Murder of a Music Mogul! Interactive Online Murder Mystery - Week One
Whodunnit Events Present...
Murder of a Music Mogul!
Private Detective Jack Diamond lounges in his city apartment under lockdown, unable to carry out an investigative assignment for his latest client, the highly esteemed music mogul, Ryan Lowell. When Jack tries to call Lowell at home, he is instead greeted by the Butler and told of a grisly discovery which will result in a brand new investigation.
Jack will soon discover that the music business can be murder...
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JACK: Sometimes it feels like a dog-eat-dog world. The rest of the time it’s the other way around. You gotta be tough to face the world. Tougher than a Wetherspoons steak.
The headlines are coming thick and fast. Stay at home is the message from up top. There’ll be no two-bit crime capers to solve, no dames visiting my office with a wad of cash and a story to tell, no tough nuts to crack or goons to pursue, no nooks, no crannies to look into; in other words, Detective Jack Diamond is under lockdown, at least for now.
Instead, I’m lounging in my apartment, just another unmarried, middle-aged man watching a movie. I guess it’s about a fire that burns and never goes out. Just listen to that music, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
That reminds me of a case I took on recently. I was hired by the young music mogul Ryan Lowell to investigate some cat burglaries in his neck of the woods. The record executive was paranoid that the burglar would strike his multi-million-pound mansion next. I told him there was little I could do, given the current situation, but I’d stay in touch by phone and pick up the case in a few weeks.
So I decide to call Lowell right now.
Whoever is on the other end of the phone answers nervously, ‘Hello, who is this?’
Hello this is Detective Jack Diamond, I’m a licensed private investigator, can I speak with a Mr… Ryan Lowell?
My employer, Mr Ryan Lowell, can’t come to the phone right now, this tense guy explains. He’s dead!
Dead? What do you mean he’s dead?
He goes on to describe the crime scene. He found Lowell dead in his study at 6pm with a gunshot wound to his right temple. He was slumped over his desk and appeared to have written a suicide note, the pen still held in his right hand. Shards of a drinking glass lay on the floor near the body and the door to his wall-mounted safe lay open. Missing items include a Grammy Award and £50,000 in cash. The window behind Lowell’s desk was smashed through and the gun was dropped by his chair.
I see, and what’s your name anyhow?
Arthur Benson Jeeves, he says, I was Mr Lowell’s butler.
Well listen Jeeves, I gotta tell you something. This is no suicide. Ryan Lowell was murdered. Who else was at home with Mr Lowell today?
Jeeves stammers as he tries to recall names. He says that most staff were sent home last week to self-isolate, which only left himself, Lowell’s personal assistant, Tabby Bobtail, Lowell’s gardener Doug Rowlands and Mr Lowell’s wife, the famous popstar Adriana Venti.
I note down the names, telling him they must all send video statements as soon as possible.
I hang up. You ask me, this whole situation looks about as suspicious as a tarantula on a frosted fancy. Ryan Lowell is sleeping the big sleep; manner of death: unnatural.
I’m going to enlist your help so we can investigate the murder of this young music mogul from the confines of our homes. Together, we need to work out whodunnit, why and how. I’ll share the video statements supplied by the suspects every evening this week at 6pm. Comment on the videos with your questions for the suspects which we can put to them in next week’s videos.
But first I want to check how perceptive you are, my band of Watsons and Nancy Drews. How did I know from the butler’s description of the crime scene that this was not a suicide, it was murder? Comment below with your answers and I'll tell you on Friday.
For now, I’m going to mull the case over while the tin pan notes of a piano drift faintly over the city.
ARTHUR: My name is Arthur Benson Jeeves and I am…was… a faithful butler for the last decade to the international Music Mogul and recently deceased, Mr Ryan Lowell. I always thought Mr Lowell was an arrogant yet extremely shrewd businessman, perfectly suited to the cut-throat music industry. Unlike myself…
I have always been an avid songwriter, you see. Death metal is my preferred genre. Maybe you’ve heard some of my work? I wrote Death Metal anthems such as, ‘Cannibal Zombie Gore’, ‘The Sounds of Rancid Juices Sloshing Around Your Coffin’ and ‘Merciless Gutter Beast’. I’m quite proud of the lyrics for the latter:
Merciless Gutter Beast commits every crime Utterly wicked - no warnings, no signs Judgement day with beast gore on its way Taking its own beastly time
The monster went SMACK, there was no turning back 'Cause I couldn’t see, was Merciless Gutter Beast watching me? In the midst of spine twists Was all this swell, or just some kind of hell?
