MURDER MOST FOUL – DASTARDLY DOINGS AT HAINFORD VILLAGE HALL

On Friday the 13th September some residents of Hainford found themselves no longer in the 21st century…

Guests arriving for the Murder Mystery evening at Hainford Village Hall after being greeted by a footman played by Barry Whitehouse, were no doubt surprised and impressed to see it transformed into a 1920’s set piece.  Admittedly, some imagination was required but, the collected hunting memorabilia, draped union flags and carved African souvenirs, kindly donated by members of the committee helped set the scene.  On top of that, the fantastic efforts made by guests to dress the part promised that an enjoyable and authentic evening was to ensue.

Visually the scene was set; next it was the turn of the ‘actors’ to complete the illusion by presenting us with an aristocratic family with more than a few skeletons in their collective closets.  Our hosts for the evening Sir Clive and Lady Clarissa  Worthington – Jones were portrayed fantastically by Matthew Nobbs and Sandra Harrison.  Supporting them were an accomplished cast comprising: Minty {…..} as Dora, their troubled and wilful daughter, Terry Porter as Sandy, a friend of the family and ‘adopted’ son, Barbara Wray as Myra a socialite, mistress and all round ‘gal about town’, Susan Whitehouse as Madge, hostel owner and associate of the Worthington Jones, Sean Chafey as Hugo, the ill-fated politician and rogue and the family’s stalwart and urbane butler portrayed by Mick Monk.

Throughout the course of the evening, family secrets were aired, disputes made public and dastardly dealings uncovered.  Questions arose over Dora’s parentage, Sandy’s war efforts and Hugo’s faithfulness.  Just before supper was served (a fantastic buffet provided by members of the committee) Dora staged a walkout, causing the entire family to retire, leaving their guests to entertain themselves over dinner.  In the repose between main course and pudding, the relaxed friendly atmosphere was shattered by a scream.  Dora was dead, her neck broken by a fall from an upstairs window.  Sir Clive and Lady Clarissa seemingly unperturbed by the death of their ‘beloved’ daughter did their best to mingle and ensure their guests were not inconvenienced by the tragedy.  However, for some, decorum was not a priority with public showdowns between Sandy and Hugo and Hugo and Madge adding to the growing tension.  After further secrets and intrigues were revealed, the troubled hosts retired leaving their guests to partake of a wonderful selection of desserts, this time provided by the committee and friends.

The post-pudding atmosphere was again disturbed with Sir Clive’s announcement that “bloody Hugo” was found “bloody dead” in a grisly fashion with an assegai through his chest.  Some might say the guests didn’t respond with the horror such shocking news deserved.  In fact, Sandy expressed some dismay at the uproarious laughter until Sir Clive reminded him it was Hugo who was dead.  Realising a double murder would no doubt attract the unwelcome attentions of the local constabulary Sir Clive turned to his collected guests for assistance.  With the help of some handily printed forms he requested we used our powers of deduction to solve the mystery and provide the name of the murderer.

All in all this first venture into the Murder Mystery genre was an astounding success.  Having only ever attended small dinner party scenarios I was apprehensive as to how such a large scale event would work.  The answer, it turns out, is remarkably well.  A fantastic time was had by all, except possibly poor Dora and Hugo, and I doubt I am alone in hoping for further murders and mysteries involving members of the local community.

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