Murder can be fun. Just ask Vickie Katschke, whose Scene of the Crime Productions in Milwaukee writes and stages "murder weekends" at inns and hotels around the country. And the guests who pull out their magnifying glasses to become sleuths for the weekend agree.
These days, it seems almost every resort with a mystery book in its library offers a murder mystery weekend. But each handles it differently.
- Sometimes guests become both players and suspects. At The Churchtown Inn in the Amish country of Pennsylvania, innkeeper Stuart Smith interviews guests beforehand, casts the roles and sends everyone a script in advance.
- At The Waverly Inn in Hendersonville, North Carolina, the professional troupe acting out the murder and investigation checks in like the rest of the guests. "When the `murder' occurs, the guests become part of live theatre," says innkeeper John Sheiry. "The `police' question them, and their curiosity draws them into helping catch the criminal."
- Guests at the Inn of the Ozarks in Eureka Springs, Arkansas (below, left), are guided by a semiprofessional cast in their hunt for clues. "The search often takes them into town, so they can meet the enclaves of artists here," says Roberta Carter, associate dean of Tulsa University's Division of Continuing Education, which runs the weekends.
There's no central listing of murder mystery weekends, but ask around: A willing suspect in your circle can clue you in.