Monday, April 22, 2013
How To Host A Murder: The Red Rose Murders
Don’t worry, this isn’t a step by step guide teaching you how to actually kill someone with a red rose, but rather an insight into the world of murder mystery games. I also assure you that none of my friends were harmed in the writing of this article…or on the night in question.
On April 20, 2013 I, Rhiannon Elizabeth Irons, hosted an evening of fun, food and murder. The theme was THE RED ROSE MURDERS.
“In the dog-eat-dog world of 1950’s Hollywood, there’s only room for one top-dog – and he’s the cigar-chomping agent to the stars, Rick Toad. So when he’s found dead in suspicious circumstances, floating face-down in the swimming pool of his mansion, surrounded by a hundred scattered red roses, the whole film world is shocked to its core.
There’s no business like show business, they say, but when it comes to murder, a suspect is just a suspect. And one, or more, of Rick Toad’s illustrious clients is about to get fingered for killing the most powerful man in entertainment.”
And this is where the fun begins…
This evening, with the help of my mother and boyfriend, we decorated the house to give it a 1950’s feel, adding scattered rose petals to the green table cloth and leaf cuttings from my garden. Rose scented candles added to the atmosphere, giving the illusion bought on by the significance of the red roses in the game.
Seeing as this was supposed to be a cocktail party, I broke out the Martini and Scotch glasses, insisting that my guest fit in with the theme. Cocktail spring rolls and dim sims were served along with baby queshes, mini sausage rolls and mini mince pies. For dessert, mini chocolate tarts and a fresh fruit salad were served alongside a bowl of whipped cream. (A special note; a huge thank you to my mother who spent two days helping me prepare the food as well as making the mini queshes and chocolate tarts)
Now onto the characters.
Each person who attended was giving a different character. To a degree, all the characters have shady facts about themselves, but only one is guilty of murder. The characters for the game of THE RED ROSE MURDERS are listed below:
MARILYN MANSFIELD (played by me): The blonde bombshell whose flamboyant life both on – and off-screen has delighted the gossip columnists for years.
ROCK HOUSTON (played by Jasmine): Rugged, rough and rowdy, Houston was the biggest male star of them all, the ultimate in American masculinity; now he’s going into politics and talking about running for the presidency.
MARLON MEAN (played by Rachel): The most famous teenager in the world, Mean is actually 27-years-old now, but he’s still making a career out of screen rebellion.
PRINCESS KELLY OF RURITANIA (played by Amber): Before her marriage to the Crown Prince, the most eligible bachelor in Europe, Princess Kelly was simple Kelly Kennedy, the sophisticated star of romantic comedies.
MADAME VELDA (played by Laura): Clairvoyant to the stars, she has been a familiar figure in Hollywood circles for many years, predicting the future with surprising accuracy.
WAYNE FONDA (played by Neil): Also known as the Hillbilly Hero, Fonda is a rock and roll singer who might just cut it in the movies.
MAE VEST (played by Christina): Author, actress and activist, Miss Vest is seldom seen without a devoted young man on her arm, a glass of champagne in her hand, and quip on her lips.
SALVADOR DILLY-DALLY (played by The Hand): Europe’s most famous surrealist artist has come to Hollywood to work in the movies, and to make his fortune.
Special note: Madame Velda and Salvador Dilly-Dally were both extra characters for this game– should you only have six people in attendance, these two can be left out. Should you have more than eight people in attendance, the others can form a jury and voice their opinions at the end of each round. You'll be surprised at how much more they pick up without having to play a character of their own.
Now, you may be scratching your head wondering how these very different people are connected, but believe me, they are. For you see, each of these characters have something to do with the deceased man, Rick Toad. From being his favorite star, to part of an affair to remember, to his rival, each character has some connection with him. And it’s these connections that are the reason these people are all together, trying to solve this crime. Everyone is a suspect because everyone had a motive.
The game itself is simple. There is a CD with a detective who takes us through the introduction. Then the characters, as per the script provided, introduce themselves, keeping certain details from ever being disclosed. Then we move into round 1, which is a simple piece of dialogue before we begin revealing secret clues and accusing each other of murder as well other pieces of information that is stored in each of our booklets.
Once we've finished and everyone has had their turn, the CD detective returns to sum up that round. Then we repeat the process two more times for rounds 2 and 3. At the end of round 3 we have our version of events which is our last chance to claim our innocence. Then before we return to the detective, we go around the table one last time and everyone has a chance to decide who they think the killer is. Once everyone has spoken their piece, we press play one more time for the detective to reveal who the killer is along with the motive and opportunity.
Now, while each dialogue set is probably only 5 minutes long at the most, always set aside between 3 and 5 hours to play the game. Especially if you're with my group of friends as we're usually conducting a trial midway through, pointing fingers at each other, shouting that "so and so is guilty because of these reasons" as well as eating and so forth. It really is a life-like CLUE moment. If you were ever a fan of the board game, the movie or the books, then I highly recommend hosting one of these games because it really is a great deal of fun.
So, how did it end? I'm not going to say. I don't want to spoil the chance for you to play the same game and have the same amount of fun that we did. But I do warn you, a lot of the booklets have a hidden sense of humor that you will be using against certain characters all evening.
But I will say this; to Christina, Laura, Amber, Rachel, Neil and Jasmine, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for attending this night. You each made it fun and gave your characters a life. I can’t wait to do this again with you all soon. I’ll be in touch.