This year’s New Year gathering was a little different to most; we had a murder mystery. Having carried out a couple of DIY murder kits before, we had a vague idea what we were looking for, so Steve selected Inspector McClue’s Red Rose Murders for our delectation.
Speaking for myself, it was brilliant fun! Set in 1950’s Hollywood it allowed for all participants to glam up as much (or as little) as possible to adopt the roles of some rather revealing characters.
As with any of these games, you are given enough detail to do with as you wish. You could simply take the basics and question one another on this detail alone. But it’s what you add to the night which makes it so much fun. Ascribe the roles carefully in order to make everyone feel comfortable and bring out the comedy in those who like to perform. This particular box set was ideal, especially for the boys taking part – there is something about 1950’s American screen legends that seems to make (some of) them go a little Brokeback Mountain on us.
The Characters Include:
(From left to right)
- Marlon Mean – 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.
- Wayne Fonda – also known as the Hillbilly Hero, Fonda is a rock and roll singer who might just cut it in the movies.
- Rock Houston (not pictured)- 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.
- Salvador Dilly-Dally (also not pictured) – Europe’s most influential Surrealist artist.
And the ladies . . .
(From left to right)
- Madame Velda – clairvoyant to the stars, she has been a familiar figure in hollywood circles for many years, predicting the future with surprising accuracy.
- Mae Vest – 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 a quip on her lips.
- Princess Kelly of Ruritania – before her marriage to the Crown Prince, the most eligible bachelor in Europe, Princess Kelly was simple Kelly Kennedy, the sophisticate star of Romantic comedies.
- Marylin Mansfield – the blonde bombshell whose flamboyant life both on and off screen has delighted the gossip columnists for years.
Following the death of Hollywood’s most influential agent, Rick Toad, these eight suspects are flung together with food and wine, to discover the seedy truth behind all their supposed success. (Gregg, who had bought blood capsules, was upset to discover that the victim had already been murdered and was only mentioned on the CD, not actually killed during the evening! Bless.)
The game play is relatively straight forward and one of the more entertaining I have encountered. There are passages to read aloud which in places became more than a little farcical. The puns were cringe-worthy and in the innuendo would have made Franky Howard very proud; in fact at times I felt like I was participating in some horrific Sid James sitcom. But I would not have had it any other way, it added to the campness of the festivities and timed itself perfectly I think with a pleasant amount on alcohol! I laughed so hard throughout the whole game that my ribs ached a little the following day!
This game was detailed enough to cover its bases, but it wasn’t exceptionally well planned out. In reality there was only one potential murder (who sadly discovered their role at the end of round two) but I think the alcohol saw to reason long before the surmising. Every single one of us came up with a different solution (which shows the worth of the game I suppose) but of course Steve had to guess correctly! I do think an awful lot more could have been made of one or two of the characters, more intrigue and suspicion written in, as they weren’t given a whole lot to deviate from. The best written roles, as ever, I felt belonged to the boys. But that could simply be because they love to camp it up, show off and try to outdo one another with bad American accents!
Inspector McClue games are good fun, but check about online for reviews etc. for a murder mystery game which will be best for you, in number and suitability. Bits of them might be viewed as a little ‘naff’ but role with it. The game can only take you so far, it’s your imagination and friends that make it so much more.