‘Merciless Gutter Beast’ was of course one of Mr Lowell’s biggest hits, though we won’t go into that.
On the afternoon of his murder, I saw Mr Lowell’s Personal Assistant, that dreadful Miss Tabby Bobtail, enter his study at around 3pm with an afternoon glass of milk. I noticed the time as I was dusting the grandfather clock. I heard raised voices, Tabby was quite shrill, as though she were quite upset. She stormed out shortly after.
Later on, at around 5pm, Mr Lowell’s wife, the former pop-star Adriana Venti, prepared a cocktail and asked me to deliver it to his study. Mr Lowell was pacing restlessly, clearly something troubled him and he was glad for the cocktail.
An hour later, I discovered his body slumped over his desk with a bullet hole through this head.
I am aware that several items are missing from Mr Lowell’s study, including one of his Grammy awards and a very large sum of cash. You must be aware of the local cat-burglar rumours, perhaps this cat burglar broke into the mansion?
I’m available for further questioning and I wish you the best of luck in your investigation.
TABBY: Tabby Bobtail, Personal Assistant to Ryan Lowell for five years, no wait six, oh WHO CARES anyway since my whole life is on paws! This is a cat-astrophe!
I have so many memories of my time with Ryan, like when I would bring him his morning newspaper and he would always say ‘Just leave it outside my study, I’m busy!’ or when I brought him a glass of milk on the afternoon of his murder, he said ‘What do you think I am, twelve years old?’ but then he winked at me, and called me his ‘favourite crazy cat lady’. I wish I hadn’t pussy-footed around my feelings for him and I’d just come out and said it, ‘Ryan Lowell, you are like catnip to me!’
You might say I wasn’t Ryan’s type but you’d be wrong! Sure, I’m not a glamour-puss like his wife, the former popstar Adriana Venti. I don’t hate Adriana, but if she was on fire and I had water, I’d drink it.
If Ryan never had felines for me, why did he offer to leave a huge sum in his Will to the local cat sanctuary where I volunteer? Hmm? That’s one paw-sitive to come out of this!
Who would have a miaouw-tive to do such a thing to a purr-fect man like Ryan? Here’s a tail for you. Ryan used to manage this hunky singer, ‘Doug Rowlands’. Doug’s career took a nosedive after his unfortunate appearance on Eurovision. Ryan felt sorry for Doug, so he hired him to be his gardener and handy man; a job he’s kept to this day. Go and ask Doug if you don’t believe me, he’s self-isolating in his shed but you can talk to him through the window. I’m not kitting around!
Wait a miaouw-ment, I remember one other thing from the day of his murder. At around 5pm, I overheard Ryan speaking with the butler about his wife. He was considering dropping her from his record label. Imagine how Adriana would have reacted to that!
If you have any other questions you know where to find me. Oh, if only Ryan had nine lives, then there’d be a paw-sibility of us being together!
ADRIANA: Hey my little buttercups, just to tell you that I’m sorry you’ve not heard from me because I’ve been on vocal rest. I know a lot of you had mixed feelings about my album, ‘Minx It Up’, last year but you should know that things have been a little bleak for me recently. Not only has my stylist lost a truck load of costumes from my latest tour, I can confirm that my marriage to my manager Ryan Lowell has ended in ‘Tragedy’. Ryan’s been murdered! I know, ‘Shock, shock, horror, horror’, right? Anyway, I know I can get through anything since you guys are the best and you’ve made the last few years the most incredible experience ever, and you’ve always been there and I love you so very much. So I’ll talk to you soon, See you all my buttercups, love you much, bye bye!
You know the one thing that everyone who worked for Ryan Lowell had in common? Failure. Ryan’s butler came third in the seventh series of Death Metal Idol. His personal assistant, Tabby Bobtail, was fired from a production of CATS in London’s West End and Ryan took her in, like a mangy stray. Even the hunky gardener Doug Rowlands scored nil poi at Eurovision. But honey, I’d give him tens across the board. Thinking of him locked up in that shed gives me fever.
I was ‘crazy in love’ with Ryan and I wanted us to be the perfect musical collaborators, like Kylie and Pete Waterman. Ryan claimed I was taking a ‘wrecking ball’ to my music career by going on a voluntary hiatus after my last album panned. Ryan should’ve known that I needed a different direction. I needed different representation, but Ryan and I are… were married, it was totes awkward! ‘Call it a bad romance’.
