What is a murder mystery

The modern-day Murder Mystery party game most certainly originated from the Victorian Parlour game genre. Such games as – Wink Murder and Murder in the Dark were played in the late 1800s as popular ‘after dinner’ entertainment. In 1935 the first Murder Mystery box game was released. This was called Jury Box. And in 1948, Cluedo, the first Murder Mystery board game was released onto the market. Boxed ‘Murder Mystery Dinner Party Games’ began to arrive on the scene during the 1980s. Their fun ‘dressing up’ element made them particularly popular around Christmas and the New Year. These dinner party games have continued to be enjoyed in homes ever since and have a particular ‘dedicated following’.

Over the last 20 years the early ‘Murder Mystery Dinner Party Game’ has largely developed in its scenario complexity and guest involvement; thus creating and enhancing an extremely amusing and hilarious experience for one and all. And not just at Christmas or the New Year – any celebratory celebration, or just simply for a party ‘with a difference’ at any time of the year.

What is involved in hosting/taking part in a Murder Mystery Game?

The host(s)/party organiser(s) will purchase a game, choosing a theme appropriate to the party of guests. The game may be in a paper-based format, (ordered and posted out), or as a download format, (to be printed out and assembled at home)  Games are best purchased well in advance of the party to allow the host/organiser to read party planning and instruction guidance and for guests to prepare their character costumes.

Once purchased the host(s)/organisers(s) will choose appropriate characters for their guests and also themselves, and send out the party invitations and costume suggestions (all included in the game packs) *The host/organiser must not open/look at any of the character booklets as information about who is the murderer is located in these. **In downloadable versions, information about who is the murderer is usually located in a separate file.




After the invitations have been sent out and before the actual party day – the host/organiser will make preparations as suggested in the ‘Host’s planning booklet’. – the guests will gather together their costumes and familiarise themselves with the murder scenario and any character information supplied to them about their character.

At the party– Guests will arrive and be given their individual character booklet. This must not be opened until the host/organiser says to do so.

• When everyone is ready and assembled, the host/organiser will tell everyone to open their booklets to Round One and here they will read important information about themselves. Some of this information they will reveal in their introductory statement to the other guests. However, the rest of it will be ‘For Their Eyes Only’. It is in this section that each guest will find out if they are, or if they are not, the MURDERER.
• The rest of the game will comprise of a series of rounds, where guests will either be involved in scripted ‘secret’ conversations with other guests, or they will be asking and answering questions with other guests – all in effort and pursuit to try and establish who the murderer is.
• Some Murder Mystery games incorporate amusing ‘Round Opener’ games or activities which will involve certain guests in one way or another. These can be great fun and add even more hilarity to the occasion.
• During the party, the host/organiser will choose a particular point at which to serve refreshments – whether it be a grand dinner affair or just simple nibbles.
• At the end of the game, everyone will be instructed to make their accusations. Obviously the murderer will have to make an accusation against a poor innocent guest at this point.
• Finally, after accusations have been made, the host/organiser will read out the ‘Author’s Solution’ - AND PUT EVERYONE OUT OF THEIR MISERY

*It is most important that the host/organiser makes sure the game keeps its pace throughout; ensuring guests are kept involved, focused and fully aware of what is happening and expected – And most of all: longing to know ‘who dun it’.