Get a clue: It's Mystery Weekend in Langley

Lily and Ivory White, played by Haley and Hannah Herrin, are two of the suspicious characters in this year
Lily and Ivory White, played by Haley and Hannah Herrin, are two of the suspicious characters in this year's Mystery Weekend in Langley.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / The Record

LANGLEY — There are some fine folks in this seaside village determined to have fun this weekend.

Or die trying.

A murder will take place later this week on the streets of Langley and the killer, once again, for the 25th straight year, will roam the streets.

Actually, there may be three bodies rotting in the local morgue, but more on that later.

Amateur fans of macabre murders, twisted thinking and silly sleuthing can delve into the Byzantine pathways of the “Sacrifice in Silver” when it descends on Langley during Mystery Weekend this Saturday and Sunday.

The event is the traditional kick-off for the Langley tourist season, and is a top draw for sleuths and Sherlocks across Puget Sound and beyond.

“The writers put so much effort into developing these mysteries,” said Langley Chamber of Commerce executive director Sherry Mays. “This year is going to be the best yet. I hear there’s a good twist that will keep players guessing.”

The adventure begins at 10 a.m. Saturday when the Langley Gazette will report on all the details and deliver some clues. It’s available along with a Mystery Weekend Clue Map for just $10 at the Langley Visitor Information Center between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Tourists and locals alike follow clues to solve the town’s mystery. Various locals play the parts of characters in the story, and players are invited to question them for information. Those who believe they have solved the game may submit their solutions and enter into a drawing for prizes donated by area merchants.

As always, the convoluted Mystery Weekend plot requires those possessing a razor-sharp investigative mind to unlock the killer’s identity: A retired Army general has arrived from Washington to negotiate with the ’49ers to acquire the chocolate banana slugs they’ve been raising in hopes of using the creatures to feed Third World countries.

Unfortunately, the general has stumbled upon what he believes is an illegal distillery deep in the woods and threatens to tell the federal authorities of its existence.

Not smart, for he soon turns up quite dead.

But, wait — there’s more to the story. When the new coroner enters the morgue to process the general’s remains, he finds two bags of desiccated bones.

Horrors! Is there a serial killer loose on the streets of idyllic Langley?

The one person who knows for sure isn’t telling.

Loretta Martin co-authored the dark tale with Mike Hill and Saranelle DeChambeau. She’s been writing spell-binding mysteries for the town for 10 years, when not keeping track of things as a secretary for St. Augustine’s in-the-Woods Episcopal Church.

“Nobody finds out until the solution is revealed on Sunday at Langley Middle School by the shortest Texas Ranger on the planet, I.B. Fuzz,” Martin said.

A law enforcement officer will escort the revealed murderer in handcuffs to the local jail for processing.

The dizzying cast of characters, 30 strong, will help sleuths around town both days, dispensing wisdom, advice, platitudes and, if one is lucky, a few clues.

One such character is I.B. Fuzz.

“That’s right, I am the detective and I solve the crime, as I have the past 11 years,” Fuzz revealed. She’s played by DeChambeau, sporting a genuine copy of a Ranger star on her lapel. “I’m an institution around these parts.”

Annie Horton usually depicts the wife of the dead guy but this year she’s the wife of the prime suspect.

“I am a splendid crier,” the luscious Hildie Clam noted. “I can cry at the drop of a hat.”

“I was a singer in my heyday,” said Gracie Slack (played by Josh Hauser, a fixture on mystery weekends for 25 years). “Sort of an aging, frustrated rock star wannabe,” she added.

Tammi Sloan plays Candace Barr, president of the Silver Belles.

“I’m mainly concerned with getting the lovely ladies of Langley signed up for our new modeling agency,” she said sweetly. “Beyond that, I couldn’t say.”

Head pisceolgist Moby White (Joe McDougald) explained that his group was formed when the sacred silver salmon were spotted in Saratoga Passage.

“It only happens once every 12 years,” he noted. “We find the timing quite fishy.”

During a recent get-together for the actors at the chamber office, Erin Boguch from Bellevue and Frank D’Amelio from Santa Barbara, Calif. stumbled in searching for information on the town. They found an unfolding mystery instead.

Looking at the zany assemblage of characters picking up their clues for the caper, Boguch said, “Whatever story you want to tell me, I’ll buy it.”

She added that the couple might decide to come back this coming weekend, which is music to Langley merchants’ ears and the real point of Mystery Weekend.

“Mystery Weekend has become such a great Langley event over the past 25 years,” Mays said. “It brings together the entire town as businesses and residents get together to make this event so special. People come from around the world to participate.”

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