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ImageBlogging … what to do? what to do?  Over the past year I have been recreating my Mystery Factory website and fooling myself into thinking that the best thing to do would be to have my blog attached to that. Nope. It hasn’t been happening. So I’ve decided to revive Mystery Trivia. This bluck is just a way of starting to re-grease my wheels after a year of not doing much.


ImageThis is Fern’s Basket. The carousel goes round and the horses go up and down and it lights up. Fern’s basket was the most popular as far as prize baskets go but then many of the entrants pre-teen. Her fingerprints and a few other clues were found at the crime scene.
Nearly 100 people joined Mystery Factory for a clue hunt at our booth at the Shop Local Canmore Trade Fair in Canmore AB last weekend. We won 1st place for the Most Fun booth, 2nd place for the Friendliest Booth and 3rd place for the People’s Choice Best Overall Booth! Thank you Canmore!
At the end of the day we had four happy winners of our awesome prize baskets. Putting them together was just as much fun as planning the mystery. A basket was themed after each of the suspects and it was a pretty equal match as to which basket was the most popular.

Old McDonald’s Basket is filled with an assortment of stuffies and other animals types. Old McDonald is the villian who stole the precious gems from the carousel horse and replaced them with candy. Farming isn’t cheap you know.

Patsy Produce’s Basket is pretty exciting too. It includes a teapot in the shape of a head of lettuce with a radish on top of the lid. You can just barely make it out at the back of the basket. There is also a flower garden snow globe filled with glitter instead of snow. Patsy has a pet monkey, an appalling pet for a produce person to have.


Finally there is Zoltar the Fortune Teller. It’s hard to make out the blue crystal star hanging from the handle of the basket but hang there it does.
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend my fabulous husband tells me. He was generous to go and look after things for me as I was unable to get away.


The Case of the Candy Carousel – A ‘Crack the Case’ Mystery Contest

One day left for the Mystery Factory Booth at the Shop Local Canmore Trade Fair. Stop by and check us out. Solve the Case of the Candy Carousel and enter to win some really great prizes! Our man on the spot, Tony Berryman, says the hardest thing people have to do is figure out which basket they want to win.



Plot Point #2 – Who Dies?

Who dies can be quite different in a written story than at a mystery party. In fiction writing, a writer has the ability to be subtle; in live events, not so much. The dead person in a novel can be good or bad or both. At a party, there is no room for subtly.  The dead person is always the deepest, darkest villain who truly deserves to die. Not one tear will be shed as he (or she) drops down in pain, rises up gasping for breath, pulling over chairs and knocking over lamps as he finally stumbles his miserable way out of this world.

Case in point: In Midnight at the Oasis, the Sultan of Haberdashery with his drug sniffing camel Alice, is the villain. Well, the camel gets to live. The Sultan – no. A truly detestable bad guy, he gives everyone he comes in contact with a good reason for wanting him dead. Blackmail, burglary and betrayal are just of few of his horrendous habits. The Sultan has control over something which the killer and other suspects want; their hearts, their freedom, their pocketbooks. Motive is all about being in control at its bottom line.

Visit for all you mystery needs.

“Mystery Bones”

How to Plot A Murder Mystery
With  Juanita Rose Violini
20 years experience writing Murder Mystery Entertainment Scripts
Author of Almanac of the Infamous, the Incredible and the Ignored

“Fair Play Whodunnits”

Mysteries where the author “plays fair” and gives the reader all of the clues necessary to solve the mystery. Fair play cluetrails can be used in:

  • Mystery novels, short stories or scripts
  • Murder Mystery Parties & Games
  • Mystery Contests for promotion entertainment
  • Murder Mystery Fundraisers

Love reading mysteries? Want to be a writer? Working within a structure makes it easy. Juanita Violini takes you through the dirt, bones, muscles, heart, mind and soul of a mystery plot.

