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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Murder in the Stacks

If you’re a mystery fan, the Fairfax County Public Library offers plenty of books and other resources to keep you happily enthralled. Whether you favor classic, “locked room” whodunits, tough private eyes or modern thrillers inspired by advances in forensic technology, you’ll find good reading at your local branch.

But if you want to really immerse yourself in a murder mystery by becoming part of the action, the library provides another option: Mystery Night programs. These fun-filled, highly interactive evenings (for adult participants only) feature library staff members and volunteers playing the roles of shady suspects with tongue-in-cheek names like “Rex N. Plunders” (a construction mogul) and “Dr. Clora Fill” (a botanist). After a murder is discovered, the audience gets to mix and mingle with the suspects, gathering clues and asking questions until the solution is revealed at the end of the evening.

The Mystery Night series began in October, 2001 and is still going strong with three performances each year (late winter, spring and fall) at various library branches. The next one, “Murder in the Keys,” takes place at the Kingstowne Library on Saturday, May 20 at 7 p.m. You can sign up for the event starting May 6 and spaces will go fast! If you’re interested, call or stop by as soon as registration opens.

Ours is certainly not the first library system to produce murder mystery programs. Many other libraries have staged them for adults, teens, and children. Our Mystery Nights are always free, while other systems sometimes use these events as fundraisers for Friends groups or library foundations.

Have you attended a past Mystery Night or a similar program at a different venue? Tell us what you thought by clicking on “comments” below.

-- Ted Kavich, Assistant Branch Manager, Martha Washington Library

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