The last couple of years have seen Murder to Measure enter a fairly fallow patch during the summer months, with fine weather and holidays turning folks’ thoughts to other things. Not so this year. A concerted effort early in the year to give the website a higher profile has paid dividends, and July will be very busy with private bookings, with many more enquiries for September and beyond.
We have been taking the murder mystery genre in many different directions of late – watch out for the announcement on mysteries for schools – and we have seen a huge increase in website hits in the last month.
Stand by too for a huge increase in public murders. We are truly national now, with events in Warwickshire, Surrey and Staffordshire expanding our traditional Somerset / Dorset / Devon / Bristol base even further – watch out, we could be on your doorstep soon with our unique scenarios.
The secret of success is flexibility. We understand that every event organiser will have differing needs, and we always tailor our package to fit these needs and the budget available. Whether you want a team building dinner or a full stag weekend of fun, we have always managed to exceed expectations, and will continue to do so.
Prime Suspect has been working hard this weekend to develop a scenario that would work well in a school. Prompted by an enquiry, he has been dreaming up madcap clues that tie in with the National Curriculum and enable pupils to see the painful deaths of their teachers tied together with a conspiracy that might well rival the Da Vinci Code. Watch this space, folks – coming to a school near you soon.
People often ask me what sort of theme we could offer them for a murder mystery – and my replay is always pretty much along the lines “where would you like to die?”
We certainly haven’t done every theme imaginable, but there are only a handful of lines that we are not prepared to cross – and these are simply because they are illegal or immoral.
The key is to select a theme with which your guests are familiar or have an interest in. Sometimes this is obvious – a bird watching society would love a rivalry thrown up by the discovery of a rare bird, for instance – or perhaps you could consider a place you have enjoyed visiting, or a cuisine you enjoy to get some ideas.
Ultimately, if you can’t think of a theme, look about your venue … if you are in a Victorian mansion or a submarine, then why not go for the obvious. Any situation where a group of people are meeting together, there is the capacity for murder – go to any local council meeting and you’ll see what I mean!
And Prime Suspect just loves research – so challenge him with something obscure and he’ll bite your ankles off (and then probably poison you with a rice pudding).
You may vaguely remember, from history lessons, the name of Alfred the Great. If you do, what you probably recall is the dubious fact that he “burnt the cakes”. There’s rather a lot more to the man than poor culinary ability, as Prime Suspect learnt this weekend when playing the Saxon King at the Royal Bath and West Show.
It seems that upon becoming king of Wessex in 871 AD (suceeding a long line of kings called “Ethel” something), he had a bit of trouble with the Danes who decided they would rather like a slice of Chippenham, Wareham, Exeter and much of the West Country. Forced to hide out in Athelney, in the Somerset Levels, he used his knowledge of the waterways of the area the fight a guerilla war, build an army and overthrow the Danish king Guthrum at the Battle of Edington, near Westbury.
The ensuing peace was fleeting, but he began to unite the Saxons and continued to keep the invaders from the southern shores of England. Credited with improving education and law throughout the land, Alfred is the only English king to be called “The Great” in his own country.
So why did Prime Suspect (and his trusty henchman, Egbert) portray this historical figure? Well, Somerset’s waterways are in the running for a £50 million winning ticket after Waterlinks, Somerset’s visionary project, made it through to the next stage of The Big Lottery Fund’s groundbreaking Living Landmarks: The People’s Millions programme. Waterlinks aims to make Somerset’s legendary waterscape a true ‘Living Landscape’ to be celebrated and enjoyed by visitors and local communities, and Alfred will continue to play his part. The winner will be decided by a televised public vote in October 2007.
Watch this space, folks, the Danes will not be victorious.