Free Murder Mystery Party Plan

Last month, I hosted my first murder mystery party. It was a blast! When I was preparing for the party, I was surprised by the lack of free murder mystery party plans. There are several websites who will gladly sell you well thought out mystery events but there are no free complete party plans! So, the purpose of this blog post is to explain how I planned my party and to share with you my Murder Mystery Party for free! The first part of the blog post is explaining the event and its outcome. You will find all copies of the emails and character information I sent to my detectives at the bottom of this post. 

The Murder Mystery

I didn’t have a lot of time to plan the murder mystery, so I decided to let my sleuth detectives/party guests create their own character’s backstory. I figured if I let them own the character, they would be more invested in the party and they would roleplay their character. I was right.

I told everyone the party was casino themed. I never mentioned for anyone to buy props, but most of them did. We had wooden baseball bats, scuba gear, water guns, and even a fake earpeice! I was amazed that everyone dressed-up like their character. But, I am getting ahead of myself… The characters will be explained later in this post, first I must explain the scenario.

Since the party was to be a casino theme I decided to have the murder mystery take place in a swanky casino bar. I was the owner of said casino.

Here is the basic scenario of the murder mystery night: All of the people at the party were guests at my casino. Everyone has gathered into my casino bar for the star performer, the best Elvis impersonator in all of Vegas. As the show starts, a gun shot echoes throughout the bar. The curtain comes up, and Elvis goes down. The casino’s bar doors slam shut and everyone in the bar is now a suspect to the murder of the Elvis impersonator.

The guests must deduce who the murderer is. In order to win the prize they must make an accusation and tell me: WHO committed the murder, HOW they committed the murder and WHY they committed the murder. Some of the investigators had clues, these clues helped form the correct accusation. Some of the clues were not important to the murder mystery but would provide back story to some characters and lead some detectives on the wrong line of investigation.

I will now explain the events that led up the murder, this information is for your eyes only and will help explain the murderer’s intentions at the end of the night. This story can be determined through combining the clues, this will be explained later. One of the characters is ‘The singing coach’. He has been married to his wife for 15 years and has an excellent reputation in Las Vegas for turning no-name singers into stars. He has been teaching the Elvis impersonator for the last 5 months. The singing coach is at the casino bar on a weekly basis, watching Elvis perform. During the last 5 months the teacher and his protege began an affair with each other. Elvis wanted the coach to leave his wife and start a relationship with him. Coach promised Elvis he would, but he was lieing, he never intended to leave his wife. A week before the murder, Elvis threatens to expose the love affair. That night at the bar the coach sees “The Gun Nut” has left his trusty revolver on the table. He takes the revolver and promptly leaves. A week later the Coach uses the stolen gun to shoot and kill Elvis on stage. Since everyone is watching the stage no one sees the Coach fire the gun and he blends into the crowd.

How will your murder mystery guests every deduce this story? By following the clues.

  • The Escort”’s clue: “Elvis once paid the Escort to accompany him to a wedding. The escort tried to fool around with Elvis afterwards but he was not interested.” This clue is meant to imply Elvis is gay.
  • The Gun Nut”’s clue: “You lost your gun at the casino bar last week.” This clue is meant to imply any regular could have the gun, guests that have never been to the casino before will not have been able to grab the gun.
  • The Reporter”’s clue: “The reporter has been following Elvis for a story and he found out that Elvis was in a relationship with someone who was married.” This clue implies that guests who are not married would not have murdered Elvis.
  1. Is this character a regular at the casino?
  2. Is this character married?
  • Explicitly tell all guests that they are not the murder, there were some characters I created that were red harrings, (i.e: characters that could be the murder, but actually are not) and they thought they were the murderer.
  • Stress the importance of working together as a group to determine the murder’s identity, method and motive. Combining clues is the only way to determine these three facts. I also suggest acting as the lead detective if no one else takes the initiative. Simply asking: “What clues do we have and who would that rule out?” was excellent for narrowing down the pool of suspects.
  • the gun nut will tell everyone he left his gun at the club a week before (so any regular can take it)
  • The escort went on a paid date with Elvis and Elvis was not interested in her at all, he didn`t even fool around with her. This is supposed to suggest Elvis is having a relationship with another man, i`m not sure if they will pick up on this.
  • The reporter knows that Elvis was in a relationship with someone who is married, I am hoping most people will think he is having a relationship with a women, but in fact he is having the relationship with a man.

