Let’s set the scene: the creaky old manor house lurking ominously at the top of the hill above a picturesque teapot village. Having been empty for quite some time, it is suddenly bought by a mysterious couple with a murky past who invite all of the curious, gossiping local residents to the house warming party. The butler does the rounds with the drinks tray, the clock strikes nine, the lights flicker…and the guests start dropping like flies.
Photo Credit: WRHMedia
Murder Most Predictable
It’s a familiar scenario. So familiar in fact, that anyone accepting such an invitation must almost certainly have a death wish. Cyanide in the brandy, a swift blow to the back of the head with a fire poker and a kitchen knife in the back when the lights conveniently go out. Any of your fellow party guests could be out to get you and chances are, they will. At this kind of gathering, a dead body or several is almost as inevitable as the arrival of the cheeseboard after dessert. Not that anyone who wants to get home alive would dare to sample any of what’s on the menu anyway. After all, it’s better to go home hungry than to not go home at all, however tempting the hors d’oeuvres might look.
The problem is that it is all too formulaic. The intended victims (if they turn up at all) will be on their guard from the outset and the would-be perpetrator will surely get no satisfaction whatsoever from carrying out a completely predictable and utterly unoriginal plan. This makes the tasks of bumping people off not only tedious, but practically impossible. With every trick in the book having been thoroughly flogged to death (no pun intended), it’s time for some fresh thinking.
Evil under the Sun
Any self-respecting criminal mastermind knows that diverting suspicion and catching people off guard is the best way of ensuring success. What better way to do this than inviting everyone for some fun in the sun on the Algarve, rather than for port and paranoia at a bleak, draughty old house in the middle of Dartmoor. The great Miss Marple herself has been known to jet off to more exotic locations than the village fête from time to time and even everyone’s favourite doddery detective was caught off her guard when the bodies started appearing because the prospect of having to do some sleuthing in the sunshine was the furthest thing from her mind.
The Butler didn’t do it
Hiring a couple of villas in Quinta do Lagowhere the guests think they are free to come and go as they please will make the task at hand much easier. Lounging by the pool without having a creepy butler lurking in the background will be a lot more relaxing for the occupants. The soothing sound of the sea, rather than the chimes of an ominous grandfather clock counting down the hours to their demise, will push all thoughts of danger out of their minds.
The offer of a free holiday, white sandy beaches and a round of golf or two will have the invitees throwing their sandals and sun cream into a suitcase before you can say ‘whodunit’. As they toast their homicidal host on the veranda, they won’t be stopping to question whether there is poison in the vinho verde.
Steven Capocci is blogger who would love nothing better than to experience a murder mystery in paradise. It would certainly make finding the clues by snooping around villas in Quinta do Lago more fun.