Murder mystery game: Murder on the Menu

Fancy throwing a dinner party with a twist? Our exclusive, free murder mystery game is the perfect option. Ideal for a grown-up Halloween celebration or fun evening with friends...

Murder mystery

Murder on the Menu - story overview

It’s the highlight of the food year here in Localtown – the Annual Food Star of the Year Dinner. The event will culminate, as always, with the award of the Silver Slice to the person who has contributed the most to Localtown’s food and drink scene over the last 12 months.

Recently it’s always gone to Vernon Ictim, the Localtown Gazette’s top critic, but with such success comes bad feeling – and he hasn’t helped things, having made enemies of his contemporaries. 

As all the nominees gather for the dinner, resentments have reached boiling point…and before the award can be presented formally, it has been plunged into Ictim’s back! 

V. Ictim is no more.

But who could have done such a heinous deed?

For you to download and print:

Full instructions - print and familiarise yourself with the story and rules of the game before your party.

Invitation - the game works best with 6-10 players. Choose a character for each of your guests and include the character card with their invite. Don’t forget to choose a character for yourself too.

Character cardsYou should choose a character for yourself and each of your guests and send them the character summary and costume tips below with the invitation. Download and print the character cards for your guests to use on the night. (Make sure you select single sided printing on your printer)

Game leader cards and Rules for hosting - what the host should say on the night and condensed rules for the host to have on hand during the evening.

Clue cards and guilty/innocent cards - for your guests on the night (to be selected at random and kept secret). We've also included some blank clue cards in case you want to make up your own versions!

Murder mystery recipe

Overview of the characters

Donald / Dorothy Oakhead – A Rustic Greengrocer
Rough and ready; outdoorsy; maybe a little gullible.
Costume tips - Corduroys and scarves, tweeds and button holes; a hanky or the like; sensible shoes.

Adam / Alice Pensell-Smith – A newspaper editor
Brisk and efficient; mindful and polite, but a little wary.
Costume tips - All paisley and purple; maybe a roll neck and a blazer; vintage. Stuck in a delightful past.

Frank/Francesca Sheetspread – A produce importer
Business is my business; I’m sleekly turned out and keen to get on.
Costume tips - Pinstripes and shiny shoes; satin or silk may well be involved; a bit of business bling.

Simon/Simone Goodbake  - A television baker
A smooth, confident sort; twinkly eyed; a charmer
Costume tips - Think crisp shirts or blouses, pastels, a neat jacket or twin-set, pressed chinos etc.

William/Wilhelmina Upright - A Victorian-themed cafe owner
I wear period costume; I’m very correct but may be a little strict with others
Costume tips - Certainly black clothes, possibly with the occasional antique adornment.

Jax / Jax Shoreditch – A Hipster food blogger
I’m like sooo cool; I’m open and switched on and focused on tomorrow.
Costume tips - An ironic T-shirt, skinny jeans, sweet trainers; black framed glasses and baseball cap; or maybe an updated vintage look. Quirky and unique.

Carl / Carlie Trainer-Cross – A local gym owner
I’m sporty and keen; I’d rather be running; do I talk too quickly?
Costume tips - Headband and fitness gear; not necessarily a tracksuit; maybe a polo shirt or a sports team kit.

Bernard/Bernadette Matcha – A street food vendor
A citizen of everywhere in the world; friendly but a bit frantic.
Costume tips - Something global; a mix of cultures and continents; face paint too?

Larry/ Lara Litmus – An academic nutrition scientist
I consider life to be an experiment and I take my time; everyone is fascinating.
Costume tips - A scientist, geeky but with a hint of cool; maybe a superhero T-shirt or polo neck sweater. 

Louis / Louise Gauloise – A French bistro owner
Je suis Gallic and fashionable; dry; I act oblivious but I am always intrigued.
Costume tips - Maybe all black in the Parisian style or Breton stripes and a beret.


Optional ghost story tips

You'll see your character cards contain ghost story tips - This is a Halloween Bonus. Maybe the undiscovered murderer or the first to be accused can improvise a ghostly tale around those hints.

You may also wish to provide each storyteller with a spooky item from your home, or buy them especially, to inspire them with their story. The weirder the story the better – they don’t have to be horror classics, a spine-chilling vignette will do the trick.

Your murder mystery menu

We've come up with some killer recipes to serve up to your guests. Full of seasonal flavours, much of the food can be prepared ahead of time, leaving you free to light the candles and set the scene. 


