POETIC JUSTICE, LIBRARY OPENS PAGES TO A MURDER MYSTERY

February 08, 2003 12:00 am
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Pilot story and photos

by Susan SchellH. G. Wells' body was found sprawled on the bathroom floor, a rubber duck by his head. At first glance, it looked like he slipped getting out of the bathtub.

Sherlock Holmes didn't think so. He was sure it was murder. And no one at the party was above suspicion.

The "party" was actually the first murder mystery tour, "Poetic Justice," held at the Chetco Community Public Library last Saturday night.

Library assistants Dori Blodgett and Brenda Jacques thought the event would be a fun way to raise funds for the popular Friends of the Library program.

"We had heard that other libraries had murder mysteries for fundraisers, so we went online and found a script," Blodgett said.

A company called Tailor Made Mysteries had a script that could be purchased and downloaded, complete with characters and clues.

The event was a sell-out. Each person that purchased a ticket could either be a witness or a suspect. The suspects could choose from a list of characters to play and came to the library dressed as that character.

And dress they did. Charlie Chaplin was there with his cane and top hat. So was Rudolph Valentino, Isadora Duncan and Agatha Christie.

Georgia O'Keefe had her paint brush and pallet in hand. Mae West was resplendent in a tight zebra-striped dress and a feather boa. But alas, a pretty face can hide an evil mind.

The story begins with H. G. Wells tinkering with his time machine during a soire at his home. Suddenly there is a mishap and everyone in the room is sucked into the 21st century.

The bewildered guests find themselves at the home of Lily Pad, played by Wendy Saville. And some of them are not very happy about it.

Soon H. G. Wells is found dead. All the guests are suspects.

"There were a lot of angry people there," said Blodgett, Master of Ceremonies.

"As they were transported into our century, a lot of them saw their future and even their own deaths."

The library was transformed into the murder scene, complete with Wells' time machine.

The clever-looking time transporter was built by Julian Parrino out of a rocking chair nailed to a piece of wood. A satellite dish

mounted on the back reflected the eerie, surrealistic flash of a strobe light.

Painted coffee cans, flower pots, a shower knob, plastic plates and Christmas lights were arranged to resemble the buttons and gadgets needed to bring the time machine to life.

At the library door, each player was given a one or two-line clue. The actors then read their scripts aloud, which contained hints about the mind-set of their characters.

"I'm a bit of a tomboy," said Amelia Earhart (Trish Richards), dressed in a leather jacket and goggles.

"I've always been a bit flighty."

The group then moved to the "speak-easy" where they wined, dined and shared their clues with one another to try to hunt down the murderer. Each guest then wrote down whom they suspected and gave the paper to Blodgett.

Six guests were given clocks for figuring out the culprit. Trish Richards and Susan Griffith won a box of chocolates for their depictions of Amelia Earhart and Mae West.

Griffith's Mae West was guilty. She bludgeoned Wells to death in the bathroom.

She gave a simple explanation for her dastardly deed: she did appreciate Mr. Wells whisking her into the 21st century.

"I wanted to go back to the 1920s," she said. "We didn't have AIDS back then."