He resides in Laguna Beach California and loves the ocean. (He really does look a lot like Johnny Depp doesn’t he?) 🙂 Jacob had a secret crush on Ava but she did not feel the same, or did she? (She was very secretive.)
Character number six. This is Mr. Zachary Glover. He has two homes, a summer get-a-way in Grotin, Connecticut, over looking the water and a ranch in Texas. He raises horses on his hacienda and is dating a young nurse…they are fairly serious, but as of recent, they are having relationship problems. He loves the outdoors, hunting, and is very much admired and liked. He almost seems ‘to perfect’ if you know what I mean. He is a little nervous to see a certain someone at the Murder Mystery party, but catching up with them again will be a good thing, he has decided. He adored Ava but felt her late night, jet-setting, Hollywood life style at the time did not fit his love of serenity and nature.
The Detective, (Theodore, known as Teddy for short,) is a person who is very inquisitive, married, older, has a large vocabulary and is very sneaky… He likes to switch words around and it can get very frustrating. He has a very hard time trusting people, but is trying. (He is actually in therapy.) Being a detective is so much a apart of him, (he knows it like the back of his hand, ) as he has been doing it all of his life. Quite routine . He has a dry wit about him, is flirtatious and very loud. (He sure loves that pipe!) 🙂
Don’t forget, if you or your mate do not want to play the part of the Detective, then treat that character as you would any other guest, (of course they would not appear until after the murder occurs.) They would have the same invitation as the murderer and murderee with the knowledge of who the murderer is , the victim, the motive, how and when it is done, also where to find all the props for the investigation and evidence, so he can present it to your guests.
When each person enters the mansion, place their character’s name tag on them and give them envelope #2. Once everyone has arrived, take some time to introduce each character. In envelope #2, you will be giving each character their goals for the evening. ( Goals, meaning the right, ( handpicked by you,) questions for them to ask as they mingle. Make sure the questions you give each person will in no way give any ‘hints’ as to their being the murderer or victim. Here are a few examples of questions you may want them to ask one another…Did you ever get married? Are you happy? Where are you living now? What do you do with your time? Also have them ask questions to get ‘clues’ of who would even be capable of murder? It will be up to these people to ACT out their parts to whatever is asked of them as they are in Character …they can make up anything they want.. Their is no script, it is all impromptu acting. (A lot of fun and imagination.) 🙂 You are the one who will write out their goals/questions, for your reasons, as you are the creator of the murder mystery. Before they begin mingling, welcome them to your party and share a light description of how the evening will go…(Again, this is up to you and your vivid IMAGINATION.)
In the 2nd envelope for your Detective, the murderer and the murderee, (amidst their questions to ask,) be sure to tell them approximately what time the murder will occur and what the signal will be. Perhaps it will be that you wink at the murderer when you are ready for them to begin their ‘knock-off.’ Explain to them what their props will be, where they will be hidden and where you would like them to put them after the murder takes place. (The Detective will need to know where to find the props as he is solving the case.)
During the week before the Murder Mystery dinner, get all the things you will need for a successful evening. (They are all illustrated below,) props, music, candles, your appetizers, dinner and dessert, award certificates, “charge of wrong doing” sheets, questions and goals for envelope #2 and your small trinket gifts for all of your guests.
THE DAY OF THE PARTY…
Start allowing your imagination to ignite…
Okay, you already know that it is going to be a dark, stormy night…
And that you are all gong to be in a Brobdingnagian mansion. You know the exact time the guest will be arriving, when to give each guest envelope # 2 and their Characters name tag. So your only job the day of the party is to make your home into ‘that mysterious estate’ and prepare your cuisine. (Or you can prepare the food a day ahead of time and just heat up everything that evening.) Have a couple of rooms picked out that guests can saunter in and out of, (mingling with others,) and maybe a deck of cards or game of chess going.