Burnt leeks on toast with romesco

Main course

Stuffed onions
Root vegetable rice
Herby yogurt dressing


Chocolate & rose tart


Blood beetroot cocktails

If you have any questions or want to let us know what you think please e-mail us at

Story and concept by Ben Moor, an actor and writer. He has written for The Guardian and The Idler. His broadcast work includes Elastic Planet and Undone for BBC Radio, and TV appearances in The IT Crowd and Doctor Thorne. Follow him on Twitter: @benmoor

Comments, questions and tips

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Sophie Douglas's picture
Sophie Douglas
1st Jan, 2019
We used the murder mystery for a New Year's Eve dinner party, not with the suggested menu, but our own choice of food, and for 7 guests. Everyone took their character on board and dressed up. We started the game at 7pm and it took around 3 hours, however we did keep things slow to last throughout the whole dinner. Everyone enjoyed the game immensely, lots of improvisation, lots of fun, lots of laughing until we cried! Our extroverts played to the crowd and created back stories for their characters, using voices, gestures and quick fire anecdotes! Our slightly less outgoing guests were able to behave according to their clue cards and join in quietly. Some of us found the verdict obvious, but others were quite confused. It wasn't simple and clear cut so it kept us all guessing and we continued to discuss the game throughout the rest of the evening and the following morning over breakfast! We also added to the game, buying small plastic trophies and awarding one to each person for something related to their character, eg, the rotten veg award to the greengrocer, the hapless headline award to the newspaper editor, etc. This added another layer to the evening and everyone felt included. Altogether an absolutely fantastic evening with a simple to follow concept. It got people talking and laughing, and was more fun than drinks and nibbles waiting for the clock to turn midnight! And the best bit... All this fun was for free! Thank you BBC food for a wonderful evening!
28th Oct, 2016
What a great story and party idea - you've certainly inspired me!
5th Oct, 2016
This looks great but I thought it would have come with some menu suggestions! Any ideas, BBC Good Food? We will definitely be hosting a murder mystery dinner this month...
goodfoodteam's picture
7th Oct, 2016
Hi fistewart69, thanks for your comment. We would suggest a starter of burnt leeks on toast with romesco, stuffed onions, herby yogurt dressing, and root vegetable rice as the main and sides with our death-by-chocolate tart as a dessert and blood beetroot cocktail. All the links to these recipes are on this page just above the photo of the cocktail. Hope this helps, let us know if you need further suggestions.
24th Oct, 2016
It all looks amazing, especially the tart - the link to the recipe doesn´t work, however, could you please upload it again? Thanks a lot.
Sophie Palmer's picture
Sophie Palmer
24th Apr, 2020
We only have 5 members available - would this still work??
Esther_Deputyfoodeditor's picture
28th Apr, 2020
Hey, Esther from the food team here! You could certainly play this with 5 members :) Thanks for your question.
21st Jan, 2020
Can you play this with 8 people or does it have to be 10? Are the missing two people the referred to throughout the evening?
CassieBest's picture
22nd Jan, 2020
Hi doubleg, You can play the game with between 6-10 people. Cassie (Senior Food Editor, BBC Good Food)
25th Jan, 2020
Thanks! I have familiarised myself with the game now and I can see how easy-going and fluid it is!
27th Nov, 2019
As the host and game leader, who is also taking part in the game, can I read the other character cards? I would like to make amendments to personalise some of them but I don't want to give myself an unfair advantage.
lulu_grimes's picture
3rd Dec, 2019
Hi, Absolutely fine to make changes to the character cards. It’s the clue cards that it’s best not to look too closely at. The character cards are combined with a random allocation of a clue card which allows this game to be played again and again with a different outcome. Only thing I’d be careful of is the relationship section of the character cards – if you wanted to change the name of a character make sure the same thing is done to all the character cards where that name is mentioned. I hope that helps.
17th Dec, 2019
Thanks so much Lulu! Really appreciate your reply, that's a great help.
Anna Paula Meneguz's picture
Anna Paula Meneguz
4th Nov, 2019
Does the game leader have to be someone that is not a part of the suspects? or can the leader be one of the guest characters? And can we take notes while playing the game?
goodfoodteam's picture
9th Nov, 2019
As the host and game leader you also take part in the game and play one of the characters. You're as likely to be the murderer as much as any of your guests. For full details, look at the following host guide:


Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe...Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.