A murder mystery

Was it Mrs Peacock with the candlestick?
Was it Mrs Peacock with the candlestick?

Despite having plenty of clues, super-sleuth Kim Newth finds solving a mystery is harder than it looks at Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre.

Not so elementary

Dressed in a tasteless knit top resembling a tea cosy, accessorised with a shell necklace, I am ready to travel back to 1976.

At Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre, which happens every Saturday night at the Ferrymead Heritage Park, diners are invited to freely enter into the spirit of the 1970s' setting. Tonight, I am channelling 'Nature's Child' crossed with Chrissy from the British sitcom Man About the House.

Arriving at Ferrymead on what is truly "a dark and stormy night", we are directed to the welcoming warmth of Hawaiian Mike's Margarita Bar. Along with bread and dips, diners discover some scene-setting items, such as playing cards, handcuffs and plastic guns. Each table makes a team: we are Miami Vice, while others include Charlie's Angels, Dirty Harry and Monk. We are here with work groups from the Waimakariri District Council, Digiweb, Briscoes and Ezibuy, looking funky in their '70s best.

There's time for some meet and greet before Inspector Shitenhousen (Aaron Keown) steps on to the bar's stage to announce that a terrible murder has taken place. The park's curator, Dr Farook, is dead and our task is to figure out whodunit.

We are invited to ride the Haunted Tram through Ferrymead, where zombies, killer clowns and grim reapers await. The screamers among us let rip as the tram slowly weaves its way through these assorted night frights. I am touched by a zombie - twice - but also, along with everyone else, manage to solve the night's first important puzzle. The tram takes us past a 'murder scene', cordoned with police tape, so now we know where the deed was done. Our trip ends at the park's church, where we learn more about Dr Farook's explosive family history. As if the zombies weren't enough, the first of several aftershocks rocks through at this point, leaving us slightly unnerved, but determined to see this through to the end.