Turn your lights off or keep them very low and use candlelight wherever you can…as well as your dimmer switches and petite white lights. (Having a cozy and inviting fire burning in the hearth is ideal as well if you have a fireplace.) Set a beautiful table for dinner, (either formal or everyday china is fine, just create a pampering setting with lots of flickering candles and flowers.) Make sure you have plenty of drink choices out, and ample appetizers to keep the party going before dinner is served. (Make it as simple as possible.) Costco or Sam’s club has great appetizers and I have given you a few ideas of delicious Hors d’oeuvre’s below. I would make something simple for dinner like a big pot of homemade chili and cornbread, with your finale being some type of a chocolate confection. (Don’t go to a lot of trouble cooking all day… You have more important things to do. 🙂
The musical background for the evening is also an important part of the party. I would suggest any classical music from either Mozart symphonies or Victoria Secret symphonies. I also discovered two CD’s that play a haunting combination of thunder and rain… Very befitting for your evening. (Keep it soft and low…make it intriguing.) Some other music that would be ideal for this puzzling and engaging evening is Opera Music. I believe that all of these CD’s can be found on Amazon.com or check with your local library for rentals.
Here are some ideas for a variety of scrumptious appetizers. Deli meats over fresh greens with a dip, exotic and delicious sushi, (don’t forget the ginger and wasabi,) pita bread, or better yet, get some homemade pizza dough rolls from your near by Italian eatery, chips along side a delectable vegetable dip, fresh grilled shrimp atop a Caesar or garden salad or a mesquite chicken and black bean salad with arugula and fresh greens. Create your salads in a large bowl and let each guest serve a spoonful or two onto their plates as they enjoy mingling and acting out their part. 🙂
Have plenty of beverages for your guests…I suggest, a pot of coffee, Ginger ale, sparkling waters and cider, fine wines, cold beer and maybe a bottle of a nice heavier liquor for martinis or a mixed drink. (If you know anyone that is coming that enjoys a mixed drink.)
You may want to put your confections out on your hutch or a sideboard for display before serving at the end of the party…(Another fresh pot of coffee would be a great idea when it is time to serve dessert.) 🙂
Amongst the ambrosial appetizers, desserts, savory aromas of your homemade chili, romantically mystique fire and candle light, display the beautifully wrapped gifts upon a table, reminding everyone that there are prizes in this game. (It won’t be until the very end that they will see that everyone gets a gift just for participating.) It’s a lot of fun and a great addition to any party.
For “the big pot of chili,” I use lean, ground beef, finely chopped red onions, 10 OZ. can of stewed tomatoes, 10 OZ. can of tomato sauce, 1 can of red pinto beans, 1 can of black beans and 1 can of Bush’s chili beans… I add lots of seasonings, (Tabasco, ground pepper, red pepper, cumin, chili powder and a McCormick’ s Chili mix, a touch of sugar and seasoned salt.) A hidden trick I have is to pour in an overflowing TBSP. of BBQ sauce… It adds a nice, subtle smokey flavor. This is my recipe just in case you don’t have a homemade chili recipe. This can be used with ground turkey or steak as well. I use Krusteaz Southern Style corn bread mix in a box and it is to die for…(no pun intended. 🙂 You can make some of your appetizers a day early as well as the chili for a much calmer and less busy ‘Party day.’ 🙂
You will also need some props, depending upon what your murder plot is going to be… A knife, a fake toy gun, envelopes for your notes to your guests, and six -seven gifts, creatively and stunningly wrapped. You will also need a poison bottle, (homemade of course,) award certificates filled out by you… (you can make then yourself or buy them at Staples,) a crumpled up piece of paper with writing on it, a black mail letter, peel off name tags, (also at Staples,) a thick rope, large blunt rock, wine glass, an abundance of candles and “Charge of wrong doing” papers, (examples below.) Your guests will fill these out out at the end of the gala, as they will guess who the murderer is as well as vote for their choice of the Best dressed and Best actress and actor.) Don’t forget to have your background sounds set up, either music or a thunderstorm CD.
