Murder Mystery Party Kit Details
The guests are a mixed group of club staff members, entertainers, and guests at a private party held at a jazz club in 1920s New York City. It is the height of the Jazz Age, and social revolution is afoot. This is the age of Prohibition—and of bootleggers and gangsters. Club owner Felix Fontano, the son of a successful bootlegger and crime boss—and a successful businessman himself—is throwing this private party for a group of select friends. It is a night of revelry like many other nights of revelry enjoyed by this group of sophisticates, artists, and hoodlums . . . until things go horribly wrong.
This mystery is divided into two primary segments. During the first portion of the evening (Act One), the partygoers will have the opportunity to eat, drink, dance, and mingle, while enjoying the swanky atmosphere and smooth jazz of Fontano’s club, The Cat’s Meow.
At the midpoint of the evening, one of the players makes a terrible discovery: someone has been murdered in the back supply room of the club!
Solving the Mystery
Act Two will begin with the grisly discovery of the victim’s bloody body. In the area around the body, there are signs of the struggle that occurred prior to the death. It will now be up to the guests to figure out what happened.
The guests quickly decide that the best course of action is not to call the police, but rather to conduct an investigation amongst themselves; at this point, all the guests are suspects; a formal police investigation would dredge up unsavory details of their pasts and expose them to public scandal and unwanted personal repercussions, not to mention the serious and immediate legal repercussions of being caught in a bootlegging establishment!
There are 24 primary suspects in this game, however only 15 are required to play the game. The host or hostess will play the role of the Narrator, who keeps the party on track and helps to advance the action. Read the "How To Play" section for more information on how to play an expanded game with more than 24 guests.
- Felix Fontano, Club Owner. Felix owns The Cat’s Meow Jazz Club. He is attractive and vain, the son of famous bootlegger Frank Fontano.
- Raymond Reynolds, Artist. Raymond is an old college buddy of Felix’s—an artist and something of a dilettante. He comes from old money.
- Jefferson Mitchell, Stockbroker. Jefferson is a successful stockbroker working on Wall Street.
- Edgar Fitzpatrick, Broadway Producer. Edgar is an up-and-coming Broadway director and producer.
- Roger Webster, Attorney. Roger is a money-hungry, ambulance-chasing attorney.
- Duke Carillo, Track Owner. Duke owns a horseracing track in New Jersey. He’s an old friend of the Fontano family.
- Poppy Gebhardt, Club Manager. Poppy manages the day-to-day affairs of the club with an iron fist.
- Calvin Carpenter, Bartender. Calvin is the bartender at the club. He’s cocky and presumptuous. A scoundrel with the ladies.
- Ronald Mason, Doctor. Ronald is a physician who has made a lot of money during Prohibition because of his willingness to prescribe medicinal alcohol.
- Edith Fontano, Club Owner’s Wife. Edith is Felix’s wife. Enduring years of his infidelity has left her hardened and cynical.
- June Palmetto, Actress. June is a famous actress, a southern belle in the big city.
- Judy Jordan, Flapper. Judy Jordan is a popular young woman on the party circuit. She’s young, bubbly, and optimistic.
- Claudia Mitchell, Writer. Claudia is a well-known author and the wife of stockbroker Jefferson Mitchell.
- Gloria Call, Singer. Gloria is a jazz singer hired to perform this evening.
- Jacqueline Jacobs, Fashion Designer. Jacqueline is a snobbish fashion designer. She has a boutique catering to young flapper types.
- Ella Landeau, Flapper. Ella Landeau is a popular young woman on the party circuit. She’s confident and flirtatious.
- Bess Bailey, Flapper. Bess Bailey is a popular young woman on the party circuit. She’s lighthearted on the outside but serious underneath.
- Holly Olmstead, Tennis Champion. Holly Olmstead is a professional tennis player. She’s haughty and competitive.
Male or Female Roles
- Win Wallace, Accountant. Win is the accountant for many of the guests. S/he’s reserved but knowledgeable.
- Elliot Nash, Jazz Pianist. Elliot is a talented jazz pianist who often performs at the club. S/he is cool, calm, and collected.
