Arts and Entertainment

Amateur sleuths untangle murder during Langley's Mystery Weekend

Judy Farland, one of the prime suspects, played by Joann Lechner, answers questions from two amateur detectives as she wanders Second Street after the murder. - Michaela Marx Wheatley / The Record
Judy Farland, one of the prime suspects, played by Joann Lechner, answers questions from two amateur detectives as she wanders Second Street after the murder.
— image credit: Michaela Marx Wheatley / The Record

A fictitious murder on the set of a fictitious movie had Langley’s streets abuzz this weekend.

Hundreds came out to unravel the mystery surrounding the untimely demise of movie producer Samuel Goldfin Myser.

Locals and visitors alike sleuthed through the streets of Langley to solve Langley’s latest fictitious case of murder and enjoyed a day shopping, eating and exploring Langley.

“I think I know who did it,” said Jennifer Amherst, who had come from Seattle with a group of friends. “This is so much fun. The actors are super and they have paid so much attention to detail.”

The weather cooperated as well and Langley remained mostly dry while it rained elsewhere throughout the weekend, which certainly favored the many detectives who tried to break the case.

It was one of the most successful mystery weekends in recent years.

Langley Chamber of Commerce board President Mary Ann Mansfield said attendance was up by far.

“The information that I have is that the sales (of game books) at the end of Saturday exceeded all the sales from both days last year,” she said.

The blue mystery weekend T-shirt that the chamber produced for the event was a popular souvenir.

“Mystery weekend T-shirt and sweatshirt sales were wonderful,” Mansfield said. “We only have a few of each left in stock.”

Not only the organizers at the chamber had a good weekend. Mansfield said business was up for many downtown core merchants as well.

“I was working at Music for the Eyes on Saturday and business was wall to wall all day,” she said. “I only hope that the other merchants had such a good day. People were buying, not just running in for clues.”

It all started with the discovery of a gruesome murder in the quaint Village by the Sea. Movie producer, Samuel Goldfin Myser, lay slain in Langley Saturday morning.

He had plans to make a movie in Langley — the revival of his favorite movie form, the rollicking western musical. Myser had heard about plans to produce a full-length movie musical based on the history of Langley’s first all-woman city government. In order to get as much (free) publicity for the movie as possible, he decided to hold auditions for the movie in Langley during the town’s centennial year.

Under suspicion was the motley group of semi-famous wannabes, desperate has-beens, enthusiastic locals, and beleaguered production members who had converged on the tiny seaside town for cast auditions.

On Sunday the mystery was solved.

As a result of an intensive investigation by Detective I.B. Fuzz and the work of Langley Coroner Gus Gruesome, it was determined that only one could be the killer.

Early into the investigation the detective determined that several people had both the opportunity and motive to murder Myser. But soon the veteran crime solvers eliminated several suspects.

Both Titus Kanbea and Stephen Spielswords left under suspicion. Both were sick of working with Myser, whom Stephen suspected of embezzling money from the movie budget, and Titus called an impossible tyrant. Photo courtesy of Sharon Lundahl | Stephen Spielwords, portrayed by Wayne Furber, was revealed as the murderous movie maker at Langley’s Mystery Weekend.

When the results of the DNA tests came back from Coupeville Scientific, the detective saw that Myser’s blood was found on the man’s watch near his body. Since Myser only wore jewelry of yellow gold, detectives knew the watch was not his.

Detective Fuzz thought she would need to send operatives out to determine who owned that watch until she read further in the lab report and discovered that the skin tissue under Myser’s fingernail belonged to Spielswords.

Stephen Spielswords was not only sick of working for Myser he also suspected he was moving money from the movie budget to his personal bank account, endangering the success of the production. The final straw came when he learned that Myser had been the Terra Preda International banker and Wall Street mortgage derivatives trader who was responsible for Spielswords’ elderly parents losing their home to foreclosure. And that spelled the end to the great producer.

It was the 29th mystery solved in Langley.

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