Virtual Murder Mystery – Red Herring Provides Laughs During the Current Clampdown

We were trying to figure out how to celebrate my birthday, and a British company had a great solution. Red Herring has been providing kits for murder mystery parties for years, and they have cleverly pivoted in the time of Covid 19. They supplement their current kits with tips on how to host a murder mystery party virtually. As we now all become more familiar (than perhaps we’d like) with platforms like Zoom, a virtual murder mystery party provided a humorous birthday solution.

We chose “Another One Bites the Dust” from dozens of choices. The plot synopsis seemed to fit our sensibility:

It is the evening of the MVT Music Awards, held at the prestigious Saveloy Hotel in London.

Tipped for a number of awards is Freddy Neptune. But just before the evening is due to begin, there is a scream and Cilla Queen, one of Freddy’s long-term fans, runs into the room and announces to all that Freddy is dead!

But how did he die? And why? And who is responsible?

All our materials were sent by email from Red Herring, and my wife took on the task of separating the materials and sending them out to the party guests. At the appointed hour, we all Zoomed in and spent several minutes laughing at each other’s commendable efforts at dressing like our character.

We then spent a few more minutes laughing at each other trying to get into character. The younger folks found it easier to integrate the Zoom technology with the structure of the party, and provided their elders guidance.

Another One Bites the Dust – not only a clever virtual murder mystery birthday party, but a reference to the last year

Our party had three rounds, and we had an inspector to guide us along. Admittedly, it was rough getting everyone coordinated with the mechanics during the first round, but by the second round the mechanics were smoother and folks were settling in to their characters. As characters start to gel the adopted accents began to drift, which was cause for more laughs.

The materials include a script and each character gets background material. The latter allows folks to lean into their character. In the case of our plot, the folks at Red Herring did a very clever job integrating references to the band Queen. When Inspector Gordon Flash delivered the first round of his investigation, he concluded it was not a sheer heart attack that killed Freddy Neptune, but indeed someone put a gun against his head pulled the trigger, now he’s dead. You musical detectives will find nearly half a dozen Queen references in the prior sentence. Characters named Cilla Queen and Ray Diogaga continued the theme.

For book clubs, poker groups and families duly hunkering down in place, a virtual murder mystery from Red Herring is a great diversion.

The folks at Red Herring are offering readers of Entertainment Today 15% off a virtual murder mystery party. Log on to their site and use this code: ENT2DAY

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.