Murder Mystery EFL Game – Classroom Activity

As you may have guessed from my previous posts, I really love playing games with my classes! Especially if they’ve been working really hard and need a bit of a break. This one can be used as a speaking activity.

The aim of the game is to find out who killed the town mayor. It’s an ideal game for 6 players, but could work with more or less by adding more detectives or taking away characters.

Step 1 – Context 

Students are told that late the previous evening, the town mayor was found dead in his office. There had obviously been a struggle and a painting of the city had been stolen from the room. The cleaner remembers seeing the mayor around 8pm, but then she went home and nobody else saw him alive.

The city’s finest detectives had been assigned the case, it’s their job to interrogate the four most likely suspects. The mayor’s life partner, best friend, ex business partner, and his personal assistant. All had motive, and all had opportunity.

Extra – At this juncture, you could also pre-teach some useful vocabulary. Such as ‘Alibi’, ‘Guilty’ and ‘Innocent’.

Step 2 – Assign Characters

Give each student their prompt card and tell them study it for a moment. They shouldn’t share it with their classmates. Two of the students will be the detectives, they should spend the time reading their own prompt and thinking of questions to ask the suspects.

You can find the prompts below, they are also attached to this post in document form, makes it easier to print!

Murder Mystery EFL Game Prompts

Step 3 – Go for it!

They can now start asking questions to try and work out who did the crime. At the end of the interviews, you can ask the detectives to reveal who they think committed the murder and why. Have fun!

Character Prompts

Suspects

Jenny – Personal Assistant

You have worked with the mayor for 5 years. For 3 of those years, you have been stealing money from the town’s accounts. Last week, the mayor found out and fired you, you now have no job and no training for anything else. He told people that you had been fired, but not why.

You were angry with him, but you are devastated that he is dead. He was a fair and honest man, you did not kill him.

Leslie – Life Partner

You have been married to the mayor for 10 years, and you loved each other very much. Sometimes you argued, but you always made peace in the end and the arguments were never about anything important.

But he didn’t know that you have gambling debts from the casino, the police have this information. They also know that the mayor had a life insurance policy, and that you get the money now that he is dead.

Gerry – Ex Business Partner

A few days ago, the mayor called you to say that he had fired his personal assistant. He wanted to talk to you about why, but he was murdered before you could meet. The circumstances sound suspicious.

You and the mayor had a fight a few years ago, because you had a company together and he didn’t pay you the money he owed you. You needed that money, you have four children and an expensive wife.

Freya – Best Friend

A few months ago you gave the mayor a present, a beautiful painting of the city! He put it in his office. However, last week you discovered some pictures of the mayor on holiday in Italy with some of your other friends. You had not been invited.

You went to his office angry, demanding that he tell you why he hadn’t told you about the holiday. He admitted that he didn’t like being friends with you, and that he had found other friends that he wanted to spend time with.

You can’t believe that he would say that, he is your best friend! So in a jealous rage, you took the letter opening knife from the desk, and stabbed him 3 times. Then you stole the painting back from the office, and ran home.

Detectives

You have been working on cases like these for years, you know every trick that a suspect will use to lie to you. Be careful when questioning these people, they might not be telling you the whole truth! Here is what you know about each suspect;

Jenny – Personal Assistant

Jenny has worked with the mayor for five years, and seemed to be a good employee. But last week she was fired, the mayor didn’t give a reason but the circumstances seem suspicious to you.

Leslie – Life Partner

Leslie and the mayor were married for 10 long years. Their neighbours and friends say that they had a happy, healthy relationship. But what they don’t know is that Leslie has debts from the casino, and she gets the money from the Mayor’s life insurance policy.

Gerry – Ex Business Partner

Gerry seems to be nice person. But he has been arrested before, because he started a fight in a local bar. He is a large man with big muscles and he is quite scary!

The Mayor owed Gerry some money, quite a lot of money. He never paid it back. Gerry was angry about this because he has a wife and four children, so needs the cash!

Freya – Best Friend

Freya has been The Mayor’s best friend for many years. But you know that in recent months, they haven’t been spending a lot of time together, and that the Mayor wasn’t very interested in the friendship anymore. Last month he went on holiday to Italy with other friends, and didn’t invite her! It was Freya who gave the Mayor the painting that was stolen.

Did you have fun playing this? Any ideas, comments or suggestions? Let me know in the comments! 

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