- Charlie Chambers, Jazz Bassist. Charles is a talented jazz bassist who often performs at the club. He is obsessed with all things jazz.
- Brett Burgess, Waiter. Brett is a relatively new employee at The Cat’s Meow Jazz Club. S/he has hopes of one day making it big on Broadway.
- Regan Richards, Waiter. Rosie is a relatively new employee at The Cat’s Meow Jazz Club. S/he has hopes of one day making it big on Broadway.
- Alex Preston, Actor. Alex Preston was once on track to stardom, but alcohol got the better of him/her.
- Investigator (male or female): Additional players have the option of playing the role of "Investigators". In this role the players are not suspects and do not have character backgrounds but can question the suspects and try to solve the mystery along with the other players.
Follow these steps to host this mystery:
- Each guest will each assume the role of a particular character
Mystery Parties involve a combination of improvisational acting, storytelling, and creative problem solving. Each guest will play the part of that character throughout the course of the game. Each character has specific personality traits, goals, secrets, and information, all of which are included in the character sheet; a big part of the fun is getting into character and taking on a new, exciting role.
- A mysterious Event will occur
At some point during the party, an Event will occur that will force the players to come together in order to solve a problem or unravel a mystery. Traditionally, the Event in question will be the murder of one of the characters (as played by a guest), but the parties crafted by Playing With Murder often use this basic framework to accommodate different types of Events, thereby ensuring that your guests will be surprised and entertained (even if they are veteran murder mystery party players).
- Solve the mystery!
Your guests will need to use the information that their characters know (as well as additional clues that are provided during the game) to solve the mystery or overcome the problem posed by the Event. Typically this culminates in the guests voting on the identity of the murderer, but again, different parties will have different specific goals. All of our parties also come complete with additional subgames (treasure hunts, unique character goals and special puzzles) that are guaranteed to keep the action intense and your guests motivated and focused.
Expanded Game For Large Groups
If you have extra players, there are two ways that you can accommodate everyone:
- Investigator Role - Additional players have the option of playing the role of "Investigators". In this role the players are not suspects and do not have character backgrounds but can question the suspects and try to solve the mystery along with the other players. Expanded Games include a PDF guide that explains how to use the Investigator role, as well as printable character sheets and name tags for anyone that is playing an Investigator.
- Multiple Groups - It is also possible to break your guests up into groups and play multiple instances of the game at the same time. The game will more or less happen the same way; the host makes announcements and each group moves their game forward simultaneously based on the host's instructions. It's good to have one assistant in each group to answer questions and facilitate gameplay within the group. This method provides a more intimate experience for your guests, who get better acquainted with a smaller group and participate in a more digestible story.
Please contact us if you'd like more information about how to run your party using the Multiple Groups method.
You can choose whether you'd like the Standard or Expanded version of a game when you add it to your cart.
First time hosting a murder mystery party?
Visit our How to Host a Mystery Party page to get step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for your murder mystery party.
Jazz Age Jeopardy is a 119-page downloadable PDF file that you print at home. It includes the following features:
- An introduction that explains the basic principles of running a mystery-party and provides specific tips on props, menu items, sound effects, casino games, and special tips to help make your party exciting, memorable and easy to run
- Step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for your party
- A detailed party guidebook that will walk you through the event in a simple, easy-to-understand format
- Instructions on how to run the party for a large group
- Nametags and character sheets for each player - the character sheets include tips on costuming and role-playing, as well special goals and information unique to each character
- Fully customizable invitations, complete with RSVP cards and guest lists
- Special handouts for your guests, offering a detailed overview of 1920’s costuming and slang
- 7 illustrated clue cards the players can use to solve the mystery
- Voting sheets
- Customizable awards for your guests
- And much more!
With your purchase of Dead Money you will also receive the following:
- A separate “Customizable Documents” file that includes all of the invitations and awards in an editable format
- Step-by-step printing instructions
- A lengthy mp3 audio effects clip for use with your party
- Instructions on how to use this clip to best effect
Playing With Murder offers several audio files for use with each of our Mystery Party Kits. The audio clip below provides a sample of the sound effects included with Jazz Age Jeopardy.
