How to run a skit and clue based murder mystery script

Skit and clue based games

These murder mysteries are constructed to encourage the guests at the event to mingle between tables. Although a cast is present who act out the mystery, most of the evidence is contained within written clues which are provided to each table.

The game requires 7 cast members, one of whom will act as facilitating inspector.

These games are ideal for novice hosts as they are incredibly simple to run and VERY effective.


Introduction to game format

It is up to the host whether you wish to announce the “game” element of the evening, or whether you simply want the murder mystery to be a surprise.

During the night your guests watch 5-6 acted out scenes (rounds), and have two sets of table clues given to them. These rounds are not evenly spread throughout the night.

The table clues given out during the mystery by the cast member acting as the facilitator need to be shared between the tables in order for the mystery to be solved.

All the information the guests require to solve the case is contained within the table clues. No cross examining of the cast members is required, which means the cast only have to learn their lines, which for most, are minimal.

A guest instruction sheet is provided with the first batch of table clues and this sheet provides the guests with information they need to participate in solving the crime. Once the guests have decided who did it, how and why (i.e. the murderer, means and motive) they will complete the answer sheet (also provided in the game materials) and hand it in.

It is up to the host to decide if these answer sheets will be used to give out prizes, and how this will be decided, e.g. first correct solution handed in, or quickest time, etc.

The mystery closes when the solution is provided. Expect the mystery to take around 2 hours to complete.


Your job as host

As host you need to assemble the game materials for your guests prior to the event and ensure the cast learn their lines (2 rehearsals are usually sufficient, one prior to the night and one on the night).

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.

On the night your job is to make sure everyone is comfortable with what they are being asked to do, and that the event passes off without a hitch. As a general guide the event can be run in this way:

Round 1 – before the guests are served with their first course.

Round 2 – after the first course and before clearing the plates.

Round 3 – after the main course and before clearing the plates.

Round 4 – before dessert.

Round 5 – during / after coffee and mints.


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!

We can provide event management services for this style of event.  Please get in touch to ask for a free quote.

Video guides:

We have two video guides for these style of games.  The first introduces the format of the game and the second goes into more detail about the planning and setting up of the game.



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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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