Last Saturday saw Oddicombe Beach filled with amateur sleuths keen to work out who stole the stunning Babbacombe Dazzler diamond in Babbacombe Cliff Railway’s “Unusual Suspects” mystery. Part of the Agatha Christie Festival, the event was a happy mix of puzzling and fun under a sunny sky on one of Torbay’s most picturesque beaches. With clues, suspects to question and a friendly policeman to help as well as live music from the Babbacombe Ukulele Strummers and “High Society” jazz band, the day proved to be a real hit with locals and holidaymakers alike.
Nicky Allen, Cliff Railway Marketing Manager said “Everyone who came along seemed to really enjoy themselves and urged us to do another mystery event next year. The plot was a family-friendly puzzler with enough complexity to keep serious sleuths entertained and over 500 people of all ages took part over the course of the afternoon. Even Hercule Poirot turned up, to the delight of many of the amateur detectives who couldn’t wait to be photographed with him.” She added “I would like to thank all the volunteers who came along and were a vital part of the day but particularly our suspects played by Bryan and June Batchelor, Judy Ayres, Paul Trainer and Bob Hawksley and our fantastic policeman, Arthur Christian.”
“The Unusual Suspects” mystery itself was written by Phil Allen, Nicky’s husband. Phil said “I’m a web designer by trade and have worked with computers for many years. But I’ve always fancied writing so when Nicky said she needed a story for the Agatha Christie Festival I thought I’d have a go. Writing this event, I found my programmer’s logic helped enormously when it came to working out the sequence of events and who was where and when, but I also had great fun creating the interesting characters. This is the second mystery we’ve done so this year I knew the cast a bit better and was able to create characters that I thought would suit them. I can safely say they threw themselves into their parts with great gusto. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
So, will there be another mystery next year? Nicky says “We’d all love to do another mystery event but it’s down to Phil to see if he can come up with another story, a set of characters, back stories and all the clues – we’ll let you know.”
For those of you who went along on Saturday but were unable to stay until the big arrest at the end, dodgy Security Guard Virgil Antt turned out to be the culprit. But, worry not, the diamond was recovered and is now safely on its way to Scotland Yard and Virgil is being dealt with! There’s also a great photo gallery on line at the Cliff Railway’s Facebook page and more on the website www.babbacombecliffrailway.co.uk