Play audio sample:
The full file for this mystery is a full length (75+ minutes long) Jazz mix that includes the background sounds of a roaring 1920’s night club!
- My 16 guests had a blast playing Jazz Age Jeopardy for my 31st birthday. It was the classiest party we have had to date! Sending out the character sheets in advance encouraged guests to put thought into their costumes and characters. The highlight was the mingling amongst characters during Act I. Everyone is asking when the next one will be.
- Heavy appetizers were skewered and served on platters by the characters designated as staff. I bought 5 liters of liquor for Long Islands. Should have bought more Cola and Sour mix. Drinks were extremely strong and we ran out in half an hour. Looking back, perhaps this was a good thing.
- I posted costume suggestions on the facebook event page a few days prior. Used the mp3 provided with the game. I have hosted several theme parties before and most friends don't ever dressed up. This time was different. Everyone came in costume and there was stiff competition for best-dressed award.
- It was a roaring great time! 7 tailgating couples got together for a new year's eve bash dressed to the nines! We all brought finger foods to share, made our own house moonshine and had lots of fun strutting our stuff to the Charleston.
I sent 4 different email 2 weeks to the day before the event leading up to the big night. Each email had a teaser so that my guests would look forward to the next email. The last email had the secret knock and password hence, the party title up top!
I hosted but instead in narrator form, I changed my character to the club host and was able to egg on the relationships between the characters which seem to help the conversations flow.
Instead of a bloody body, we did a masking tape outline which helped keep the momentum going and the guests in character.
The murderer who didn't know til the end surprised us with a toy machine gun pulled from an old trumpet case from years past!
I liked having this particular story for a new year's theme and it was easy after the murder to transition into current time to celebrate the new year because we already had the decor, booze, food and friends to celebrate. This won't disappoint!
- Watch my video
- We participated in this murder mystery as a New Year's party. It went FANTASTICALLY!! Everyone was in character all night long, especially our bartender ;) I was the narrator and because everyone had so much fun, I kept things going longer and the game took three hours! I am still getting messages about how much fun everyone had.
- We supplied the main course a ham dinner) and had the participants bring an appie or dessert.
- We had 50 people show. We did our Murder Mystery on New Years Eve. Everyone had a blast #catsmeowjazzclub
- Because the group was so large we asked guests to bring finger foods and desserts
- We used lots of black velvet, crystal candle sticks, ostrich feathers and beads
The sound effect download was perfect. I had it playing in 2 areas of the house so it could be heard. It added great ambiance.
All of our guests were excited to attend this 1920's theme party, and all dressed the part.
- Hosted this for a college debate team, and we had a blast! I did a little revision on the clues -- made actual objects for the guests to find, rather than just the postcards included with the kit. This is a very smart group, and the story was complex enough to keep them all going. I can't wait to host another! The only part of the package I did not like was the soundtrack, which included an overdubbed club noise with the music. I opted to use Spotify to create my own 1920s playlist.
To make the party a little more authentic, I also set up the speakeasy with poker and blackjack tables, gave each guest play money to gamble with, and had the character Poppy Gebhardt deal. At the end of the night, they cashed out, and I offered a prize for the gambler who profited the most in toy money.
- We needed something to get us out of our winter doldrums, and this was perfect! We had 19 guests who did a marvelous job researching the era, and came prepared to live it up 20s style. It was unfortunate some of the parts had less "meat" to them, but overall we had a great time. I was the narrator, but I spiced up my part by being the (candy) cigarette girl. The tray of cigarettes around my neck was a great place to stash the parts for Act 1 and 2.
- Manhattans, drinks served in tea cups.
- I found an old sign that the police put on the doors of speakeasys when they were shut down by the government. I put that on my front door to set the mood.
- Everyone had a BLAST, even with a large group we still had lots of laughs, and mystery. We did hand out the AWARDS and set up was great, we used two stories in the house so evidence was placed downstairs.
