Spur of the Moment Murder Mystery

I missed the murder I created for the museum because I still haven’t gotten over my cough, so I’m reprising the mystery here. This is the scenario I wrote:

It is Monday, March 5, 1877. Rutherford B. Hayes has just been publicly inaugurated as the nineteenth president of the United States. Hayes lost the popular vote but won the most electoral college votes after a ferociously disputed ruling by a Congressional committee. People are out late, some celebrating the victory, some drowning their sorrows at having a Republican in office.

At 9:10, Clay Allison was killed outside the jewelry store, and at 9:15 pm, revelers discovered the body.

There are many suspects.

Colonel Mustard, the blacksmith, born in 1832, was at the garrison in Gainesville, Alabama when Clay and his Confederate unit surrendered at the end of the Civil War. Mustard swears that Clay had escaped the night before he was to go before a firing squad, and this does not sit right with the Colonel. The Colonel says he was in the saloon when Clay was killed.

Mrs. White, schoolmarm, born in 1824, says Clay deserved to be shot for mangling the English language. Clay had bragged that he was a shootist, and Mrs. White says there is no such word. She also says she was at a suffragette meeting that evening at the schoolhouse. The suffrage referendum had just been defeated in Colorado, and she and other women in town were determined to get suffrage for women in Colorado.

Mrs. Peacock, candy-shop lady, born in 1842, is the married sister of Deputy Charles Faber. Clay had gunned down the deputy after the deputy had demanded Clay and his brother relinquish their guns. Mrs. Peacock is not only grieving the loss of her brother, but is fuming that Allison went free after the judge ruled Clay Allison’s actions self-defense. She claims to have been home alone.

Professor Plum, a professor at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, born in 1878, is writing a book about Clay Allison. He came to town to learn more about what actually happened between Clay and Deputy Faber. Plum claims that Clay was long dead by the time he arrived in Las Animas to do his research.

Miss Scarlet, dance hall girl, born in 1860, hated Clay Allison for promising her marriage and a life of respectability and then reneging on the deal. She claims to have been with Mr. Green when the incident occurred.

Mr. Green, bank teller, born in 1847, says he was not with Miss Scarlet, had never even met her. He claims to be an upstanding citizen with pretentions to being bank president one day, though he does admit that Clay Allison tended to play fast as loose with the ladies in town, and should be shot on general principles.


Look for clues in the above suspect list and in the photographs provided. FYI: the bartender corroborates the alibies of anyone who said they were in the saloon.

Check off the characters as you learn they didn’t do the dirty deed. When you sort out the truth from the lies, whoever is left, then, must be the killer. Keep in mind, not everyone will tell the truth.

o Colonel Mustard
o Mrs. White
o Mrs. Peacock.
o Professor Plum
o Miss Scarlett
o Mr. Green


Mr. Green and Miss Scarlet


So, who dunnit? Who killed Clay Allison?

In case anyone wants to figure out who the killer is, I’ll wait until tomorrow to post the solution.


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.