Monthly Archives: March 2007

Death by beard

Here at Murder to Measure we do like to celebrate and often reward those whose deductive reasoning is, er, how best to put this, a little…warped. That’s why we do award certificates to the amateur sleuth who comes up with the weirdest or funniest theory about the perpetrator of the murder.
Last night’s shindig at the Rose and Crown (temporarily renamed the Nose and Clown) in East Lambrook did generate the usual crop of quirky guesses – but kudos to the punter who pin-pointed entirely the wrong culprit, giving as their reason “He has a beard”. I have to recommend Pogonophobes Anonymous to this poor soul, who obviously has some kind of dread of facial hair.
I think last night also generated my favourite punter’s question of all time…”was the murder weapon fatal?” As the intrepid Inspector Doppelganger patiently pointed out, if the murder weapon were not fatal it would simply be a weapon, and Murder to Measure wouldn’t be living up to its name.
Finally well done to all those observant folk who failed to spot a painting being stolen under their very noses – you are hereby directed to Lesson 1 of “How to Solve a Murder” and given a free Specsavers voucher.

Hoppy murdering

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Phyllobates terribilis, the Golden Poison frog – recently a great friend of Murder to Measure. This innocent little chap carries enough alkoloid poison to wipe out 20,000 mice – or more interestingly 100 humans, and licking one is certainly not recommended.
Batrachotoxin, the poison in question, literally means frog poison, and can lead pretty rapidly to cardiac arrest. Chief Suspect rubs his hands in glee at this prospect, but is a little distraught to learn that if raised away from its natural beetle diet, the poor little hopper is rendered harmless.
Add a couple of cousins, Phyllobates aurotaenia and Phyllobates bicolor and we have a handy little family with which to cause mayhem – why else would the native South Americans use their secretions on the tips of their darts.
Watch out for this fellow – he is more than likely to appear at a murder near you in the future.

Treading the boards once more

Chief Suspect is returning to legit theatre folks… frightening as it may seem even I have to work from a prepared script from time to time, and it seems that each time I approach a new script the job of getting those lines into the little grey cells gets harder and harder.
I shall be playing the Mayor in a Philip Goulding adaptation of Gogol’s classic The Government Inspector. Now I know that the word “classic” can be a bit of a turn off, but this really is a very funny play that pokes fun at the web of corruption in local government. Goulding has transplanted the location from Russia to southern England, so the endless listings of 8 -syllable names ending in “-ovich” is mercifully dispensed with.
Not that this makes the script that much easier to learn … admittedly it has only been in my grubby paws for a couple of days but I know that I have a mountain to climb for opening night on April 25th. If you’re interested (and you really should be) you can find out more details from the theatre website.

Whodunnit and how?

Cunning thoughts have been rushing through the over-loaded brain of Chief Suspect recently. Very, very shortly we shall be running an online competition to unmask the murderer, the victim, the place and the murder weapon and the motive… The early birds amongst you now have the opportunity to deduce the murder weapon simply by hunting around this site… and if you’ve played Cluedo (or “Clue” as our across the pond cousins call it), you will have a distinct advantage… The prize will, of course, be truly spectacular.
I shall say no more for now, but watch out for more developments… You heard it here first.

Y Muerte EspaƱa

Today we’ve been to sunny Spain, and what fun we had! The attendees at Seavington St Mary all brought along their own Spanish nosh and were invited to sample the delights of the Playa de Musica beach resort. Until Camp Fredddie stepped onto the stage I had no idea that the resort would boast a17 hole golf course, bird-watching classes, cliff-top tennis and a host of second-rate entertainments.
The crowd lapped it up though, and as the dastardly deeds of the notorious Banks gang were exposed the room was full of questions, theories and counter theories. Add to that a song-writing competition, a general knowledge quiz and abortive attempts at karaoke, and a great time was had by all!
And Chief Suspect got to die (a popular choice it seems – his character was thoroughly despicable and deserved all he got.)
Great fun – and many thanks to the stout burghers of the village who really entered into the spirit of things and made our jobs so much easier.

