Last night we had my postponed-by-one-week birthday party: A combination murder mystery party and wine tasting where we sampled a variety of red, white and sparkling wines and an array of fine cheeses. It was so much fun!
Our host: Barry Underwood Jr., as played by Tim. (03/12/05)
Five years ago, Barry Underwood Sr., owner of the prestigious Underwood Wine Estates, mysteriously disappeared during the valley’s annual wine festival. A massive search at the time failed to turn up any clues and the case has been in the FBI’s unsolved files since then.
Now, five years later, it is once again the annual wine festival in Napa Valley. Last night, family and friends gathered at the stately Underwood mansion to celebrate. At midnight, a minor earthquake shook the mansion, causing an old wooden floor in the wine cellar to buckle. Barry’s well preserved body was discovered under the cedar planks.
The suspects included:
Marilyn Merlot, as played by Amy. (03/12/05)
Marilyn was crowned Wine Princess at the festival five years ago, and then went on to become a Hollywood movie star. She’s returned to Napa Valley for the Wine Festival and to gloat over her success.
Papa Vito, as played by Everett. (03/12/05)
Brought over from Italy sixty years ago by Barry’s grandfather to develop Underwood Wine Estates, Papa Vito has devoted his life to the vineyards. Now he just wants to retire and drink a little vino in the afternoon. Salute!
Ralph Rottengrape, as played by Tom. (03/12/05)
Barry’s first cousin and heir-apparent to the Underwood Wine Estates. Long considered the black sheep of the family, Ralph took over as manager after Barry’s disappearance and has been running things his way ever since.
Bonnie Lass, as played by Laura. (03/12/05)
A Scottish tourist who has attended the wine festival while vacationing in California. A mystery writer and best-selling novelist, she knows a thing or two about hidden bodies and old wine cellars.
Agent Bud Wizer, as played by Jon. (03/12/05)
The F.B.I. Agent assigned to investigate Barry’s murder. Bud is a beer-drinking man with no appetite for wine. He’s determined to put a cap on this unsolved mystery.
Hedy Shablee, as played by Joe. (03/12/05)
The owner of the neighboring vineyard and a fierce competitor of the Underwood’s. Barry’s disappearance has uncorked a new vintage of troubles for unhappy Hedy.
Otto Von Schnapps, as played by James. (03/12/05)
A German wine merchant. Boisterous and fun-loving, Otto attends wine festivals around the globe, buying the best vintages for distribution in Europe. It is said Otto's preference for red or white can be influenced by green.
Tiny Bubbles, as played by Christine. (03/12/05)
Barry’s fiancée at the time of his death. Perky and pretty, Tiny has an effervescent personality and a razor-sharp mind. She is now married to the new winery owner, Ralph.
So who did it? That is a closely guarded secret, my friends. :)
Overall, I gotta give Tim mad props for putting together what turned out to be a fun, well-organized party. I'll definitely never forget it!