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In the Murder Mystery Business for 35 Years and still going!

murder-on the pierThe Dastardly business of Murder Mystery evenings

The dastardly business of Murder Mystery evenings has been going on for over 35 years and Murder By Design, one of the oldest exponents in this dark art have remained faithful to the original concept, invented by Joy Swift MBE (God bless her) of setting the scene in an altogether more genteel era of the 1920’s and 30’s, such peaceful times, were they not?

Think again! The world was recovering from the Great War and the Fuhrer was already on the rise for a second go; it was a time of espionage, fast money, spurned lovers, gangsters and insurance fraudsters; all of these reasons have been ingeniously woven into the plots and storylines in order to baffle and bemuse all but the seasoned campaigner who has ever attempted to solve ‘whodunnit?’

…just about everything in between including ships, castles, tents and even a Cinema.

Murder Mystery events have been staged in grand country houses and modern high street hotels and just about everything in between including ships, castles, tents and even a Cinema. The public appetite for them has waxed and waned over the last three decades but currently the genre appears to be very much on the up with 1st Call Entertainment, a prominent agent of said events, purporting record enquiries from individuals and corporate bookers alike. There doesn’t appear to be any one geographical area either that favours murder mystery entertainment and most of the major cities London, Bristol, Birmingham and Cardiff continue showing strong interest.

We have entertained somewhere approaching 50,000 people throughout our time in the Murder Mystery business

How many people attend these events? Murder By Design estimate, they alone, have entertained somewhere murder-mystery-gun-knifeapproaching 50,000 people throughout their time in the business as the second longest established murder company in the world, so you would hope they have a fairly good idea what they are talking about. Individual events can range from as few as 12 to as many as 250 with the average being around 100 guests. ‘we often see the same faces turn up more than once and so we have to closely monitor the storylines that we perform at a venue to make sure that people get a new one when they come back to see us again’ commented the creative director from Murder By Design.

It will be 50 years next year since Agatha Christie made her own ‘exit stage right’, but the interest in stylish murders and the appeal to attend these quirky, highly entertaining dinners where you can mix fine dining, fine wine and a dead body or two by the time dessert arrives endures, and long may it continue.


Publishers Party turns into Murder Mystery in Bristol

murder-mystery-dinnerLast week a popular Bristol venue turned back the hands of time to 1937 to host a lavish company VIP party. It was time for another fabulous Murder Mystery Dinner in Bristol. The famous publisher Martyn Packard choose Cadbury House near Bristol to celebrate 10 glorious years of his hugely successful publishing company, Packard publishing.

Members of the general public were able to attend this very special occasion and after arrival drinks enjoy a fabulous three course meal in the company of Martyn Packard and all of his famous authors. This included the action thriller writer Cobb Hollow and romantic novelist Millicent Johnson.

However true to the style of a classic murder mystery there was very little to celebrate. By the end of the evening three of Mr Packard’s celebrity authors endured a terrible death. All in the manner as depicted in their famous books!

Fortunately PC Bailey from Exeter was on hand to investigate and with much help from members of the general public, was able to apprehend and arrest the murderer.

The evening was certainly eventful, so much so that perhaps someone should write a book about it!

The next evening of murder,mystery and intrigue at Cadbury House,Bristol is on the 28th August 2015.

Lighting up lovers liaisons in London

The London Connection

As a company that specialise in Hand-picked Entertainment, we often get asked to recommend venues and companies in London.

With such a huge range of venues and budgets, it would be impossble to narrow down the recommendation to a few. We decided to highlight venues that we have recently had experience of.

The Beaufort Estate, Windsor, London

Beaufort-Estate-400We visited this lovely venue at the weekend, with our Singing Waiters. Set in 40 acres of majestic, beautifully landscaped grounds just outside of Windsor lies Beaumont Estate. The perfect backdrop for your big day, the Estate offers stunning wedding rooms, 414 luxury bedrooms, and your very own dedicated wedding & events team.

The ideal Berkshire wedding venue, Beaumont Estate:

  • Offers the lovely boutique White House – a perfect venue for an exclusive wedding
  • Features the impressive Hanover Suite – ideal for larger weddings up to 550
  • Proudly boasts the very unique Chapel – one of Conde Nast Bride Magazine’s Top UK 100 Wedding Venues and was featured in the BBC3’s Don’t tell the Bride.



The Tower of London

tower-of-london-400For nearly 1,000 years the mighty Tower of London has stood in service of the monarch, anchored on the shore of the River Thames. Today, the Tower welcomes millions of people each year, as they seek out famous stories of wing-clipped ravens, colourful Yeoman Warders and the priceless Crown Jewels.

There are several venues with in the Tower and it’s grounds. They can cater for 20 – 2000!!


Garfunkels, The Strand, London

Garfunkels-on-the-Strand--400Garfunkel’s is a venue where our Singing Waiters have performed. This Garfunkel’s can be found right in the middle of the Strand and is a 2 minute walk from London Opera House and The Adelphi and Savoy Theatres. With outdoor seating you can enjoy  the hustle and bustle of The Strand and watch taxis driving on the right as they turn into the famous Savoy Hotel.


Marriott Hotel, Regents Park, London

marriott-regents-park-400The London Marriott Hotel Regents Park, conveniently located north of London in an area ideal for both business and leisure travellers. Our hotel’s setting in Swiss Cottage provides the perfect base from which to explore the city for families, friends and solo travellers. Bond Street is just 3 stops from Swiss Cottage Underground station on the Jubilee line, so you can be shopping, sightseeing and taking in one of London’s world-renowned West End shows in less than 15 minutes. In addition, the lively markets of Camden Town, Primrose Hill with its chic shops, quaint cafés and panoramic views across London, and ZSL London Zoo in Regent’s Park are all within walking distance of this North London hotel. Guests enjoy spacious rooms, complimentary Wi-Fi in all public areas and access to our well-equipped on-site leisure club with indoor swimming pool.

