Murder Mystery Play – Debby Broughton-Hay, 25th April, 2012

Well ‘Who dunnit?’ but our very own Debby Broughton-Hay and didn’t she do it well?
Debby’s Murder Mystery ‘Brought To Book’ was originally written for ‘Crime Week’ at the local library.
She told us how she structured the piece to suit the participating library staff ‘actors’, main parts, lesser parts and a one-liner for the man who did the mobile library and never managed rehearsals!
Debby then explained the mechanics of murder mysteries.
The setting was a library, specifically the ‘Crime’ section where a body had been found beneath a pile of books.
The cast list came first then half of these characters became possible suspects.
Create and list motives these characters might have.  Humour was added to Debby’s play through character names – D. S. Holms with Constable Johnston, Mrs Fletcher and Mrs Barnaby, Mr. Jim Rockford – you get the idea!  Dialogue was sharp and witty with subtle red herrings along the way.
The play was ably ‘read’ rather than acted by our own ‘luvvies’- Simon, Andrew, Ian, Lesley, Helena, Sheila, Kirsty, Fiona and Joan, the audience was enthralled by the believable characters and focused on trying to solve the mystery.  Debby directed stopping the action just before the victim had been identified.
At tea time there was a ‘buzz’ of deduction and speculation around the room.
After tea Debby recorded the audience’s predictions of who the murderer might be and it transpired that all suspects were selected by at least two people.
Then in typical Agatha Christie style the detective discounted the suspects one by one until two were left.  The audience was kept guessing to the end. The crafting here was very clever as the audience was led to believe the murderer was one suspect then swiftly the other one was revealed as the culprit.
The play ended in humour with the teenage library assistant complaining that the library was ‘too boring’!
Debby then explained the importance of knowing where people were at different times: – clue: when Mrs Fletcher had taken a book from the Crime section out the body hadn’t been there at that time.  This information contradicted the murderer’s statement, case solved!
There was much discussion afterwards about different murder mysteries on television and we need never feel guilty about watching these in the future because ‘it’s all research’!
Greta Yorke

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