A Criminal Christmas Caper

The Belfrey Hotel, offers a unique respite from the bustling tourist scene of Torquay, and is run by Mr. and Mrs. Bookin, who retain a small staff and strive for a family atmosphere (in other words, there’s lots of arguing).This evening, the Bookin’s have welcomed local residents (as they have no guests) for a traditional Christmas meal. Unfortunately, at the start of the festivities, the man supposed to be playing Santa for the evening is discovered dead in his room. Ruling out food poisoning, it can only mean one thing: Santa has been murdered!

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This Game is Rated:


This game contains:

Content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older.

Murder – Two murders are undertaken, so violence is suggested.
Suggestive Themes – Mild provocative references or materials, love tangles mentioned within a marital relationship, but non-sexual in nature.

What is included?

Example pre-printed boxed set

  • Full instructions

  • Scripts for each cast member

  • Character background for each cast member

  • Cast guidelines for each cast member

  • Invitation flyer (which you can copy to requirements)

  • Guest handout (which you can copy to requirements)

  • Guest instruction handouts x 12 copies

  • Clue labels

  • Any additional printable files as needed for clues

  • Access to digital files if needed


2 reviews for A Criminal Christmas Caper

  1. Happy Customer

    Following on from the success of ‘Pizza, Passion and Pasta’ in March, we were invited back by our host restaurant to produce another Murder Mystery at Christmas and ‘A Criminal Christmas Caper’ was the obvious choice! We ran the Murder Mystery across five nights and the restaurant provided a traditional three-course Christmas meal with after dinner coffee and mince pies, which worked exceptionally well with the script. The event was a complete sell-out by the end of September and got rave reviews from audience members and there were a lot of disappointed people that hadn’t bought tickets in time! It is an extremely funny script and a great homage to Fawlty Towers, with lots of slapstick and running around and we had lots of fun both rehearsing and performing it. We added three Christmas songs to the script and provided the audience with the words for two of these so that they could join – which they did with gusto! We chose a cheesy version of ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ for Phyllis to lead at the beginning of Round Two and a solo version of ‘All I Want for Christmas’ for Ivor to sing in Round Four when he’s left alone ‘on stage’ by nurse Cathy Terize. We finished off with ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ at the very end of the evening when the murder has been solved which rounded off the evening really well. We also changed Vinnie’s place of origin from Milan to Wolverhampton which doesn’t come to light until Round Six during ‘The Solution’. This caused a lot of hilarity amongst the audience members as well as some gasps of shock! As we are all amateur actors anyway, it wasn’t problematic for us to learn our lines. We were also very familiar with our character backgrounds in order to answer the audience’s questions, although this was embellished on considerably, as was the script, especially by the fifth evening!! If you would like to see photos from our version of ‘A Criminal Christmas Caper’, they can be found on our website which is – I highly recommend this script to anyone wanting to put on a cast based Christmas murder mystery. As previously, we were also really impressed with the quality of material supplied in addition to the script itself, which gives you everything you need to put on a really fun evening! I hope that Red Herring Games brings out another Christmas script soon though as we’ve already been asked to perform another Murder Mystery for Christmas 2013!!

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How it works:

If you’re looking for a murder mystery evening which supplies entertaining sleuthing while you dine, then our Dinner Theatre style murder mystery evenings are just what you are looking for.

Each mystery is designed to be run in one room within a hotel/restaurant setting during a three course meal.

There are five suspects (the cast). One murder occurs before the event (the discovery of the body usually begins the evening) and one murder occurs mid-way through the evening. The dead body usually comes back as the inspector for the denouement. You can have a separate actor play this role if you prefer.

A stage manager is also useful for this type of script.

These mysteries are written as interactive dinner theatre with a series of scripts as well as interactive questioning by the guests. The emphasis is fun and melodrama and the plays require an experienced set of actors to learn back story. This style of script is NOT for novice actors due to the amount of line learning, and requirement to be confident ad-libbing.

A good team of actors will usually need between 4-6 rehearsals, OR to learn the scripts and back story in advance and an intensive afternoon of rehearsals on the day before the show.

The plots require props and often theatre blood. These props are often not too difficult to obtain. It’s usually things like knives, glasses, guns (fake obviously!), and small stage props e.g. handbags. Sound effects are also often minimal. Though some plots do benefit from having access to a starter pistol.

Each “download and print at home” kit is provided as a zip file containing a set of PDF files for you to print at home, and a selection of MP3 files to use on the night.

Each dinner party game requires use of a printer and A4 paper (approx. 80 sheets for a 6 player kit – 240 sheets for a 20 player kit), envelopes so you can send out your invitations, and either a laptop or MP3 player (e.g. an ipod) to play the inspector MP3s; OR a CD burner so you can burn the MP3s onto a CD to run in an ordinary CD player.

When you order the game you’ll be sent a link to download the files you need.  The file will be a zip file.  This can be opened with a zip compatible program on your computer.  If you struggle to open zip files – we can email you the game directly over several emails instead – just contact us after purchase to arrange this.

You will download the following files:

  • How to use this game
  • Instructions for running the murder mystery
  • Making the most of your theme- ideas for decoration / activities.
  • Invitations
  • Character Booklets (available in single sided printer and double sided printer format)
  • Scripted for the inspector character (available in single sided printer and double sided printer format)
  • Solution script for the inspector character (needed when printing from the single sided copy)
  • MP3 files for the inspector character (dialogue and solution)
  • Hints and tips
  • Recipe suggestions
  • Money off voucher towards next purchase

This is the easiest way to play.  Everything you need will arrive in a box, pre-printed, directly to your door.

You will receive through the post:

  • Instruction booklet (includes hints and tips)
  • Invitations and envelopes for all the guests
  • Character booklets
  • CD of the inspector
  • Inspector script in a sealed envelope so you don’t find out the solution by accident!
  • Making the most of your theme and recipe suggestion booklet.
  • Money off voucher towards next purchase (printed inside the booklets)

We always ship within 24 hours meaning orders arrive as quickly as possible.

As each game is printed on demand, we can also provide a customisation service on any order.  See details further down the page on what we can do to tailor this game to your party.

Characters in the game:

Ivor Bookin – Hotel Manager
Tall and fond of melodrama, Ivor would really enjoy running a hotel if it wasn’t for the guests who keep getting in the way!

Phyllis Bookin – Hotel Manageress
Sharp, petite and energetic, Phyllis has a shrill voice and barking laugh, but is extremely good in a crisis.

Silvia Service
 – Waitress
Good natured and seemingly a voice of sanity amongst the chaos at The Belfrey Hotel, Silvia is a helpful soul and always puts herself out for other people.

Vinnie De’Tableau – Waiter
Well meaning, but disorganised and often confused, Vinnie De’Tableau comes from Barcelona and has a limited grasp of the English language.

Cathy Terize
 – The local District Nurse
Buxom and friendly, Cathy Terize is always in uniform and always on duty, regardless of the season.