Revenge On The Goldfields?

The perfect gold rush game!

It’s the midst of the gold-rush. Alec Rashford – the ‘king’ of Falcon’s Ridge – has been shot dead and about time too. Who shot the most hated man in town? Was it ‘Snakeman’ Waller? Or the one they call “The Black Widow”? Everyone has access to a Colt revolver, so who could it be?

Reading level: 7

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Overview

It is in the midst of the gold-rush. Alec Rashford – the ‘uncrowned king’ of Falcon’s Ridge – was shot dead in Barton Street last night after leaving The Station Hotel shortly after 10.00pm. A cook at The Station Hotel found his body in a road culvert this morning as she headed to work to prepare the breakfasts. Rashford’s body was taken to the hospital and examined by the doctor who estimated the time of death between 10.00pm and 1.00am last night. He determined that a common Colt revolver, the handgun of the gold-fields, caused the wound. The doctor also said there were traces of Friar’s Balsam on Mr Rashford’s shirt collar and lips but there were no obvious cuts on his neck or face.

The Falcon’s Ridge police have called certain townsfolk to attend a special meeting at The Station Hotel to begin investigations into the murder. Others may have invited themselves.

Note: As this is set in a hotel, there is the occasional mention of alcohol consumption. One of the ladies was treated as if she was a prostitute, but she isn’t one. Apart from this, it is all “good, clean family fun”.

Excerpt

Dulcie Rashford : “I do own a small dainty gun. I have it for my protection when I am travelling on the coach alone – because there are armed robbers and amorous menfolk.”

What they’ve said

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Philip Witts, Australia

“Dear Stephanie,

Just a short note to say how much Janie and I enjoyed “Revenge On The Goldfields”. This being my first sortie into murder mystery, and not being the most natural of performers, I was a little apprehensive about the evening. How much of a spectacle was I about to make of myself?

As it turned out the character, Warden Dave Cole, was well within my range. (Not required to wear anything too outlandish, or speak in an unspeakable accent.) And, of course, my defenses were down as soon as I clapped eyes on my fellow suspects, and I relaxed as the evening progressed. In fact I found the experience a little like learning to ski. Making an idiot of yourself is half the fun.

Janie and I ended up having a great time. The characters were engaging, the clues intriguing and the murderer elusive, but quite logical in the end.

Thanks for a wonderful evening.

Best wishes,

Phil Witts.”

Karen Kaczor, USA

“Dear Stephanie,

Our Murder Mystery was held last weekend. It was a big success.

We took some liberties to personalize it to our group (a church group) by taking out references to liquor and replacing them with an Iced tea/lemonade drink called an Arnold Palmer. We put up signs all around the room ie, Church Street, Barton Street, The Station Hotel, Strike, Bar Open, Patrons Only. We constructed a horse out of an old saw horse and named it ‘Sawbiscuit’. We sat one or two characters at each table and the centerpiece for that table reflected that character{s}, like Dulcie’s table had a silver tea service, roses, a small sail boat and pieces of gold (actually, rocks painted gold). And, Clementina Jones’ table had a serving tray with a tea pot, two cups, a roster some daisies and a candle. It was a great presentation.

We all worked really hard and went to a lot of trouble to add to the experience, but it could have been done just as successfully if we hadn’t gone to all that trouble. It was my first murder mystery but they have already asked me to do it again next year! The script was great and the story line was easy to follow. What Fun! Any suggestions for next year?

Thanks,

Karen”

Marte Kellogg, USA

Here is a photo of Jack ‘Snakeman’ Waller from Marte’s “Revenge On The Goldfields?” party:

A photo of Jack 'Snakeman' Waller from Marte's Revenge On The Goldfields party

Marte sent in this feedback about her party:

“Dear Stephanie,

We really do enjoy your mysteries.

Marte”

Mike and Jo Long, USA

Mike sent in this feedback:

“We love your mysteries.

Mike”

Mikes photo of Snakeman and Poppy showing their guns from his Revenge On The Goldfields party

Mike’s “Revenge On The Goldfields?” party group photo showing his use of toy guns as props:

Mikes group photos showing the guns from his Revenge On The Goldfields party

Invitations

Reading level

Note: The reading levels of each kit (not just “page” as it says below) were determined by copying and pasting the kit (the meet and mingle version for 17 to 30), into The Readability Test Tool (see www.read-able.com).

Revenge On The Goldfields reading details picture

Characters

The people present are:

Mrs Dulcie Rashford

(widow of the victim) I came to Falcon’s Ridge with Alec because that’s what wives with four young children have to do – follow their husbands. Before we came here we lived in Villawood and the children got to see their grandparents and swim in the ocean. I’ve never got used to the dryness here. But Alec said he knew how to make good money from gold mining without getting his hands dirty. He said he knew Falcon’s Ridge would make him a rich man. He was right about that and I guess I shouldn’t complain – but it’s been no fun being Alec’s wife since the miners went on strike and everyone in the town hates us. Six months of strike have meant six months of horror for the children and me – I begged Alec to listen to the miners and give them the same wages as the men in Hurston but he wouldn’t listen. Like always, Alec was never interested in my opinion.

