Like public cloning demonstrations, murder mysteries keep audiences wondering when the next body will appear onstage. Take your best guess with this Groupon: for $69, you get admission for two to Murder on the Grill, a four-course murder mystery dinner at Henderson House Inn and Retreat Center in Stafford (a $160 value).
The Littlefield House, an idyllic abode built in 1903 and recently restored to its near-original condition, sets the stage for Murder on the Grill, an interactive mystery set in 1959. Hula-hoops swish as the sun glistens off vintage leather jackets at a convivial outdoor cookout, where homeowner Tom Dooley meets his maker over the patio’s sizzling grill. Suspects with names such as Johnny Angel and Barby Q surface as the group retreats to the Littlefield’s air-conditioned interior for a four-course dinner that includes such summer-tinged comfort fare as grilled philly steak, potatoes, and corn on the cob. The sleuthing session, which lasts 2–2.5 hours, culminates in the reveal of the killer’s identity. Rock n' roll music helps to set the scene, and guests get bonus points for solving the mystery of the Macarena’s success.
A wraparound porch winds along the perimeter of the Henderson House, its flowerpots framed by white columns and spindles that have stood for more than a century. Inside, guests lounge in double parlors and sleep in guestrooms adorned with stained- and beveled-glass windows, brass lighting fixtures, and antique bed frames. Part of a collection of homes built between 1903 and 1905—which includes the Spickard House, Littlefield House, and Weide House—the Henderson House maintains standing on the National Register of Historic Places through its turn-of-the-century architecture and decor. In addition to opening rooms for bed-and-breakfast-style lodging, the staff entertains guests with murder mysteries, such as the 1950s-themed Murder on the Grill where guests must figure out who killed Tom Dooley and what temperature steak is best cooked at. They also package stays with area attractions, such as guided birding with a nature photographer. Other nearby activities range from visits to the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge to making plum jelly.