‘Let’s Misbehave!’ arose out of many years of love and passion for playing traditional ‘boxed’ Murder Mystery games with a group of very special friends every New Year’s Eve – many of whom may not have exactly shared my ‘passion’, but who took part anyway; just to keep me happy! But, I am sure that my very dear friends would all agree – the fun and laughs we have had along the way have been truly amazing.
In 2009, in preparation for a ‘special’ birthday of mine the following year; we all booked to stay and celebrate the milestone at ‘Greenway’, the former home of Agatha Christie in Devon; now owned by the National Trust, who rent out the top floor of the house as holiday accommodation. Of course, whilst staying in a house that Agatha Christie once owned and lived in, we had to plan a Murder Mystery evening for one of the days. I searched and searched for an appropriate game – ‘Vintage English Country House Murder’ theme, but could not find exactly the right one and certainly not for the number of players needed for our particular party. So, out of desperation and challenge I decided to write a Murder Mystery game myself for the occasion – but without telling the others, (apart from my ‘understanding’ husband, that is).
As much as we had all loved participating, over the years, in the ‘boxed’ Murder Mystery games – the excitement and anticipation of getting the invitation and finding out your character and costume suggestions – the actual game and evening itself was sometimes a little of an anti-climax. It would often simply involve just sitting around, asking and answering scripted questions. Sometimes the questions were quite random and the answers you had to give to other people’s questions were often quite a surprise even to yourself. If anything, the games lacked a certain depth and there was also very little opportunity, in the main, for character or storyline development from one round to the next.
So, I decided when having a go at writing my own Murder Mystery game to try and redress these issues and I did this by scripting the whole of the game from start to finish – as if writing a play. So, I planned in each round, pairs of characters to hold ‘aside’ conversations upon which, the rest of the characters ‘eavesdrop’ and find out ’secret’ information about their fellow murder suspects. The ‘For Your Eyes Only’ section of each character’s booklet, I ensured was written in depth; giving each person a real insight into their own character, as well as giving a little information about some of the other characters and about the situation in which they found themselves. At the beginning of a couple of the rounds, I also included ‘extras’ for several of the characters to be involved in; thus developing the storyline in an amusing twist.
The following year at Greenway, my ‘surprised’ friends all thoroughly enjoyed the Murder Mystery evening. They agreed that it was a more ‘realistic’ experience, where they felt more involved with not only their own character, but with the story plot too.
After this, I totally got the Murder Mystery writing bug and ‘Let’s Misbehave!’ Murder Mysteries was born. My wonderful friends and family have hitherto given me much encouragement and support and have been my ‘inspiration’ on very many occasions.
Because of the totally scripted format of the games, I realised that they could very easily be adapted into plays. And so ,10 of the 11 games have now been converted into Murder Mystery Plays - ideal for public performance and fundraising occasions.
As for the name – well that comes from the 1927 Cole Porter song: ‘Let’s Misbehave’, which I used as background music in that very first Murder Mystery at Greenway, ‘Murder with a Twist (of lemon)’.
So,all you Murder Mystery aficionados; as Mr. Porter once said:
‘Let’s be outrageous – let’s misbehave!!!’
Liz Davey - Founder of Let's Misbehave! Murder Mysteries