Subject: Your detective skills are requested for a Murder Mystery Party
Imagine this:

  • WHO is the murderer
  • WHY did she or he commit the murder
  • HOW did they commit the murder

Note: Some other guests have guns with them, they are meant to throw the investigators off the trail of the coach. However, if your party guests are wasting too much time trying to prove another guest with a gun is the murderer you can release the following clue: “The Gun Nut’s gun was the murder weapon”.

So combining these three clues your guests should have a suspect profile in mind: a married person who has been to the casino before.

Each character will have the following two characteristics in their profile:

Using these two traits and the suspect profile the majority of the suspects will be eliminated.

Email Templates and Character Information

The last section of this blog post contains Email templates and character information.

Have fun hosting your murder mystery party! Please, leave a comment and let me know how it went!

Here is a video of clips from the night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aULq18FI0YU

Mandatory Core Characters:

Investigator/reporter You are a resident bad boy and have earned quite a reputation for his ability to try any underhanded trick you can think of to get the latest scoop. Of course, your methods aren’t always legal…but that only matters if you get caught, right?

Note: You have never been to the casino before.

Clue: You have been following Elvis for a story and you know that he was in a relationship with someone who was married.

The Gun Nut You own several guns. You and your wife are a die-hard Elvis fans and you believe this Elvis impersonator is terrible since you have seen him before. You have been to several of his other shows and heckle him on and off stage. You are NOT the murderer.

Clue: You lost your gun at the casino bar last week.

Escort you attend to a good number of Cinema Magic’s most esteemed guests. You pride yourself on your class and would never associate with a hussie from the street.

Clue:Elvis once paid the Escort to accompany him to a wedding. The escort tried to fool around with Elvis afterwards but he was not interested.

Recently Fired Gladiator Actor: You and Elvis used to be best friends.You were previously employed by the casino to entertain the gamblers. Elvis ratted you out to the owner for drinking on the job. One night in a drunken stupor you told the dancer that you were going to stab Elvis in the back, like Brutus stabbed Ceaser.

The Singing Coach: You are the murderer.

You must tell others: You are a singing coach who has been coaching Elvis with his voice. You give him private lessons and are frequently at the casino to critique and watch him. You are married to your wife (who is not at the casino tonight).

You don`t have to tell people these next secrets but you CANNOT contradict them. You were in a sexual relationship with Elvis. You promised Elvis you would leave your wife for him but never intended to. Elvis learns you wont ever leave your wife and threatens to expose your love affair. You take the Gun Nut`s gun (he forgot it at the casino bar one night) and shoot Elvis when the curtain rises. You sneak away into the crowd and join the confusion.

Other people will have clues that may identify you:

Filler Characters

Bouncer You take care of a good majority of the owner`s dirty work. Although loyal, you are not very bright but very friendly. You are a bachelor. The professor is a regular at the casino and you are friends with him.

Clue: You know the scuba diver and Retired Cop are carrying guns because you patted them down as they entered.

Second act: Sugar-sweet, full of himself/herself and never seen without a purse-full of pills to get through the night.

Clue: You wanted to hang out with Elvis later tonight for late night drinks but he told you he was busy, he had to tell someone something.

Depressed Director is so depressed, and stays that way to inspire art. He directs all the shows at the Cinema Magic Hotel and goes so far as to call each one a “picture,” as if he was really creating a movie with each one. You has a habit of dragging down the party with his depressed whining and tends to overreact when people comment. “It feeds me,” he says, and walks away in a huff.

Clue: Elvis constantly ridiculed you and your art.

Dancer You have been a dancer since she was three years old. Your a showgirl for the hotel. You dream of being an opening act because she longs for broadway and you carry pictures of yourself from plays and pageants (don’t actually need pictures, this is just for backstory.). Your character is full of herself and will always lets anyone know when she enters or leaves a room, and sometimes throws in a little dance step for good measure.

