Crimespace - a website/forum for crime writers and readers that I've just joined. There was an intriguing post there that made me hurry over to this place. Crime Scene is a site allowing you to examine the evidence and solve the case, as the tagline states. A bit like those murder mystery weekends and dinner parties, I assume?
I won a murder mystery weekend in a writing competition once. Andy and I duly travelled to the absolutely beautiful small city of Wells in Somerset to stay in this ancient pub-inn-hotel (Swan? Black Swan?). When we got there we realised we were supposed to have dressed up in Victorian costume, so strike one from the start.
On with dinner and the first set of clues. I can't really recall much about the actual weekend (I'm going back 20 years here), but I do know that we spent most of it sight-seeing and not paying much attention to the entertainment. At the time we were both working in crime investigation so we dutifully collected all the clues etc and tried to piece the puzzle together on the Sunday.
We were completely and utterly wrong. How embarrassing! Especially as we were so convinced we were right. Trouble was, we'd come at it from the work angle and were looking at the things we'd been trained to look at, while missing the obvious and reading far too much into the little things we probably weren't supposed to notice and maybe weren't even supposed to happen. So after looking like complete idiots, we set off home again. It was a fun weekend - especially since it was free - but I'm not sure I'd do it again.
There's a further link on the Crime Scene site to a rather bizarre CSI Shop which sells forensic supplies and detective kits to the public - anything from kits to scarves to blood-clot sweeties. You can also buy bodybags (complies with specific regulations and suitable for incidents of biohazard exposure), toe-tags, kits to collect semen and a DNA testing kit - in fact everything the budding CSI or detective might need. You can even get it gift-wrapped for free in an evidence bag. It's all a bit weird but curiously compulsive, and reminds me of those action/horror films where there's always the apocalypse couple with their store of guns and biohazard suits, with 3 year's worth of food in the nuclear shelters just in case the world really does end on December 22nd 2012. Or to survive the zombie attack of course. There's always a teeny-tiny niggling voice in the back of your mind, isn't there? What if they're right?
But I do so want one of those scarves, so I can wear it to work.