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Adult Kit FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about

Anyone's Guess Mystery Kits for Adults

1. What do you mean by "mystery kit?"

    Included in the PDF download:

    Mystery Planner with all of the instructions

    Graphics to be used as evidence in the mystery (including tips for making the evidence more real than the original black-and-white master copies)

    Pages to photocopy for your Guests: Persons of Interest Introductions, First Statements to Investigating Officers; Answer Sheet; Comment Card

    Cards with the Persons of Interest Intros and the First Statements for those playing the parts of the Persons of Interest

    Cards with the Host/Hostess and Newscaster parts that help move the mystery along

    Items for promoting your mystery event

2. Can I order this kit for a private party?

    Although developed with Library and Friends groups in mind, this could be done at a party. This is not an out-of-the-box game. It takes preparation and guidance, but your guests could take the brief parts of the Persons of Interest and the Newscaster without having to prepare in advance. If they dress for a cocktail party, they'll be "costumed" correctly.

3. What about Props?

    A list of desired props is in the Mystery Planner. Props could just be described ("Next to the body was a long gold chain necklace"), but using them adds to the realism. You decide how elaborate they should be.

4. What is a "Crime Scene?"

    This is a place decorated to resemble the scene described in the mystery. Your Guests can visit this scene to discover clues (both genuine and "red herrings") to help solve the mystery. Directions for creating the Crime Scene are included in the kit.

5. How can I use the kit without creating the Crime Scene?

    Seat your Guests around a table. When it's time to "visit" the Crime Scene, describe it (using "Creating and Setting Up the Crime Scene") and pass around Props and Evidence from the scene. You or one of the players then describes each prop or clue to the rest of the group.

6. Why should we enhance the evidence? How do we do it?

    The evidence in the kit is all basic black-on-white. It can be used as is, and will provide both useful clues and "red herrings" for your players. However, if you would like to make the clues more varied and more "realistic," suggestions are made for how to do this.

    For example, if there is a "love note," you could photocopy it onto lavender paper and trim it to note size. Or, you or a helper could hand-copy the words in the note with green ink onto floral stationery. This not only adds to the realism, but provides your assistants a way to add their own flair to the clues. See the Sampler page.

        (Warning: do not use the same handwriting for different characters' notes. Your players will likely pick up on this and be mislead.)

7. What's the basic procedure for the evening?

    Player are given some basic rules, such as sharing all evidence found.

    They listen to the Persons of Interest introduce themselves.

    Next they investigate the Crime Scene and share all of the evidence they find there.

    Then they learn about the First Statements to Investigating Officers, which the Persons of Interest read.

    Finally, other possible evidence is examined by everyone. Provided "Newscasts" help to move players through the various steps.

    At this time everything has been shared and it's time for the Guests (individually or in teams) to try to solve the crime. They turn in their answer sheets and can have refreshments while the winner(s) are decided.

8. Can I do this by myself?

    Yes. It can be complicated, but take it step-by-step and everything should go well. When it's time to learn about the Persons of Interest, ask your Guests to volunteer to read the Introductions, which are only one paragraph each. Ask for Guests to volunteer to read the First Statements when it's time to share those. Usually at least of few of your players are willing to ham it up a little, which just adds to the fun.

9. How can a committee be involved?

    The committee can meet to plan all aspects of the mystery.
    They can prepare publicity and plan a social media campaign.
    Your volunteers can help to enhance some of the Evidence.
    They can loan props, create scenery, and set up the Crime Scene.
    They can take the brief parts of the Persons of Interest and that of the Newscaster.
    Some items of Evidence could be recorded and played back as a phone message or a radio/television interview.
    They can help to serve dinner or refreshments and one or two can help determine the winners.
    We can hope they will also stick around to dismantle everything and clean up!

10. I'd like to do a mystery program, but I'm worried about protests against "promoting violence in the library." How do I handle this?

    First, emphasize that the crime has already happened at the time the mystery begins, so the violence is noted, but not graphically presented.

     Second, the villain is brought to justice at the conclusion of the mystery.

    Third, the focus is on solving the crime. It is a way for your Guests to test their investigative skills.

 11. I have questions. Can I phone you?

    Contact by e-mail is preferred. <jdickey@janetdickey.com> I generally check for messages at least once a day. If you really need a phone number, please e-mail and ask.

12. We've used one of the "Library Mystery Night Programs" (www.librarymysteries.com) before. How are the Anyone's Guess kits different?

    The Anyone's Guess Mystery Program Kits are somewhat simpler and designed to be about a 2-hour program. Because they are designed without any ad-libbed interviewing component, volunteers or even Guests can play the Persons of Interest parts with very little preparation.

    You and your committee have plenty to do before the event, your Guests do not. There was a library that took one of the Teen kits and had a drama group play the Suspects - they did ad-lib a question and answer session. So if you and your committee are up for it, it can be done.

    Another library added their own Suspects and Clues to one of the Teen kits. It's my intent to give you all the basics - and you can take it from there! One frequent comment is that the Guests love seeing other Guests or Friends in the parts - it's really part of the fun to see people you know getting into the drama.