By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Daily Republican
Joe and Dawn Huff attended the Roarin’ 20s Mystery Fundraiser as Bugsy Siegel and Myra “Mad Dog” Maples, characters they were assigned when they entered the museum for the murderous event.

The Belvidere Historic Preservation Commission hosted two evenings of murder mysteries on Friday and Satur-day, Jan. 26 and 27. Friday night’s fundraising event was attended by 53 people and Saturday’s event was also sold out with 50 people attending.
People were encouraged to wear 1920s attire. Each player was given a small bag containing gameplay instruc-tions; a Detective notepad and a pen to write down any clues tracked down and information obtained; props (if any); a character name badge and a ‘Who Did It?’ Card to write down your solutions.
“Each player will have a character to portray, secrets to trade, and objectives to follow in order to solve and/or participate in any murders that may take place during the evening. Read your character bio sheet. Think about who he/she is, and how they would interact with others. Have fun and get into character!” reads the Gameplay Guide.
The playwright who concocted the scenario for this submersive mystery game was Drew Pivoras, husband of Anna Pivoras, Boone County Museum of History Director. “I am an English teacher at Belvidere North High School,” Drew said. “I tried this out in my classes. It’s an activity we do before we read “The Great Gatsby.” It is a way to introduce the kids to the background of the era with bootleggers, mobsters, federal agents, and the cul-ture of the time.”
Drew and Anna acted as Masters of Ceremony, giving directions and (following ‘gunshots’) announcing murders and any arrests.
Once everyone read their bios, groups of flappers gathered together, clusters of players formed and reformed, gossip and rumors were spread, and secrets were shared. Mobsters and federal agents milled around with a ‘who’s who’ of 1920s society.
Rich men and mistresses, wives and lovers, sisters and bookies, a birthday boy, and a fortune teller all had their own facts to co-relate with any secrets and information they could glean from the other players. Participants chat-ted, gossiped, and eavesdropped their way across the room and back again.
A boxing event was planned for the evening as well, but one of the boxers was the first person to be murdered so the match never occurred. Was the murderer his opponent, a jealous husband, or perhaps a mobster he owed money to? The rumormongers had plenty of grist for their mill.

To read the full article, pick up the Sunday, Feb. 4 Belvidere Daily Republican.