Murder in the Belfry – a murder mystery fundraiser
The evil Dr Black has been brutally murdered. With his reputation for going out of his way to upset people, there is no shortage of suspects for this vicious crime. But the field has been narrowed down to six people who had special motives – and the opportunity – to do him in. With six potential locations and six possible murder weapons as well, the detectives have their work cut out. Maybe the public can help find the answer? Steve Brown writes.
This is the premise of Murder in the Belfry, a fundraising event organised as part of the Strike Back Against Blood Cancer campaign. Put together by bell-ringer Julie McDonnell, who is undergoing treatment for the disease, this movement has already produced significant funds with a wide variety of events.
This murder mystery event, supported by Winning Moves, the UK distributor for Cluedo, offers entrants a cash prize for correctly guessing the solution. The final answer will be determined during a day of ringing on Friday 9 December, with entry to the competition open until Thursday 8 December.
To find out more about the campaign, and make your own ‘deduction’ about the crime, visit the campaign website. Entry forms are also available in Wow & Flutter, Trinity Street, Hastings.
Full description of the event
Dr Black has been murdered, his body left in Christchurch, St Leonards bell tower. He was a much reviled figure in the local ringing community, but just who has he enraged enough to murder him, what did they use and where did they commit the deed?
The police have been able to narrow the field of suspects down to six. All had recently been upset by Dr Black, and so had a motive for murder.
- Professor Plum (Alan Pink) – After an evening of ringing, Dr Black drank the last pint of Harveys and suggested the professor switch to lager. Did a drink dispute lead to death?
- Colonel Mustard (Julie McDonnell) – She had applied for presidency of the Army Guild of Bellringers, a post that required at least a rank of Colonel. Dr Black scuppered her chances by telling them she was only a Lieutenant Colonel. Did a reduction in rank result in rage?
- Miss Scarlet (Louise Pink) – Dr Black wagered on Miss Scarlet’s main rival for lead quarter peal ringer in 2016, and took action to hamper Miss Scarlet’s chances. Did a bet bring about brutality?
- Mrs White (Jenny Dearie) – Dr Black professed that the splicing at St Mary’s Eastbourne was the best he’d ever seen, and that there was no need to replace the ropes. Did his ropey views result in him being rubbed out?
- Mrs Peacock (Pauline Kennard) – On a visit to Alfriston, Dr Black assured her she couldn’t possibly be tower captain, because tower captains had to be men. Did serious sexism prompt slaughter?
- Reverend Green (Sandra Titherly) – Dr Black proclaimed that he would never go to Ninfield, because he could not bear to visit such an unutterably boring place. Did vilifying of a village end in violence?
Six likely murder weapons have also been identified. These have been sent off for testing, with the results expected soon. The possible implements of death are
- Spanner – It fixed headstocks, but was it used to fix Dr Black for good?
- Rope – Ringers know all about handling ropes, but did someone put one to an unorthodox use?
- Stay – It serves an important job in stopping a bell. Did someone use it to stop Dr Black as well?
- Marlinspike – Usually only used on ropes, but did someone see that Dr Black got the point?
- Clapper – They were only ever made for striking bells. Was one used to strike Dr Black down?
- Muffle – Designed to reduce the volume of bells for practice or funerals. Could one have been used to completely silence Dr Black?
The band of suspects were all supposed to be involved in a quarter peal day at 6 towers on the day of the murder. One of these places must be the crime scene, but which could it be?
- Hastings (All Saints)
- Hastings (St Clement)
- Christchurch, St Leonards
Detective Black, the victim’s twin brother, is on the case, but can you match him? Can you deduce who committed the crime, what they used and where it took place? Buy a ticket (£5 each) recording your solution to the crime and you could get a “reward” of £150 for getting it right.
Tiebreaker – If more than one person gets the right answer, the winner of the reward will be picked at random by Detective Black as part of the final reveal.
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