This is a great choice for a library activity or a school classroom mystery. Perfect as a library game or as fun for anyone!
The characters come out of their books at night to frolic. His Majesty King Henry VIII – has disappeared. Who rid the library of Henry?
Reading level: 6
The school versions come with teacher’s notes.
Overview of mystery party game
The other night in the library, when many characters were out of their books enjoying a sojourn in the night air, a crime was committed, grim and grave, right in our own library. As a result his Majesty Henry VIII – that famous monarch from the English history books – has disappeared.
Gathered at this table are the characters who were present in the library at the time of the nasty deed. Fortunately Master Sherlock Holmes is here to investigate, so the perpetrator of this heinous crime will no doubt be revealed as the night proceeds.
Alice: “Well I saw a White Rabbit looking at its watch and I followed it down a rabbit hole. I fell down a deep well, but I fell slowly so I had plenty of time to look at the jars of ‘Orange Marmalade’ and such.”
What they've said about this party game
Re a successful large group event using “Mystery in the Library”:
“Hi Stephanie! Remember me? I purchased the script for 50 for our teacher appreciation dinner. We held the event on Friday night and I cannot tell you what a huge success it turned out to be. We spent three long evenings decorating for this event and when you walked in to the room you really thought you had walked in to an old English library. We had wonderful scenes of Sherlock Holmes and Alice with the Queen of Hearts on the wall.
We are fortunate to have several artists on staff. The teachers gave … with their costume, most going out and renting very elaborate outfits. The script was wonderfully written, my staff ad-libbed beautifully.
We laughed for 4 hours straight. What a wonderful evening we had. The classified staff dressed as English maids and butlers in black and white and we served grilled steak or chicken, serving approximately 110 people. It was a night to remember and I am hearing the same sentiments from the entire staff. They are wanting a repeat for next year! Whew! It was a tremendous amount of work but it all paid off. Thank you for helping to make this evening so very special!
Tina McIntosh , Red Gum Cottage, Tamworth, NSW, Australia.
“Mystery in the Library” (fairy tale version) has entertained a few Church Youth Groups. We had Goldilocks bring her own porridge, Dorothy brought Toto and the Wicked Witch of the West was SO green. Huck Finn brought his fishing rod and Robin Hood his bow and arrows.”
Tina Wong USA
“We had a fantastic time with our 8th grade middleschoolers. It was a bonding and team building time and this wonderful game brought incredible memories and fantastic anticipation for more of these mystery games to come. I had college kids help with cooking and decorations and now they’re asking when it’s their turn to play. Thank you for an unforgettable evening!!!
The kids and parents still talk about that “magical” evening!
Thank you very much!!
See photo No. 1 above for Peter Pan and Tinkerbell posing for a photo. See photo No. 4 for a group photo.
Melissa Eakle, USA
Melissa sent in this feedback (see photo No. 2 above):
“I hosted a surprise 16th birthday party for my son. The theme was Mystery in the Library. The youngest was 1 and the oldest was 85. We had so much fun! The play was great and allowed everyone to participate. I decorated with books from the mystery and also my son’s favorite books. He is an avid reader and loved all the costumes and books! We had a great evening and would recommend this mystery to anyone wanting to entertain a wide range of ages. Thanks so much! I am entering the decor contest.
Here are Melissa’s winning decoration photos (see photo No. 5, 6 above).
Kathy McCann, USA
Kathy sent in this feedback about her party (see photo No. 3 above):
“It was fabulous!!! Whoever thought that a bunch of grownups could have so much fun dressing up as mostly storybook characters? Since everyone was given a character assignment, they spent their time simply working on their character and not wasting time trying to figure out what to be. Definitely a plus. Our party was held Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008. The weather for the weeks before was beautiful, but for party night it was a downpour of much-needed rain. That meant that all the vignets we had planned to decorate around which were to be outside had to come inside. Last minute decorating! What we did was make up 10 vignets to honor the 10 suspects. We had a ton of fun just planning what it would look like.
It was interesting to watch the evening unfold. At first people weren’t sure what to do, but as they started chatting and reading their clues, they definitely got into the swing of things. One group of about 10 were found sitting in the family room, and they were discussing in a quite serious manner, about whether Aladdin was at such-and-such a place, and could he have done it! What a hoot. No politics. Just real sleuthing and concern for Henry VIII. When we gathered back in the library/living room by the fireplace, we went around the room and each character explained who they thought did the deed and why. It was amazing how high-powered executives could spend their time solving this “crime”! Everyone had a blast and said it was probably the best party they had ever been to. Better yet, we have to come up with another one for next year!!! So, thank you so much, and please, oh please, have the perfect party idea, again, for my group of 35-40 people.
Kathy McCann ”
Traci Stevens, USA
Traci sent in this feedback about her party (see photo No. 7 above):
“We had a wonderful time decorating and putting on this mystery dinner! Our youth group has successfully used the mystery dinner for two years now, as a fundraiser to pay for our mission trip this summer. I have a number of wonderful pictures, especially one of the cake that our talented rector’s wife created for this event!
