Swell 1920s’ Speakeasy Murder Mystery Party for 6-10 players; virtual party or face-to-face. Easy to run; instant download. No Commercial Use.
Swell 1920s' Speakeasy Murder Mystery Party Game: Flappers, Gangsters, Bootleggers, Temperance Society and Law Enforcers in Prohibition America
Virtual Option, £17, 6-8 Players (8-10 player version available 23rd October)
Swell 1920s’ Speakeasy Murder Mystery Party for 6-10 players; virtual party or face-to-face. Easy to run; instant download. No Commercial Use.
It's the Roaring Twenties during the height of American Prohibition. In this 1920s' murder mystery party game, The Jazz Age is in full swing and The Big Tiger is THE Speakeasy in town, doll. Gangsters and molls, flappers and bootleggers, all swear that the moonshine at The Big Tiger is swell.
Outside, the Temperance Movement wave placards, rival gangsters scheme and the authorities want order, rummy.
But in this 1920s' murder mystery dinner party or party game, there's been a homicide. A homicide that the local Big Cheese wants solving. And fast.
Suitable for 6-8 players initially (8-10 by mid-October); this 20s' murder mystery party has virtual or face-to-face options. Instant download.
Buster McNail is dead. He's been whacked, chilled off, rubbed out, zotzed in his own Speakeasy.
The dolls and the molls profess horror; the gangsters and bootlegger had been watching the hoofers and the Temperance Movement founder claims to have been nowhere inside.
Yet in this hilarious 1920s' murder mystery party, everyone has secrets and everyone has the opportunity.
Can YOU sift through the red herrings to discover the murderer before the local Big Cheese takes matters into his own hands?
A fantastic evening had by all! Fantastically written! The plot was creative with a few red herrings thrown in for good measure. This was our first murder mystery and after this I will definitely be doing another.
Great, enjoyable evening. Interesting characters, lots of twists, can you work out whodunnit?
A fantastic mystery! Went perfectly with the family across Zoom. We all had a great time and really can’t wait to play another!
Polite note: each version of this game (6-8, 8-10 players) is a DIFFERENT game and must be bought separately. Some character relationships, and storylines, change for different versions; the booklets and clues are completely rewritten for each version. Please check that you have the correct number of guests BEFORE purchase. There are NO upgrades between different versions of the game but, after purchase, different versions of the SAME game can be purchased for a 40% discount AFTER the 8-10 version becomes available (estimated mid-October).
Note: optional (minor) characters do not have as large a part as other characters although they do have dialogue suggestions, motives and opportunities to have committed the dastardly crime and they can interact freely during the party.
Gender of required players: 4 females, 4 males
Gender of optional (minor) players: 2 neutrals
As all players are suspects, there are 8-10 suspects.
The 8-10 player version will be available 23rd October 2020.
The Honourable Bunny Clifford-Smythe - (twin sister of Percy) English flapper and minor aristocrat; now a private detective with dreams of being a fashion designer
Absolutely spiffing; old bean, we must catch this beastly murderer before Pa McNail sends his beastly goons to ice us all.
Ruby Ellen - widow of Buster; jazz singer and flapper; grew up in Texas but wants to sing on Broadway
All y’all honeybees know, Buster was the honey of my heart; my one true love. Frequently, dabs eyes and places hand theatrically on heart.
Mercy Sober - founder of the Moonshine Gap Temperance and Moralism Society; campaigning against flappers, drink, gambling, speakeasies, gangsters and ...
Engaged to Mayor O'Clipper
As the founder of the Moonshine Gap Temperance and Moralism Society, I must protest against ... Optionally blows tin horn / bangs drum to highlight (frequent) protests
Mary May - bootlegger (with Jimmy Joe) in the infamous McNail gang; as tough as any man but is in love with Jimmy Joe
“I ain’t fallen off no turnip truck; I may be a woman, but you respect me or I’ll cancel your birth certificate!” Frequently makes a fist at people.
