The Sage Connection

A murder mystery comes to town…


In another life I owned a little café in a tiny town in California. When I say tiny – I mean the town had two bars, a mom-and-pop grocery store, a feed store, a gas station, elementary school and my café.

The name of the town is Sunol and it is one block long.

When I first moved there in the 60’s there were 400 registered voters. Last time I checked, there were about 900 people living there.

While I probably kept the Folgers’ sales rep meetingquota every week, even if everyone in town ate at my café twice a month, I could not have kept the doors open. I had to get creative and draw out-of-towners.

One of the ways I did this was to invite guest chefs to come in on Friday nights to cook their favorite recipes. I bought the materials needed and they invited all their friends and family to come and eat. The café had six-foot-tall windows in the front of the building and they served as the community billboard.

I would paint upcoming town events on the windows, including the guest chef and their menu and people came from all over. It never failed to amaze me how many people thought they wanted to own a restaurant until they actually cooked in one.

As much fun as this was for everyone involved, it wasn’t enough. So once a quarter I added a murder mystery dinner. I would buy a game, make copies of the clues and costumes required and ask for reservations.

When potential guests responded I would mail them the details needed for their character. Each table had to have six guests so usually it was comprised of friends or family members.

Each table had a winner who was incredibly proud of their cheap bottle of champagne when it was presented to them. Word spread quickly around our neighboring communities and soon I had to turn folks away.

It was great fun.

Now it can be Olympia’s turn.

There is a company called CluedUpp coming to our town on Sat., Oct. 2 and they are presenting a city-wide Murder Mystery Game.  CluedUpp is based in England and presents these programs in cities all over the world.

This game is called The Ripper Claims Third Victim. You will be sent around town, with clues sent via a CluedUppapp on your phone. Each team can have two to six players and, like the board games, dressing in costume is encouraged.

Prizes will be awarded for the fastest team, best fancy dressed (detective inspired, best team picture and best team name. There is even a prize for the best detective under the age of 16, so all ages can play, and perhaps best of all, - there is a Pawesome Pooch (Best Dog Photo) Award.

As the adventure unravels you will navigate our city streets on foot, unlocking cryptic clues and questionable witnesses when you reach specific locations.

Using CluedUpp’s app, you will interrogate virtual suspects and analyze the evidence to find out the identity of The Ripper...

Your team can start any time between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. And you can pause the game at any time - stop off for lunch, grab a drink, have a clue huddle – you are in control.

Each 51.00 ticket admits a team of two to six players; that’s as little as $8.50 per person. On average, teams take 2-3 hours to solve the mystery and all other necessary information is sent to you on your app prior to the start of the game.

It sounds like a great family outing and we will be there with bells on. Hope to see you there.

For more information and to register for the Olympia event, click this link

Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week from her home in Olympia.  Contact her at or post your comment below. 


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