And I certainly have been. I’m very happy to finally — after many a desperately dark hour battling HTML — introduce my new murder mystery party website to readers of The ABC of Murder blog! My first game completed, a downloadable no-holds-barred, Vampire-themed thunder and lightening thriller — featuring an untimely death by paper knife for an unfortunate Lord, and a host of sinister suspects — it’s onto the next.
My second game is a fully interactive murder mystery party set in the glamorous 1930s on tiny island inhabited by a colourful, charismatic and somewhat criminal community. It was written for murder mystery masters Freeform Games and is due out in late July. But until then, here’s a taster of the setting:
‘It is 1936 and you are on the notoriously cold and windy Gull Island, just off the north east coast of England, whose perilous rocks have claimed many a victim. It is 7pm on the eve of the winter’s Solstice, a traditional day of celebration for the villagers of Little Bleakly — much to the horror of the local Reverend. The wind is howling and the rain is coming down in sheets, but inside the village hall has been cheerfully decorated with brightly coloured flags and bunting.
The needle of the gramophone is poised over ‘Music Maestro Please’, and many of the villagers have already arrived in the village hall, when Little Bleakly is suddenly plunged into darkness by a power cut. Stumbling along the shadowy and winding paths with candles in their hands, the remaining villagers are on their way when light returns.
The festivities are ready to begin! Except someone is missing: Hugo Malady, the dashing heir to the legendary Malady fortune, who traditionally kick starts the Winter Solstice Celebrations, is nowhere to be seen! The villagers spread out over the island in search. Soon, a shrill scream is heard from Lighthouse Bay: Freda, the local pub landlady, has discovered the body of Hugo Malady on the beach, lifeless, with a dagger protruding from the back of his neck! Who murdered Hugo Malady?’
And there’s more crime to come, as work has now joyfully commenced on Deadly Nightshade Game’s third downloadable murder mystery party: a 1920s classic, set in Egypt amongst pyramids, political tensions and rumours of Pharo’s curses. Hold on to your feathered headbands, this one’s going to be a riotous ride!
Alongside my full-time job, I am currently writing a 16-player interactive murder-mystery game for the lovely, ever-patient Freeform Games. Something tells me I should have been rather less ambitious. Most of the time I love writing, but some days, like today, turn out like this:
10:00 Get up. Make coffee. See the laptop glinting in the morning light. Suddenly have a mysterious urge to clean the fridge. End up cleaning the entire flat surrounding the fridge too.
13:30 Square up to ancient laptop. Turn it on. It is making a malevolent buzzing noise. It is probably thinking about crashing and then blowing up, for something to do.
14:00 Realise I haven’t eaten anything yet. Inhale three shortbread biscuits, followed by more coffee.
17:00 Am forced to acknowledge that instead of writing my game I have wasted hours looking up murder-mystery weekends and Orient Express trips, neither of which I can afford. Feel bad about not having left the flat or achieved anything; get up and walk around, flapping arms, as though this is a substitute for either of these.
17:20 Actually start doing some work.
17:25 Am suddenly hungry. Get up and make ‘salad’ of cucumber, tinned chickpeas, cheddar, lemon juice and black pepper, messing up newly-cleaned kitchen in the process. It is verging on unpleasant, but I eat it anyway.
17:40 Hate Zoho. Shout at it for being a rubbish program. Think about drinking something other than coffee, but don’t. Wish I was a smoker so the anguished writer scene would at least be picturesque.
18:00 Realise I am stuck. Cry. Consider turning to Poirot box-set for comfort but decide to soldier on.
18:20 Admit defeat, wondering what other, normal people have done with their Sunday.