- Spicy foods and lots of drinks
- Hard to pick, it was all fun and everyone dressed the part, I would do it again in a heart beat
- This was my First time hosting a Murder Mystery, and first time attending a Murder Mystery that was SO involved.
I am SO happy I chose Playing With Murder - Jazz Age Jeopardy for my Birthday Party, as the 120 pages of paperwork involved with instructions, scavenger hunt clues, certificates, and character development was well laid out, and I was able to set the scene.
The upper level was the Poker room where there had been some bloody mess from the past along with weaponry.
Bullet holes were throughout this level and the remainder of the house - it was a Prohibition Age mobster-ridden Jazz Club in the 1920's afterall!
Pictures from the 1920's were also throughout the house - the basement level having old movie pictures - and was also the scene of the murder.
The main level was the main part of the club, with pom-pom banners creating a buzz and where the food and drinks were being served.
The basement level was the murder scene.
At first it was a bit awkward, as two guests arrived before 6pm, and the rest not until 6:10 and thereafter. I was a bit nervous that people would bail out.
BUT, I created hype on the Facebook Page by posting the work being done to create the club, 1920's words, and talking about the food. People put a LOT of effort into their costumes. Every Single Person was dressed to the 9's and got into character.
This made this party a great success!
I had no idea what my name was, but we found out that my name was "Narrator" - and I spoke like the main character on Schitz's Creek. And was told to use my indoor voice a few times - ha ha!
A few people were confused about some of the clues (but 19 people = lots of talking + missing clues), but half guessed the right killer.
I think I chose the right parts for the right guests - it was pretty bang on!
I would do a Murder Mystery every year if I could - but we want it to stay nice and fresh, so probably every 3-4 years unless there is demand for a higher frequency.
I've already had requests for another party, and a month later, friends are STILL talking about it!
- This was a potluck, so people brought easy-to-eat finger foods. We had veggies, cheese platters, devilled eggs, a chili bar, and SO much more. No one was left hungry!
- I think with DIY Murder Mysteries, you get out of it what you put into it. Pinterest was awesome assistance with ideas for setting the stage, and I did a pretty kick arse decorating job. I love creating, had most of the materials to create decorations, and it really did set the mood for the night.
We played the 1920's music supplied by Playing With Murder, as it suited the theme quite well.
I set up two photobooths - one upstairs, where guests who entered the Club had their picture taken with an intake sign; the other was in the front entrance area. I set up hand-made props, hats, and other accessories from our Halloween boxes. I found a frame for free, so people could "frame" themselves in the photos - as this looks really cool on Pinterest. it works well in real life too :)
I also have a LOT of scrapbooking supplies, so jazzed up the nametags, clues, and a multitude of empty beer bottles.
Check out my ideas on Pinterest @crystaljam78 or http://zombielandjourneytofitness.blogspot.ca/2015/11/jazz-age-jeopardy-my-murder-mystery.html
- We had 20 guests, and everyone had a fabulous time! The nametags were a perfect touch -- as soon as the guests put them on, they embraced their characters and relished the drama of their roles. The jazz soundtrack and the highballs our bartender was serving up also spiced up the night!
There was only one disappointment: the strange gender imbalance in the script. While the male characters boasted a range of interesting back stories and creative quirks, the female characters were almost uniformly shallow. All of them, with the exception of Claudia, were essentially depicted as coquettish flirts. It was surprising and disappointing to see the lack of diversity/range among the female characters. However, our female guests more than made up for the gaps by coming up with their own rich back stories!
- We decided to host this party for family and friends. Everyone enjoyed themselves even more than we expected. They took on their characters will enthusiasm! We can not wait to host another mystery dinner party next year!
- We had a buffet of different souos and stews set up in light of the cool weather. The food was delicious.
We had a signature drink at the bar. " The Fuzzy Kitty" which consists of one part white rum, one part pineapple juice,a splash of grenidine, toped with a cherry. They were a big hit!
- Felix and Edith put on the best partys in town!!
