DALLAS — Big Red, as they call the sheriff in Dallas (at least that’s what they call him on Saturday), has a mess on his hands.
He leaves his deputy, Chester, in charge while he delivers a prisoner to Yuma, Arizona, and comes back to semi-lawlessness on the streets of his town:
A plethora of con artists, including one collecting money for unnamed “charities,” and another selling snake oil and other “remedies” (and may be responsible for a double murder in the past) have set up in town. A rancher’s herd of cattle is missing, and while no one knows where the animals are, they do know a resident was trampled as they made their escape. Big Red discovers a mail-order bride living in his jail house after her husband-to-be died before they married. Oh, and speaking of the jail, the local banker is foreclosing on it because the city hasn’t been making the mortgage payments.
And rumor has it, Jedidiah Jones, The Dallas Daily’s paper boy, found something valuable in Rickreall Creek.
That is the scene at the beginning of Saturday’s third annual Downtown Dallas Murder Mystery, “The Gold Diggers of Dallas,” put on by the Dallas Downtown Association.
“I’ve got 12 things going on,” said Dave Masciorini, who plays Big Red. “I’ll never leave town again. I was gone for two months, down in Yuma to visit my mentor Captain Tennille. He’s sheriff down in Yuma County, Arizona. I was gone for two months and the whole town went to hell.”
There is no love lost between Big Red and the town’s residents new and old, such as Rosie Raven (Carol Cheney), who rings bells for donations, and Manfred Marvin (Jordan Sollman), the banker with a bad foreclosure habit.
“I’m not the most popular man, but I do have the most land,” said Sollman, as Manfred.
He’s looking for a wife, but has an unconventional way of catching one. Manfred forecloses on their property, and offers to let them stay — as long as he can, too.
“If I foreclose on one of their properties, maybe I can force my way into a nice relationship,” Sollman said
Rosie Raven claims to travel to town starting charities to help people in need. Big Red suspects she’s helping herself.
“I have many charities. You just don’t know about them,” said Cheney, as Rosie Raven. “I travel all over different towns, and I start one and I give money to people, anonymously of course. When I’m done there, I move to the next town.”
Then there’s the typical small-town squabbles — two sisters who can’t stand each other, a business owner who can’t get a loan, and a love triangle — that the sheriff has to sort out. Plus, the town seems to be teeming with rattlesnakes, which may have been responsible for the runaway cattle and perhaps a few murder attempts.
Mystery author Eddie Nelson, the DDA’s treasurer, says she writes each character’s background and few mandatory lines they have to give out as clues. The rest, they ad lib.
“There’s certain things that they need to say. There’s clues that they drop,” Nelson said. “We come up with a plot, and I start creating the characters. We kind of know what is going to happen. We don’t really know who is going to commit the murder until we figure out the twists and the turns.”
The downtown murder mystery includes 20 “clue” stops and 25 actors playing the colorful cast of characters. Registration begins at 10 a.m. at 939 Main St., and the performance kicks off at 10:30 with the Professor Macy Show on the Polk County Courthouse Square. The final reveal is at 939 Main St. at 3:30 p.m., where participant sleuths find out if they solved the murder. Between registration and the final reveal, participants are encouraged to visit each stop to gather as many clues as possible.
If you want a head start, the characters will gather for a night of karaoke and clue dropping at the Blue Garden on Friday at 7 p.m.
Whodunnit in Dallas
What: Downtown Dallas Murder Mystery.
When: Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Registration is at 939 Main St.
Where: Downtown Dallas. There are 20 clue stops.
Tickets: $10 and they can be purchased at Four Seasons Salon, 861 Main St; Latitude One, 904 Main St.; Main Street Emporium, 857 Main St.; Some Things, 745 Main St.; Tater’s Café, 683 SE Jefferson St. or online at www.eventbrite.com.
Murder Mystery cast list
Emerald Jade — Jessi Wright; Miss Kitty — Margaux Alexander; Harriett Olson — Kim Brehm; Widow Willow Ware — Sheila Peirce; Beatrice Ware — Jozie Peirce; Priscilla Brown — Lydia Shodin; Jane Brown — Brittany Brostrom; Rosie Raven — Carol Chaney; Tinka — Laurie Vail; Diamond Lil — Christa Graham; Cactus Kate — Denise Friesen; Lavinia Lush — Sarah Javins; Trixi — Lynnette Henshaw; Big Red — Dave Masciorini; Professor Lyman Macy — Richard Nosiglia; Jedidiah Jones — Mathew Thorsted; Lars Olson — Mark Brehm; Luke the Drifter — Nathan Myers; Tobar — Mike Berkes; Doc Pryor — Zach Brehm; Vano — Chad Gordon; Manfred Marvin — Jordan Sollman; and the Old Dalton Gang — Moose (Gene Henshaw), Buckin’ Bob (Bob Anderson) and One Eyed Jack (Dennis Woilte)
10 a.m. — Registration opens: 939 Main St,
10:30 a.m. — Professor Macy Show: Courthouse Square
11:15 a.m. — Gypsy Celebration: Tater’s Café
Noon — Jedidiah’s Big Announcement: Courthouse Square
12:45 p.m. — Showdown: Courthouse Square
1:30 p.m. — Wedding: Courthouse Square
2 p.m. — Poker Run Cards Due: 939 Main St,
3 p.m. — Sleuth Forms Due: 939 Main St.
3:30 p.m.— Final Reveal: 939 Main St.