Who can solve “The BicenCriminal Murder”


By Joel Charron

Residents will soon have the opportunity to channel their inner Barry Jones to solve a murder.

“The BicenCriminal Murder: A Killer 1812 Mystery Event” will take place in the downtown core of Amherstburg Sept. 22 with a scenario that a murder has taken place in the cookhouse at Fort Malden.

According to Marsh Collection historian Jennifer MacLeod the mystery will be set in Sept 1812, “in the time of war, casualties are a sad result that touches everyone’s hearts on a daily basis. Each life lost, is course, heartbreaking, however when an innocent young woman is murdered in cold blood, the shock of such an act is inconceivable.”

MacLeod said she attended a murder mystery event at Hertiage Village and thought it would be a good idea to bring it to Amherstburg.

“It’s something that I thought would be fresh and fun,” she said.

To write the script, MacLeod enlisted the help of local author John Schlarbaum, who has written several mystery novels. This is Schlarbaum first attempt at writing a live-action murder mystery; he said although it presented some challenges, it was a process he quite enjoyed.


Local author John Schlarbaum and two Fort malden employees stand in the cookhouse where the “BicenCriminal Murder” takes places.

“This was a fun project,” said Schlarbaum. “The way I approached it was, ok this is a mystery but we are setting it in 1812. To me, essentially this is a live Clue game. It was challenging because to have to piece together what opportunity each character has.”

Schlarbaum said he based his story on the fact that women were allowed to live with their husbands at the barracks but had to find a new husband within 48 hours if their husband died in battle. The character in the murder mystery lived at Fort Malden but lost her husband in battle, at least according to rumor.

The victim named “Sarah” was a local girl, worked in town and was friendly, he added of the character.

“When the mystery begins, there are approximately 10 suspects who had the motive and means to kill Sarah,” noted Schlarbaum.

The public will be given a list of suspects and background information, as well as, a background story on the victim.

Potential suspects will be in period dress and not only be at Fort Malden, but strewn throughout town at such places at the Park House, Dalhousie Bistro, Thistle Masonic Lodge #34 among other places. There will also be “gossips” wandering the town giving tidbits of information.

Schlarbaum noted “all the clues will lead back to one person.”

“Only one person could have killed Sarah,” stated Schlarbaum. “It will up to the public to pay attention and piece the clue together.”

For information, call 519-736-9191 or research@marshcollection.org. Proceeds from the event will go to Amherstburg Museums & Galleries (AMG).

This event runs from 6:30-9:30 p.m. and involves walking throughout downtown Amherstburg, rain or shine. It is recommended for ages 14 and over.

Advance tickets are $8 and available at Fort Malden National Historic Site, Gibson Gallery, Marsh Collection, North American Black Historical Museum, Park House Museum or are $10 at the door at Fort Malden. Participants will start in various locations depending on where tickets are purchased with the “big reveal” being at the end of the night at Fort Malden.

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