- We ran the Jazz Age Jeopardy party pack and almost everyone dressed up, prepared with lingo from the times! It was amazing. Our characters were a bit wonky since I (as the host) messed up the invitations, but we made it work. Also, the murderer successfully walked away! It was quite the night, and everyone loved the awards at the end. 10/10, would run again.
- wine, hard liquor, drinks, cheese, snacks, other crockpot foods that we could easily prepare ourselves beforehand and then bring over. We also had plastic wine glasses for everyone to class it up a bit! Our bartender character also did a fantastic job of mixing drinks!
- Lighting was important, we had those bulbs that can change color, so that was nice. I had speakers setup with the JAJ sound track playing - we got through it about twice. All of our guests had fantastic costumes and attitudes - see below!
- Let me start off by saying THANK YOU Ken for your great customer service. It was a pleasure communicating with you through emails.
My Roaring Twenties 40th Birthday Murder Mystery Party was a BLAST. The Streets are still talking. I wanted to personally send you a huge thank you for walking me through this. With you allowing me to download the script in a word document as I was able to add additional characters.
I just want to add when I read the reviews I was sold on what other customers had to say about their events. I looked into some other websites and was very impressed at how Ken communicated and got right back to me with my answers, so quickly. When I contacted Ken with my first question he was going out of town. He answered my questions and when he got back in town he emailed me to see if I had any more questions.
I had over 40 guests at my party; guests who didn’t have a part were patrons of the Cat’s Meow. They were still able to participate in the party and guest who the killer was although they didn’t have a part. I was kind of nervous at first because once all of my guest showed up I didn’t know how the Murder Mystery was going to play out. I didn’t expect all of my guests to come and I was truly impressed that they all dressed up even the Doctor was dressed as a doctor. Although all of my guests had name tags on, it was hard to determine who everyone was because we had so many people. I decided to call everyone in one room and ask them to state their character name and title. The party flowed once we did the introductions. Folks immediately got into character and the party was a HIT.
The next day my cousin posted photos and two IPhone Video Clips of the party. Up until last Friday I was receiving calls, texts messages and Facebook posts about my birthday from my guests and from folks who had not attended the party.
My family and I will definitely be ordering another Murder Mystery package from Ken in the future.
- We had a food and drink tasting for the mix and mingle while everyone was coming in. After the murder we had an Italian theme for our main course.
- We had the upstairs decorated with Casino decorations and the some of the guests played Craps, Roulette, and Black Jack. The basement was where the murder took placed. You can see the photos which I attached.
- The party packet had everything we needed, and we had a great time. This is probably the best quality packet I've bought for a murder mystery party — for the first time the guests were actually able to guess the murderer!
We had a lot of fun with the 20s theme, and all my guests went all out. We'll definitely be having another party!
- We had a great time with the Murder Mystery. The package gave us everything we needed. It was very detailed and easy to follow. We had all (24) characters and some people did not have a lot or anything to do so I actually created more scenes and everything worked out wonderful. Ex. The 3 performers actually performed. I created decoy stories for less important characters based on the existing Facts and Clues, and made a side casino room. My group of friends were very into their characters which made it great. Even the shy ones! I would definitely do a murder mystery party again. As for this particular theme, loved it, but I would suggest doing it with 15 guests as suggested unless you have a lot of people that would rather not act as much.
Thank you for the experience!
- I hosted this murder mystery party for my company! It was a blast! I took it to the next level by recreating the clues instead of just using the paper cards. It was such a hit, we are planning on doing another one at the beginning of March. The instructions were easy to follow and very well laid out. The story line was exciting and everyone really got in to character! Thanks for making the party so fun and easy to pull off!
- First let me say I'm loving the parties/stories that I've purchased thus far from Playing With Murder! I'm definitely looking forward to purchasing again.
