PROS / This stellar company has well-developed mysteries and plenty of first-rate game features.
CONS / You have to cut out several paper items, which can be time-consuming.
VERDICT / This firm offers great games and an excellent web site packed with fun and helpful party tips.
If you are looking for a rollicking good time with a murder mystery for your friends, then jump right in with Dinner and a Murder, which offers some of the best murder mystery games on the market. Besides getting a well-developed game with a clever whodunit that will keep everyone guessing, this manufacturer also provides you with a one of the best and most comprehensive web sites around.
This company’s web site is chock-full of great party tips and advice for such things as costumes, menus, accessories, music of the times and cost-saving ways to capture the era. You can get either boxed kits or software downloads that are filled with detailed instructions and everything you need to make the party run smoothly and ensure it is a delightful romp for your guests. Dinner and a Murder easily won our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award for its fun and well-written games and its superior web site.
One of the company’s most popular murder mystery games is the Roaring 1920s style “Murder at the Four Deuces,” which depicts Jazz Age couple Don and Madame MeMe Wannabee and several of their friends. The couple is celebrating the opening night of their new speakeasy, The Four Deuces, and people from high society are there as well as shifty-eyed types from the Gangland Family. Everyone is expecting a night of music and drinking, a little gambling and maybe even a quick trip upstairs to a house of ill repute.
However, a couple of folks get bumped off, and several people, including members of “The Family,” take this very hard. The characters try to figure out who the culprit is, but along the way they find two-timing, treachery and trouble.
Dinner and a Murder’s website is one of the most all-encompassing storehouses of fun party ideas around. These include some items you can buy and others that come free with the game or are on website.
You will be pleased to find tips and links to help you and your guests purchase wholesale party supplies, costumes, accessories, jewelry, party favors, dance DVDs and more. If you end up having more friends than you expected wanting to try this party, Dinner and a Murder offers “extra character packs” for sale.
The links take you to sites that sell new costumes for men and women as well as 1920s vintage frocks. There even is a site for clothing patterns if you are really crafty and want to create your own costumes.
You also get free menus and recipes, which you will no doubt appreciate if you are planning a murder mystery dinner. You also get a free link to streaming music of the era and decorating tips. The web site and game feature free instructions and links for your guests, too, so women can learn how to create a 1920s “Finger Wave” hairstyle and get step-by-step instructions on how to use makeup to create an authentic flapper look. Men can learn to tie a necktie in Jazz Age style, or they can purchase bowties or ascots.
As the host or hostess, you also get many other constructive free features including a collection of 1920s slang and an online etiquette book from that time period that you can share with guests. In addition, you get printable winner certificates and snazzy printable signs to spice up your home and give it that juice joint aura.
To make things easy for any aspiring host, the firm has an entire webpage dedicated to Roaring 1920s themed party ideas. Here you'll find a list of concepts related to the era, designed to get your creative party juices flowing.
Besides a speakeasy tavern and the gangster concepts, the page also lists things such as "The Great Gatsby," a jazz band, art deco, silent movies, Model T Fords and much more. Other ideas that could add plenty of zip to your party are for such things as cloche hats, mah jongg, victrolas, zoot suits, fedoras and a suggested list of dances such as the Charleston, Black Bottom and Lindy Hop. With these things in mind, you can flesh out the decorations for your party, add era-appropriate games or learn some of those snazzy dances to teach your guests. You also could play jazz music or show silent films to really capture the feel of the time.
Along with a host guide to help you run the party, you also receive eight-page character booklets with a player’s guide for each of your guests. The host guide advises you not to read some things, particularly if you want to play a role in the game and do not want to learn the identity of the killer or killers, so you can be just as surprised as your guests are. Your guests also get ample warning not to share details from their booklets.
You can get a mature version of the game for guests ages 18 and older that has references to some secret love affairs, a brothel madam who is portrayed simply as a business owner and one character who once was a working girl, but she is hiding her past now that she has made a fresh start in life. These rather risqué elements are handled in good taste. However, you might prefer a tame version that has no madam and no direct references to love affairs, although characters do have relationships with one another that your guests can shape, depending on their personal standards. There are references to liquor since the setting is a speakeasy. This company also makes games for children and teenagers, and there is a female-only version.
You can mail printed invitations or you can make use of the company’s emailed E-invites, which make quick work of letting people know about the party. The software also lets you manage your game online and receive RSVPs electronically. With this game, you even have an automatic reminder that is sent to each guest 72 hours before the party. You also can email character booklets to guests and an event page to help them prepare costumes, read the party theme information and really get immersed into the whole event before they walk in the door.
Help & Support
Dinner and a Murder does a fine job here. You get email and phone support with this company, as well as helpful customer forums where you can glean plenty of ideas from the way other people have staged their parties. The customer support is solid and they respond quickly to email responses.
For an all-around good time, Dinner and a Murder presents a wide assortment of games for different age groups and tastes. You will find the many features this firm offers make it simple and fun to throw a murder mystery party that your friends will be talking about for weeks to come. Be sure to take plenty of pictures because this will be a party you truly will want to remember and your guests will besiege you with requests for photos.
Even if you have never hosted a party before, this company will walk you through the process and make your murder mystery dinner a rousing success. When it comes to great murder mystery games, you simply cannot go wrong with Dinner and a Murder.