It wasn’t the first time we’ve attended a Joy Swift weekend. They are great events that take place in hotels all over England. There is a get together drink with the 50 or so other guests just before dinner (when the 1st murder takes place!). Two “policemen” arrive, and an incident room is set up where all the information is posted as it comes in which we guests will need to study to work out the clues.
Two more murders take place during Saturday lunch and dinner – lots more info. goes up in the incident room. Between meals there are fun quiz games to solve dotted around the hotel.
Sunday morning is a last chance to review the mountain of new evidence and interview the remaining four suspects before filling out a report and handing it in. At midday, everyone is gathered together by the police who explain the motives of the suspects (aka Hercule Poirot), point out the clues and ultimately reveal the murderer.
I decided to go as Agatha Christie – appropriate on two counts, firstly because the theme of the weekend was ‘We are Detectives’ and secondly because the Queen of Crime is my great mentor as a writer.
I decided to print out copies of the book covers of some of her novels and sew them onto a dress. The intention was to cover the whole skirt, but this was all I could manage in 4 hours, and I ran out of time!
Although we generally work out the murderer and the motive, we’ve never yet sifted the plethora of material to identify the clues from the mountain of red herrings to ever gain a prize other than a certificate. There is usually only one person out of the 50 or so participants who manages to sort out everything. Nonetheless, I did win a prize for my costume at the Saturday night dinner!
It was a wonderful weekend. The hotel was beautiful with extensive grounds. We never did find time to take a walk in the arboretum – too busy questioning the suspects and chatting working out clues with some of the other guests! The whole thing was made all the more special spending it with our children who we don’t see in person that often as they live so far away. It took several days to recover when we got back home as we’d been up till the small hours on Sunday morning reviewing the latest evidence!