PHOTO ESSAY BY DAVID WELTON
TEXT BY BETTY FREEMAN
Whidbey Life Magazine Contributors
March 8, 2016
Langley’s 32nd annual Mystery Weekend on Feb. 27 and 28 set an attendance record when amateur sleuths from all over descended on the Village by the Sea to help solve its yearly February crime.
This year’s hapless victim was Sir Laurence Burton, a famed Shakespearean actor and consultant to the Island Shakespeare Festival. On the morning of Feb. 26, he was found stabbed to death in Melson Alley off First Street. The motives could have been jealousy, revenge or simply a disagreement with Burton’s plan to open Hare Haven, a refuge for Langley’s burgeoning bunny population.
The plot centered on Langley’s bunnies and those who have differing opinions about what to do with them. Suspects included an eco-activist group that wanted to let the bunnies roam free, a vociferous mayoral candidate who wanted to deport them, a gang of hunters who wanted to trap and sell them, either to Sir Laurence Burton for Hare Haven or to the Hasenpfeffer Incorporated restaurant chain. Throw in a troupe of Shakespearean actors and their patrons and you’ve got a muddle of motives for murder.
Over 1200 people purchased clue maps and fanned out all over town to interview suspects, pick up clues and try to solve the murder for a chance to win prizes donated by Langley merchants. At the reveal on Sunday afternoon, detective I. B. Fuzz fingered the murderer as Joe Curr, who was owed money by his victim. He was promptly “arrested” by Langley Police.
Image at top: Visiting sleuths try to pick up clues at the “Scene of the Crime” on Melson Alley off First Street. The protest group “Let the Bunnies Roam Free” also left their calling card.
David Welton is a retired physician and staff photographer for Whidbey Life magazine.
Betty Freeman works for the Langley Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the annual Mystery Weekend.
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