I AM the Grand Master GumShoe!!!

3 Dec

I love gentle murders.

Not real ones, of course.   Rather the ones in a ‘cozy’ mystery.  Where someone dies at the beginning of the book.  Someone I don’t care about.  But then my fun begins.  I get to try to figure out who committed murder.

I don’t like murder mysteries where the author puts you inside the mind of the murderer.  Or mysteries where you know who did it from the beginning. Or murders that are vicious and mean.

I want to be the detective on a murder, where I get to examine the clues and see if they add up to the murderer as the story unfolds.  I flip back to pages I read before to check facts.  Doom to the author and editor who make a fact error in the story!  I will find it!

Mysteries are my way to relax.  I read intense best sellers….I read literary ‘masterpieces’….I read Pulitzer and Booker Man prize winners. But for true enjoyment, I want … I need…a mystery.

I also love live performances.  My husband and I have season tickets to three different theaters in the Kansas City area.  And we attend additional shows at other venues when something catches our attention.

So imagine my delight when I discovered,  “The Mystery Train”! Every two months, a new murder occurs on a ‘train.’  The people in the dining car….a private room in a local restaurant… participate in the mystery.   There are four or five actors leading the show, including a conductor who keeps everyone on course.  But they also chose people from the audience to play some of the characters.  WOW!  Murder! Mystery! And Audience participation! What more would I want to do for an evening?

I have gone twice.


The both times I went with my husband, Jay,  and good friends, Beti and Jules.  The first time,  I was chosen to be one of the participants in the story.  I was Mrs. Rita Radcliffe, a rather bossy woman.  (My sister called it typecasting when she heard the story.)

I loved it.  I got a bit of a costume and a bit of the story, along with a partial script.  I had to answer questions when members of the dining audience came to ask.  But I also had the opportunity to guess who was the murderer.

I did not do well.  It is very hard to discover information and form a hypothesis, when people kept coming and asking me questions about my character.  But I was polite and did the best I could.

We did send Jules to several tables to question the other characters in the play.  But even with this input, none of us did well.  And Jules is an attorney.

But we had a wonderful time, and a good meal.

So we decided to try it again, when the mystery changed.  This time we arrived a little late.  We were put at a table with other people, instead of one by ourselves.  None of us was chosen to play a part.  So I could devote my entire brain to mystery solving.


I listened to every word.  I took notes.  We sent Jules to interrogate the other actors and characters again and report back to us!

And I heard something that no one else paid attention to or noticed.

How do I know? I was anointed “The Grand Master Gumshoe.”   We had write “who” we thought did it, “why” and “how”. My deductions were correct, just like Sherlock Holmes.

I received my own magnifying glass and a blue velvet case to keep it in.  But more important, the actors told that I was the first person to ever mention one specific clue in my explanation.  They had not even realize how important that one clue was until I wrote it down. But to me it was “elementary, my dears!”


I admit, I am proud of this accomplishment.  When my sister came to visit, I showed her my magnifying glass every day of her five- day stay.  She might have become tired of seeing it. But since she was in my house and had no escape…and I keep it in my family room…she was doomed to keep viewing it.

Beti told me to carry my magnifying glass with me at all times to show it off.  Perhaps that is a little much?  However, I am proud to let the world know that I am and was the Grand Master Gumshoe, of one showing, one time, one night of the Mystery Train.

How can I top that?

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