Jimmy Joe - bootlegger (with Mary May) in the infamous McNail gang; sells the best moonshine this side of the mountains and has dreams of hitting the big-time
Dag nab it! I make the best moonshine this side of these tarn mountains
Whackem Will - gangster son of Pa McNail, that feared leader of the McNail gang; wants Bunny as his moll
Bursts into song and touches toy weapon when planning a hit
No-one messes with a McNail or a McNail’s doll; say that again and we’ll go for a drive!
Mayor O'Clipper - on a mission to clear the town of bootlegging, drinking, gambling and gangsters
Originally from Texas; engaged to Mercy Sober
Howdy; I’m the most honest Mayor this little ol’ town has ever seen, darlin’
The Honourable Bertie Clifford-Smythe - (twin brother of Bunny) minor aristocrat; occasional stuntman, occasional actor and general "playboy without the money"
Awfully splendid, old fellow. Quite agree, old girl.
Scars McNail - gangster in training; nephew or niece to Whackem Will
Has a fierce temper and the scars to prove it!
Being a gangster is the berries! Drives to the mountains are soo fun!
Donnie O'Clipper - flamboyant bartender or waitress; nephew or niece to Mayor O'Clipper
Wants to be a star in the new talkies
Toots, as a future star in those new talkies … Blows air kisses a lot
Available in 2021
You don't have to decorate, serve up authentic speakeasy food or splash out on 20s' costumes to enjoy your party; you and your guests can have a swell time with minimal work.
But, if you want to make your murder mystery party the bee's knees - or even the cat's pyjamas! - the Roaring Twenties offers so much scope for swell decorations and costumes that are just berries, doll! As speakeasies in this period largely offered quick finger food to mop up all the alcohol, authentic food can be also provided with minimal cooking.
For virtual parties, decorations are so easy. If guests wish to decorate, they only need to decorate the small space where the camera faces. Try using some of our printouts or ideas in our 20s-themed Decorations Pack. Or - even simpler - use a virtual background. Sites such as Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash give lots of free photos; Zoom gives instructions here.
Fish based = Lobster canapes, caviar rolls, crabmeat cocktails, shrimp cocktail, shrimp patties, oyster toast, Oysters Rockefeller, jellied anchovy mould
Non-meat = Devilled eggs, stuffed eggs, savoury cheese balls, cheese platter with olives and grapes, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed eggs, egg & mayonnaise finger sandwiches, stuffed eggplants or peppers (served hot or cold)
Meat = sliced roast turkey, sliced roast ham, sliced sausages, pigs in blankets, antipasto platter
Salads = Waldorf salad, shredded cabbage salad or Chinese chicken salad
Hot Food = Hoover stew, Macaroni and cheese, Chicken à la King, potato croquettes, chicken croquettes, meat loaf
Dessert = pineapple upside-down cake; fruit cocktail cups topped with marshmallows or powdered sugar, pumpkin or cherry pie, lemon meringue pie, Lady Baltimore Cake, strawberry shortcake, chocolate ice box cake, fruit jelly
Cocktails are the bee’s knees, doll; especially those with gin or champagne.
Or try a Bathtub Gin Punch or a Planter's Punch (serve in teacups for authenticity!).
Absinthe, or The Green Fairy, was a popular Prohibition drink due to its hallucinogenic properties; a slightly different recipe can now be bought legally.
Mocktails, lemonade, soda pop or iced tea are ideal for non-alcoholic drinks.
You don't have to dress up to have a swell party, doll. ... but there IS a Best Costume award! Many customers find that making a little bit of effort with costumes, even if it is just a token headband for flappers or toy gun for gangsters, adds to everyone's enjoyment of the evening.
Some people just adapt what they have in their wardrobes, others buy a few token props, others still buy an entire outfit from charity shops or online outlets. The choice is entirely yours.
Flappers (Bunny, Ruby Ellen, Donnie if Played by a Female)
Beaded, fringed knee-length dress. Or a sequinned, bare-backed evening dress with feather & rhinestone headband. Optional long black gloves, fringed velvet shawl or feather boa, long pearl or tassel necklace.
