by Beki Pineda

THE DINNER DETECTIVE – Produced by Dinner Detective (Presented at Embassy Suites, 1420 Stout St, Denver) on selected Saturdays. Tickets available at 1-866-496-0535 or www.thedinnerdetective.com.

For those of you who like to be a part of the action when you go to a performance, I’ve found a great outlet for you. The Dinner Detective is just what it sounds like. A group is invited to dine (by buying a ticket), fed a lovely meal and solve a murder before dessert. The murderer is “hiding” in plain sight – may be among the guests, may be part of the wait staff, or may be the person sitting next to you. It’s all in good fun which means you can participate to the level with which you are comfortable. There’s no donning silly costumes or being made to perform in front of everyone or being spoon-fed obvious clues.

Guests gather in the outer lobby and are given the opportunity to give themselves a code name by which they are known the rest of the evening. Some participants got very creative. There was a “Lamont Cranston” (The Shadow knows!) at our table, “Liza Lotts” in the next table and C. R. Iminal across the room.

This is a slick, well-produced professional murder game. The clues are comprehensive and clear, but take a degree of cleverness to put them all together into a cohesive timeline. You have to really pay attention to what is said and what you can read in the various newspaper articles, police reports, and hand written notes found to be clues. It certainly brings out the Sherlock Holmes in you. Our mystery concerned an arson that happened before someone was going to be reported to the FCC for fraudulent activities. Four murders in total took place to cover up the crime. Trying to figure out the connections between all four, who was going to benefit from their deaths, and the motives for everyone’s actions provided a full evening of fun. One hundred people were comparing clues, trying to expose conspiracies, and ended up scratching their heads in confusion all evening.

The second half of the equation is the “dinner” part and I must say, they lived up to their role as well. Guests are given a salad and a choice of a chicken with a lemon basil buerre sauce, pork enhanced by a Jim Beam barbeque sauce (my favorite), or vegetable entrée. All three were represented at our table; each were reported as delicious. A triple decker chocolate cake provided the dessert. A cash bar at one end of the meeting room provides the libations. It became a quite jolly gathering before the evening was over.

The “obvious” actors were really kind of corny; they do their job of being murdered or guiding the investigation. The “hidden” actors have the hard job of convincing the people at their table that they just happened to be there and are a guest just like everyone else. The organization has  several different scripts so it’s not the same every evening. If you’re looking for something fun and different to do for a birthday, a bachelor/ bachelorette party, an anniversary, summer visitors, or just an ordinary Saturday night, check this out. Find out how clueless you really are.

A WOW factor of 8!