Friday, September 21, 2012

TOP STORY >> Help solve murder mystery

Leader staff writer

There will be scandalous love affairs, treacherous blackmail and a cold-blooded killer waiting to be discovered by participants who dare to take a stab at solving the Lonoke Country Museum’s “Murder at Old Town” on Thursday and Friday.

The two-hour interactive murder mystery starts at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $15. That price includes a meal of homemade stew and corn bread.

“I’m looking forward to finding out who did it myself. I have no idea,” director Sherryl Miller said about the nonprofit’s fundraiser.

The proceeds will help the museum expand its genealogy room. The new space for that will open up behind Old Town, the scene of the fictitious crime.

Old Town is a large display that features partial, life-size models of Lonoke buildings in the 1800s.

They include a bank, county jail, church, school, hotel, railroad depot, doctor’s office, bakery, blacksmith, millinery — where women bought ribbons, gloves and hats — the W.H. Eagle & Company mercantile store and the McCrary and Co. mercantile store.

The ancestors of state Rep. Walls McCrary (D-Lonoke) owned McCrary and Co.

There is even the painted silhouette of a “lady of the night” — a prostitute — on the balcony above the hotel, Miller’s co-worker, Pat Harris, pointed out.

The display include mannequins that represent Lonoke’s historical figures from that time period.

Miller said the museum just added sound effects to the town.

“I like showing off the museum,” she said, explaining that those who attend the murder mystery will find clues scattered throughout the building about who may have committed the fictitious murder.

The clues will be in plain view behind windows containing displays and most will be in Old Town, where the victim’s body will be found.

Miller said some of them will lead the participants in the wrong direction.

There are six suspects. The participants will be provided a picture and biography of each one. The museum did not hire actors for the event.

“The character names are really funny,” Miller said. One them will be a rich man named “Casholotta.”

Some of the suspects are mannequins in the Old Town display, but trying to get a confession out of them won’t do the players much good.

“The character names are really funny,” Miller said, explained that one of them is a rich man named “Casholotta.”

A mannequin wrapped up in a sheet will be the victim. The victim is the wife of a local rancher from the town, according to Harris.

The person who solves the murder will receive a small trophy and certificate. Door prizes will be given out during the event.

Miller said the materials, food and prizes were donated. Volunteers are helping set it up.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

It closes from noon to 1 p.m. every day for lunch.

In addition to Old Town and the genealogy room, the museum has a wildlife display and three-dimensional miniature models dedicated to the Civil War, World War I and World War II.

One of the model is of the Civil War battle at Brownsville, Ark. The Yankees wiped out the entire town. The people from there rebuilt their lives in Lonoke to be closer to the railroad tracks, Miller said.