Radio Days

Chief Suspect is going to be on the radio soon, as part of the daily panel that discusses the day’s news on Jo Phillips’ morning show on BBC Somerset Sound (1566am for those of you in the area or here is the link to the listen again feature.) I’ll be on from 9am until 10 on Thursday 29th March
I’ve listened to a couple of previous editions and realised that I have less to say on some of the news than I first thought – my views on the monarchy and midwives are not particularly informed! Oh well, let’s hope the day’s news involves forensic examinations, theatre performances, science and cooking lasagne! Otherwise it’s down to the old improvisational skills – but I can’t vouch that all of the information presented will be entirely accurate!

Themes, themes, themes

I dare to make the claim that there is no theme that Murder to Measure wouldn’t consider tackling. In fact, I do more than that – I throw down the gauntlet. We are an eclectic bunch here – whilst the Chief Suspect might know very little about football, we have performed successfully for Yeovil Town FC. He may know little about gas extraction, but Qatar Gas were ecstatic about their tailored scenario. Twinning associations, carnival clubs etc etc have thrilled at the prospect of their interests being incorporated into a murder theme…
Forget challenging Churchill – challenge us – how far will we go to ensure that your requirements are satisfied?

Nefarious businesses

A quiet few days, blogwise, at Murder Central. Not that my laurels have felt entirely rested upon. Hello Dolly has come and gone and now we are launching into the latest rounds of murder and mayhem, with a couple of public events coming up in Somerset. Much of the work was conducted prior to this minor hiatus, but I have to finalise a few details before the full plots go public.
Other enquiries have been rolling in thick and fast, so those of you who have yet to savour the delights of a Murder to Measure scenario are very likely to see events in your locale in the very near future. We have irons in fires from Edinburgh to Cornwall, so continue to watch this space or sign up to our newsletter via our enquiries page .
We are also up to more nefarious business, creating websites to provide resources for other content providers, so keep checking back for news.

Watching the detectives

I have previously waxed lyrical about my enjoyment of Jonathan Creek, so thought I should also tip my metaphorical hat at a couple of other TV series with quirky “detectives” that I enjoy.
Firstly comes the daddy of quirkiness – Columbo. This long-running and oft-repeated series has always struck me as unique, as often the viewers know precisely who did the crime … the mystery comes from how the shambling and seemingly bumbling detective will figure it out. Lt Columbo is no fool, however. His seeming lapses of memory and confusion are all part of his idiosyncratic method, and you can bet your bottom that the perp will end up behind bars before the credits roll.

From the same stable comes Monk. This seems to be little known on this side of the pond, but now in its fifth series, the obsessive compulsive detective makes for equally compulsive viewing. Episodes may be whodunnits, howdunnits or how-will-he-work-it-outs, but central to each plot is Adrian Monk, a victim of OCD with a razor sharp observation and logical deduction. Throw into this mix a couple of bonafide cops who come straight from Beverly Hills Cop and Monk’s long-suffering carer and the whole package is often a comic delight. If you haven’t seen it, I do urge you to keep your eyes peeled when perusing the TV listings.

Murder and magic

I watched the Hugh Jackman/Christian Bale movie The Prestige a couple of days ago and it’s had me thinking. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s the tale of two rival Victorian magicians who vie to perform a trick – the transported man. Their rivalry increases in intensity and mania – resulting in a few deaths along the way.
There are quite a few shades of Carter Beats the Devil, a Glen David Gold novel which I really enjoyed, and I’m also reminded of the truly splendid TV Series Jonathan Creek whenever I see someone designing a stage illusion. One of the unique joys of that series is that it is not so much a Whodunnit as a Howdunnit – which is much much harder to write.
Looks like Murder to Measure could be bringing Victorian magician murder to life soon in Taunton – but I don’t think that will be the last appearance of a man in a cape and top hat.