A couple of years ago, I devised a murder game for the local historical museum based on characters who once lived in the area. Last year, due to The Bob, there wasn’t any such event, but here we are, slowly getting back into activities, and so once again, I need to create a murder.
It’s a good thing I keep my documents because until I looked at what I wrote for that first Murder Mystery at the Museum, I’d forgotten I’d based it on the game of Clue, using colors for the characters names — Mrs. Peacock, Colonel Mustard, etc. I also used some historical figures for the victim and various backstory folk, which I will probably do again because, after all, this is a fundraiser for a historical museum.
This new mystery will take place in the 1890s, about fifteen historical years later than the first. The date isn’t arbitrary. The murder will take place in a hotel that was built in 1890, more because of the research I did on the woman who owned the hotel than for any other reason.
Because of the setting of the mystery, the characters can be almost anyone because so many people traveled through the area and stayed at the hotel, such as a circuit judge, traveling salespeople, preachers, cowboys. Any of the various employees, such as chambermaids and waitresses as well as the proprietor herself could also play a part.
Then there is the possibility of other popular characters of the day, such as a lady reporter or a kid detective. Or perennially popular characters such as a medicine man or even a ghost.
Lots of possibilities! As always, the challenge is figuring how to pepper clues around the museum to help people solve the mystery. I didn’t do that well with solid clues the first time, relying more on the written clues in the handout and on the characters who played the part rather than clues for people to find.
Luckily, I still have a couple of months to figure all this out.
If you have any suggestions, I’ll be glad to hear them!
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator