The 1920s: Flappers, Prohibition, and Murder Oh My!

Recently I’ve been working on a game, one of the mystery variety.  You’ve heard of those right?  Sometimes the mysteries come free off the internet, but most of the time you have to shell out some cash.  In my last post I shared that I’m in a group of five that long ago dubbed ourselves: Mystery!nk.

Considering just how cool we were in grade school, and how massively popular we were in high school, we would meet on occasion for an evening of fun, food, and murder.  ^^I’m kidding about the coolness guys^^  However as we searched and searched for new mysteries, we ran out.  It is then that two of us, myself included, took it upon ourselves to write our own mystery.  This was two years ago.

Finally, things are getting underway and the mystery is almost complete.  Seeing as how we didn’t want to pay a ton of money for a mystery, I figured you guys shouldn’t either.  So, if you’re interested I’ll be posting segments of the mystery.  If you want a full copy, just send me a message or email me at: nc.24@live.com.

Here I present the plot to A 1920s Murder Mystery

1920

It is the year 1923.  As the U.S. emerges from World War I so do new faces that will characterize this era as the time of flapper girls, prohibition, gangsters, and surmounting tides of liberalism. 

Setting: Mrs. Elizabeth Kingsley’s Penthouse, winter time nearing Christmas season, Chicago, Illinois; the Windy City

Situation: Mrs. Kingsley is throwing a dinner party in honor of her husband’s safe return from deployment in France after the end of WWI. Invited to the party are members of the high-class society of Chicago, including Elizabeth’s hat making group and her Prohibition Support Group (PSG).

Mr. Robert Kingsley has insisted upon inviting his war compatriot Sergeant Joseph Jamison whose current state of residence is a disparagingly shabby cardboard box. Mrs. Kingsley, while supportive of the war, is less than enthusiastic about low-class vagabonds treading on her new white carpet.  For peace of mind and good politics she decides to invite Señora Valentina Mendobale, their rich widowed neighbor from one floor down.

Also attending the event is Alberto Malone, known to the gangster underground as Swingin’ Al (ironically a member of Mrs. Kingsley’s prohibition support group).  Mrs. Kingsley has no idea that Robert has invited the handy man, John Torrio, who is currently repairing the damages to Elizabeth’s Model-T car in the apartment’s basement garage.

As these high priority events go, not all is well. Poor Mrs. Kingsley failed to foresee the possible weather dilemmas and happened to schedule her party on the weekend of the most monumental blizzard of the 20th century.

As a result of the storm, her hat-making group and the majority of her prohibition support group are unable to travel due to the excessive amount of snow build up on the roads.  Fortunately, the caterer had just arrived early and was stacking the boxes with the food which were waiting downstairs.

Distressed, Elizabeth sends Robert down to sign for the food.  She is relieved to receive a call from Alberto Malone inquiring whether the event is still on. Elizabeth, not willing to admit that her party is to be a “flop”, enthusiastically responds that although not as extravagant as originally planned, the show must, and will go on.

Moments after hanging up the telephone, the doorbell echoes across the vaulted entryway to the master suite. Mrs. Kingsley, still in her hair curlers haphazardly staggers from the bedroom hollering for Robert to answer the door. Joe Jamison saunters through the entryway, cardboard box in tow.  Mrs. Kingsley motions frantically for Joe to leave his dripping box outside.

Out from the corner of her eye Mrs. Kingsley sights the recognizable outline of Alberto’s Rolls Royce trying to parallel park in a snowdrift. Tearing out the last curler from her hair, she rushes to the telephone to buzz in Alberto. To her surprise accompanying him is an outlandishly dressed young woman introduced as Miss Lacy Woods, horrifically nicknamed “Stardust.” At the same moment Mrs. Mendobale arrives decked out with fur coat and her fat cat, Mr. Snuffles.

With forced elegance, Mrs. Kingsley sweeps her guests into the formal living room where Lacy volunteers to mix the drinks.  Robert returns where he and Joe remove themselves from the “party” atmosphere to converse war politics in the dining room This quickly evolves into a heated dispute. It is then that Elizabeth decides to haul the heavy coats into the master suite.

Returning from the bedroom Elizabeth finds Lacy and Robert engaged in conversation over drinks. Displeased to find such a liberal woman in her abode already, Elizabeth interrupts the conversation and orders Robert to go down to get the food with Al, Joe, and John.  Mrs. Mendobale then begins to lecture Lacy on the improprieties that a woman must evade. In a state of confusion and anger Lacy dismisses herself abruptly from her speech and rushes downstairs to help Al bring up the food.

Slowly, one at a time, Elizabeth’s guests return with cardboard boxes of food. Beginning to feel an encroaching sense of abandonment and frustration, Elizabeth takes the elevator down to find Robert who hasn‘t come up yet.

A few minutes later the guests hear a blood curdling scream resounding in the elevator shaft. They hear a bing and the elevator door opens. There is no one in it. Joe, snapping into one of his war modes begins to shout orders for everyone to load into the elevator. After a few moments of listening to the elevator jazz music, the doors part to reveal Joe’s awkwardly dumped cardboard box.

Al impatiently tears aside the box, to Joe’s dismay.  The group is stunned by the horrific scene that confronts them. Mrs. Mendobale faints at the sight.  Robert lays motionless and crumpled on the floor. Blood oozes from gaping gash in his head, pooling around the murder weapon. Elizabeth, pale faced, stands plastered against the wall. What follows, is a flurry of wails and shouting, muted to the quiet chaos of the blizzard outside.

Eventually the explosion of such a scene dissipates only to be replaced by a high tension amongst the group. While Lacy makes a half-hearted obligatory attempt to comfort Elizabeth, Mrs. Mendobale tries to take charge of the situation by ringing the police. Alarming the group is Al who vigorously opposes the notion of contacting the fuzz on rather ambiguous grounds.

The police cannot push past the mountains of snow. To compensate, the police try to talk to the paralyzed party members over the phone advising that they leave Robert’s body as it lay. They go further to warn the group that it is impossible in this kind of weather for the killer to have escaped, implying the presence of the criminal to still be inside the building. Being the time of the holidays and that only the janitor holds residence, it is deduced that only one of the party members could be guilty of the cold-blooded murder of Robert Kingsley.

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