As seems to be the norm anymore, we spent the weekend away from the cabin. On Friday morning, we all schlepped south to the metro. Andy had family gatherings to attend. I had a murder planned for Saturday night.
Since college graduation (which she did a year ahead of schedule because she's obnoxious like that), my friend Sarah's been working some pretty crazy hours as a public accountant. We're talking 70-80 hour work weeks on average and if that's not cause enough to go mildly homicidal, I'm not sure what is. We all know the true test of friendship, right? A friend helps you move. A good friend helps you move a body.
But back in April, right before we took on the Windy City together, Sarah got a new job, one with "I can still lead a human life" hours. So in celebration of all sorts of things - birthdays, friends and time to enjoy both - Sarah decided to throw a murder mystery dinner party before the holidays really set in.
When I've tried to explain what a "mystery in a box" dinner party was over the last couple months, I've been greeted with a lot of blank stares. For whatever reason, despite never having attended such a party, I was familiar with the concept. Too much time spent reading mail-order catalogs as a child, I guess. If you're not familiar, the basic premise is that all the dinner guests play characters who have all been at the scene of murder which happened right before the game begins. All the characters have a motive for killing the imaginary murder victim, but only one character's actually committed the crime. Over the course of the dinner, clues are revealed until finally the (predetermined) murderer is discovered. It's like a live action game of Clue.
If you've seen Sarah's house, you know she has a bit of a passion for Asian decor. Naturally, she selected a murder mystery set in 1910 Hong Kong. This was a great idea for several reasons. It requires very little decoration other than popping together and stringing some paper lanterns. Also, Chinese food is easy to produce in mass quantities. It did however mean that we - Sarah, her high school friend Kristen, and I - spent all of Saturday morning constructing a kimono for Sarah. (We mixed and matched Asian cultures a bit - the night ended with a cake shaped like sushi which another friend brought and was delicious.)
Two signs a party's bound to succeed? Sake and drink umbrellas.
In the end, I wasn't the actual character who committed the murder (whew!) and a pretty fantastic time was had by all. All our prep work in the kitchen in the early afternoon really paid off when it came to get the dinner courses out and although no one took the game to seriously (case in point, one of the guys did the entire game in a German accent when a Chinese accent alluded him) everyone played along and enjoyed the ridiculousness of it all. Murder's never been so fun.