Beautiful Venues of Bath


Having entertained at some wonderful venues around the UK, this month we have chosen some beautiful venues of Bath to highlight.

Frances Hotel

frances-hotelThis unique and distinctive hotel occupies seven of the original 18th Century townhouses that make up the south side of the centrally located and sought-after address of Queen Square in Bath. Queen Square is the first element in the most important architectural sequence in Bath, which also includes the King’s Circus and the Royal Crescent.

Built between 1728 and 1736, Queen Square was designed by John Wood the Elder (1704-54) who set out to provide an architectural masterpiece for the chic members of society “to assemble together”. The hotel’s seven townhouses are now seamlessly interconnected to house 98 luxurious bedrooms, all individually styled, with many of the Feature Rooms offering four-poster beds and glorious views over the eternally fashionable city of Bath.

Bath Pavilions

bath-pavilionBath Pavilion is a stunning sandstone building that was first opened on 17 September 1910 as The County Skating Rink, when a roller skating craze was sweeping the nation.

Bath City Council bought the building in 1930 and on 28 November the venue was re-opened as a concert hall named The Pavilion by the Mayor of Bath, Alderman Sturge-Cotterell. It has had a wide range of uses in its time – from being an assembly point for aircraft wings during the second world war to holding a civil wedding today.

The Pavilion as a multi-use leisure venue plays host to a large range of events including concerts, exhibitions, dances and corporate, charity and private functions for up to 1,400 people.

The Pavilion is a great venue for music concerts and some of the great names that have played on the stage include Led Zepellin, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Adam Faith, the Rolling Stones and Little Richard.

In more recent years the Pavilion has played host to Oasis, Blur, Beautiful South, Levellers, Doves, Streets, Starsailor, The Coral, Supergrass, Jimmy Carr and Lily Allen, to name but a few.



Situated on Orange Grove with views of both Bath Abbey and Pulteneny Bridge, we can be found within the beautiful grade II listed building, The Empire. Built in 1901 by Bath City Architect Major Charles Edward Davis, The Empire is a landmark building in Bath and stands proud in the heart of the city. 

This is a great restaurant for groups and private events; it can seat up to 170 guests.

Fantastic February Sale for 2015 Bookings

FEB-SALE-montage750Getting married in 2015?

Know someone who is?

Set the wedding apart from all the others with the fantastic 1st Call Singing Waiters. We offer a unique and exciting way to make the special day even more memorable!

Why book us?

Wow wow wow….there are not enough words to describe how amazing the singing waiters that we had at our wedding last week were. I knew they were going to be good. But oh my they were better than we ever could have imagined. They totally made our day and all the guests loved it. I would recommend anyone to have these absolutely incredible guys xx

Sent from Samsung Mobile

Book now and save!

1st Call Singing Waiters are making you a fantastic february offer for those getting married in 2015.

Pay 2013 prices

If you book your 2015 singing waiters package during the month of february we will give you our 2, 3 and 4 man Singing Waiters packages at 2013 prices…Simply use the offer code FABFEB

2 man Singing Waiters for up to 80 Guests

ONLY £495.00*

3 man Singing Waiters for up to 110 Guests

ONLY £595.00*

4 man Singing Waiters for up to 200 Guests

Held at 2013 prices*

This offer is for a limited period only, so book now to avoid disappointment!! Use offer code FABFEB

* Prices are for local rate. Click here to see map for travel charges. Subject to VAT. Offer valid until 28th February 2015 on bookings using the offer code FABFEB

Terrific Testimonial for Murder Mystery near Bristol


Cadbury House Murder Mystery near Bristol

We have received this lovely testimonial for our performance at Cadbury House of Mucklington Murders. A dinner Murder Mystery near Bristol. Thank you for the lovely comments.

Hi Julian,

The CEO Tim Berry would like to pass on the below for your website –

An engaging evening, which encouraged interaction between colleagues and prompted light hearted conversation. The actors were very entertaining and remained in character throughout the evening, filling the room with laughter and bemusement. As a company putting on an event for their staff, I would definitely recommend this entertaining Murder Mystery Night.

Many thanks,


Kim Ruddle

Sales Office Manager

Tel: +44 (0) 1458 833 344

Direct Line: +44 (0) 1458 836 212


Maritime Murder Mayhem on Board the Famous S.S Great Britain

SS Great Britain Bristol

Earlier this month three gruesome murders took place on board one of the country’s most famous and best loved ships,located at the historic docks in Bristol.

The S.S Great Britain.

There is no need for alarm as this was an evening staged by 1st Call Entertainment’s murder mystery team, Murder by Design!

ss great britain interior 2The sold out event transported it’s guests back in time to the stylish and elegant year of 1937. The guests had all bought tickets to become VIP’s for the evening and attend the launch party of the Black funnel fleets new flagship, The Leviathan.

Many of the company’s key personnel and family were in attendance including the chairman’s wife, Lady Sara
Fortescue Smythe, her niece Miss Kitty Fortescue Smythe, the ship’s financial director George Hill and of course
the new ships Captain John Nelson.

An exciting story unfolded as the suspects of the evening’s gruesome crimes dined with the guests enjoying a sumptuous three course meal.

By the end of the night a couple of characters had certainly got their just desserts and the perpetrator of thess great britain interior 1 crimes was eventually revealed by the officer in charge of proceedings P. C Bailey from Exeter!

The historic S S Great Britain promises more exciting murder mystery evenings in 2015, which will again be staged by Murder by Design.

The team includes some the most established and experienced murder mystery performers in the UK.