It might be strange, but attending a murder mystery dinner has been on my bucket list since I was old enough to say whodunit?! About two weeks ago, as Manchester started its slow evolution into chillier climes, I, along with 29 other fantastic female bloggers, headed to the city's gleaming Renaissance Hotel to solve a most sinister crime.
Hosted collaboratively by Joe Blogs (who consistently put on some of the best blogger nights out in the NW--they're the creative minds behind the cocktail class I attended this summer) and BGO, a gaming and entertainment company, we were treated to a fantastic night, wined and dined and served chilled glasses of Prosecco on our arrival.
Shortly after we arrived and downed some of the bubbly, the double doors leading to the late great Lord John's stately mansion were opened and we were invited in to ornately laid round tables. No sooner than we had settled in, did a scene play out before our very eyes:
It was a dark and stormy night (for once, it actually wasn't dark and stormy in Manchester, but Lord John's country manor was certainly cloaked in the dark and stormy) and Lord John and his invited guests--esteemed friends and family and a smattering of hired help, most of whom all had a motive for murder--gathered in the parlor before dinner.
Lord John, a slightly rotund millionaire stumbled into view, clutching his chest, staggeringly. He didn't speak. He kilted from table to table, dying one of those painstakingly slow slapstick deaths. (Think: Bugs Bunny being shot by Elmer Fudd.) Finally, after much fanfare, the great LJ fell to the floor, dead.
Within a matter of minutes, Scotland Yard was one the case, sending in one of their finest young coppers, the indelible PC World accompanied by none other than Scotland Yard's crème de la crème, one Inverness Cape-wearing Sherlock Holmes.
Holmes and World explained the name of the game: it was murder, murder most foul and we needed to unearth the culprit! We were given a series of papers to record evidence, seek forensics testing and question guests at the party as well as LJ's hired help. To get us started, we were presented with a piece of evidence: a finger print-smudged wine glass. We found our fingerprint kit and the sleuthing began!
After successfully revealing actual prints on the glass, we set to work going through the dossiers of the party guests and LJ's staff. Our work was cut out for us: we needed to work quickly to solve the crime before any more guests were murdered.
And since nothing speeds up the brain like a good bit of nosh, our esteemed hosts presented a three-course meal for us to line our bellies: I opted for the succulent duck terrine with a leek drenched in the most decadent balsamic vinegar sauce.
My main was the classic roast beef dinner with lashings of gravy.
And completing the trifecta of yum was a crunchy, gingery vanilla ice cream concoction that was truly scrumptious.
All of the eating, deliberating, pouring of wine and pondering steered us in the right direction and my table was the only one who successfully nabbed the culprit! Our booby prize was to don outfits of the guests and staff and act out the murderous scene for the other bloggers.
Yes, we looked ridiculous, but all enjoyed the show. A bit of the old Dutch courage surely didn't go amiss, either! Here are some of my team mates in their fancy dress. It's only fair to disclose that I was dressed up as Sherlock Holmes and had the task of formally narrating our plot as the girls acted it out.
Suspect 1: Can you trust a man in a bomber jacket and aviator hat?
Ill-fated Lord John
Suspect 2: Was it the saucy redhead?
Suspect 3: How just is the judge?
Suspect 4: Can you trust the American expat?
Suspect 5: Is this doctor's motto, "heal you & kill you"?
Suspect 6: Has the maid recently washed her hands of murder?
One of these lovely ladies is dressed as the murderer. You'll have to attend BGO's fantastic murder mystery dinners and work it out yourself!