Clue: ‘the recently fired gladiator actor’ was drunk and told you that he was going to kill Elvis by stabbing him in the back, like Brutus stabbed Ceaser.

The Lawyer is a up and coming lawyer and is on a trip to Las Vegas. You are slick, suave, and never go anywhere without a fresh shave, an expensive haircut and a shiny new pair of shoes. You have the reputation for being one of the finest lawyers in all of Ashton.

Clue: You hired Elvis for a corporate gig, and Elvis showed up drunk. You looked like a fool in front of the senior partners. You did not know Elvis was a performer at this casino until he saw his face on posters!

Scuba Diver / The Assassin: You are a hitman. Your cover is a scuba diver. You were NOT hired to kill Elvis or anyone else at the casino. You are simply here to gamble and have a relaxing weekend. You have a gun with you.

Clue: You were talking with the bartender during the shooting. This is your alibi for not shooting Elvis.

You can play this however you like, you can reveal you are an assassin in any way you would like.

Caped Crusader by day you are a very socially awkward individual. However you have an alter ego as a caped crusader crime fighter. You can play this any way you wish :)

Retired Cop You worked as a cop in newyork for 30 years.

Clue: You are retired and have lots of money because of your pension and an injury insurance payout from when you were shot in the arm on duty. You always carry your glock (police issued pistol).

UFO Conspiracy Nut You are convinced Aliens exist. You think aliens are responsible for the murder of Elvis.

Famous Cricket Player: You are a famous cricket player that does not know any of the rules, you have been faking it the whole time. In spite of this you are a remarkably good cricket player.

The Professor You are a professor at a local college. You are trying your luck at card counting. You are at the casino quite regularly and have made friends with the bouncer. He is very friendly.

Clue:You were talking with the bouncer when the gun went off. He is not the murderer.

Owner of Diner You have tried to hire Elvis to play at your 70s diner for over a year now. You came down to the casino to persuade him to play at your diner.

Clue: You came on the same LasVegas flight as the lawyer.

Template Emails

Invitation Email

You are a guest at an upscale Casino in Las Vegas. You have very rare tickets to the best night of excitement on the strip: the famous Elvis Impersonator. Its eight o’clock and everyone has gathered into the swanky casino bar for the star performer, the best Elvis impersonator of all time. As the show starts, a gun shot echoes throughout the bar. The curtain comes up, and Elvis goes down. The casino’s bar doors slam shut and everyone in the bar is now a suspect.

You are requested at the party to determine which of our friends is the murderer. Throughout the night you can talk to any of the suspects to see who they are and determine if they are the murderer.

One person will be the murderer, if you are not the murderer you can try and trick everyone into believing you are, or you can simply hunt for the murderer.

I will be giving everyone playing a short character back story, this will be arriving in your email box on Thursday. I encourage you to develop your character as much as you want. I`ve given you a lot of room to be creative with the character, the more you shape the character`s back-story the more believable it will be. Some of the character back stories will contain clues which you must tell everyone else at the party. Piece together enough clues and you may find the murderer.

In order to guess who the murderer is you must answer me these questions three:

Each person will be allowed one guess at 10pm and one guess at 11pm. All guesses will be made publicly. The first person to correctly guess these three questions will get a prize.

Party Details

Time:

Location:

Suggestions: Come dressed in typical upscale casino attire

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

-Sherlock Holmes

Character Profile

Subject: Murder Mystery Character

Good afternoon,

Just a quick email with your character information. But first, just a bit of important information about the party. It is best if everyone roll-plays their character, if you are uncomfortable with the character I assign you please let me know and I can do some switching around :) Its meant to be a fun time for all!

Also, as you know, every character has a backstory, I encourage you to develop your backstory as much as you would like. Some characters have a Clue section. You must share the information in this clue section with the other guests throughout the evening. You cannot lie or withhold this clue information.

Congratulations you will be the….

