Caroline Verdon column: Small talk around a murder marked our anniversary

It was our anniversary this week '“ five years married and my husband and I celebrated by booking ourselves a lovely night away in a hotel.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 4:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 4:15 pm

If you’re thinking candles on bedside tables and rose petals on the covers, you can stop that right now. The hotel we went to had none of that. It was hosting a murder mystery event. Now I’m aware that small talk around a murder might not be the way most couples would choose to spend their most meaningful and romantic day of the year but for us it was perfect. Or at least it should have been.

We’ve done a couple before and I’ve absolutely loved every second of them. I basically feel that deep down I have all the skills of a fantastic detective. If I were to have a career change I’d be banging on the door of West Yorkshire Police or trying to join some sort of private detective agency.

As an example of my skills, a friend met someone at a bar once and whilst she couldn’t remember his name she knew he was a teacher and what city he worked in, and she knew she wanted to see him again. Within 30minutes I internet stalked the life out of him and found his Facebook page, they added each other and they went on a date. Boom! I call it genius, others would be fair to call it creepy.

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Either way, it means that when it comes to murder mysteries I’m really good at them. In fact I’ve been in the winning team for the two previous events and so was going for the hat trick.

My husband and I went meaning business. Fresh notebooks each as well as new pens and three more for spares. We were going to write down all the evidence and we weren’t going to let ink running out hold us back.I was prepared, I was enthusiastic, I was ready with my A game and prepared for a win. And about two hours later I was left bitterly disappointed.

I didn’t lose, because I’m voiding the entire event. They didn’t do it properly. They didn’t even set out any rule and how can you play a game without rules? (I use the word ‘game’ but by this point we both know I’m viewing this as real life and am just one step away from renaming myself Sherlock). As we sat there having dinner, the actors were meant to mingle, only they didn’t mingle and we only got two minutes with each actor. Even worse, they broke the central rule of the murder mystery – only the murderer is allowed to lie, all others must tell the truth. Well tell the truth they did not.

Usually when you put all the information together you come out with a clear murderer – perhaps they were having an affair with the deceased lover? Maybe the deceased owed them money? Maybe they had a long term grudge? Quite often it’s all of the above. This time however it made no sense. We took a punt on who the murderer might be and wrote out our reasons but handing in the form we were left feeling a little dejected. I’m not sure if it comes across on paper, but I am a little bit competitive.

When they announced who the murderer was, only four people out for 120 had got it right. Four. Those four people had been sat on the same table as the murderer all night and the murderer yelled out “see, bet you’re glad I made you write my name down now.”

What? That’s cheating! They were given the answer! I was enraged. My husband was holding my hand, less in a loving way and more in a pinning me to the table way to stop me getting up and saying anything way. Through gritted teeth I told him how unfair this was and he pointed out that the prize was just a certificate anyway and that we were here to have a lovely time. He poured me a glass of wine. How could I have a lovely time when I’d been cheated of what was rightfully mine? It was at this point he poured himself a large glass of wine.

All hell broke loose when I found out the winners got given a medal too. An actual medal. At this point I told my husband we were going to bed. And not in the candles on the bedside tables and rose petals on the covers way.

Talking about stranger danger

My toddler is nearly three and it’s breaking my heart that I need to remove his rose tinted glasses.

He’s happy and confident and a right little chatterbox and he’ll talk to anyone and it’s lovely but I’m becoming aware that it could be a bit dangerous.

I want him to be part of the world as he sees it, where grown-ups are there to play with him and to help him and where everything is fun and worry-free but the world isn’t like that and it’s upsetting that I can’t make it be like that for him.

We’re off to Bingley music festival in a week and there are going to be a lot of people so we’ve had to up our game.

Arthur has a little backpack with reins attached to stop him from running off and we’ve also bought him a little bracelet that has space to write our contact number on it in case he somehow gets lost.

This week we’ve begin to teach him that if he is lost, he should try to find a police officer or someone who is working in a shop or if he can’t find any of them then he should find another family and tell them that he can’t find mummy or daddy.

The next step is telling him not to talk to strangers. It’s genuinely lovely how he’ll talk to anyone, how he views everyone as a potential friend but I know it’s important for him to realise that there are bad people around and that he shouldn’t talk to people he doesn’t know.

Even though it’s necessary it doesn’t stop it making me feel really sad inside. He deserves better than this. We all do.

Ant’s going on his stag do...

Ant’s got his stag do this weekend and I cannot wait to find out what mischief is had.

He’s off to Edinburgh Festival with the lads and I really hope they stitch him up. He is the ultimate wind-up merchant so he definitely deserves it. I’m quite jumpy and he is forever hiding in places so he can jump out at me and hear me scream.

When I was 17, I was at an all girls Roman Catholic convent sixth form and I will never forget walking into the building one Monday morning to see the nuns gathered around the school sign saying “move along girls, nothing to see here” and behind them was a naked man who’d been handcuffed to the sign by his ‘best men’ the night before.

If they do anything like that to Ant I’ll be asking for photos – although obviously only from the neck up.

Caroline Verdon is one half of the breakfast show on Radio Aire. You can hear Caroline and Ant between 6-10am every weekday morning.