Monday, October 8, 2012

Mystery Party 101… Or how to drive yourself crazy in three easy steps.

Not sure about the three part, but the crazy is dead-on.

To launch my first cozy mystery, Iced Chiffon, I though it would be fun to do something different. I’ll have a mystery party at my house, I decided! I have the house, I like parties. A match made in heaven.

Sixty is a nice number and I can just buy the party online. Piece of cake.

You can see where this is going, can’t you. Murphy’s Law on steroids.

First off there are no mystery parties online for sixty that has everyone involved all the time. That means I have to write the mystery. And if people are coming to my house I have to feed them and drink them.

Thirty years ago I decided I wanted kids and my husband went along with it. That gave me four waiters and barkeeps for my party. It took me a week to write the party with characters and clues.

A few things I discovered along the way. The most important is the more alcohol, the better the party. The second is that your friends are there for fun more than finding out who-done-it.

The theme was Roaring 20’s and Duffy’s Speakeasy. Lots of decorations online to buy and an easy theme to dress in costume for and did I mention the alcohol? I divided the guests into families...Manicotti family, Ravioli get the picture. I think I did this at night when hungry. Working in families made everyone pull their info and come up with the killer.

I’ve had three parties now and each time it gets better. If you’re a mystery author it’s a great it. If you’re a mystery reader get invited to one. If I do party four I’ll let you know. I’d love to have one at the Cincinnati conservatory with a Clue theme. You know, Miss Scarlett in the conservatory with the candlestick. That’s my dream. I’ll let you know when the invites go out.

So…what is the best party you’ve been to? What makes a party special? Got any suggestions if we go to the Conservatory? I’ll give away three Iced Chiffon totes from the answers.


Dr. Watson here with my staff, that would be Duffy Brown. I have her so wrapped around my little paw. All I do is look cute and she coughs up the treats. But life wasn’t always this great, I got dumped in a DQ parking lot. I  made pitiful kitten sounds and looked pathetic and Duffy came along and  gave me her cookie-dough ice cream cone. Talk about an easy touch. She named me Dr. Watson. Her license plate is Sherlock. Personally I think the girl needs therapy. 


  1. Thanks for having me at MMA, Jeff. I've learned so much at this blog and the yahoo loop and your Intent to Sell is my bible.

  2. Hi Duffy. What a fun party! Sounds like you went all out.
    Not a party I hosted, but a book party I go to every year is the TX Book Festival. Thousands of book lovers attend. This year I'm doing double duty. I'm a co-chair for a committee and I'm also moderating for Steven Saylor's talk. It's so much fun to be around writers and lovers of books! And speaking of books, I loved Iced Chiffon. I've already reviewed it on my blog.

  3. Being around other writers and chatting books is the best. I'm thrilled you enjoyed Iced Chiffon! The TX book fair sounds amazing...sure wish I lived closer.
    Thanks tons for the wonderful review. I truly appreciate it.

  4. Really great posting. Our local chapter of SinC has done these "mystery" dinners for our end of year party a couple of times and though we are not at 60 members, I think we had about 12 or 15 participate in the last one. I think it would be okay to do a mystery party with some audience members watching the production and that way you don't have to write your own and you can get those online mysteries so that you can enjoy yourself. I think the "Clue" themed one would be great too.

    Good luck getting it held in the Conservatory when you plan it. E :)

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of FINALLY HOME, a middle grade/YA mystery

  5. What a great idea, Duffy. Sometimes I think I write just to have an excuse to plan a party. There were 300 plus people from my previous career and other volunteer activities I needed to invite to my first launch party so I ended up holding it at a neighbor's house. There were chalk body outlines on her driveway and patio, and crime scene tape all over her house. At that point, I realized we better invite ALL the neighbors before someone called the sheriff's department (although that could have brought in more potential readers.) We also chalked my title, DYING FOR A DATE, and a big heart at the entrance to her driveway. Months later, I ran into a new neighbor who wondered if Jana had ever gotten a date!

    I love launch parties. I'm thinking a luau for DYING FOR A DAIQUIRI!

  6. Elysabeth, the parties are tons of fun. I wanted everyone to fee part of the action so that's why I wrote it. No one knew the killer...not event the killer...till the end.

    Cindy, that is a great launch!! Amazing. Wish I was there.

    Hugs, Duffy

  7. Let me know if any of you do a mystery party. I'm always trying to make mine better.
    We'll have to get together for one. That would be fun.
    Thanks for chatting.

  8. I loved this post! What a wonderful idea! If you ever decide to do that mystery party at the Cincinnati Conservatory (one of my favorite places), please invite me.
    I'd like to invite you to the book launch event for "Unfinished Business," the second novel in my Malone mystery series, which takes place on the west side of Cincinnati. I hope to see you there!

  9. Patricia, I'm in Cincinnati too. Where is the book launch?