Murder mystery game comes to Berkley Oct. 6

By: Jeremy Selweski | Woodward Talk | Published October 3, 2012

BERKLEY — Anyone who has ever wanted to experience the thrill of being a detective solving a crime will have the perfect opportunity this weekend when a new game comes to downtown Berkley.

For “The Case of the Dead Paparazzi,” local bar/pub trivia game provider Quizzo Detroit is offering a murder mystery event described as a live version of the board game Clue, featuring actors, riddles, scavenger hunts and problem solving. After visiting Royal Oak Sept. 29, the game is coming to Berkley Oct. 6 before traveling to Plymouth Oct. 13 and Clawson Oct. 27.

“The Case of the Dead Paparazzi” was created by Ferndale resident Donny Klemmer, special events coordinator for Quizzo Detroit. Klemmer came up with the idea after spending 10 years of his career organizing various corporate events, including murder mysteries. However, when he began attending some of these events himself, he was highly disappointed by what he saw.

“I just felt like these murder mysteries were very anticlimactic and way too predictable,” he said. “There was not nearly enough detective work or problem solving involved. I wanted to try to challenge people a little more to really get into the story, think about what’s happening and investigate the evidence.”

The storyline of “The Case of the Dead Paparazzi” is as follows:

“Last night, a member of the local paparazzi was found dead in their downtown apartment. Police have since narrowed down the list of suspects to eight, the possible weapons to 10 and the potential crime scenes to six. It is now up to you, our CSI department, to determine whodunit, with what weapon and in which location. Clues are littered around town, and we have special agents working on the case who will be forwarding you information as we get it. Can your team crack the case?”

In Berkley, the game will begin at 8 p.m. Oct. 6. Players are asked to form teams of four members, ages 21 and up, and be prepared to walk to a number of different downtown venues. The cost is $80 per team, and players can register by calling Berkley Parks and Recreation at (248) 658-3470. Interested parties should hurry, though, as the game is limited to 20 teams and 16 had already signed up at press time.

The game offers teams plenty of incentive to be the first one to solve the mystery. The winning team will receive a gift basket containing prizes and gift certificates from local businesses totaling more than $250 in value.

Officials from Berkley Parks and Recreation said that they are happy to be bringing “The Case of the Dead Paparazzi” to their city.

“I think we’re always looking for exciting new events and activities,” said Parks and Recreation Manager Theresa McArleton. “We want to give people lots of fun things to do all around the community and shine a spotlight on our downtown area, as well.”

According to Klemmer, the popularity of Quizzo Detroit’s murder mysteries has skyrocketed in a very short time. The series was launched two years ago in Royal Oak, and the company continues to spread to more cities. While the events are currently only offered during the fall, Quizzo Detroit’s is now considering expanding to spring and winter.

“It’s really starting to snowball,” Klemmer said. “We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from people, and it has been really helpful in taking things to the next level. I’m learning a lot about what works and what doesn’t work, and really just trying to make the game better all around.”

One big step for Klemmer has been recruiting a team of five professional actors to play characters in the game alongside him. “Now I can actually afford to hire people to act out these roles, instead of just getting my own friends to do it by paying them with food and beer,” he said with a laugh.

The game was brought to Berkley by recreation programming leader Scott Jennex, who played an earlier incarnation of the murder mystery last year in Royal Oak, where his team won the grand prize. Because the game involves players traveling on foot between numerous locations, it seemed like a good fit for Parks and Recreation.

“People will get a nice workout walking around downtown from business to business,” McArleton said. “We’re all about healthy, active lifestyles here, so this should be a great way to promote our entire community. Depending on how things go, we’re thinking about signing up for another one of these events.”

That would certainly be a boon for Klemmer, who pointed out that one of the best parts of a murder mystery game is the huge number of possible conclusions. This unpredictability gives players a reason to enjoy it again and again.

“Clue is a format that everyone is familiar with, but even though the storyline is the same every time, the outcome is always different,” he said. “If you play the game more than once, you will not have any distinct advantage over anyone else. The ending is always a mystery.”

For more information on “The Case of the Dead Paparazzi,” go to