Gangsters (Whackem Will and Scars)
A dark, possibly striped, three-piece suit; colourful striped shirt with white collar. Contrasting tie. White or black band fedora hat with a contrasting band or a Panama hat slightly tilted; slicked-back hair. Cigar. TOY (for safety) Tommy Gun or other weapon. Buttonhole of red carnations.
Alleged Bootleggers (Jimmy Joe and Mary May)
Dungarees (or trousers with braces) plus an open-necked shirt. Broad-rimmed hat. TOY (for safety) weapon of your choice. Deep pockets, or bottles strapped to your body or legs, to hide that all-important moonshine. Fake beard (Jimmy Joe) and long hair optional.
Temperance and Moralism Society Protester (Mercy Sober)
Think old-fashioned, dowdy and modest with greys or dark colours or a dark skirt and white blouse. Try Edwardian, maybe even Victorian: high neckline, floor-length skirts, full-length sleeves. Starched white apron. White cap, bonnet or large broad-rimmed hat. Black gloves. Pearls and brooch optional. Optional placard or tin horn/drum (for noisy protests).
Three-piece suit or full tuxedo. White wingtip collar shirt. Black bowtie or a colourful tie with a matching pocket-handkerchief. For the height of fashion, add a matching coloured band around the base of a fedora hat. Cigar.
Adults and some teens with parental permission. Some parents will be happy to include teens, but this is down to parental judgement.
There is no bad language in the mystery and all subjects are handled in a light-hearted, non-explicit way.
Mild Sexual References
It's the Roaring Twenties, doll, and there are allegations (denied) of an extra-marital affair; there are also allegations (denied) that one character had an illegitimate child. No explicit details are given.
Mild Alcoholic References
The mystery is set in a 1920s' speakeasy, where illegal alcohol is (allegedly) sold; there is also a bootlegging theme. There are references to characters drinking alcohol.
Mild Comic Violence
The gangsters threaten other characters on a frequent basis with a TOY weapon and threats of "going for a ride to the mountains".
There are references to gambling.
This is intended as a light-hearted, fun mystery and most will not be upset; as with all parties, however, life experiences determine how your guests will react.
The victim is whacked over the head and then stabbed with a bottle of illegal moonshine.
There is talk of a failed hit on the local Big Cheese before the mystery begins.
There are allegations (denied) that one character gave her child/children to be adopted.
Try Some Roaring 20s' Dances
Who hasn't heard of The Charleston, that famous 20s' dance named after the city of Charleston in South Carolina? The flappers loved this dance - although bluenoses such as The Moonshine Gap Temperance and Moralism Society campaigned to have it banned! The dance is obscene, they claimed - ladies' legs could be seen and those shameless flappers rouged their knees to draw gentlemen's attention!
Other dances popular in the Roaring Twenties were The Breakaway, The Black Bottom, The Shimmy, The Toddle and the Lindy Hop. Then there were the more traditional ballroom dances such as the Foxtrot, Waltz and American Tango.
Play Jazz - That Most Popular of All Twenties' Music
What better way to set the scene for a Roaring Twenties' Speakeasy mystery than to play the type of music that dominated the speakeasies in the twenties? We're talking jazz, doll, the music of moonshine and underground bars (speakeasies). Stars such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and King Oliver rose up through the speakeasies; other bar owners hired jazz bands to create that all-important party mood.
A few famous songs of the decade are "Heebie Jeebies" and "The St Louis Blues" (Louis Armstrong), "Ain't Misbehavin" and "Honeysuckle Rose" (Fats Waller), "Gulf Coast Blues" and "I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle" (Bessie Smith, that celebrated Empress of Blues), "Rhapsody in Blue" (George Gershwin composition), "In the Jailhouse Now" (Jimmie Rodgers) and "Makin' Whoopee" (Eddie Cantor).
