Sometimes in life you end up doing things you never thought you would, and then you realize how much fun you were missing out on before.
I love meeting folks who take a step outside of tradition and take a risk. A risk of looking within themselves and pushing towards that small deep seeded dream and purpose they find hidden underneath all the expectations we live in. Finding these folks reaffirms that out in the world, people have found their own unique voice and took time to cultivate their purpose and passion.
At Gatherhaus we firmly believe that the more people live into their dreams, their self, that voice that is theirs alone, they live differently. They live with more love, more light, more zeal. They live with a smile and contentment that is unmatched. They walk through life with a centered confidence in knowing they are doing what they were born to do. They live alive and alive people are infectious.
What we realized is the more people we meet who live this way, we get turned on to more fun and interesting creatives we didn’t know about before. That’s how it came to be that we met Elizabeth Irish and learned all about how she started her own business Murdering the Classics, a murder mystery dinner party event. Elizabeth and her husband bought their 1894 St Paul home four years ago, and this is where she hosts her dinner parties. This classic home is draped in antiquities and vintage wallpaper decor making it the perfect background for these events, along with Elizabeth being an excellent cook!
Gatherhaus got a rare opportunity to experience one of Elizabeth’s new stories “Who killed Aphrodite” in her Greek Mythology Series before she released it last week. We invited a handful of women to this party and oh man, between the costumes and the antics, we were all rolling in laughter with tears in our eyes. Elizabeth served greek hors d’oeuvres and in between each round served us another chocolate dessert. It literally was, “Death by Chocolate”.
As hostess, Elizabeth guided us through the process and the story, allowing us the opportunity to sit back, follow her lead, and thoroughly enjoy the evening. We ate, we drank and enjoyed the story and the company. We all thought, sitting around her table together, this would be a perfect event for company employee community building, bachelorette parties, birthday parties, and any fun random Friday night.
After the party, Gatherhaus got a chance to visit with Elizabeth and ask her about living her passion for books and history and gathering people together around her passion.
How long have you been doing dinner parties?
Wow…since college, which would make it almost twenty years! Of course the first ones weren’t dinner parties; frequently, they involved the great extravagance of pizza and ice cream in a dorm common area! I started with Pride and Prejudice: Who Murdered Mr. Darcy? as my first one, because I couldn’t afford a store-bought kit and because my friends and I were NUTS about Mr. Darcy.
Which one is your favorite?
That is a tough one! Different ones strike me as my favorite in different moods. Overall, I am torn between Greek Gods: Who Murdered Zeus? and The Mysteries of Udolpho: Who Murdered Montoni? The Greek gods are always fun, as they are so scandalous! There is never any shortage of motives! Additionally, I just love Udolpho. I first heard about the novel when I read Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, and didn’t realize until many years later that Udolpho was a real book Austen was satirizing. It is a long and intricate story featuring fantastic characters and impossible adventures, completely unrealistic but wonderfully fun, with an actual murder in its pages! No one ever bothered to solve the murder in the novel, because everyone was so relieved Montoni was dead. I enjoyed solving the murder, some two hundred years after the book was written. Plus, the characters are so preposterous, it makes for a great party!
For a first mystery, I usually start with Grimm Fairy Tales: Who Murdered Jacob Grimm? Who doesn’t love exploring the dark sides of the fairy tales we all grew up with! Easy to host, as everyone knows the stories, and fun to solve! I even have a teen version!
How many have you written?
Over the course of the last two decades, I’ve probably written 25 – 30. Of course, most of them were written for fun with my friends, and many of them are not for sale…at least not yet! I have ten I sell as kits right now, plus custom-writes for special occasions or charity.
What is your favorite part about them?
I love taking a story and guessing what happened behind the scenes. I so enjoy discovering clues to secret lives, thwarted passions, and frustrated loves. Most of the time, the clues and hints to these hidden events are right there in the stories, just waiting to be found! Related to that, I love watching a group come together and solve the mystery. I am continually amazed at how different people will reach different solutions based on the various traits people pick up on! It is wonderful to see where different people go with the same set of clues.
How did you get started doing this?
I suppose the short answer is that I was an avid childhood reader who fell in love with mystery novels when I discovered Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. I also loved reading and rereading the classics, and always wondered “What happened next?” I joined a writing club in junior high and began writing “Fan Fiction,” where I would write sequels to books for my teachers and classmates. I loved murder mystery games, and when I couldn’t afford to buy them, as a broke college student, I started writing them for my friends. I sold my first game in a charity auction ten years ago, and I’ve been selling them ever since!
What do you want the public to know about this?
In this crazy busy world, it is so easy to lose a sense of wonder, a sense that there are still things to mysteries out there. When we can look up any fact we want on our phones at the exact instant we want it, it is nice to take an evening and dwell in the realm of what if? To set out with clues and search for a solution the old fashioned way…armed with only your creativity and imagination! That is what I hope I bring to people for a few hours, when they murder a classic.
Is there a story on the horizon? What is it?
I always have a few on the horizon…I have a long list in a notebook of mysteries I’d love to write! At the moment, I plan to release Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing: Who Murdered Claudio? in the spring. Also, my 12 year old is asking for a fun one for her birthday next year, so I am thinking about a mystery for teen girls. Maybe Alice in Wonderland: Who Murdered the Queen of Hearts? or The Wizard of Oz: Who Murdered Oz? I am toying with murdering King Arthur as well, as an adult party!
To contact Elizabeth and purchase a dinner party, you can reach her at: