A murder mystery

Farm Forum

It isn’t often that we are asked to witness a murder, so my wife and I felt impelled to accept the invitation.

We were told to go to a supper club located in the tiny town of Lake Benton, Minnesota. As we entered the club, we instantly perceived that a huge mistake had been made.

A reunion was being held for some high school we’d never heard of. Not wanting to admit that anything was amiss, we and the other attendees mingled and chatted. Questions about how things were going in each other’s lives were asked and the usual high school reunion-type answers were given. That is, the impression was created that everything is simply wonderful.

One particular woman was wearing a very striking red dress. And by “striking” I mean “cut clear down to here.” Her nametag, which was difficult to read due to its close proximity to some cleavage, implied that she was Jennifer. Jennifer had a very hands-on personality.

As Jennifer and I chatted, she touched my shoulder and my arm, overtly violating the invisible three-foot no-go zone we Midwesterners all carry around. When Jennifer departed to mingle with others, my wife fixed me with a look that would melt titanium.

“What’s on that business card she gave you?” she asked.

“Says here that Jennifer specializes in tantric massage.”

“Your tantric doesn’t need any massaging!” said my wife.

Fortunately, a moment later my wife’s and the entire room’s attention was diverted when a fracas broke out between two women. There was a flurry of pushing and yelling; loud, derogatory statements were made concerning each other’s morals and recent ancestry. The adversaries were quickly separated and restrained, so the catfight was stopped before it could really begin. I felt vaguely disappointed.

We were about to be served our meals – I was looking forward to my sirloin – when one of the attendees stood up and began making a speech. He waxed nostalgic about the “good old days” in the high school that we’d never heard of, making special mention of Kathy, a world-famous movie star classmate whom we’d also never hear of. When Kathy rose to thank him, he impetuously grabbed her and planted a long and passionate kiss on her mouth. Lipstick was exchanged.

Kathy responded by coughing and gagging and falling to the floor. Several people rushed to her aid, but moments later she was declared dead!

Shortly after Kathy’s lifeless body was carried from the room, we tucked into our meals. That might sound cold, but it wasn’t like we could do anything for her. I thought about calling “dibs” on Kathy’s dessert, but decided that this might seem a bit too callous.

The room buzzed with discussion regarding the cause of Kathy’s demise and who might have done it. We realized that some of the conversations we’d had with certain guests during social hour might have contained clues.

I pointed out to our tablemates that some of the so-called ‘clues’ might actually be red herrings.

“Will you shut up about Jennifer?” said my wife.

About the time that our cheesecake arrived, a police inspector named Sherbert Holmes strode into the room. He announced that no one could leave until he had questioned key suspects.

His inquiries revealed that Kathy had numerous enemies in the room, many of whom might have wanted her dead. Even Kathy’s best friends agreed that she could use a little killing. Such is the life of a world-famous movie star!

Holmes’s keen intellect soon ferreted out the truth and the guilty party was arrested and hauled away. We toasted this investigative success with a cup of after-dinner coffee.

I chatted with Sirrina Martinez, the lady who was responsible for the evening’s adventure. Sirrina is the Event Coordinator with the Lake Benton Convention and Visitors Bureau. I asked her what had engendered the idea for a whodunit dinner theater.

“When I was little, the TV show Golden Girls was big at our house,” she replied. “In one episode the girls attended a murder mystery dinner theater. Ever since then I have wanted to do an event like this.”

Have you directed anything before?

“No, this was my directorial debut. None of this would have been possible without our wonderful community volunteers. Funds raised tonight will go toward the Lake Benton Opera House. Our hope is that we can host more community events like this.”

As we drove home, my wife and I discussed the evening’s happenings. How is it that we missed all those obvious clues?

“They arrested the wrong person,” said my wife. “It should be a felony to wear a dress that’s that red!”

If you’d like to contact Jerry to do some public speaking, or just to register your comments, you can e-mail him at: