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Murder Mystery Game

This is for advanced students and is adapted from an example I used to use from a file of activities called Drama in Language Teaching (no longer published). You spend at least 30 minutes in non-stop target language discussion.

You explain to your group that the head teacher of a school has been murdered. You then hand out some slips of paper which contain clues to what happened. The students have to work out between themselves who committed the murder, how and why. This works best when you almost completely withdraw from the task, letting the students themselves work out who committed the crime. Here are the clues (imagine them in the target language) which you would cut out and hand out, two or three to each students depending on the size of the group.

Dr Jones the physics teacher thinks he’s a cowboy and plays with a lasso in the lab
Mrs Jay the secretary is making more and more mistakes and is worried she will get fired
Mr Davies the deputy principal is highly ambitious and would like to take over the head’s job
Miss Broom, the Spanish teacher, recently met a Colombian man who is in a drug-smuggling ring
The head teacher has learned about Miss Broom’s relationship and is going to report it to the police
The deputy principal was in the Head’s office at 11.55 for a meeting
The Head was found murdered in his office at 12.15
The secretary made a cup of coffee for the head at 11.00
The police discovered traces of a slow-acting poison in a waste paper bin in the secretary’s office
The secretary took in a cup of coffee to the Head at 11.05
The Head was suffering from a heart condition which made him susceptible to chemical stimulants
At 11.20 the PE teacher, Mr Casey, was seen in the gym carrying a knife with something red on it
When the Head’s body was discovered his finger had a cut on it and he was bleeding slightly
The PE teacher went to see the Head at 11.45 to tell him about the latest sports results
The Spanish teacher learned from the geography teacher that the head knew about her new boyfriend
The physics teacher learned that he was soon to be fired because of his mental problems
When Mr Davies met the Head in his office he did not have any coffee
The PE teacher asked to borrow a knife from the technology teacher at 10.00
At 12.05 the Head received a telephone call from his board of governors to tell him that he would be losing his job in the summer
My Casey had a conversation with Miss Broom at 11.30. He said he had just had a row with the head about his salary
The physics teacher had a heated conversation with the head in his office at 11.40
When the Head’s body was found there were red marks around his neck
Miss Broom kept a small gun in her handbag
The Italian teacher was asked by the secretary to go and see the Head at 12.00
At 11.20 the deputy principal went to see the Head. They had an argument about the new uniform rules
Mr Mackenzie, the technology teacher, gave a woodworking knife to Mr Casey during break at 11.10
Mr Mackenzie didn’t get on the head teacher very well, but he respected him
The secretary opened a letter at 10.00 addressed to the Head. It was about her imminent dismissal
Miss Broom often visited Italy where she had some friends in the Mafia
During the morning he physics teacher was seen by some students in a corridor. He was carrying some rope
During his meeting with the deputy principal the head complained of indigestion
Miss Broom went to the secretary’s office at 11.00. She left with a smile on her face.

The solution is as follows: having learned that she was about to be dismissed for her incompetence, the secretary poured some slow-acting poison into the head teacher’s coffee. He died of a heart attack at 12.10 as a result of the poison. The Head had cut his neck while shaving that morning and cut his finger on the sharp edge of some paper. . The PE teacher had found the knife on the school field.


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