Mystery Weekend 2019 officially went to the dogs.
But that’s just fine with organizers because at the end of those leashes were super sleuths who spent time and money in Langley in record numbers.
“This year’s event was another record breaker, with a 25 percent increase in gross sales,” said Inge Morascini, executive director of the Langley Chamber of Commerce. “Going into the weekend, we were up 43 percent over last year in online pre-sales. Having a good portion of sales in the bag takes some of the pressure off in case of bad weather.”
Chilly temperatures didn’t keep wannabe detectives from clogging the city’s streets, stores and restaurants as they collected clues and questioned a host of characters about who killed Professor E.D. Brown, discovered dead near his splintered time machine outside Rob Schouten Gallery.
Preliminary data indicate an increase over last year’s count of 2,700 participants.
Many came in groups of friends, family and dogs, dressed Sherlock Holmes-style, the dogs that is. Dashing Detective Daffodil, a low-riding pooch in plaid cap and coat, caused many a double-take.
But who better to sniff out clues than canines, observed Morascini.
“People do attend this event year after year but there seemed to be more “newbies” this year than in previous years,” she said. “There also seemed to be more children and dogs.”
This year’s crime called “Killing Time” was once again written by Loretta Martin, who is both prolific and a punster when it comes to describing the unfolding scenes of suspense.
She also tries to inject community chaos into the play. This time came a crack about law enforcement using “excessive force,” a reference to the woes of Langley’s former police chief.
This year marked the 35th annual Mystery Weekend, dubbed the longest-running live community mystery game in the nation. Participants plunked down $12 for a clue map, fake newspaper full of fake news and a fancy brochure with steampunk time-traveling art.
A most unsuspecting docile-looking Elizabeth Howe, dubbed the Goodwife, turned out to be the murderer. She was arrested and led away in front of hundreds of howling mystery fans crammed into Langley Children’s Theater Sunday afternoon.
Howe was one of many historical characters who time traveled into Langley, looking bewildered and bemused. The professor had plans to return them to their respective centuries so as not to alter history, which in Howe’s case wasn’t so pleasant. She was convicted of witchcraft and hanged in Salem on July 19, 1692.
Howe learned of her fate while perusing the Langley Library for information on local herbs.
So she put an end to the professor with a well-baked apple pie laced with poison.