Death by Chocolate- Murder Mystery

My dad is a choco-holic to the nth degree! For his birthday this past October, I wanted to throw him a chocolate themed party. After some thought, I decided to simplify plans due to time restraints and opted for a murder mystery dinner party. I'd seen this one, called "Death by Chocolate" and decided to give it a try.

This was the premise: "It's 15 April 1900, Easter Sunday, and Paris is the centre of world attention as millions of visitors arrive for the opening this weekend of the International Exposition.

Amongst them is an elite but diverse group of individuals staying at the Hotel Paradiso. As the gather for dinner, however, the peace of the hotel is rocked by an explosion. Billy Bonka, the foremost chocolate manufacturer in America, is found dead in his room, having apparently been killed by an exploding Easter egg. Suspicion falls on the people around this table.

One-or more- of you is a murderer! Your task is to discover who that killer is. Fortunately the famous amateur detective Hercule McClue is on hand to assist your investigations.

The suspects are:

‘CHOCOLATE’ BERTRAND- You are the greatest legend of the Belgian chocolate industry. Debonair but tough. (MY DAD)
Costume suggestion: Evening suit, elegant and understated.

MARCHIONESS DUCHAMP- You are an internationally notorious artist, whose work has scandalized two continents, and whose private life has done much the same. (MY MOM)
Costume suggestions: Dress in free-flowing clothes in rich colors (purples, deep reds) with silver jewelry and a silk scarf.

MARIA VON SCHNAPPS- You are a young business woman who has just taken over as head of a long-established Swiss chocolate firm. (MY BROTHER'S DATE)
Costume suggestion: A Formal evening dress, suggesting quiet sophistication.

MIKE BISON- You are the rising star of American boxing, and you’ve come to Paris for the Olympic Games. (MY HUSBAND)
Costume suggestions: Jeans and a white vest, worn open over a plaid shirt. A temporary tattoo or two and a black eye would be useful.

DAME BARBARA CARTHORSE- You are the most celebrated beauty in England , as well as being a hugely popular romantic novelist. (MY SISTER-IN-LAW)
Costume suggestion: A very grand evening dress, complete with spectacular jewelry and a tiara. Nothing should be understated.

DR DORIS JOHNSON- You are an amateur archaeologist specializing in Aztec culture, and something of an eccentric. (ME)
Costume suggestion: A long velvet cloak and floppy hat with feathers in it. Reading glasses on a chain around your neck would be good, a pince-nez or monocle even better.

DR SIGMUND FRAUD- You are a controversial psychologist from Vienna , much distrusted by conventional society. (MY BROTHER)
Costume suggestion: Brown, three-piece suit with a bowtie. A beard would add considerably to the image, as would a prop cigar.

LITTLE FITZ- You are a star of the Music Halls of Europe, where your ventriloquist act (with your dummy, Ziggy) has proved very popular. (MY YOUNGEST BROTHER)
Costume suggestion: A very loud check suit, preferably in brown with a novelty bowtie. It is vital that you have a dummy with you. This can be anything from a genuine dummy to a glove puppet. Even a sock with suitable adornments (eyes and a mouth drawn on) would do. But you will definitely need to bring this prop with you!"

My sister couldn't be here, so we slotted her in as the murder victim, Billy Bonka. We printed out a photo of her to display, then during the party she send random ghostly messages and threats to our phones!

We set up 'Cafe Chocolat' in our living room, with two tables end to end to form one long dining table covered with an elegant gold cloth. We decorated it with chocolate scented candles surrounded by chocolate truffles. To one side we had a chocolate fountain running with fruits and pretzels to dip, and we sipped glasses of sparkling cider during the appetizer and entree. With the desert I brought out a decanter of milk since it was extra rich and chocolatey!

I wanted a menu with chocolate in EVERYTHING, so I scoured the internet for recipes. The most difficult, of course, was the entree, but I finally found something on Hershey's website that didn't sound too bad. I found the salad recipe on someone's blog who'd used it for their own chocolate themed dinner.

Fruit and Greens w/White Chocolate-Orange Vinaigrette

1 15-ounce can mandarin oranges
5 ounces pre-washed spring greens
2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
1/2 pint blueberries

1/4 cup champagne wine vinegar
1/3 cup reserved mandarin orange juice
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
3 tbsp. olive oil

Make Salad:Drain Mandarin oranges and reserve juice. In a large bowl, combine salad greens and fruit. Set aside.