Your gifts do not need to be extravagant at all. The guests who are voted as “Best Dressed for their part,” Best Actor, Best Actress, ( and perhaps you will have more than one winner of solving the murder,) will all be awarded with a ‘certificate of honor.’ (You can write those up how ever you choose.) So, your six to 7, creatively wrapped gifts are for everyone… everybody gets a gift, (just for participating,) and let me tell you, they will love it! 🙂 Some suggestions for the gifts to have wrapped, CD’s, DVD’s in the $5.00 bin, (they have great ones at Wal*Mart,) movie passes, a popular best selling novel, a scented candle, a quaint picture frame, box of Dove Chocolates, or nice bottle of wine. 🙂
It is now 7:30 PM and your guests are beginning to arrive. (Great costumes!) 🙂
As your standing at the front door greeting your guests, the storm is still brewing, but now a damp, foggy mist is rolling in as you glance to the side of your property at the “Old Carmine Graveyard.” (Why do grave yards always look the scariest at night and in a storm?) 🙂
You introduce everyone, give them and encourage them to get drinks, something to eat, enjoy the fire and getting to know one another again. As they are enjoying your delightful ‘happy hour,’ and you begin to mingle with your guests, tell them to take a look inside their 2nd envelope.
The time will pass quickly with everyone mingling, enjoying their appetizers and a drink and having a good time. (They’re probably secretly admiring the desserts and enjoying the aroma of the homemade chili on the stove top as well.) 🙂 When you feel there has been ample time, perhaps an hour or an hour and a half, wink at your murderer, (or do whatever signal you’ve decide upon,) and let them know it is time to begin their ‘bump off.’ However it is set up to happen, it should be in a room where no one see’s them, perhaps the porch, backyard, a back room, or (drum roll please…) ‘The Old Carmine Graveyard.’ At this point, after the murderer returns and gets a drink and thinks no one has noticed his or hers departure for a few minutes, the Detective, (a new guest and character to your party,) unless you play the part yourself, will come forward and announce that someone has been found dead in or on the grounds of the mansion, thus revealing the name of the ‘victim.’ He also will announce that it is not known if their death was of “natural causes, or mayhem.” (He needs to stall and keep everyone in the Mansion as he begins his investigation.) He will give a short breviary of what will happen next and that everyone is to stay in the house until further notice.
It is time for your guest to mingle again and try to find out as much as possible by asking questions and looking for clues, but subtly…staying in character. You could serve dinner at this time as it is a perfect place for conversation. Allow the murdered victim to come and sit with all of you, (of course they can not say a word.) 🙂 Tell them to just enjoy the chili and cornbread…( bring them a glass of wine to unwind, after all, they were just murdered.) 🙂 And yes, the Detective can come to the table and eat as well. He can just say he is waiting for a phone call and is ravenous. (Again, he has to continue to remain quiet to all he is privy to.)
Next, the Detective (after seeking more info,) comes back and announces that it was a murder and not a death from natural causes… He then shows the evidence, (all the props you chose,) of the murder and what he thinks the motive is. He reminds everyone to stay in the house as it is not clear WHO committed the murder...OK, it’s ”sleuth time ” again… it’s everyone last chance to get info. (Who LOOKS guilty?)
As you all exit into the living room for coffee and dessert, the detective will hand everyone envelope # 3, (with their name on the front.) This envelope contains a ‘Charge of wrong doing list’ to fill out. (It also asks for your guests votes on the best dressed actor for their part and best actors and actresses, as well as “WHO” the murderer is.) All of these winners receive an awards certificate. (There may be more than one winner for guessing who the murderer is…)
Have everyone fill the paper out, place them back in their envelopes and hand them to the detective. (Yes even the murderer.) Treat them the same as everybody else the entire evening as to not give any clues away of “who-dun-it.”) 🙂 After he has had time to tally their sheets, have him return, announcing who the murderer is and their motive. The names of all the winners are announced, (according to their guesses and votes on their sheet and performances during the evening.) Award certificates are handed out and everyone gets a gift before they go! (You can even give your murderer and murderee an awards certificate at the the end for doing a great job! 🙂 Now everyone can relax and introduce themselves for who they really are… Get out of character as the Murder Mystery Party is now officially over. (Some of your guests may already know one another.) 🙂
Remember, you are the creator of the entire evening…you get to choose your props, ( I have given you a few character possibilities and prop ideas,) but you can choose any characters or plot you would like. You chose who your murderer is, your appetizers and menu. IT is your night to shine...A very successful gala and an evening to remember by everyone.