Jack ‘Snakeman’ Waller

(owner of The Station Hotel) I had an Italian brick-maker create 340,000 bricks to build The Station Hotel in 1902 when Falcon’s Ridge was booming. With the Gilder mine just across the road producing good money I had extra cash, so I installed a hand-pumped water supply system with galvanized horse troughs right beside my hotel. All the town’s horses could drink outside while all the town’s men drank inside my bar. They call me “Snakeman” cause I have a pit of pet snakes in the cellar. They are gentle creatures when you get to know them. I even have a photo of my daughter draped in snakes hanging in the public bar. I’ve married a beautiful woman but unfortunately all the other men in town think she is irresistible too. Poppy enjoys flirting with them and it makes me mad. She says she is just having fun but I don’t see it that way. I know I can get a bit hot-headed after a few drinks but what man wouldn’t to protect his wife?

Poppy Waller

(Jack Waller’s wife) I serve in the public bar at our hotel – “The Station Hotel” – and I love talking to all the miners when they finish their shifts. I don’t mind the look of a man who’s got muscles and a sweaty brow from hard labour. Jack is good to me but I hate it when he flies into jealous rages and does stupid things – like throwing poor Jose off the balcony last year – he nearly killed him. I only ever wanted a bit of a laugh and the tips are good when the likes of Alec Rashford come in for a meal. Jack didn’t know about those tips but why shouldn’t I take Alec’s gifts if he’s going to give them away?

Warden Dave Cole

(mine warden) I have been the mine warden for Alec Rashford for ten years and I have seen him drag this town from one on its knees to one bustling with businesses. Butchers, drapers, cabinetmakers – Falcon’s Ridge boomed thanks to Alec. I know he was a tough boss but I always told the men that he had to be firm to keep the mines open. But now the miners’ strike is into its six month I told Alec he should at least go and talk to the men to negotiate some sort of wage deal. I knew from the barrage of abuse I got he hadn’t appreciated my suggestion.

George Simpson

(ex-mill manager) I worked my guts out for Alec Rashford for two years – pulling all those miners into line, makin’ them work in shocking conditions on lousy wages just to keep his mines going. And after two solid years work I asked for a raise and he laughed in my face. After that I decided the only way to make money from the place was to pinch a bit of the gold dust off the wash table when no one was looking. Only trouble was I was seen and reported to Rashford. I offered him 2 weeks wages and 200 Deep Blue Shares worth 6 shillings each to square the matter. I said I only did it to put food in the mouths of my five kids, but Rashford went ahead with the prosecution. I was sent to Villawood Prison for 6 months with hard labour. The only thing you learn in jail is about guns and crime. I got out last week and jumped on the first train to Falcon’s Ridge to see my family.

Harriet Simpson

(wife of George) When my husband George was given six months with hard labour for stealing gold dust from the New Falcon’s Ridge mine I was devastated. How on earth was I gonna’ support five kids? It was hard enough when George was around. But I don’t blame him for what he did. He only did it because Alec Rashford wouldn’t give him a pay-rise despite all the extra hours he put in. I ended up getting work in the pie shop but it was so hot in summer when the wood stoves were on that I nearly died. My two oldest girls have had to help me with the pastries before school everyday, just so we can make enough to live on. It’s been a really tough time. The flour irritates my eyes. It makes it hard for me to read the Bible.

Clementina Jones

(runs Sleepy Willow boarding house) I lost my eye when I was six years old. My brother rubbed blue stone in it and I’ve been blind in it ever since. I built the Sleepy Willow to run as a hotel after my husband died. When I applied for a license Alec Rashford – in his role as shire chairman – wouldn’t give me one. He said that there were enough hotels in Falcon’s Ridge already – so what made it all right for him to build one? I wear black dresses as a sign of respect for my husband but I know people call me “The Black Widow”.

Mick Sheedy

(Irish miner) I work in the underground mine and it’s a dirty place full of mud and slush and stale air. I write songs and jingles to sing down the mines and in the hotels at night to keep everyone’s spirits up. I like romancing women and it’s amazing what an aphrodisiac an Irish accent can be. But I’m no fool and my motto is ‘love is like a mutton chop, sometimes cold and sometimes hot’. Alec Rashford seemed like a decent bloke at first. I mean if it weren’t for him none of us miners would have jobs at all, but after all these years it’s time we got the same wages as the Towers men. I felt sure the strike would work, but Rashford didn’t give an inch. Blowed if I was gonna’ risk my life for measly 10 shillings a day – Alec Rashford sure wouldn’t have.