For more information or to register contact College of the Rockies
Invermere Campus:
Phone: 250-342-3210, Toll Free: 1-866-489-2687 ext 7110 or email:
Kimberley Campus:
Phone: 250-427-7116, Toll Free: 1-866-489-2687 ext 3752 or email:

Snobbery with ViolenceMayhem Parva is a fictional village setting, coined by mystery historian Colin Watson. In his book A Snobbery With Violience; Watson reviewed mysteries by writers from the first half of the 20th century – why they were popular and what their books say about the prejudices of the time. But all of that sociology aside Mayhem Parva is:

“The setting for the crime stories by what we might call the Mayhem Parva school would be a cross between a village and a commuters’ dormitory in the South of England, self-contained, and largely self-sufficient. It would have a well-attended church, an inn with reasonable accommodation for itinerant detective-inspectors, a village institute, library and shops – including a chemist’s where weed killer and hair dye might conveniently be bought.”

John le Carre adds this about setting:
“If you describe a Secret Service and impose upon it the same ground rules of behavior as you would upon an English country house, you quickly get the reader with you. So these are bits of ammunition that are available to an English writer, and properly used, are pure gold, in my experience.”

And finally Diana Rigg (Remember her as  the marvelous Mrs. Peel from the Avengers?) while hosting Masterpiece Theatre had this to say:
“A cozy mystery refers to stories that take place in closed, often serene settings. An unexpected act of violence shatters the peace. A small group of characters falls under suspicion and a heroic detective arrives to solve the crime. Are usually solved within a short period of time, a week or two at the most.   In general the solution is usually in plain sight from start to finish. And the killer has been onstage throughout. Motives are clear and simple. Somebody hates fears or envies somebody else or else stands to inherits a lot of money. One by one suspects are considered and eliminated, although the detective will occasionally find himself in a blind alley.”

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) British Prime Minister, confident of Queen Victoria’s and a very clever man. Here are some of the witty politician’s quotes, still applicable today – over 100 years later.

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.”
“That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”
(Wish Disraeli was in Parliament now. He’s have a thing or two to say. And he would say it well. There is no denying the truth.)

“To tax the community for the advantage of a class is not protection: it is plunder. ”
(Reminds me of the HST. Maybe it would lead to a stronger economy but who’s paying for it? The people at the bottom. The people who can’t afford it.)

“A Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy.”
(Enough said. Oh, wait. There’s more to say.)

“Conservatism discards Prescription, shrinks from Principle, disavows Progress; having rejected all respect for antiquity, it offers no redress for the present, and makes no preparation for the future. ”
(Ok, maybe now.)

“I must follow the people. Am I not their leader? ”
(Oh to have a leader like that. A true leader. Anyone? Anyone? Are you there?)

“Power has only one duty – to secure the social welfare of the People. ”
(Seems like that has been forgotten)

“Nurture your minds with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes. ”
(Alright. We can do this together.)

“Something unpleasant is coming when men are anxious to tell the truth. ”
(Hm. Heard any institutions change their tune lately?)

“Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory. ”
(We’re just making it all up anyways.)

Marilyn Monroe visited Banff & Jasper Alberta in the summer of 1953 where she filmed ‘The River of No Return’ with Robert Mitchum and Rory Calhoun. One of her best films in my opinion.Recently a new book Marilyn August 1953 was published, and being a big Marilyn fan plus being from Banff, I had to have a copy. The pictures released as promotion were tantalizing and I happily awaited for my prize to arrive in the mail.

What a disappointment.

All the best pictures were the ones shown online. Other pictures were grouping of four or five pictures shot maybe two minutes apart. Not at all different from each other and nothing exciting or enchanting. Really. Check this book out of the library before deciding to spend your hard earned cash on it. I’m not usually so critical but I felt hugely misled.

But coming from Banff I have a ‘Marilyn’ story to share. I went to school with a girl whose father was the doctor who treated Marilyn for her sprained ankle. My friend said her dad was so distracted by the famous starlet that he bandaged the wrong ankle to start with. Now that’s a picture!  Her family received Christmas cards from Marilyn for a few years after.


“I felt like poisoning a monk.”  –  Umberto Eco, on why he wrote the novel ‘The Name of the Rose’.