I wanted to speak with him about keeping our marriage separate from our work, so I asked the butler to prepare Ryan’s favourite cocktail – a Negroni – and bring it to him. I hoped it would leave him feeling relaxed for our talk. I visited Ryan’s study at 5.15pm.
It went much worse than I imagined. Ryan was livid. He refused to entertain the idea that I quit his record label, saying it would be terrible PR for him personally. I left, feeling very upset. We never got the chance to make up after that argument. Less than an hour later he was dead.
Honestly, if I had to rate my stress levels recently, I’d say I’m seriously close to 2007 Britney and like Britney, in times of trouble, I reach for the nearest cocktail. Jeeves the butler knows just how I like my Mojito. That man’s talents with toxicology will get me through this.
I’m available if you want to ask me anything else, ‘so call me maybe?’
Yep, still flawless. Jeeves! It’s cocktail o’clock!
JACK: Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone, I hear you call my name Madge and it feels like…home.
Oh hello, I didn’t see you there.
Hey, over here!
That’s better! Ok gang, we’ve now heard from three of the suspects:
Arthur Benson Jeeves. I get the feeling that this butler might be hiding something, he may be a tough nut to crack.
Tabby Bobtail, Lowell’s PA. Tabby is like a new kitten in a house where they don’t care much about kittens.
Adriana Venti, Lowell’s widow – boy, she would make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.
Adriana gave us this photograph of our final suspect, Lowell’s gardener, Doug Rowlands.
Rowlands is refusing to submit a video statement for reasons unknown.
Now I will summarise the timeline leading to Lowell’s murder.
1PM – Rowlands returns from shopping and self-isolates in his shed for the rest of the day. The other suspects all back up his story.
3PM – Tabby visits Lowell’s office with a glass of milk. According to the Butler, they argue: ‘I heard raised voices, Tabby sounded quite upset. She stormed out shortly after.’ According to Tabby however, she and Lowell just had a friendly exchange.
5PM – The butler claims that Adriana prepared the cocktail and he delivered it to Lowell.
However according to Adriana, the butler prepared the cocktail – a Negroni – before delivering it Lowell.
Jeeves said that Lowell was ‘pacing around, clearly something troubled him and he was glad for the cocktail.’
Tabby claims she overheard Lowell say to the butler that he was considering dropping his wife from his record label.
5.15PM - Adriana ‘visited Lowell’s study. She said she wanted to keep their marriage and their work separate. She said ‘It went much worse than I imagined. Ryan was livid. He refused to entertain the idea that I quit his record label, I left, feeling very upset.’
6PM – Jeeves discovers Lowell dead, slumped over his desk with a gunshot wound to his right temple.
Jeeves said ‘Lowell appeared to have written a suicide note’, however I knew this was no suicide. Why? As some of you have pointed out, Lowell couldn’t have pulled the trigger with his right hand since the pen was still held in his right hand at the time of death. This was murder, capiche?
Check out the first video in the series for a full description of the crime scene and of the items which were stolen from Lowell’s safe. Remember I mentioned that the window behind Lowell’s desk was smashed through? It’s worth noting that no window shards were found inside the room, meaning the window probably smashed from the inside.
Here are the images of the pieces of evidence which the suspects themselves have provided us with:
Firstly, we have verified that the handwriting on the ‘suicide’ note definitely belong to Ryan Lowell. I will read it for you: ‘I can’t go on. This is my last will and testament which over-rules any previous Will I have previously made. I leave all of my assets to my wife, Adriana Venti.’
The note however is unsigned so there’s no legal binding.
The messy handwriting on this letter says ‘I agree to exchange the rights to all of my lyrics to Ryan Lowell for a rare limited edition signed 1985 SLAYER DEATH METAL LP, signed, Artie Clawhammer, 15 Jan 2006.’
Finally, we have the gardener’s handwritten shopping list.
Get a closer look at the evidence by checking out the blog and comment below with your questions for the suspects based on the evidence I’ve shared with you, and we’ll grill those girlies and goons next week.
Join us again on Monday at 6pm when I’ll be sharing the latest -
–Hold on –
Hello, this is Detective Jack Diamond, who is this? Tabby Bobtail? Listen Tabby, I – Wait, what did you find?
TO BE CONTINUED…