The Redhead Did It!

As fans of murder and mayhem, fiancé Jack and I often spend weekends watching thrillers and mysteries. We consider ourselves quite the couch-potato detectives.
    We’re also veterans of Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa’s first Murder on the Chesapeake Weekend. It stood to reason that when we returned for the Resort’s second round of Agatha Christie-style, murder-in-a-hotel drama, we’d have it all figured out by the end of the first night.
    We were dead wrong.
    Jack and I had a killer time romping through the Rod ’n’ Reel searching for clues. But we walked away without solving the mystery.
    Since sources tell me to expect a Murder on the Chesapeake March 4 thru 6, I have compiled a list of helpful tips for mystery-weekend detectives. Happy Sleuthing!

Tip 1: Promptness counts

    The first body had already been hauled out of the dining room by the time Jack and I showed up.
    This was terrible news for two reasons: We had missed not only a hammy death scene but also an over-zealous internist attempting the breath of life on an actor contractually obligated to lie still and take it.
    The other problem with our late arrival was that we immediately became suspects.
    “Where have you been?”
    “Uh, we hit traffic,” I said.
    “I got off work late,” explained Jack.
    “They’re inconsistent!” exclaimed a tablemate. “What are your names?”
    With that, we officially made the suspect list before we ate our salads.

Tip 2: Appearance counts

    I had recently died my hair red. It’s not drastic. Well, I didn’t think it was drastic.
    “Great,” said Jack when I told him of our weekend plans. “Everyone’s going to think you’re Miss Scarlet.”
    Clearly this was ridiculous.
    Walking into dinner the second night, I heard a stage whisper from a fellow sleuth.
    “I still think it’s the redhead.” I whipped around looking for a cagey ginger, possibly fingering a butcher’s knife.
    “Uh, that would be you, honey,” said Jack.
    I raised an eyebrow.
    “You just look suspicious,” he explained with a shrug.
    I knew I should have gone blonde.

Tip 3: Be sure you can trust your dinner date

    I mostly blamed Jack for the suspicion cast upon me. On the first night, one of the suspects, Julie, sidled up to my fiancé at the bar and laid a flirtatious hand on his arm.
    She leaned in, reading his name tag and staying well within his personal space.
    “So, Jack,” she said. “Who are you here with?”
    “The angry-looking redhead right there,” said Jack with a nod in my direction. “That’s her.”
    In my defense, I was squinting at her gorgeous boots, not working myself into a jealous rage. I’m not that kind of girl.

Tip 4: If you don’t look for clues, you won’t find clues

    During free time, guests are supposed to gather clues or note suspicious behavior. I searched diligently — in the spa and on a long walk along the waterfront. (It was a working vacation, okay?)
    It was a satisfying day, but I didn’t turn up conclusive evidence.
    When I asked my tablemate Susan what her day of sleuthing had brought, she looked at me blankly.
    “I didn’t look for anything,” she said. “I had a massage.”
    My kind of detective.

Tip 5: It’s a fine line between investigating and stalking

    One guest, who my dinner table came to know as Spielberg, wandered the room filming everyone as they ate dinner. He explained that he would be reviewing the film for suspicious behavior later that night.
    I hope I was chewing with my mouth closed.

Tip 6: Remember, it’s a game

    Some people take these weekends a little more seriously than others. One guest wrapped a poisoned water glass in a cloth and solemnly handed it to the detective.
    “You’ll find fingerprints when you send it to the lab,” she whispered.
    “Uh, great,” said the house detective, grabbing the glass with his bare hand.
    Other guests roamed the dining room looking for any smudge or scrap of paper, shrieking, “I’ve got a clue!” when they found something.
    Poor Keith — the orchestrator of the weekend — was left to sort out real clues from imagined ones.
    No, he assured us, the red stained fingerprint in the bathroom is not part of the game.
    Actually, that is more troubling …

Tip 7: Solve the main mystery first1
Two-time Murder Mystery survivors Diana Beechener and Jack Alkire.

    For my part, I limited my investigation to interrogations of important suspects.
    Dragging Jack with me, I accosted suspect Julie.
    “Why do you need me here?” Jack asked.
    “Strength in numbers,” I explained.
    Despite my complaining Dr. Watson, I needed to know one key thing from Julie.
    “I don’t care if you did it or not,” I began. “I just want to know where you got your boots.”
    “Oh dear lord,” Jack muttered.
    I don’t know why he was so upset.
    I have no reason to believe she lied.