The Cooked Goose, a fancy tavern, celebrates its grand opening tonight. The establishment’s owner, Ebenezer Pennypincher, is holding a gala celebration in honor of this momentous occasion. Tim Tinee once owned the tavern but after a tragic fire that allegedly killed one of Tim’s employees, Sarah Cratchit–one year ago tonight no less–Tinee was forced to leave town. He would have rebuilt his tavern were it not for the vicious rumor that he murdered Sarah. With that kind of scandal hanging over his head, he had no choice but to pack up and leave. It was then that Ebenezer took over the property and built The Cooked Goose. Now it’s time to start anew – unless of course the dead woman has something to say about it. And you can wager she will. (NOTE: There are additional murders that occur during the course of the mystery.)
Although this works well any time of the year, this is a perfect Christmas mystery – think Ebenezer Scrooge in “a Christmas Carol”. You can even change the name of the mystery to “The Ghost of Christmas Past”.
THE YEAR: Any (we suggest turn of the century).
THE PLACE: England (optional)E
The new owner of The Cooked Goose Tavern. It doesn’t matter how he came to be owner – or does it?
Ebenezer’s long-suffering wife. Where would she be without him (or his wealth)?
She was tragically killed in an arson fire one year ago tonight. It’s rumored that she now haunts this tavern so be warned and beware!
The bar wench; rumored to be very close to her boss, Mr. Pennypincher.
Ebenezer’s “driver”. He may be brawny but he’s also a quite dim with a bit of an unusual malady.
The former owner of the tavern run out of town due to the rumors that he killed Sarah Cratchit.
EVERYONE will be actively involved in this mystery because it will be their job to solve the case and because you’ll be encouraging them to come in costume and in character. Use any or all of these secondary suspects if you have “extra” cast members you want to use or if you have some guests who want to take on a character but not take on the full responsibility of a primary suspect. Give them their secondary suspect instructions (included) and let them run with it.
FOR LARGE GROUP MYSTERIES (75 OR MORE): We suggest you cast your secondary suspects. During the mystery it will be the secondary suspects’ “job” to act as general support for the primary suspects. They’ll roam the room gossiping about the goings-in, quiet the audience down during a main action, answer questions, bring primary suspects to tables for questioning and make sure your guests have seen the physical clues that have been revealed.
A tavern wench who Ebenezer fired so Lucy could have her job. While she and Lucy are not what you’d call the best of friends, Agnes would love to see Druella re-hired so she’s her staunchest supporter.
A detective helper for Ebenezer.
Ebenezer’s best friend and partner at the counting house.
An artist who wants to paint Lucy. He keeps trying to “pose” her and constantly expounds on her beauty. This of course makes Ebenezer jealous even though he can’t appear jealous.
A poet and Agnes’ male friend to whom she turns in her time of need. She should certainly have him recite some poetry.
The Arctic Adventurer (Robert Peary really lived and explored the Arctic at that time). Sarah’s betrothed. He was off trekking about the Arctic when she died.
Loud, crass and not afraid to speak her mind or stand up for herself. An American from the South who was raised poor but she married the very wealthy Mr. Brown and now lives the good life – in a larger than life sort of way. She wants to teach Agnes a thing or two about standing up for herself and constantly tries to “teach” her as the situation warrants it. (By the way, the real Mollie Brown survived the sinking of the Titanic.)
A London Times writer doing a story on Ebenezer. He’d love to find some dirt on the man because he actually sees Ebenezer for the nefarious character that he is.
A street urchin who sells flowers and begs for scraps of food. Lucy has a soft spot for her and will convince Ebenezer to let her stay when she’s caught pilfering food (or silverware). She keeps trying to steal things all night long.
Tim’s wife. She also likes her liquor and, as she imbibes more and more, suffers through a constant love-hate relationship with her husband and those she feels are responsible for his downfall.
Murders. An affair.
The affair can be eliminated but the 2 people must be very, very close friends to cause the wife to be jealous.
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