Stephanie Battams interviewed Martin Clark, the founder of The Murder Mystery Company to find out some of the inspiration behind the mystery:
How come you're still running murders after over 25 years?
"We started with classic murders, stately homes, lords and even candlesticks but now have expanded to include cutting edge CSI events, daytime mysteries and team building events. I guess we have kept up with the times and we're now busier than ever. Even more importantly I still get a buzz from running brilliant events!"
What inspired you to write your first murder mystery?
"As a baby event company born in the 1990 recession we experienced several other murder mystery companies and quickly realised there was a gap in the market for more upmarket interactive events. We designed an event and tested it on family and friends one of whom then asked us to run it for 60 people from his company! There were some first night nerves before we started but it was a tremendous success and inspirational to see so many people enjoy something you had written."
What makes The Murder Mystery Company different?
"Our events are truly different. As part of CCC Events, the UK’s top event company we have amazing resources to call upon. We have a talented inhouse design and production team with all the latest facilities. The costume wardrobe has several thousand costumes and if we want 40 iPads or 10 widescreen TVs they are in the warehouse."
What is your favourite event?
"Who Killed His Lordship has got to be an all time favourite. After a surprise, horrible, gruesome, but rather comic initial death scene, our Event Manager controls Scotland Yard behind the scenes as our main actor takes control of the room as Sherlock. I also love seeing the final performances, and taking a bow at the end!"
Why are murder mysteries still popular?
"It has everything that you could want from an evening’s entertainment. They are great fun, involve comedy, loads of interaction and have something for everyone. As well as entertainment they are also increasingly popular for team building, no doubt lubricated by the odd glass of wine or two."
How do you come up with new plots and events?
"As an ideas company we are constantly coming up with new events but only the best make it. Who would not want to step into an episode of CSI? My best ideas normally come to me when I am horizontal on one of our office sofas!"
Why have you only got a small selection of murders when some have hundreds?
"Many companies have 100’s of different scripts but one basic format. Each of our events is very different and requires substantial investment in props, costumes, artwork and devious plot lines. I also feel it is really important that your actors and Event Managers know the plot’s inside out and that would be a struggle with too many scripts."
What is your most memorable event?
"Like a good butler, discretion is vital in my line of work."
Well spill the beans on one that you can...
"OK, not long ago we launched several TV series to journalists including one for Law & Order. We had about 20 staff involved including actors, writers and event managers and took over the ground floor of a London hotel. Through the night we installed a full CSI Lab, Courtroom, murder scene and Interrogation Room so that the journalists could experience highlights from the show. It was an amazing event and many of the things we developed now feature in our murders. The journalists wrote some great reviews which was the icing on the cake!"
Describe a CCC murder in 3 words?
"Fun, engaging, memorable!"