***[Character Name]***

Backstory:[Backstory]

Clue:[Clue]

Very few of us are what we seem.”-Agatha Christie

Note for reader: You must put in the Character Name, Backstory and Clue for each email you send (see section above for this information

76 thoughts on “Free Murder Mystery Party Plan

  1. You are a god sent!!! I am trying to do this for my birthday next month! But can this be done on a budget? And where did you come up with the backstory for each character? Thank you!

    • Sorry Patia, I’ve fixed the blog post, all of the emails I sent out can be found at the bottom of the blog post.

  2. Do you have any good advice on how to plan a very small murder mystery party? I want to plan one for 7 people including myself. There will be no dinner just solving the murder. How should I go about making the clues?

  3. Hi Nick!

    I was hoping to plan a murder mystery and would like to thank you for your share – which sounds like it would be a blast.

    Quick question, you mentioned that there is a second part to the blog where I can access character information and emails, looks like it requires a login to access that, wondering if you could tell me how I can get that part as well?

    That would be very much appreciated!!

    Thanks
    Shirline

    • Hi Shirline, sorry, I goofed up! I fixed the blog post, all of the extra information can be found at the bottom of the blog post. Thanks for your interest!

  4. Hello everyone, thank you for your feedback. All Character information and emails are included at the bottom of this blog post. I have updated the opening paragraph to make this more clear. I hope all of your parties were fun! Glad to help. Would love to hear how they turned out!

  5. I would love to play this game with my girl friends if I could write it. You did a great job! The link to the character profiles does not work. I would be so grateful if you would take a look at it. Thanks, Mary

    • Hi Mary, I think I fixed everything now, please let me know if you have any other problems and I’ll fix them right away.

  6. Hi, Nick. Thanks for the party plan; it was great. BUT WE MADE IT BETTER. Our professor character (1) came wearing a shirt from the local casino because she literally lost the shirt off her back at the blackjack table, and (2) decided to be Lisa Marie Presley in disguise, which added a lot of flair to the party. We decided it would also be great if Lisa Marie was a serial killer, focusing on Elvis impersonators. Then, one of the characters could be an Elvis Impersonating Ingénue who is visiting the casino to learn from Elvis and gets killed halfway through the party because Lisa Marie is crazy. Anyway, thanks again; we all had a lot of fun.

  7. THANK YOU. This seems like fun and I’m going to do it this June to celebrate the end of finals. I’m Spanish, so I’m going to translate everything for my friends. So, I wondered if you would want the translation. If that is the case, where can I send it to you? Again: thank you for publishing for free this game :)

    • Heck Yes! Elmith! If you could translate it in Spanish I’d be happy to host that version as well! Or! Perhaps you can host it on your own blog and I can link to it? Whichever is easiest for you. If you’d like me to put it on my blog you can send the translation to nick@nickbreen.ca

      Thanks for the effort and I hope you have a great June party!

      • Thank you so much Nick! This sounds so great! I am going to host this murder mystery party with a group of international friends whose common language is Spanish. Did you ever receive the version in Spanish from Elmith? If so, could you please email it to me? It would save me so much time if it was already translated! Thanks again!

  8. Hey,
    How long did this take for your guests to solve… it sounds fun to do but I will only have a short time to do it???
    Thanks

    • Hi Aly,

      Once they got down to the nitty gritty and after I provided some helpful hints, my friends solved it in about 30 minutes. However, during the party we had many different activities, some people were drinking, some were playing cards, some where chatting, and some were actively trying to solve the mystery.

  9. I need to thank you sooo much for this! but I do have a few questions on the whole thing.
    1.) Should I tell all of the guests right from the beginning as a sort of announcement that they all aren’t the murderer?
    2.)Before hand should I meet with the actual murderer and explain his character?
    3.) Should I post the hints somewhere so everyone can keep coming back to them?
    I would love it if you could get back to me asap, because I’m doing this at the last minuet and this is the best story I’ve found. Thanks again!

    • Hi Maddie, Thank you for taking the time to read it! Apologies on the late-ish reply!

      1) That’s a great idea.
      2) I sent all the party goers the character backgrounds a week before the party. This was to make sure they would be comfortable playing their characters. Should you meet with the murderer and explain the character? Sure!
      3) Great idea!

