Murder Mystery Turns Students into Investigators

Photo by Carlie Viemann

Halloween is one of the most exciting times of the year for students, and the murder mystery show, put on by the College Programming Board the night of Halloween, provided even more excitement for those who were on campus enjoying the annual performance.

As audience members dined on penne vodka and other Italian favorites, the stars of the show set the tone for an unforgettable evening. The show revolved around Lou Zar, a man celebrating his 40th birthday party during the roaring twenties.

At the beginning of the show, Zar spent time enjoying his birthday with his mother Agatha and several friends, including Eric, Dixon and Scott, before discovering that a rival of his had been “bootlegging” in the same territory. With names such as Rigatoni and Penny Pasta, the suspects one by one denied any bootlegging in Mr. Zar’s territory, with the exception of Gus, a local milkman.

After finding out about this competition, Mr. Zar was unfortunately murdered by one of the other characters in the performance, leaving the audience to search for clues that would determine which of Zar’s friends committed the crime. 

Following Zar’s supposed death and a few moments full of grief, confusion and shock, the audience got into the game and sought clues as to who murdered him.

Teams of students worked in tandem to investigate Zar’s murder, visiting with suspects with colorful names such as Trish Fish, Doug Graves and Ace Reporter in order to determine whether or not the characters had done anything to lead to Zar’s untimely death.  

Student Elizabeth Wessa, who played Zar’s love interest Amanda Lay, said that she “enjoyed how willing the people were to play along” in investigating the mystery at hand. 

Thankfully, the audience was not alone, as Peter Ness served as a detective in his “first human homicide case.” Detective Ness admitted that he did not stab Lou, even telling the crowd, “People paid me good money for that.” 

Another development in the plot came when the character of Trish Fish revealed that she and Zar had been in love, although Zar himself was only vaguely aware. Somehow, though, Trish Fish also knew that Zar planned to fake his death. 

As the audience continued to investigate for more clues leading to Zar’s murder, it was revealed that Zar once slept with a trained assassin named Jenna.  However, Jenna did not use a poison needle that many people thought she would have used to kill him.

As the night wore on, Detective Ness knew that the presumed killer was in Friends Hall.  Although one person suggested that the cleverly-named Doug Graves had killed Lou, it was ultimately revealed that Eric, one of Lou’s two main assistants, was the murderer.  

The night was an exciting one, full of suspense and drama, with bits of humor thrown in for good measure to provide relief to those investigating.

David Weinheimer, who played Detective Ness, was impressed with the night’s festivities.

“It really stood out how excited the crowd was and it was neat to see all the different costumes they wore tonight,” Weinheimer said, referring to the costume contest that served as an overture to the main event. 

Even though a lot of effort by students was required to solve the mystery, the audience definitely had a clue that they enjoyed themselves on Halloween night at Friends Hall.