Mystery Dinners at Restaurants

man in fogHave you gone to a mystery dinner at a restaurant?  I’ve been to two in the last decade. My first experience was great. The dining room had booths on all sides with tables in the center. The actors walked around the diners, clearly advancing the plot with clues about “who done it” and a bit of humor as well. The costumes were normal clothes, not overdone or cheap looking. The professional performance engaged us in a mysterious setting. I ended up winning a prize for the first person to guess the murderer.

A week ago we went to a different restaurant, expecting a similar entertaining evening, especially at the $65 per person price. The dining room was huge like a conference room with round tables seating 8 to a table. The food, advertised as all you can eat prime rib was not up to the price they charged. Everyone left their dessert uneaten since it tasted like chemical fluff.

When the actors emerged, they wore what looked like Halloween costumes instead of regular clothes. The atmosphere turned into carnival-type chaos instead of intelligent theater.  Actors circulated around the room with faulty microphones that either skipped some words or blasted the voices so loud, I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. I always carry ear plugs with me. I put them in my ears within five minutes of the show. It lessened the pain of the unreal blabbing from the sound system. Certainly not a relaxing dinner with all the cacophony going on. At the end, people at each table had to be a team and name the perpetrator. I didn’t participate since I didn’t hear the story. No one at our table knew who to accuse, and their guess was incorrect. Then the actors buzzed around the tables with tip envelopes for the show. The amateur performance and the actors’ attitudes had no heart.The evening wasn’t worth half the charge or a tip.

Would I go to one again? Yes, but I’d research the restaurant’s room and sound system first. Then I’d ask about the actors’ experience and hope the mystery evening would be better than the last.


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For over twenty-five years, I've taught elementary grades, high school, and county special education classes. Now I am a field supervisor for teachers working toward their teaching credentials. I also teach writing classes in Dublin and Pleasanton, California. I have won 5 awards in short story contests, My stories are published in The California Writers Club Literary Review, and several anthologies including four times in Las Positas College collections. I have several book projects, but the two that have my immediate attention are HADA'S FOG, which is women's fiction, LILLI, a YA novel, and NORMAN IN THE PICTURE, a paranormal mystery. I have published an anthology WRITTEN ACROSS THE GENRES that includes writings from members of my writing classes and other writers. It's available on Amazon and Kindle.

6 thoughts on “Mystery Dinners at Restaurants”

  1. We attended one a number of years ago. As I recall, it was similar to the earlier one you described. Good costumes, and the actors circulated through the room, chatting with attendees, dropping clues. It was a fun, unique experience.


    1. Yes, a good experience for me too the first time. That’s why I was so disappointed this last time. The concept is fun and when it’s done well, it is a unique outing.
      Have great holidays if I don’t see you in December.


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