Teen  Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about
Anyone's Guess Mystery Kits for Teens (grades 6-9)

1. What do you mean by "mystery kit"?
      Included in the 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 of the master copies)
      Pages to photocopy for your Guests: Suspect Introductions, First Statements to Police; Answer Sheet;
           Comment Card
      Cards with the Suspect Intros and the First Statements for those playing the parts of the Suspects
      Cards with the 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 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 Suspects and the 
        Newscaster without having to prepare in advance.

3. Are props included?
        No, but a list of desired props is in the Mystery Planner. Props could just be described ("Next to the body was a three-foot length           
        of rope"), but using them adds to the realism.

4. What is an "Evidence Scene"?
       This is a place decorated to resemble the scene described in the mystery. Investigators can visit these scenes to discover clues
       (both genuine and "red herrings") to help solve the mystery. Directions for creating the scenes are included in the kit.

5. How can I use the kit without creating evidence scenes?
        Seat your players (detectives) around a table. When it's time to "visit" the first scene, describe it (using "Creating the Scenes")
        and pass around props and evidence from that scene. You or one of the players then describes each prop or clue to the rest of the
        group. Have the players read the Suspect parts and follow the Mystery Planner to guide the players through the mystery.

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 passionate purple stationery. Or, you or a helper could
        hand-copy the words in the note with a white gel pen onto dark stationery. This not only adds to the realism, but provides
        your assistants a way to add their own flair to the clues.(Warning: do not use the same handwriting for different suspects' 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 Suspects introduce themselves.
        Next they investigate the First Evidence Scene and share all of the evidence they find there.
        Next they learn about the First Statements to the Police Officers, which the Suspects read.
        Then they move to the Second Evidence Scene and share the evidence found there.
        They move to the Third Evidence Scene and look for clues there. Provided "Newscasts" help to move players through
             the various steps.
         At this time everything has been shared and it's time for the players (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 Suspects,
             ask your players to volunteer to read the Introductions, which are only one paragraph each. Ask for players to volunteer to
             read the First Statements when it's time to share those.
         Usually at least of few of your players may even be willing to ham it up a little, which just adds to the fun.

9. How can a Teen Advisory Group or other volunteers be involved?
        Your volunteers can help to enhance some of the Evidence. They can loan props, create scenery, and set up the Evidence Scenes.
        They can take the brief parts of the Suspects 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 implied,not graphically
        Second, the villain is always revealed and brought to justice at the conclusion of the mystery.
        Third, the focus is on solving the crime. It is a way for your players 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.