A Whodunit with the McDonald-Fifes

We recently had the pleasure (and intrigue) to partake in that classic of British evening entertainments… the murder mystery party.

During said evening, each participant is given a name with brief character sketch and a few hints as to things they are meant to find out from other characters. The rest is pure improv.

This particular affair was set in the 1930s, during a dinner party in which the shady McDonald-Fife clan (papa Dugald and 9 children with similarly Scottish names) gather together for the first time in 10 years.

1 of them would not leave the party alive.

[cue horror music]

We were instructed to dress in 1930s evening attire (though we would be excused if we arrived in slightly outmoded 20s flapper dresses) with a slightly Scottish flair. The Philosopher had the honor of playing Dugald McDonald-Fife himself, so, worried by the distinct lack of Scots attire in his wardrobe, we had a quick Google for inspiration.

And came up with this.




I was 1 part horrified and then 50 parts excited to recreate the look. Thankfully, the Phil stopped me in my tracks before I got too carried away.

The end result? Ladies and gentleman, I give you: Dugald, the aged patriarch (and soon to be murder victim – done in by his own bagpipes, no less).





I played Agnes McDonald-Fife, lover of fireworks and carrier pigeons, and general nosy, infuriating busy-body. The evening opened as dear papa and I posed for a glamour shot before meeting the rest of our family members.





The slightly psychopathic Kitty McDonald-Fife (right) was already pointing fingers of blame at other people when we arrived. Our poor family secretary, Daisy Dalrymple, was her object of suspicion in this shot.




The henpecked Hamish McDonald-Fife poured juice into wine glasses for everyone else, while he sneakily drank wine out of a teacup to hide his nasty alcohol habit. Though he ever wore a smile, many of us suspected murderous rage behind that beatific gaze.





Papa was reunited at last with his favorite son, Scottie McDonald-Fife, a munitions dealer who fronted as businessman engaged in “humanitarian textiles”. Nobody was quite sure what that meant, which of course cast him in deep suspicion immediately. Chip off the old block, though, isn’t he?




Lassie McDonald-Fife (L) who oddly insisted on being called Louise for the evening, was a calm and watchful presence, examining her siblings for wicked motives. Gertrude Smith (R), wife of Hamish, spent an awful lot of time trying to keep her husband quiet, which of course only made us more interested in what he had to hide. Bonnie Jones, (far R), married to Philippe Jones (a Welsh-Frenchman), made frequent mention of her three children – Jake, Jesse, and Lucy – who we were fairly sure she fabricated to make herself seem more successful than she actually was.





In the end, it turned out that good old Morag McDonald-Fife (not pictured, sadly) was the real murderer. She was so good at concealing her motives that none of us guessed it was her at the end of the night, which, I suppose, means that she got away.

A lovely evening full of laughter, moreish cakes, and excellent wine was had by all. Even the deceased Papa McDonald enjoyed himself a bit – which, for an introverted Philosopher, is really saying something!

…and here’s a few non-sepia photos so you can actually see how wonderful everyone looked!






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