Despite the snow showers on the way up, it was drying up and the sun was breaking on Langley. The town was decked in Mystery Weekend banners and teeming with pedestrians carrying maps, clustered around costumed actors (townspeople/suspects). We picked up our maps from the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center. They recommended Useless Bay Coffee Co., which did not disappoint, with a mound of fries and fresh tacos.
The restaurant was packed full of people studying their clues. We reviewed the coroner’s report, map and newspaper, trying to glean what clues we could: the victim was male, 6’6″, wearing a Chewbacca costume, with an unidentified white powder on his face and hands, a puncture wound near his heart, an no obvious signs of a struggle or foul play.
We had until 4 PM to submit our crime report and it was about 1 PM already, we had work to do!
Homesy and I decided to visit the farthest points on the map first. The map took us around the entire center and up and down many hills (yes, more hills in the same weekend!). As we collected the 39 clues, the shop owners were very friendly as we popped in and out for clues. Whoever wrote the clues was very clever. The clues incorporated elements of each shop into the narratives. We tried to hold all the details in our heads, but it was a lot of information to take in. We were swimming in characters, motives and mystery!
At 3:30 PM, we had finally collected all of our clues. It was time to think, and perk up with a warm beverage. South Whidbey Commons had open tables and we settled in. Not having had enough time to question the suspects, we only had the evidence from the clues. We divided our clues in half and sorted them into relevant and irrelevant piles and then compared notes. We narrowed down a small group of key suspects and talked over their motives and known whereabouts.
Key motives: Money, revenge and love.
Suspects: The lover, the wife, a Sasquatch hunter and a jilted enemy
With the information available, we were only able to guess at the murderer’s identity. If we had more time, we would have been able to study the clues and figure out questions with which to approach the townspeople. That was probably key to the weekend’s events. We estimated that you needed a whole day to collect the clues, figure out your relevant issues, draw up a list of suspects and question them. Indeed, it is a tradition for visitors to spend the entire weekend in Langley sleuthing around.
As it was, we used our entire half hour and then rushed to the Chamber to submit our reports. Then we waited. Five PM was the big reveal. There was a minor charade at the reveal, in which we hooted and applauded and gasped accordingly. We guessed correctly, but, as it turned out, only 175 people submitted correct answers, out of about 2000.
The actual mayor of Langley closed the evening with a raffle for both winners and all participants (no need to be present to win). It was a delightful way to spend an afternoon and I would highly recommend Langley’s Mystery Weekend.
When have you been surprised by an adventure?