An Interactive Murder Mystery Party Game


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November 1984

The mystery weekend put on by Landau's company, Murder To Go, Inc., begins on Friday evening when the group gathers for the reading of a cryptic poem. When deciphered, it will disclose the location of $2 million in buried pirate gold. By midnight many of the guests are asleep, but several stillloiter in the drawing room of the Victorian inn. Suddenly, two shots ring out. Those awake race to the room where the sound came from and bang on the door. There is no response. Eventually, they, too, drift off to bed. The next morning, Saturday, everyone learns that at approximately 12:15 a.m., a guest named Steve Dannenbaum fell from a window and died on the cellar stairs below. He had bullet wounds in his chest and side. Whodunit - and why?

The murder weekenders set out to solve the crime, led on and put off by clues supplied by the actors. When questioned by a rumpled, wisecracking detective Peter Lyric, the guests describe events of the night before: Jack and Jennifer Jackson had argued with Dannenbaum about joining forces to find the gold. Kas Morgan had been seen in stealthy conversation with her lover Doug York. Someone spotted Mrs. Thorn slinking away in the mist just after the shots. And what had Dannenbaum been doing at the window? Detective Lyric had a theory. Dannenbaum had deciphered the poem and was making calculations by the stars to locate the treasure. Someone killed to stop him - and presumably filch his clues. That afternoon, as guests tour a local inn as part of the weekend festivities, Jack Jackson whispers to his sister that he knows who the killer is. Later, when he goes to an upstairs bathroom, others, too, slip away. A gunshot is heard. Jack staggers onto the landing and dies. The plot thickens.


Detective Lyric has a second body, too many suspects and alibis galore. Morgan insists she was in the kitchen admiring its decor when Jack Jackson was shot. Doug York had gone upstairs to another bathroom. Mrs. Thorn was in the garden enjoying the flowers, and Jennifer had stepped onto the front porch for a breath of air. "All this over a lousy treasure," detective Lyric laments, then gets busy and deciphers the clues in the poem. They reveal that the treasure is buried on the beach. "That poem wasn't so hard," he scoffs. "All you have to do is think like a sailor." After digging at several places in the sand, the guests find the chest. Lyric promises to open it at a costume party that evening and then leaves. Jennifer, sister of the victim, accosts Morgan with a pistol, but York quickly disarms her. Tearfully, she explains she found the gun in the cushions of a couch where Morgan had been sitting earlier and assumed that Morgan had killed her brother. Morgan points out that other guests were also seated on the same couch. The mylstery weekend guests - never quite sure who is an actor and constantly suspecting one another - debate the identity of the killer. His (or her) motive seems apparent: He (or she) shot Dannenbaum to prevent him from getting to the treasure first. Later, when Jack Jackson discovered who the murderer was, he, too, had to die. But who among the guests is so desperate for the gold? More perplexed than ever, the sleuths go back to their rooms to dress for the costume party.

Other Articles
Dramatists Guild Quarterly, 1996
People Magazine, September 3, 1984
USA Today, September 21, 1983
Business Week, September 26, 1983
New York Times, August 23, 1992
The National Enquirer, May 22, 1984

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