My sister and I decided to spend a quiet Friday and Saturday night at Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa, but while we were there, a murder occurred; make that three murders to be exact. Lucky for us, a detective just “happened” to be on the scene: the honorable Rocco Decarlo from New Jersey. He was astute enough to tell us that the first victim, Mary De Guzman, died from the loss of a pulse, “one of the leading causes of death.” We later learned that Mary was poisoned with cyanide, and that she was the widow of millionaire fraudster Michael de Guzman, who may or may not still be alive. Four other “friends” of de Guzman also were “coincidentally” staying at the resort that weekend. Two of them would later end up dead.
Before you start questioning the safety of the small town of Chesapeake Beach, take a look at the events calendar on the resort’s website. You will notice that it was murder mystery weekend, an event that the resort holds about four times a year. Along with my sister and me, about 80 other guests were tasked with the job of determining who the murderer(s) were and why they did it. The problem was that everyone was a suspect, so it involved suspecting dozens of individuals, from the people you sat with at dinner to the person who politely held the door for you when you brought in your luggage.
During this all inclusive weekend, we had lots of chances for interaction, including two cocktail parties, two dinners and one lunch set up just for the murder mystery group. While Rocco was helpful with feeding us clues, and also with teaching us how to speak like an extra from Jersey Shore, we gathered a lot of the information we needed simply by chatting with the other guests. We were given a list of questions to start with, such as “Is that your real hair color?” “Do you think Elvis is still alive?” and the always innocuous “Have you ever killed anyone?” This served as a good ice breaker, and I got to know some very interesting people as a result. The most popular answer to the third question was “not that I know of,” which I found slightly disturbing. It was interesting to note that our group included several retired police officers, as well as a forensic chemist. Talk about an unfair advantage.
I can’t say I was even close to figuring out the mystery. All the people I suspected to be actors pretty much from the get-go were actually 30-somethings out for their annual girls’ night. Of course, I did not realize this until Saturday at dinner. However, I did get some of the answers by casually hanging out at the bar late Saturday night and paying a visit to the business center, where a crowd was busily Googling Michael de Guzman. While there was a prize for getting the correct answer, the atmosphere wasn’t overly competitive, mostly because a lot of us had no clue what was going on.
My sister and I did have a reasonable excuse. We actually missed two out of the three murders. The first occurred on Friday at the cocktail party, which we arrived late to because we were putting our bags in our room. The second occurred during lunch on Saturday, while we were in the spa getting pedicures – which I highly recommend. Of course, our walking in the door right after the action happened immediately made us suspects, so we decided to milk it, practicing our shifty gazes.
And it just so happened that I was looking to talk to Adrian, who turned out to be public enemy number 1, during Saturday’s cocktail party. I followed him out of the dining room into the lobby, but he disappeared. Five minutes later, he staggers back in, stabbed in the chest. I end up walking in immediately before he does. Interesting. In the end, my sister and I decided to go for the prize for the most hilarious answer. Our one page essay which involved Charlie Sheen was beat out by a five-page essay about how Mary was after some pricey plastic surgery, so she was hunting her "dead" husband down for money to pay for it.
We were all amused during the big reveal on Sunday morning when Adrian’s girlfriend Elaine gave an over the top performance of wailing and crying as the grieving girlfriend widow, finally sating herself by wearing a decorative handkerchief on her head. While there was a real run for the money on funniest answer, only four people got the answer to the case completely correct and explained in detail. I was not one of these people. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks, Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa, for a thoroughly entertaining weekend. I’m looking forward to the next murder mystery event, set to take place in November.