How to run a multi-room event murder mystery script

These mysteries are written so that they can be conducted using several smaller rooms, rather than simply one big one with stage. These rooms require decorating according to the mystery, and there is a list of clues / props which will be required in each room.

The cast are spread between the rooms available. If you are short on rooms some of the cast can double up in a room, one remaining quiet while the other recites their lines, and visa versa.

The cast are all required to learn their parts before the event, or at the very least have read through their background material more than once to familiarise themselves with their background, and be able to read their monologues to the guests (hiding their scripts within a prop of some kind).   5 of them have one monologue to recite, and 2 of them share a dialogue between them.

It is the role of the invited guests to act as detectives and try and solve the mystery and determine the killer.

On arrival guests should be greeted and given a copy of the guest handout and an answer sheet and pen to enable to them keep track of the information. The guest handout contains instructions on how to solve the crime and space for notes.

After that, the guests simply visit all the rooms listed (sometimes more than once), listen to the cast’s speeches, review the prop clues and then ask the cast questions.

Once a guest thinks they have the solution they fill in the answer sheet and hand this back in, either to a drop box, or to some nominated person.

The mystery closes when the solution is provided by the inspector.


Sample running order:

We usually suggest greeting all the guests at the door and providing them with a free welcome drink and special colour coded tickets which contain a unique circular order to avoid bottle necks.  A sample route is below.  Each colour coded ticket will be walking a slightly different route so as to prevent bottlenecks during the evening.

7.15  Terrace Suite
7.40  Crime Scene
8.05 Conservatory
8.30 Function Room
8.55 Blue Room
9.20 Ball Room
9.45 Terrace Suite
10.15 Call for answer sheets
10.30 Solution  – Ball Room

Your job as host

 Firstly make sure you have adequate time to prepare for the event, that all cast are happy with their scripts and that anything else you plan to run at the same time as the mystery e.g. refreshments, has been adequately thought through.

These mysteries are time consuming to prepare, and require a dedicated cast and several props as well as copying of a guest handout and answer sheet which should be available to each guest (with pens) on the night.

Before the event you will need to gather, label and set up the prop clues, decorate the rooms, copy enough guest handouts for each attendee, and ensure that the cast have adequately rehearsed.

On the night it is your job as host to make sure all your guests are comfortable with what they are being asked to do, and that the event passes off without a hitch.

Although the guests will have been given their instructions, sometimes these are simply not enough, especially if they are nervous of their role in the mystery. As host it will be your job to make sure they understand what is expected of them.

Don’t forget to look after your cast! Reciting their lines 6 times (minimum) is hard work!

Usually these games work best with allocated time slots for guests to visit the cast, you may want to ensure that your guests are spread evenly between rooms by allocating time slots for the recitations and arranging a circular route around the venue.

Running a large group murder mystery is really not as difficult to do as you might think, and if you get stuck why not email us? We’re here to help after all!

Finally and most importantly: Have fun!

Event management services are available for this style of event – feel free to get in touch for a free quote.

Video guides:

There are two videos for this style of event, one introduces the game format and the second explains more about the setting up process.  You need a dedicated cast who can rehearse and recite scripts as well as ad lib questions.  The stage manager role is essential to set up and keep an eye on the evening’s activities too!


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Flexible and fun!

We contacted Red-Herring-Games for a party for a special occasion. Why going to restaurants to eat is the preferred activity to mark milestones is beyond me and my friends.   The choice of mystery was obvious, looking at the options from New Zealand on the web Red Herring stuck out from the international options.  A quick look at the site and games showed subtlety as well a range of choices.  The numbers you could have for each evening was important,  Red Herring had scaling options a good range of scenarios but most importantly were Jo and team being flexible, responsive and helpful.

Rachel McWilliam, Arts Development Officer, Lincs Inspire

Thank you Red Herring Games for the marvellous 'Murder!  Cargo Connections?' event that you organised for us as part of Museums at Night at the Fishing Heritage Centre in Grimsby. The whole evening went so well and was brilliant fun.  I know from all the feedback that our visitors had a fantastic time. It was really good working with you and I have no doubt that we will do again in the not too distant future.  

A. Nonymous (council employee)

I would like to thank you and your colleague for helping contribute towards our successful conference last month.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy the evening and it was rewarding that so many delegates were able to participate in addition to the main "Actors".  Our conference evaluation froms included the following comments:
  • "Enjoyed the evening entertainment!"
  • The evening entertainment was great and the confusion made it great fun!"
With thanks and best wishes.

Sarah Spencer (Cleethorpes Chronicle)

I had no idea what to expect before purchasing a ticket for Old, New, Borrowed, Blue, which was being staged at a nearby hotel, and feared it might involve taking part in some way. However thankfully for me no acting was necessary, just some amateur sleuthing. "Wedding guests" of which I was one, were called upon to move from room to room in the hotel in groups, questioning a number of possible murderers with the aim of solving the mystery of the dead bridegroom. The interviewees were really fun characters and gave us all some good laughs. Of course they all had motives and it was a case of identifying the shiftiest. The wedding theme was particularly good, as it fitted well with the venue, the buffet that was part of the evening (with a wedding cake in the middle) and the fact that everyone had been able to dress up to fit in without going to the trouble of fancy dress. I didn't think I had enough "evidence" to actually accuse anyone but later regretted not even writing down my first guess as it wouldn't have been too far off the mark. The evening was great fun and everyone seemed to enjoy it and take part. I would definitely recommend Old, New, Borrowed, Blue as good for getting even reluctant or first-time mystery party-goers involved.  

Alan Young (Personal Touch Mortgages)

What a cracking nights entertainment! We don't get out much nowadays with 2 kids and this was exactly what we were looking for in a good night out. Lots of fun with tongue firmly in cheek and everyone kept guessing whodunnit right to the very end. Would definitely attend another!!!!!  


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