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Brillion Library hosting second murder mystery

This story appears in the April 11, 2024 print edition of The Brillion News.

 

By David Nordby

The Brillion News

 

BRILLION – Who doesn’t love a good mystery?


After the success of last year’s event, the Brillion Public Library is hosting its second murder mystery night – dubbed Murder in the Stacks – this Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m.


The night includes mystery, drama, light hors d’oeuvres and laughs. Proceeds from the event will go toward the Brillion Public Library Reading Garden project.


This year’s mystery theme will take place on a cruise ship and also have the expertise of Stephanie Maertz. Maertz is a choir and band teacher for the Reedsville School District who puts together the school’s annual plays. She also has been a part of murder mystery for years.


“I actually had been doing murder mysteries like this since I was in high school,” Maertz said, recalling attending mystery-themed parties when she was 17. “We did them throughout high school and college even … It would be huge cosplay things like if we had a Renaissance theme, everyone went all out on their costumes, and it was just a fun way for them to kind of have friends and family over.”


Maertz and her husband, Andrew, even threw one for her 30th birthday party.


“I just know how they all get put together and I had a fun time last year and Tammy (Koehler) was like, ‘Can you please help put this together again,’” Maertz said. It was an easy answer for her to agree to do that.


Good for a regular social party, last year’s murder mystery at the library also proved to be good for a fundraising effort for the Brillion’s library garden project. This year, the cruise ship will have attendees “cruising for murder.”


“We’re going aboard a cruise ship and when you get there, there are going to be people that you’re going to be friendly towards and people that you maybe have it out for. You don’t know if you’re going to be murdered or if you’re the murderer until you open your envelopes that you receive when you get (to the library),” Maertz said.


At the start of the event, each person will receive objectives in their envelope. The lights will go out and when they come back on, someone’s dead on the floor.


“Then you have to spend the rest of the party figuring out whodunnit,” Maertz said.


Maertz’s character was murdered during last year’s event. Attendees were unable to guess who the murderer was. Prior to this year’s event, only Maertz knows who will receive the packet that has them as the murderer.


The company that puts together the mysteries makes it easy. They put together files and leave room for up to 80 people but must have at least 20. This Friday’s event already has 37 people signed up but space for more.


“You can have fun making up names for these characters and putting your own spin on things,” Maertz said. “I’ve been busy trying to make sure everyone has a character name and a backstory and sending out emails telling them who they are and putting together the packets.”


Maertz is working closely with the library board and library director Lydia Dill.


Attendees are strongly encouraged to dress up to help set the theme of being aboard a cruise ship. Andrew will play the role of the captain of the ship. Attendees can go in a photo booth to commemorate the night.


While the library is planning more activities for the youth in the summer, this event is recommended that participants are at least 13 years old.


“This one kind of has some adult themes of drinking and having affairs and stuff like that so it’s a little bit more on the adult side,” Maertz said.


The library will have plenty of more themes for mysteries in the future.


“This year we’re getting even more people than we had last year signed up, we have returning people from last year … and bringing more friends with them. I think it’s a great way for the library to get a little bit of the spotlight being a small town but bringing in people from outside the community in,” Maertz said.


People who want to attend the event can still sign up. Tickets to participate are $35 or $50 for two.

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