Welcome to the SHOT blog! Today we are going to slide back in time a little bit, and reminisce about a past event.
As you’re probably aware, Shot in the Dark Mysteries can be thrown anywhere, by anyone. That is the beauty of our easy, interactive format. Occasionally however, we have the opportunity to be involved and watch the mysteries unfold in front of us. In 2013, our Creative Director, Leigh worked with Jenn, an event planner, to ensure everything went smoothly for a mystery event they were throwing at a private residence. Since the host was someone they knew personally, both Leigh and Jenn took it upon themselves to make this a bit of a spectacle.
The murder mystery the host selected was Murder at the Bourbon Club, set in the 1950s. It has a smoky, jazz bar feel to it. Think the L.A. Confidential era, with some film noir and screen goddesses thrown in. Just an elegant backdrop for a mystery.
It was winter. And the reason why this is significant is because they wanted to have this incredible lead up to the house. One wow factor as guests arrived that would make them aware that they were stepping into something very special. So we actually set up a red carpet outside with some paparazzi! There was a Brownie camera involved, which is a really special touch to help bring everyone back into this bygone era. As everyone arrived, they saw the lights blazing around the red carpet. Leigh actually posed as the paparazzi herself, getting right into character. She was there in a 1950s dress, creeping down in the bushes and ‘taking pictures’ with the Brownie Camera. Meanwhile, an actual photographer was also there taking photos. So as the guests walked up in their 1950s dresses and tuxes, they were being bombarded by paparazzi, just the way the elite of the time would have found themselves as they approached an exclusive club.
Leigh and Jenn were both very influenced by a specific book as they were planning. It is called Playboy’s Host and Bar Book. An in-depth guide for men who wanted to entertain. Back then it wasn’t necessarily the women who were playing hostess. The men had their drink carts and mixed their guest’s drinks directly in front of them. This idea of men entertaining was one we latched onto for the Bourbon Club. At SHOT, we believe in diving into a theme – and a lot of the times that means replicating a specific time period.
Such as these martini glasses placed beside each table setting:
This particular mystery has a lot of interesting male characters. All of our suspects had their suspect info ahead of time, so they knew their characters. They brought so much personality to this evening. They enjoyed slipping into their characters and being outside of reality for the night and getting to be these glamorous people. Of course, we also had our screen goddesses who came out in these fantastic satin dresses that just made this really cool white and black and silver backdrop completely pop. The first thing that everyone got was a drink. And this huge, whopping cheers took place. That’s when you can tell that you got the guest list exactly right. It is the people getting together and having fun that really make the mystery come to life.
We formatted this mystery a little bit different than the way that we suggest that you do it in the host guide. Typically, we are a mingle mystery format that requires everyone out of their seats and interacting. For the Bourbon Club, because Leigh was assisting, we used a custom dinner party format. There was a section of initial investigations where everyone came together around the dinner table. Then, prior to the next course, everyone got up and did another round of investigating interrogations. The final reveal was made over dessert. This 3-course dinner party series is still available by special request. We love demonstrating how flexible our format is, and how we can switch up different elements to accommodate your party. The dinner table was definitely a key player in the investigation. Other parts happened in the living room and the hallway and the kitchen, to keep everything fluid.
It is always amazing for us to be at these parties and to watch, like a fly on the wall, as the mysteries unfold. Of course, at the end of every murder mystery party, it is time to cast accusations. For the Murder at the Bourbon Club, because it was a smaller group, we asked the guests to share theories before the big reveal. It was so fun to see where everyone went with their investigations! Whenever possible, we always recommend to make time for asking guests who they think the killer is, and why. Letting that conversation happen is part of the fun of bringing everyone together. Especially when they’ve just spent the last 60-90 minutes involved with these suspects and this storyline.
After the whodunit was solved at The Bourbon Club, one of the guests actually concocted a warm liquor cocktail for after dessert. It was a special moment with this beautiful spectacle of him creating this drink and treating his group of friends.
We are in the business of bringing groups of people together to enjoy each other and celebrate relationships. This Murder at the Bourbon Club evening was a powerful example of that. Have you thrown this murder mystery, or any of the others? We’d love to hear your experience.
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