Make Dressing And Assembly: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine vinegar, mandarin juice, salt, and sugar. Gently heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in white chocolate until melted. Set aside to cool. Do not refrigerate, as white chocolate will set.
Before serving, slowly whisk in olive oil. Spoon desired amount over salad and toss. Serve remaining dressing on side.

Chicken Satay Skewers
6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 teaspoons dried coriander
4 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup soy sauce
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 teaspoons fresh, chopped ginger
2-1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast
PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE(recipe follows)
1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped

1. Combine garlic, coriander, brown sugar, salt, cocoa and pepper in large bowl. Stir in soy sauce, oil, lime juice and ginger.
2. Cut chicken into 1-1/2 to 2-inch cubes. Add to soy sauce mixture, stirring to coat chicken pieces. Cover; marinate in refrigerator for at least two hours.
3. Meanwhile, prepare PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE. Thread chicken pieces onto satay sticks. Grill or broil, basting with marinade. Discard leftover marinade. Garnish with chopped coriander, if desired. Serve with prepared peanut sauce. Refrigerate leftovers. 15 to 20 appetizers or 4 to 6 entree servings.

PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE:1 cup REESE'S Crunchy Peanut Butter1/2 cup peanut oil1/4 cup lime juice1/4 cup soy sauce3 tablespoons honey2 garlic cloves, minced1 teaspoon cayenne pepper1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauceGradually whisk peanut oil into peanut butter in medium bowl. Blend in lime juice, soy sauce, honey, garlic, cayenne pepper and hot pepper sauce. Adjust flavors to taste. (You should have a sweet/hot flavor.) About 2-1/4 cups dipping sauce.

Chocolate Pudding Cake (dubbed by me Chocolate Lava Eruption Cake of Glory!)
1 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 T. cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. milk
2 T shortening, melted

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, bk powder and salt in a bowl. Blend in milk and shortening. Pour into ungreased 9 x 9 pan.
Stir together 1 c brown sugar (packed), and 1/4 c cocoa. Sprinkle over cake batter. Pour 1 3/4 c. hot water over batter (best to pour on the water after you set the pan onto the oven rack to avoid spilling... learned that the hard way). Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. While warm, scoop into dessert dishes, spoon pudding sauce over each serving, and top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

This game came with a DVD of Inspector McClue guiding us through the investigation. Behind him is the photo of the ghostly Billy Bonka.

Our fantastic characters!

In the instructions for these parties it tells you to serve the appetizer during round 1, then serve the entree during round 2, and the dessert during round 3. That's all well and good, except that every time I got up to serve the next course (I even tried to have everything ready to just dish up, which meant the entree got cold), I was missing interactions with the other characters. I found myself playing hostess and not really knowing what was going on with the game. There were a few times when everyone was waiting on me to come back from the kitchen and say my line. So I think that next time I throw a murder mystery dinner, all of the food will come out in one shot and I'll actually get to participate. However, I also think that the next murder mystery party I throw will be an unscripted one! I've been reading about those, and they sound way more fun!


  1. Hi, bit of a random question from an internet stranger... not sure if you still monitor this blog! We are holding this party Thursday and have just opened the box to send invites and found that exhibit F is missing! If you happen to still have the game I wondered if you'd be kind enough to send me a photo of it.

  2. Forgot to say, you can contact me via my Google+ if you happen to see this before the 29th December!!

  3. Hey!! Good to know about this chocolate birthday party. Have never seen such a chocolate party before in my life. Want to have similar party for my sister as am mad lover of chocolates. Will be booking one of LA venue for the party and hope she will love it.

  4. You did GREAT!! I just got this game (resell) - its missing the 'rules' :-) any chance you could share a PDF? Or maybe I don't need it? I've never done a murder mystery...i'm not sure how to start, what the rules are, etc.

    1. Hey, the instructions are in a booklet form, can't remember exactly what it's called - maybe host booklet? If that's missing I highly recommend getting in touch with the company, Paul Lamond Games.

      They are very helpful and should be able to send you a copy of the instructions to allow you to play!

      Make sure to let them know that you got the game second hand.

      You can message them on Facebook or phone them (their number's on their FB page).