Don't be a Bluenose - Be The Bee's Knees with the Right Slang
Each Party Booklet begins with an introduction in 20s' slang:
"The Big Tiger is THE speakeasy in town, doll. The world wants to hear that swell jazz singing, watch those hotsy-totsy dancers and, of course, drink that famous moonshine!
Enjoy your giggle water as you Charleston the night away. Forget about the Temperance Movement and the Mayor’s new crackdown.
Everything is Jake! Be the bee's knees and order more foot juice - but be prepared to beat it or 23 skidoo if your secrets are found out ..."
Cover some cardboard boxes with brown paper and then use the crate liquor labels in your Party Pack Decorations to create a stack of illegal moonshine.
Optionally scatter around some bottles of moonshine (labels also in your Party Pack) or some toy guns, outlines of Tommy guns cut from black card or bags of fake money.
As a finishing touch, consider adding a bit of 20s' glamour with some strands of fake pearls or drink bottles sprayed with black or gold paint.
Or add some money bags with fake (or real) dollars sticking out.
In the 1920s, customers flocked to speakeasies for illegal gambling - as well as for that famous moonshine.
To echo this theme, stick playing cards onto old table mats and coasters; stick them onto a cardboard box or vase to create an unusual centrepiece.
Optionally, stick an arrangement of playing cards onto card and hang on the wall.
Create an easy and unusual table centrepiece to reflect the gambling that happened in some 20s' speakeasies.
Cover square boxes in white paper and draw on the circles to represent the dice faces.
Add a few candles and pearls and enjoy your party!
Plaster your front door with our “Closed for violation of the National Prohibition Act” sign (free in Party Pack) - after all, there was a police raid the night of Buster's homicide but the REAL entrance is the unassuming door round the side!
Put The Big Tiger sign onto either cardboard or wood and hang over your door.
As there was a failed shooting outside this same Big Tiger the day before Buster was killed, add police Wanted poster. Maybe even draw the outline of a body outside.
As well as the tabs above, check out our Pinterest board for some swell ideas.
Full host instructions to throw a swell 20s' murder mystery party. Separate host instructions for virtual parties (and also a host tip sheet for virtual parties). Your host instructions for the party are highlighted in orange.
Be the bee's knees, the cat's pyjamas, the cat's miaow.
Just one fold and you have an attractive A5 booklet with borders and an easy-to-read font. The front page, a copy of Moonshine Gap News, gives a bite-sized introduction to the murder mystery background.
The 1920s'-style Invitation is supplied as a Word document with editable fields and a background image.
A short MP3 audio introduction to set the scene; a short MP3 audio solution in addition to the optional Whodunnit round. Should you have any problems, there is a printed backup.
Suitable for both beginners and experienced crime-solvers! Our prompt cards CAN be read like a script (ideal for those who find ad-libs difficult). More out-going players, however, can use their own words and ad-lib as much as they wish.
These neat A5 booklets include the game instructions, round prompt cards, map, accusation sheet and optional interactive whodunnit round in one easy-to-print booklet for each character, with colours and font themed for the 1920s.
Clues enable evidence to be presented in bite-sized chunks.
Certificates for the best actor, best costume and best solution are in a swell Roaring Twenties' style, doll. You may if you wish provide prizes as well.
The virtual option also has certificates for the best decorations and food.
Themes: 1920s = The Roaring Twenties, Speakeasy, Prohibition, Gangsters and Flappers
Murder Mid-Party?: No
Host Plays a Character?: Yes
Format: optional initial mingling session, 6 short rounds, optional interactive whodunnit
Availability: instant download (pdfs + 2 audio MP3 files with a printed fallback + editable Word invitations & menus)
Time: 1.5 - 2.5+ hours + food (depends on party size and number of ad-libs)
Age: Adult; some Teenagers (See Age & Sensitivities above).
Type: virtual party (ideal for Corona lockdown) or house or garden party.
Dinner Party: 6 - 8 Players - 3 females, 3 males, 2 neutrals (£17)
Party: 8 - 10 Players - 4 females, 4 males, 2 neutrals (£21); available mid-October
Cost: £17 - £21 (payment via PayPal)