Posts in Category: murder-mystery game

How to: Victorian Hair for your Vampire Costume

Remember that time you watched Brahm Stoker’s Dracula starring Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder, fell in love with the decadent costumes, watched it five times in a row and then started turning up at university lectures dressed in giant ‘Victorian’ bows and ruffles that made your tutor wince? No? Just me then…. That being said, anyone with a love of dressing up and costume will know how much fun ‘Victorian’ and ‘Vampire’ are as fancy dress themes. Indeed, it was this period of the history that the vampire went from the very unsexy ‘possessed corpse terrorising villagers’ to the infinitely more attractive ‘handsome undead nobility haunting upper-class bedchambers’. The vampire became glamorous, if you like — and much more fun to dress up as.

Key to the Victorian vampire look is the hair. Indeed, I’d argue that you can get away with rather token costume gestures if the distinctive Victorian hair is right. I have an intense dislike of online hair tutorials which stems from the time I got half way through creating 1950s victory rolls only to discover I was missing a very specific kind of curling iron, not to mention a large chunk of my life. You may rest assured, therefore, that these tutorials are simple and can be easily achieved in 30 minutes or so before your vampire party. Or your Victorian party, for that matter, though I see less evidence of those. (Shame. The Victorians had a healthy love of gin which no doubt enlivened even the most staid of soirees.)

For more hair, makeup and costume ideas on how to make ‘undead’ look very much alive in 2014, join me on Pinterest. To cheat and purchase amazing actual costumes visit my Prop Shop here. Anyway, enough talk; more hair:


Crime Flies when you’re Having Fun

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!

Baroque ‘O Clock

Last Saturday night the air outside was sharp and uninviting, so I decided to stay in the warm and learn the basics of creating lace eye make up… as you do. It worked out surprisingly well and was relatively easy, so I thought I would share it with you. It would be perfect for a Baroque themed game, such as
Le Mystère Des Masques, my review of which can be found here.

I got my inspiration from the oh-so-delicate stick on lace eye masks you can buy from here, but who can afford to spend £9 plus per eye for a night out? Certainly not penniless murder-mystery game writers like myself.


A few tips:

  • Find a pattern online to copy for your first attempt (free styling is all very well, but it takes more time and thought). I used this pattern.
  • Avoid trying to draw directly on the eyelid, as the stretchy skin there makes it hard to keep lines clean.
  • Don’t make the same mistake as me: apply your eyeshadow first. I tried to dab it on afterwards to add some colour, and ended up having to go over most of my eyeliner lines.
  • Make a cup of hot tea before you start; this is something to take your time over.

Once you’ve got the technique down, there are lots possibilities: you could certainly keep going and make a whole fake mask, or, alternatively, start from the hairline down and draw on a lace veil!