But I can only attach one, and was so proud of our youth for coming up with the idea of themed tables and creating runners for each table with drawings of different stories (they used many Disney stories and fairy tales). The attached Little Mermaid theme was one of my favorites!
Again, many wonderful costumes, but we had a costume contest and these two were voted the best overall! Wish I could send more!”
Tara Hendrickson, USA
My name is Tara Hendrickson. I purchased your Mystery in the Library kit and we just had the party today!
The party was a huge success! I had 23 people participate, including myself.
The costumes were so creative. The acting was amazing. People really got into their characters…sometimes to their detriment because they were making up information before they had heard all of the clues! It was great to see the dedication though.
I didn’t actually play the game, but was there as Sherlock Holmes to help make sure it flowed smoothly. I loved hearing everyone come up with theories about the King and whisper to each other behind other characters’ backs.
For decor I made 10 hand-drawn pictures of storybooks with the suspects missing from the pages and hung signs from the ceiling with Dewey Decimal sections of the library listed. With a bunch of books strewn throughout the house, it really made you feel like you were in a library!
I have attached a few photos for you of the costumes and the decor.
Thank you so much for a great time had by all. I look forward to future parties with you!
- Invitation in Adobe Acrobat Format (4 per page) (Alice) for girls only kits
- Invitation in Microsoft Word Format (4 per page)(Alice) for girls only kits
- Invitation in JPG Format (1 per page)(Alice) for girls only kits
Note: The reading levels of each kit (not just “page” as it says below) were determined by copying and pasting the kit (the play version), into The Readability Test Tool (see www.read-able.com). This is just the average reading level. See the character page for the reading levels for each suspect character’s lines.
Some of the characters from some versions of this party game
Alice (from Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll)
“Wonderland was not my imagination. It was a wonderful dream – a dream filled with strange creatures.” I saw a White Rabbit looking at its watch and I followed it down a rabbit hole. I fell down a deep well, but I fell slowly so I had plenty of time to look at the jars of “Orange Marmalade” and such. I came to a bottle saying “Drink Me”, but “the bottle was not marked poison”, so I drank it. I “shut up like a telescope” till I was only “ten inches high”. Then I found a cake marked “Eat Me” and I ate it and grew very tall. My feet were so far away. [Reading Level: 6]
Huck Finn (from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain)
I’m a good boy – honest. Me Pap – he kidnapped me, but I escaped. But before I left, I killed me a pig and made it look like I’d been murdered. Then I hid on Jackson Island, but I found out I wasn’t alone – Jim had run away. So we floated down the river on a raft at night and slept and fished all day. On the way I got mixed up with some con artists – “the Duke and the King” I called ’em cause they pretended to be royals so I’d wait on them. But King Henry was a worse King than the one in my book. “He used to marry a new wife every day, and chop off her head next morning. And he would do it just liken he was ordering eggs.” “Fetch up Nell Glynn”, he says. They fetch her up. Next morning, “Chop off her head!” And they chop it off. “Fetch up Jane..” and so on. King Henry, why he was a plain villain. He kept trying to latch on to me, said I could be his son, but I wouldn’t have a bar of it. [Reading Level: 5]
Cinderella (from Cinderella)
I am a merchant’s daughter. Then my mother died and my father remarried a widow with two grown daughters. Alas, when I met them, they treated me as a slave rather than as a step-sister. My step-sisters saw me covered in cinders after cleaning the fireplace and, my name being Ella, they gave me the nickname of “Cinder-ella”. After working all day on my chores, I often wondered if I would ever be happy again. The ladies of my household were invited to the Duke’s ball. But my step-mother said I could not go unless my chores were done. Fortunately, my Fairy Godmother came to my aid and – well, you all know the rest of the story. King Henry was fascinated by my glass slippers. I think he thought that if I had no slippers, that the Duke’s son would not find me in my fairytale and then I would be free to marry him instead. [Reading Level: 7]
Pinocchio (from Pinocchio by Carlo Lorenzini – penname Carlo Collodi retold by James Riordan)
When I was a puppet I lied a lot, but the Good Fairy taught me not to and to be good. ‘How stupid I was as a puppet. And how glad I am to be a real live boy.’ When I lied my nose became so long I ‘could not move without banging it against the walls or door.’ Geppetto sold his coat to buy me a spelling book for school. I sold it to go to the puppet theatre. Then I saved a puppet from being burnt by the showman and the showman gave me coins for my father. A fox and a cat told me they could multiply my money in “The Field of Miracles”. A bird and the ghost of the cricket tried to warn me not to. The evil fox and cat hung me in a tree to die, but the Good Fairy saved me. But I still let them fool me into burying my money so it would grow. They stole it. Later I became a donkey and ended up rescuing Geppetto from the belly of a whale with the help of the Good Fairy. King Henry thought that I was a silly puppet and he tried to fool me into being his slave. But the Good Fairy warned me that he was an evil man. [Reading Level: 6]
Snow White (from Snow White by The Brothers Grimm)
