According to this article from Now Magazine’s website (we read well and widely here at the Murder Mystery Company), the Duchess of Cambridge is planning a murder mystery party for Prince William’s 30th birthday party.
Far be it for us to mistrust such a fine journalistic source – it has long been our go-to destination for horoscopes and online bingo opportunities.
That said, it seems murder mysteries are about to be launched back to the front of the public consciousness- which is just where they belong! While we would certainly recommend our own One Fatal Knight for the Duchess (long live the king…), the news made us consider another question entirely.
What is it about the macabre and mysterious that keeps captivating audiences year after year? What draws us away from the light and into the night?
From the Brother’s Grimm to Doctor Who, evil and those that cause it have haunted our imagination and waited patiently for us underneath our beds since we had beds (before beds, evil had to wait in another room). But it’s not just the bad guys that get our attention – it’s really the hero we’re routing for, the quiet avenger, whether he comes with a deerstalker or a crumpled mac, a typewriter or a pair of sunglasses.
And perhaps that’s part of the great appeal of a good murder mystery. The participants are the hero. They stand on the line between good and evil, the lone voices of justice in a world where the lights are dim.
A well executed participative murder mystery is like a great novel or movie, with the immersion jacked up to eleven. It is an opportunity to suspend disbelief for a few short hours, to imagine another world, another set of rules, and flit around the coat tails of danger from the comfort of your own home, venue, or, indeed, palace.
Like a roller coaster we know we are safe, and that all the peril is an illusion, all the danger merely smoke and mirrors…
But that doesn’t stop us from screaming.