1,700 detectives track Mystery killer

Almost 2,000 people came together in Langley last weekend in hopes of finding Rosco Boscow's murderer.

They were there not because they didn't have faith in the cops, but because the draw of a good murder mystery is too powerful to resist.

Scouring the city for clues during the 19th annual Langley Mystery Weekend, slightly more than 1,700 people were fortunate enough to enjoy an event that went off without a hitch or so much as a raindrop.

Loretta Martin, director of the Langley South Whidbey Chamber of Commerce, said the numbers were up. Last year's estimated Mystery Weekend attendance was 1,300. Bringing in a bigger crowd means the chamber-sponsored activity did its job, she said.

"The main reason we have Mystery Weekend is to increase business in the community in the winter. Winter is a very slow time of the year."

According to Joanne Lechner, owner of the Eagles Nest Bed and Breakfast -- a.k.a. Victoria Victor, casino boat manager -- there were plenty of people playing amateur gumshoe on both days of the fictional murder mystery.

Participants learned Sunday afternoon that murder victim Roscoe Boscow was killed by his scheming girlfriend, Antoinette Beaverpelt, after she learned he was cheating on her. Beaverpelt had Boscow's cigarettes tainted with Geomuck slime. After Boscow smoked a poisonous cigarette during his poker game, he fell, hit his head and died in the Langley Village.

Each participant had their own strategy to come to this conclusion and more than a few others. One group of sleuths from Portland went hi-tech. They brought walkie talkies and split up into two groups.

"We get half of the clues, they get half and then we meet for lunch," said Portland resident Shanda Bhasker.

Other amateur detectives arrived Sunday via the Victoria Clipper, which docked in the Langley Small Boat Harbor.

The Langley Chamber's Martin said the Victoria Clipper had taken a few years off, but made the commitment to sail to Langley again in 2003. The sailing was a welcome one, she said, as it brought in more than 200 people to participate in Mystery Weekend.

Of those who came up with Antoinette Beaverpelt as the culprit, three winners were picked Sunday in the Langley Middle School Auditorium. Caylen Young of Auburn, Brad Lambert of Silverdale, and Lisa Espinosa of Seattle were grand prize winners.

Two South Whidbey residents, Doug Sparks of Clinton and Nikki Coyote of Freeland, received runner-up prizes.

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