Saturday, October 22, 2011

Murder in the Library: Murder on the Menu

Sleuths to gather Saturday at Scotts Valley library for murder-mystery fundraiser
By KIMBERLY WHITE -- Santa Cruz Sentinel

SCOTTS VALLEY (CA) - By the time the sleuths arrive Saturday night, only the victim's outline will remain at the scene of the crime, and the suspects who were there when the murder took place will have already been sequestered.

Someone's going to be "murdered" at the Scotts Valley library Saturday, and a murder-mystery fundraiser calls for patrons to don their sleuthing hats for the next several hours, taking cues from a detective to interview suspects and solve the classic whodunit.

But the event also includes an educational component. While talking about their relationships with the victim, and what they were doing at the library in the first place, the suspects will also provide information about the Children, Teen and other areas where they've been confined for questioning.

"For people who haven't been in the library before, they'll learn about the library and what's available in each of the areas," said Janet Rudolph, who founded Murder on the Menu, a professional, Berkeley-based company that designs mystery plots for meetings, fundraisers and other events.

Members of the Friends of the Scotts Valley Library will participate by leading the patrons to the different stations, but the detective and suspects are seasoned actors provided by the company.

"This is not a couple local people cooking up a mystery - these are people who make a living doing this," said Jim Reed, a city councilman and member of the Friends of the Scotts Valley Library.

Debra Van Bruggen, vice president of the Friends of the Scotts Valley Library, said the idea to host a murder mystery came up while members were discussing ideas for the group's annual fundraiser. They agreed to tie it in with this month's Big Read celebration of Edgar Allan Poe, the 19th-century author who penned classics such as "The Raven" and "The Tell-Tale Heart."

"We had this idea (for the murder mystery), and when we heard about the Big Read and how Santa Cruz County was featuring Poe, we thought he'd make a perfect character" because he was so mysterious, she said.

In fact, the tell-tale thump-thump of a heartbeat will indicate to the groups that it's time to move on to the next station, each of which will feature hors d' oeuvres, beer and wine. Just before the culprit's revealed, organizers will auction off several weekend packages, including a sleepover at the library that includes a pizza dinner, dessert and breakfast.

The Friends group hopes to raise $15,000, which will be used to construct a back patio, Van Bruggen said, thereby creating more usable space at the library.


WHEN: 7-10 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Scotts Valley library, 251 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley
COST: $50 per person (adults only)
INFORMATION: Jim Reed at 707-4993, Debra Van Bruggen at 588-5401 or

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