Langley is a quaint little city where crime seems to sleep most of the year. But each February, someone gets murdered and the city needs help solving the mystery of whodunnit.
Sleuths of all ages are invited to the Village by the Sea for its 36th annual Mystery Weekend, “Murder at Mardi Gras,” taking place Feb. 22 and 23.
Aided by Coroner Dabria Goodnight (played by Linda Trefts) and detectives Hagatha Kisstea (Chris Williams) and I.B. Fuzz (Saranell DeChambeau), sleuths must find who killed the victim, Gussie Gruesome. In a town where business rivalries run amok, they are invited to the scene of the crime near the harbor, where an explosion occurred.
New writer Rachel McDougald took the reins this year. Previously she has co-written the mystery with longtime writer Loretta Martin, but shouldered the full responsibility in 2020 for the annual event.
In a format similar to previous years, participants will question 29 suspects, dressed in character, about details of the crime.
They will also receive a clue map and a copy of The Langley Gazette, which offers background information.
If not purchased online, participants can buy tickets at Mystery Weekend Headquarters, aka the Langley Chamber of Commerce, starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday. On both days they have from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to question suspects. They must submit their guesses to the Chamber by 4 p.m. on Sunday, and the big reveal will take place the following hour at the Whidbey Children’s Theater.
This year, a Mardi Gras parade will be part of the festivities. Around 12:30 p.m., the suspects will march down the main streets and end at Whale Bell Park, where the coroner’s report will be read at 1 p.m.
Not into solving mysteries, or looking for a Mardi-Gras-relevant way to enjoy the weekend? Several Langley businesses will be offering specials.
The Village Wine Shop will be having a “Guess the Wine” event, with the opportunity to win prizes.
Anthes Ferments will be serving New Orleans style food, and some of the other restaurants will have special drinks indicative of Mardi Gras.
And the Boatyard Inn will be hosting a photo booth in front of its hotel at the harbor.
Chamber of Commerce Director Inge Morascini estimates Mystery Weekend this year will bring in around 2,700 people.
She encourages locals as well as off-island participants to come join the “fun, inexpensive experience.”
“I know people who have participated all 36 years, so now they bring their children, grandchildren,” Morascini said. “It’s a real familial event.”
Mystery Weekend tickets can be purchased for $12, or $10 for seniors, youth and service members.
There will be prizes for those who solve the mystery correctly and even some for those who guess incorrectly. The grand prize includes a dinner with wine pairings at the Inn at Langley.
For those who miss the big reveal, the results will be posted online by 8 p.m. on Sunday.