Good sleuthing helps with a good cause, fights hungerIt was a dark and dreary night — I just love saying that. It wasn’t dreary but it was 6 p.m. this past Saturday night.
By: By Don Leighton, For The Telegram, Superior Telegram
It was a dark and dreary night — I just love saying that.
It wasn’t dreary but it was 6 p.m. this past Saturday night.
What do Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock and Gary Banker have in common? Although three have passed to that big game of “Clue” in the sky, Banker did their memories proud as Concordia Lutheran Church hosted a Dinner Mystery that baffled all but one.
The dinner provided 60 amateur sleuths consisted of a cashew salad, Chicken Kiev — I didn’t think I would like Russian food — and a dessert made from Oreos and other decadent stuff. With each course, a new set of clues was provided. Nibble, think, nibble, think, the challenge of determining the scoundrel who had a hand in Pastor Martin Olson’s disappearance.
Perhaps an overview of the mystery is needed.
“Martin Olson, a younger pastor from southern Minnesota, was excited about his call to Concordia in Superior. He had studied the congregational profile, met members of the call committee, preached at two services and spoke with fellow pastors about the church and its vibrant history. He knew he was the right person for the congregation.
Working late one night, one of the downfalls of his calling, he thanked the Stewardship Committee for meeting with him and went downstairs to Fellowship Hall to make sure that all was in ready for the annual meeting. Christ Johnson, the chair of the committee, couldn’t help but yell out to him: “Be careful down there! Watch out for bogey man!” Christ didn’t know those would be the last words that he would ever say to Pastor Olson. The neighbors who saw his office light still on at 3 a.m. called the police. When the officers came, they found the door open and the lights on in the building. As they went through, they called for the pastor. When they entered Fellowship Hall, they saw a chair lying on its side and papers strewn on the floor. It was clear there had been a struggle. When they didn’t find the pastor in the parsonage, they knew something was wrong. When he didn’t show up for work the next day, they were certain.”
What a challenge! What a mystery! What great food!
At the Boyle table, Mrs. Lance and I were fortunate to be joined by Dick and Jean Riedasch and their son, Eric and his wife Erin. Carol and Gary Banker rounded out our crime-solving unit. Even though Gary had written this baffling mystery, clues were not surrendered, even after bamboo shoots were driven beneath his fingernails. He’s one tough cookie.
The suspects included Sven Burger played by Charlie Glazman — I never did trust him — Julie Nelson played Myrna Bronholdson, whose character resembled Eva Braun. She was spooky. Mary Tripp morphed into Tillie Stenson the church treasurer, and Judith Liebaert, played the part of wealthy widow Esther Thorvaldson — performances were Oscar-worthy.
During dinner, these dastardly who-done-it evil doers would work the room trying to mislead. They were so good at their subterfuge, only one person of the 60 amateur sleuths was correct in figuring “who done it.” After each course, they retired into a room and were given one more bit of information to mislead us. Our table narrowed it to two working in cahoots. However, even with the high intelligence level at our table, especially when I was not there, we were only half-right.
Barry Kilner and his lovely wife, Laura, deduced what no one else saw; all four suspects colluded in the demise of Pastor Martin Olson.
What a great couple of hours shared with old friends and ones newly made. For the price of $15 per person, a wonderful night of dining and mystery was enjoyed by all.
Perhaps the best part was Concordia Church and those in attendance raised $500 for Hunger Takes No Holiday III. With this money presented to Second Harvest Food Bank, our entertainment and good time will provide $5,000 worth of food, or 2,500 meals, for Superior food shelves for our friends and neighbors who are down on their luck. Thank-you to all the great people who attended.
A special thank you goes to Gary Banker for creating this night and writing this fun mystery to solve. Whenever Banker is hosting another Mystery Dinner, you will be informed.
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