I personally could really see the difference between the 30 min and the regular party kit. The plus side was not having to print off as much as I had to for " Jazz Age Jeopardy" but I did wish that I could've had the information to give to the characters out each round vs it all being on the same page.. I had some characters reveal some of the info they had early.. I believe I had a good amount of characters for the amount of people that attended the party (around 20-35) but I tried to get the groups to work as teams. It didn't work to well,but I don't think that had anything to do with the game itself, I'm sure it was our time management. (we ended up pausing to give out gifts in the middle of the game, not a good idea,lol!) I'm definitely interested in seeing how the game would be if we actually played it the way you guys suggested.. I was just trying to get everyone involved since we had so many people.. I believe everyone enjoyed the characters.. I had people come back to me weeks later telling me that there was a Krampus character in a movie they saw..
One thing that I found interesting is that with both games people don't automatically guess the killer (or thief ).. there are usually a mixture of answers and that is a good thing.. I kind of wish there were awards with the christmas kit,but that's only because I knew that there were certificates in "Jazz Age Jeopardy".
I used to work for a murder mystery company,and I found it interesting that your company tell the culprit that they are the person in question.. I thought that it would take away from their experience,and would be an obvious giveaway ,but with both games that has not been the case! Plus, I will say that with both games I didn't have the problem of people not reading or getting into their characters which was an on going problem for the company I was working for.. So kudos to you for that! I'm glad I came across Playing With Murder! I've been able to host some pretty awesome parties thus far!
- Your kit was very thorough in preparing and hosting the murder mystery party. The party was a great success. We had about 25 people. We ran a casino, held Dance lessons and then a Championship contest for the Charleston. Then we played Act 2 of murder mystery. Everyone really dressed in character and stayed in their roles. We so enjoyed the scavenger hunt too.
- Oh my soul it was so much fun!! We had a blast! We chose the 1920's theme.
I turned my kitchen/dining room into the Cats Meow Jazz Club. Everyone came in character, I actually re-worked Poppy's character so I could partake in the festivities! The murder scene was set up in a bedroom upstairs away from the party!
What a great night!
- We had a murder cheesecake, and lots of other treats. We all tried to use the lingo as much as possible.
We drank "moonshine" (beer), cocktails and champagne!
- THANK YOU again for putting out such great quality projects like JAJ! Our group had an amazing time playing the game this past weekend.
Three things we did very well:
1. We new our guests personally, and connected characters that fit their personalities. One of our friends said, “It’s like these parts were made for each of us!” That was a huge plus to the success of the night.
2. We used two rooms for the two different acts…so glad we did that, thank you for the recommendation. While one room certainly would have worked, we were able to stage the murder scene and hide the clues before players arrived and it was easy to make the transition from one space to the other. It also added an element of surprise for our guests.
3. We set up a photo booth as part of the club festivities. Everyone loved posing in costume to get their pictures taken, proved to be a lot of fun, even while they stayed in character.
A few things we could have improved on:
1. We had plenty of food, but we didn’t get commitments soon enough. Definitely going to ask guests further ahead of time to commit to bringing a dish. Should have followed the “what to do” section a little more closely =)
2. We cut off the first act a little too early; not everyone had gotten out their info before the hour-long session ended. Next time, I will probably announce, “In 15-minutes, we will be moving to our next act, please make sure you enjoy any last conversations you need to have….etc…etc…”
Two really simple suggestions:
1. A “cheat sheet” for the host/hostess to have that is 1-2 pages of critical mystery info. For example, it would have been great to have the Act 1 info (the welcome, the introduction of characters and any pertinent dialogue) all on one page, and the same for Act 2. We filed everything in a notebook with tabs, but if we could have had one or two sheets as day/of summaries, that would have been awesome.
2. For this mystery, it would have been good to find a way to emphasize the “together” component of solving the case. Each character tried to find solutions, but people weren’t working well together. I know Cecil’s character gives a little speech, but maybe that was supposed to be my role as host to encourage that? A few extra pieces of dialogue or maybe direct mention from the host could help encourage more of a team approach to solving the mystery.
Seriously, my wife and I have done several of these (I’ve even written a couple) and nothing compared with your work. The details were great, the character interactions were very solid and included mystery, red herrings and even humor. So well-written and even today (two days after) I received a facebook message from one of the guests saying, “That was such a fun night…thank you!” We will definitely be doing another PWM product in the future.