Keeping Murder Mysteries Clean

Best Possible TasteMurders aren’t usually committed by nice people. Especially in whodunit games.

The culprits in them are often deeply flawed. As a result, subjects crop up in them which may make some people uncomfortable. Sudden death, for instance. Cruelty. Heroin addiction. Violence. Infidelity.

If a murder is triggered by someone borrowing someone else’s gloves, no-one will believe it. If they borrow someone else’s husband or cause someone to commit suicide, maybe they will.

It won’t just be the murderer who has secrets or moral shortcomings, either.  For a whodunit to be interesting, it needs to have several suspects. All of them need reasons why they might kill. They can be depraved, corrupt, evil. Prompted by greed, jealousy, revenge, spite, ambition, desperation, their behaviour can be deeply unpleasant.

People buy and play our games all over the world. Hen parties, church groups, sports clubs, people celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, work colleagues, schools: all have run our plots in the past in many different countries.

The last thing we want to do is upset any of them. Given how murderers sometimes behave, this can be tricky. So how do we avoid doing so?

  • Each of our games has an Age Rating/Content Rating. This suggests the minimum age a plot might work for. It also warns about any content it may contain which might bother those who are more easily shocked and/or offended.
  • When creating our games, we try to make them engrossing, enjoyable, entertaining. They aren’t meant to be “real”. They are an escape. So what happens when someone dies in them? When a heart is publicly broken? When a drug addict goes into withdrawal? When a hypocrite is exposed? Usually, everyone laughs!
  • Unlike in “serious” drama, we don’t want to remind people of bad things they may come across in their own lives. We aren’t trying to hold a mirror up to nature. Our plan instead is to involve people in something absorbing, intriguing, beguiling and absurd. Much as Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle do in their work. (No, we don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same paragraph as them. But if it helps…)

We want everyone to enjoy what we provide. But, in the end, we can only do that with your help. We do listen to what people tell us about our plots. Happily, we get plenty of praise. But if something bothers you or touches a nerve, please, please, PLEASE tell us about it. If we’ve got something wrong, we’ll change it. Always.

Excuse us while we blush…

Farthingay Manor murder mysteryWe’ve just had one of the nicest bits of feedback ever. So we thought we’d show off and share it with you. You can read the full-length original on this page of playwright Tara Meddaugh’s blog. Here is what Tara told us about her Farthingay Manor murder mystery evening:

“We did the murder mystery this weekend, and I have to say–this was the best one we have done! We’ve done quite a few of the box sets, as well as quite a few that I’ve purchased online. But this was great in terms of having some real concrete reasons for guessing the murderers (i.e. there were actual clues that led you to legitimately figure out who the murderers were–some of the sets are just totally random and they make it so no one would really know). And it was nice to have the action of the murder occur live, when we are acting it out, so it wasn’t like we were just discussing an event in the past. It was current, which made it interesting too. And funny, as well. 🙂
So thanks for your help and for this great mystery!”

We welcome all feedback, good or bad. So please keep sending it in.