Murder-Mystery Payback

Murder mystery among items on Saturday’s St. Mary’s Auction4 Education

by Carol Moorman,
Staff Writer


Melrose–There was a loud scream as guests of the Calypso Ball visited in a ballroom.


Running to assist the Man in the Gold Mask lying on the steps were the Lady in the Black Mask and the Man in the Blue Mask.


Who killed Jacob Gamble? That was the mystery guests of the Calypso Ball needed to solve, as part of a Mardi Gras Murder Mystery Party Friday, Feb. 19 at a home in Melrose.


It was a pay-if-forward murder mystery event, Briana Worms explained before the night began. For years St. Mary’s School staff in Melrose put on a murder mystery dinner which was auctioned off during the Auction 4 Education, which this year is Saturday, March 5, at the Melrose American Legion.


Many of those years the same group of parents purchased the item and enjoyed a night of intrigue and good food. The group fi gured as a way to say thank you for the fun they had, they would turn the tables and invite St. Maryʼs staff, who on this night included Jennifer Frank, Sue Pundsack, Carol Ricklick, Stacie Fletcher, Gail Sack, Jennifer Schwalbe, Autumn Nelson, Amy Kloth, Anne Maus, Colleen Butte and Amanda Hellermann, to participate in their own murder mystery.


Hostesses were Jeanne Kraemer, Jody Wehlage, Briana Worms, Sadie Frericks, Elisha Seanger, Becky Feldewerd, Trisha Kraemer, Jill Brethorst, Lori Braegelmann and Hope Klaphake. Also in the group but not present were Jenny Tomford and Shari Rieland.


Kraemerʼs Melrose home was decorated with a Mardi Gras theme, with hostesses preparing food and drinks for their guests. As the masked guests arrived, each holding an envelope with their characterʼs script, they were ushered into the livingroom dubbed a “ballroom,” where some got into their characters, including Carol Ricklick even speaking with a New Orleans' accent. They were all dressed for their female and male parts.


The night began with masked hostesses Briana Worms and Sadie Frericks reading the storyline.


“The year is 1899 in New Orleans, and Mardi Gras celebrations are underway. ... Youʼre invited to the Calypso Ball, the inaugural ball hosted by the fi rst-ever all-female krewe. (crew) Masks are essential to concealing each personʼs identity as they all convene for an evening of anonymous exuberance and decadence. But when a man in a gold mask takes a fatal tumble down the stairs, itʼs quickly realized that a devious plot is afoot. The guestsʼ heavily-guarded identities must be revealed to fi nd out who killed the man in the gold mask, and why!”


Each guest was introduced and a brief overview of their life was read by Worms and Frericks. There was a husband and wife, a brother and sister, a band member, a young lady and her suitor, a thief and even a voodoo lady.


The Lady in the Black Mask, (Pundsack) whose known trait was a theft, kept pulling items out of her large bag. To the surprise of guests and hostesses, items included a pointer, paperclips, and water glasses from other St. Maryʼs staff and also a bible, ceramic chicken and cap from the hostesses, as Pundsack enlisted the help of students to gather items from their parents.


While guests were enjoying New Orleansʼ themed snacks there was a loud scream, catching the attention of everyone, as they went to fi nd Jacob Gamble lying on the steps murdered.


“Itʼs a good thing we had CPR training last week,” said Colleen Butte.


That wouldnʼt have helped. Jacob was dead, a knife found nearby. From there the investigation began, as guests were ushered into the diningroom for the dinner.


Questions were asked and truthfully answered as each character tried to determine who, among them, had the motive, means and opportunity to kill Gamble. They were encouraged to write down on a piece of paper who they thought the murderer or murderers were.


The payback evening was fi lled with intrigue and fun and will surely lend new meaning as the St. Maryʼs staff plans a mystery night which will be auctioned off this Saturday night. The public is invited to the dinner which is served from 4:30 to 8 p.m., followed by the live auction. In previous years 12 people in one group won the murder mystery bid. To allow a variety of people to enjoy the event, people, in three groups of four, are encouraged to bid on the item.


Either way, a good time will be had by all. Friday, Feb. 19, was proof of that. “I hope you now have an idea of how great it is to be on that end,” said Worms at the end of the murder mystery evening.

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