My step-mother was jealous of my beauty and asked a huntsman to do away with me. He took pity on me and let me run away into the forest and I came to the house of the dwarfs. I ate their porridge. They found me later asleep and asked me to stay and take care of them. But I am not a porridge thief like you Goldilocks, I only took a little from each bowl as I was fainting from hunger. And since then I have kept house for them, so I have repaid my debt to them. My step-mother asked her looking-glass `Who is the fairest of us all?’ and it told her I was living in the glen. Then my stepmother, plotted to get rid of me. She dressed as an ‘old pedlar woman’ and sold me some lace for my waist. Then she laced me up so tight, I `lost … (my) breath, and fell down as dead.’ Fortunately, the seven dwarfs soon returned and cut the lace in two, so that I could draw breath. The Queen knew I wasn’t dead because her mirror told me so, so she came again with a poisoned apple. The dwarfs thought I was dead. A prince saw me and carried me away. Then the apple fell out of my mouth and I came back to life and we married. King Henry kept trying to get me to marry him, but I refused. [Reading Level: 5]
Peter Pan (from Peter and Wendy by Sir James Matthew Barry)
I live on an island inhabited by pirates, mermaids, fairies and Indians. On the island there are lots of fairies like Tinkerbell. “When the first baby laughed for the very first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about and that was the beginning of the fairies.” I taught the three children of the Darling family to fly so they could return with me to the island. We were trying to stop the evil pirate Captain Hook from going about his wicked ways. Then Captain Hook plotted to do away with me and he captured Wendy Darling, but I was able to save her. There is also a crocodile that follows us about that has a clock inside his belly going tick, tick, tick. King Henry was impressed with my victory over Captain Hook. [Reading Level: 7]
Little Red Riding Hood (from Little Red Riding Hood by various authors)
I was on the way to visit my Grandmother when I met the wolf. We chatted about how I was visiting my Grandmother and I told him where she lived. Then he left me and I went to my Grandmother’s cottage. When I came inside my Grandmother’s cottage, I found that she looked very different from her usual self. The Big Bad Wolf locked my Grandmother in the cupboard. So I said to the Wolf who was sitting in bed dressed in my Grandmother’s nightgown, ‘Why, Granny…what big eyes you have got.’ And the wolf said, ‘The better to see you with, my child,’ imitating her voice. I won’t bore you with the rest as you have probably all heard the story. Most versions of the story end happily with my being saved from the wolf’s clutches by my father and the woodcutters. King Henry and the Big Bad Wolf had a lot in common. They were both men that little girls should stay away from.[Reading Level: 6]
Robin Hood (from Robin Hood by various authors)
I am a wealthy man who has been forced to become a thief. I steal from the rich and give to the poor. The poor of England were being asked for too many taxes. The taxes were required to fund various political battles overseas. I simply gave back to the poor the money that they had had unfairly taken away from them in the first place. Little John and I met on a plank across a river. But he would not let me pass. He was a large man. He did not see why he should make way for me and so we did battle. He used his staff, but I was victorious in our skirmish. Afterwards, he came to know me and to be one of my main supporters. [Reading Level: 5]
Goldilocks (from Goldilocks and the Three Bears by various authors)
I ate porridge at the bears’ house. The bears hadn’t locked their front door, so that’s permission to eat their porridge, isn’t it? I didn’t get much porridge anyway. Great Big Bear’s porridge was too hot, Middle-sized Bear’s bowl was too cold. So I had to eat Tiny Little Bear’s and his bowl is so small. Then I tried to find a comfortable chair to sit on, but Great Big Bear’s chair was too hard, Middle-sized Bear’s chair was too soft and Tiny Little Bear’s chair collapsed on me. I was getting tired after all this, so I went upstairs to find a bed to rest on. Great Big Bear’s bed and Middle-sized Bear’s bed both weren’t right for me. But Baby Bear’s tiny bed was perfect, so I got in. I didn’t even take my shoes off. King Henry kept saying I was a spoiled little girl and that if I was his child, he would lock me in the tower. The King had a chair in the library that he liked to sit on. It was large and I suppose it reminded him of his throne. Whenever he found me sitting in it, he got very angry. [Reading Level: 6]
Aladdin (from The Adventures of Aladdin by various authors)
I met a ‘mysterious stranger who said he would pay me a silver penny if I went down a manhole for him’. I found myself in a ‘large chamber… (filled with) pots of gold.’ ‘Put out the flame and bring me the lamp!’ he said. When I hesitated, he left me in there, dropping his ring in the chamber as he did so. Terrified, I put the ring on my finger and ‘twisted it round and round’. ‘Suddenly the room was flooded with a rosy light and a great genie with clasped hands appeared on a cloud’, and said he was at my command. I told the genie I wanted ‘to go home’ and immediately I found myself there. I told my mother of my adventures. She was a little disappointed I had returned with only the old oil lamp. But she started to polish it and ‘out shot another genie’. He said that we had set him ‘free after centuries’ and that he would be our servant. Things went pretty well after that and I married a beautiful princess. King Henry was jealous of my having a genie and even though he was already wealthy, he ordered me to give me to him but I refused. [Reading Level: 7]
The characters vary from kit to kit. If Sherlock Holmes is present, his Reading Level is 7.