They think it’s all murder ….

Match of the Day has been a constant feature of my married life. Do I like football? No. Does my husband? Yes. So, when Jo Smedley suggested a football-themed murder mystery, my husband’s first words were, “That’s brilliant!” I was less sure.

I have always tried to avoid football. Saturday nights tucked up in bed reading novels is far more appealing than nearly being knocked off the sofa as my husband leaps up and down, cheering the goals.

I talked it through with my stalwart dinner party guests. Did they think a football-themed murder mystery was a good idea? There was a resounding, “Yes”. In fact, there was more than a resounding yes, there were character suggestions, plot lines, and a flurry of texts for the next few weeks as the ideas kept coming. There was even talk of additional dinner parties to plan the ‘biggy’ – the murder mystery they were all waiting for. No pressure then [sigh].

Slightly overwhelmed, I created a list of ludicrous murders in which the team mascot often featured, crossing out idea upon idea. I wasn’t sure I could do it. What did I know about football? I didn’t understand the off-side rule and I’m still a bit hazy about how many players are on a team.

I realised if I was going to do this, I’d have to get serious and watch some football. Novels and cosy duvet abandoned, I ventured into the lounge and perched on the sofa. Hubby didn’t notice. I spent several evenings transcribing the commentary, as he leapt up and down, jogging my pen strokes.

Initially, like Minnie Byline, the ditzy reporter for the Evening Echo, and my alter ego, I spent more time commenting on the haircuts, team strips and football chants than I did following the ‘beautiful game’. Then, like a child, I started asking “Why?” “Why’s he got a red card?” “Why was that goal disallowed?” “Why did they substitute that player?”

Eventually, a script began to emerge. I enjoyed listening to the punditry. It was like learning a new language. There’s a certain poetry in sports commentaries. There is hunger, desire, tragedy. Then there’s the post-match analysis, where some poor sweaty player is asked for his or her opinion after a crushing defeat. Some of the phrases I wrote down, were rejected by my husband, who thought I was way off the mark. “But I really heard them!” I cried, showing him my scribblings.

Where once I would have moaned about crackly radio reports of lower league football matches, I snatched every opportunity to listen and scribe the commentaries. I began researching celebrity footballers, fashionable hair styles, WAGs and gossip. It was quite addictive.
Larger than life characters, passionate players, jealousy and deceit – the ideas came thick and fast. I’d never enjoyed football so much. For a few months, my husband thought he had a soul mate.

Now that it really is all over, and the murder mystery dinner party game has reached the website, I can hang up my boots, go back to my fluffy slippers and dressing gown and curl up with a good book … and no it won’t be about football.

 

@RedHerringGames

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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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