      Let me know how it goes! It seems like you’re well on your way to having a great party!

    • Hi Lu, there are no links or downloads! All the content to send via email can be found at the bottom of the post.

  10. Hello there, You are my hero!! I have been trying to arrange this for ages now… for a year I have known that this what I want to do, but have not got it together to do it and here you have done all the work for me!
    It will be my 40th on the 31st of August and with your help it is going to be a splendid success!!
    Thank you

    • Hi Michelle, Thank you for writing this comment. Best wishes on being 40 years young, I hope you and your loved ones have a GREAT time on August 31st. :) Write back to let me know how the party goes!

  11. Thank you so much for this information. I wanted to have this game for my 1920s themed birthday party but the ones I’ve found in the internet are too costly. This is rally a great help.

  12. Hi, so I have been searching for the free scenarios glad I found this. However, I was wondering if you could help with suggestions.
    I am hosting a mary kay makeup party for 30 guests. How would I tweek this one to theme around some kind of glamour(make up artist)?? I am rushed for time, anything would help.
    Thank you!
    Britt

    • Glad to help Brittany! Hmmm, I don’t have a lot of experience with Mary Kay Makeup parties. If you think of anything, write a blog post about it and I’ll be glad to link to it :)

    • Hi Jemma,

      I’m a little pressed for time at the moment, but if you’d like to add some and write a blog post about it, I’d gladly link to it :)

  13. Hey Nick.
    I was wondering how much the party costed. I don’t have enough space in my house and would have rent a place, so I was hoping to see how much the regular party was itself. Also what can I use as a prize. This party is going to be for my fourteenth bday party in December. Also are there any characters that I can take out so that there are about eleven ppl.
    Thx Luke G.

    • Hey Luke,

      All of the Mandatory Core Characters must be present, however you’re free to not remove any of the Filler Characters.

      I actually ran this party as a fundraiser, so my costs were extremely minimal. Get some food (nacho chips and salsa? crackers and cheese? an assortment of fruit?) and drinks (pop/soda and chocolate milk) and you’ll be good to go.

      When choosing a prize the world is your oyster. Maybe a construction paper ribbon that says: “Best Detective”?

      I’d check with your parents to make sure the game is appropriate to run for your 14th birthday (particularly the bit about the coach’s affair).

      Have a great time Luke and Happy 14th Birthday.

  14. None of the links will open for me. Will you please email me everything? Thank you so much, I love the idea. Also, any of the ones I find for larger groups seem to have only a few characters and everyone else is a detective. Not nearly as fun.

    Thank you,

    Keilani

    • Hi Keilani, everything needed for this murder mystery dinner is outlined in the blog post. There are NO LINKS. The underlined text are sections headers.

      Thanks for the kind words!
      Have a great time with it and let me know how it goes :)

    • Hi Paula, Glad to hear you had fun with your weekend! Everything needed for this murder mystery dinner is outlined in the blog post. There are NO LINKS. The underlined text are sections headers. :)

  15. Hi Nick,

    I believe this would tie in perfectly with our Harlem Nights Party, could please emaile the content. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Just a few quick questions. How do the character reveal their clue? What questions do or can the detectives ask? Is it more that the character reveal their background without being asked? Are the remaining party guest the detectives? I just am trying to put the piece together to have a successful party. Thanks.

    • Hey Rodd! At my party, EVERYONE is a detective. Everyone has a role, and everyone is a detective. Some people won’t be as excited to play along, so just give them one of the minor roles. The people who wanted to figure out the mystery banded together, everyone shared their clues and it was one big collaborative effort to find the murderer.

      Good luck and let me know how the party goes.

  17. Hi,

    Thank you for your blog! :) Im gonna throw a Bday murder party Feb14. Its gonna be the first time for me and my guests, keep your fingers crossed :)

    regards from Poland

  18. This all sounds great and what I need to host a murder mystery dinner on New Year’s Eve. Your website links for the info needed do not work??? Can you email the info to me please?! I would appreciate it! New Year’s Eve is close and I should have sent out this info last week.

