At LaVelle Vineyards on the evening of Saturday April 24th, something sinister was in the air. The barrel and production room was transformed into an elegant dining area strung with lights and outfitted with beautifully set and dressed tables. Over 100 guests sat down to enjoy their evening, but before the first course was finished Doug LaVelle took the mic and informed the crowd that a murder had occurred and it was up to them to find the culprit. I was lucky enough to attend this dark, mysterious and, of course, completely fictional evening. For an event so morose, it was an incredibly good time.
The murder mystery in question that evening was the offing of Delia Accard, a beautiful and self-indulgent socialite who was slain in her room during a soiree at her aunt’s estate. The story was set in the late 1940’s and written by local playwright Lee Taylor. The cast of potential murderers, played with full enthusiasm and bravado by the Will Act for Wine Players and dressed to the tees in 40’s attire, wandered throughout the tables interacting with guests.
Between each course of the 4-course meal, the players discussed, questioned and accused each other, their dialogue thick with motives, clues and hilarious 40’s inspired slang. As each act ended and guests were treated to the next course of the amazing meal, the tables buzzed with speculation and discussion over the identity of the killer. As the night progressed, more hints were dropped and more Lavelle wine was sipped, and many tables became humorously, divided over the accused assassin.
Was it the wealthy local nightclub owner and undercover crime lord, Max Fellen, who was once Delia’s lover? The self-absorbed heiress Millicent de Merchant, Delia aunt who harbored large amounts of shame and hatred towards her party girl of a niece? Or the resentful and jealous personal assistant of Delia, Ellie Fone, who longed for a life of carefree privilege like that of her employer? And these are only three of seven very probable potential assassins who were question.
As dessert was served each table hashed it out to determine who they believed was the culprit. After much discussion, my table decided on the Ellie Fone, Delia’s envious secretary. As Doug Lavelle made his way around the room announcing each table’s guess, we were surprised no other group guessed the naïve and demure Miss Fone. The suspects lined up at the front of the room and the murderer was revealed – my table was right! After cheersing around the table Doug Lavelle presented us with a coupon to the Lavelle Vineyards Club Room in the 5th Street Market.
The Murder Mystery Dinner was a wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful setting of Lavelle Vineyards and their fabulous wine at an interactive and very entertaining event.
Visit www.lavelle-vineyard.com for more information on the winery, club room and upcoming events. You can also check them out on Facebook under Lavelle Vineyards.