Okay, I am dying to tell you (again, no pun intended. 🙂 ) my synopsis of this Murder if I were the one giving the party..
Ryan dated all three of the ladies in college but he was deeply in love with Alexis. Ryan was the first man Alexis ever gave her heart to completely. There was even talk of wedding bells after they graduated. Isabella also adored Ryan and felt slighted that he chose Alexis over her. Years later, with her anxiety becoming more intense, added to the boredom of her marriage, mixed with her ample medications, she began plotting to get rid of Alexis. (She certainly was not in her right mind.) The party was the perfect place. She had thought of sending Alexis a black mail letter she had made but forgot and left it folded in her coat pocket…The black mailing letter stated that Alexis’ life was in danger if she didn’t stay out of Ryan’s life. (Little did she know they weren’t even in touch anymore.) (She was still jealous of Alexis, even to this day because Alexis won Ryan’s heart.) Of course, there came a time during the evening that Isabella and Alexis mingled, reminiscing over their years away at college. With the storm having lightened up a bit, at Isabella’s request, they both get a glass of wine and saunter outside to the back verandah overlooking the shadowy waterway. The water seemed placid…the stars were just beginning to peak through the clouds as they placed their wine glasses down on the table. Isabella lights up a cigarette but Immediately, drops it to the ground, putting it out with the spiked heal of her new shoes. (Her nerves were getting the best of her as she stared at the grave sites through the foggy mist.) She did not want to prolong what she knew she had to do and let her fear take over. Isabella mentions how amazing the fragrance of fresh rain is. She chuckles as she looks at the sky and remarks on how the fluffy clouds had shapes of cuddly, chubby, teddy bears, causing Alexis to look up at the heavens. Underhandedly, Isabella pours some of her poison into Alexis’ wine glass. It’s tasteless and promised to work quickly. (At least that is what HE told her.) Before they return to the mansion, Isabella, quietly places a “crumpled” suicide note in Alexis coat pocket, written in what looked like Alexis’ handwriting, explaining she was not getting any more jobs modeling and felt her husband was getting bored with her. She felt like she could not go on, (all to the contrary.) Once inside, mingling with all of the guests at the gala, Alexis, feeling dizzy and nauseous, excuses herself to the ladies room where she dies instantaneously. Isabella goes into the kitchen where she quietly and quickly disposes of the empty poison bottle. No one has suspected anything so it looks as if Isabella has gotten away with murder.
I only used 5 of the props…a crumpled suicide note, poison bottle, the blackmail letter in Isabella’s coat hanging in the foyer, a cigarette on the back porch slightly scented with Isabella’s perfume, as well as the wine filled glass. (All of the clues / props that the Investigator finds as he is solving this horrific tragedy, he will present in the end to your guests for their final clues…) You might as well give Isabella and the Detective an award certificate after all their hard work too! 🙂
There are so many plots to come up with, ideas and great fun to be had with a Murder Mystery party. I know just the perfect friends and family member’s I would pick, who LOVE to be the center of attention and live for ” drama, drama, drama.” 🙂 It’s all make believe and impromptu, but maybe, just for an itty-bitty moment, it feels real!
Have a wonderful evening, a lot of fun and ENJOY! Let me know how it goes or if you have any suggestions or questions! 🙂
PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.