J-P Wooding: Friends can be murder

J-P's dinner party was just murder
J-P's dinner party was just murder

It’s not often you have a parson, a clairvoyant, a maid, a gamekeeper, a retired Army major and a Lady join you for dinner on a Saturday evening.

So when we had the opportunity to meet up again, we couldn’t turn it down!

Our guests arrived at 7.30pm prompt, dressed in their usual attire; the parson’s dog collar and large cross and the major’s excellent moustache were particularly interesting.

This was the first time we had met as a group since we’d lost a friend in a tragic shooting accident some years ago.

After becoming reacquainted with each other we sat down for the first part of our meal.

Our menu, excellently prepared by the maid, consisted of a classic starter of prawn cocktail, followed by a hearty pork casserole and rounded off with a delicate mousse (more commonly known as Angel Delight!).

Bottles of Shiraz, Merlot and a fruity white wine also adorned the table.

The menu sounded nice and all agreed that it tasted marvellous, it was all very pleasant.

The same couldn’t be said for the tone of the conversation, however; accusations of illicit affairs, theft, gambling and even murder were soon flying about, all being delivered in unusual, almost unnatural, accents.

Don’t be alarmed! Despite what some may say this wasn’t a normal Saturday night in the Wooding household; it was a murder mystery dinner and the guests were a group of close friends trying something different.

There are various themes available for these evenings and the shooting of our old friend Lord Shippe was the third storyline we’d tried as an alternative to just having friends around for a takeaway.

A quick snoop of charity shops is all you usually need to find appropriate clothing (unless some of you have maid’s outfits) and a cheap menu is easy to construct.

My wife and I have been on a couple of the Joy Swift Murder Weekends, which are fully interactive with actors during a weekend stay at a good hotel.

They were fantastic, but not cheap, so the “home-made” variety that comes in a box with a CD is a great option to try first.

They’re easy to find and if you’re lucky you may pick one up cheaply second-hand.

So instead of grabbing the takeaway leaflet the next time you have friends over why not invite some “different” guests?

Rather than chatting about EastEnders, when the Poppies will return to Rockingham Road or how terrible the local roadworks are, you could try poisoning the parson with prawns, maiming the major and the maid, and doing something to the clairvoyant that she didn’t see coming!

A word of warning though: as with criminal acts, once you’ve done it once it’s very hard not to want to do it again...

By the way, the butler didn’t do it!