  19. Hi can you please email me the info, i’m hoping to do this for newyears eve, well done excellent blog…i really hope it works out!

  20. THANKS! This was a huge success for our New Years Bash this year. Everyone came in character, we had a disco ball, and loved the Casino Theme.

  21. There was a party in greenwood town, Everyone was having a blast
    then we heard a screem. some ran to see what happend some stayed.
    there was a man coverd in blood stabed 3 times now we need to find the killer.
    to find out we need to know who,why. the police found out who the man that got killed
    was. blake jonnard. the events that led up to the murder.
    blake was a father to 2 and loving husben. he had one eniemy jhon smith.
    he was not at the party or in the contrey at the time.
    the police asked his wife karry jonnard if he had any other enemys
    she said there alon smith but he was not at tha party at the time either.
    blake worked at the police office and his only arrest was goldern inth. he got
    arrested for theating a police officer and said he would kill blake the day he got arrested. the day before blake got murdered
    goldern got out of jail and wanted to celerbrate. is goldern the murderur.
    2 years have passed and no clues but on january 12 one police found a print on blakes walet.
    it was goldern’s. but we needed more and we found more. the knife
    i had one finger print and it was goldern’s finger print!
    we arrested goldern and he went on trail and was covected non-guilty. we needed more! a year later an eye whitness told us that he was recording the party
    and seen goldern holding a bloody knife and blake on the floor bleeding gasping for air.goldern put his knife in his bag. we arrested goldern one more time and went on trail
    and goldern gold sentenced to life in prison. when we tryied to put him in jail he ran away and we cought him know he gets the death penelty.

    My murder mysery

  22. I would love to do this soon but your links don’t work anymore.
    Can you send it to me or update your links?

    Thanks a bunch!

  23. Thanks you for taking the time to share this, it is very generous of you. What a fantastic story too :) . I would like to plan one and seem to be missing some details/links discussed above. Would anyone be so kind to email these to be? Could I also ask how you all decorated your house to make it as effective as possible. Thank you for your help in advance.
    Sophie xx

  24. Thank you so much, I have been having the same problem – getting free ideas. It is hard to know whether or not it is something that I could take on. You have totallty inspired me, it makes so much sense now that I have seen an outline, and I will def pay it forward by putting mine online for free too!

  25. Thank you so much for generously sharing a wonderful murder mystery. My daughter is at Uni and asked me to organise one for her birthday so everyone could take part and I would be the only one to know who the murderer was. It worked a treat even with me being in another city! Your emails were invaluable and it was a huge success and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. Your character ideas were brilliant and very inspired!

  26. Hi
    I am hoping to hold one of these nights as a charity fund raiser I note that you mention links to emails etc but as mentioned by another person above the links are underlined not an actual link

    Is it possible for you to share the mails you mentioned Like you I am surprised with the lack of free scripts and as I am trying to cut costs to raise as much as possible a free script even if i have to do it myself would be great

    thanks

  27. Thank you so much for this!!!, it is just what I was looking for. I am using this idea as a surprise party for my husbands 40th next month, you rock!!!!!

  28. Hello is there any way I could make this for loads more people as I am planning a murder mystery party for my high school and I have a very low budget I am also making it a murder themed disco so do you have any ideas on how I could do this thanks x please reply asap as I do not have much time to plan it x

  29. Thank you very much for the murder mystery plan. I hosted this past weekend and everyone had a great time. I was a bit worried near the end as people seemed to be stuck as one character did not read their clue quite right and said “married woman” which threw people off at first. Thanks again for sharing.

  30. Hi,

    All the filler characters have clues, do these clues need to be re-distributed if I am not using all of the characters?

    Thanks.

  31. I live in South Africa and have been looking for a murder mystery kit for over a month now! Can’t even buy one here! Please help!

    • Thanks this is great. I agree with Mindy I also live in South Africa and cannot find a murder mystery kit. Going to try this. Much appreciated.

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  33. This is something unique and I must say people will like to plan their own party that may be a murder mystery party or something else. All it takes is money to expend on it. I mean People like me would prefer something less expensive or a little reliable party plan for the one.

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