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Valentine-themed murder mystery highlights love, poison

Published on February 14, 2017 11:31AM

Tina Ridings looks on while Boyd Sharp tries to shift blame to another character during a past murder mystery fundraiser for Agape House. A valentine theme is featured during a murder mystery dessert Sunday at Agape House in Hermiston.

STAFF PHOTO BY TAMMY MALGESINI

Tina Ridings looks on while Boyd Sharp tries to shift blame to another character during a past murder mystery fundraiser for Agape House. A valentine theme is featured during a murder mystery dessert Sunday at Agape House in Hermiston.

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Trish Rossell tries to convince investigators of her innocence during a past murder mystery fundraiser for Agape House. A valentine theme is featured during a murder mystery dessert Sunday at Agape House in Hermiston.

STAFF PHOTO BY TAMMY MALGESINI

Trish Rossell tries to convince investigators of her innocence during a past murder mystery fundraiser for Agape House. A valentine theme is featured during a murder mystery dessert Sunday at Agape House in Hermiston.

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Dave Hughes, Agape House executive director, thanks participants during a past murder mystery fundraiser. A valentine theme is featured during a murder mystery dessert Sunday at Agape House in Hermiston.

STAFF PHOTO BY TAMMY MALGESINI

Dave Hughes, Agape House executive director, thanks participants during a past murder mystery fundraiser. A valentine theme is featured during a murder mystery dessert Sunday at Agape House in Hermiston.

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Murder mystery fundraiser benefits Agape House

By TAMMY MALGESINI

Community Editor

Love is in the air and poison is in the drink during a murder mystery event presented by Agape House.

The sweet valentine-themed fundraiser offers people a chance to play amateur sleuths while raising money for the nonprofit organization’s programs. Based in Hermiston, Agape House assists people with accessing basic needs and life skills, including emergency food boxes, transportation assistance, cold weather attire and shower facilities. In addition, it manages a shelter for homeless families.

“‘Til Death Do We Part ... And We Part Tonight” includes the murder mystery presentation and an array of delectable desserts. The event is Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Altrusa Room at Agape House, 500 Harper Road, Hermiston. Tickets are $15 per person. People should purchase tickets in advance as seating is limited.

The storyline centers around Hanna and Harry Heart — legends in their hometown of Amorville, said Dave Hughes, executive director of Agape House. High school sweethearts, Hanna was an all-star cheerleader and Harry was a state champion quarterback who went on to play professionally with the St. Louis Lambs.

Purchasing the rights to present the murder mystery production, Hughes made a few modifications to the script. Although he didn’t make slashing changes, a knife may be involved in some way — at least by Jodene Hughes, Martha’s House shelter director.

Jodene said she mostly helps behind the scenes during the fundraisers — often cooking, or in the case of the dessert event, cutting the desserts. She said people will have a choice of chocolate cake, a red velvet cake and cheesecakes with a variety of toppings — pick your poison, but not in the literal sense like the victim in the production.

The dessert murder mystery finds the Hearts back in Amorville for a big soirée. The audience will have to figure out whodunnit when Dr. Ador Candyman, a nerdy rocket scientist, ends up dead. It appears he consumed a poisoned drink, and numerous people had access to his glass.

“There are about four or five subplots running through,” Dave said. “People have to figure out what’s going on.”

Dave and Jodene Hughes enjoy the excited chatter as people try to piece together what happened.

“Some of them, they laugh so hard,” Jodene said. “It does my heart so good to hear them having fun.”

Listening to the buzz, Dave said, makes it clear that audience members are having a good time. The organization hosts murder mystery presentations every few months — with each of them netting about $1,000 for the organization, Hughes said.

Hughes said Agape House seems to have found its niche with a dramatic flair, and their success has intrigued other regional organizations. Hughes said representatives from Habitat for Humanity of Walla Walla will be on hand to learn more about putting on a murder mystery presentation.

“That’s a good fuzzy feeling for me,” Hughes said. “We can share a fun afternoon and maybe introduce the murder mysteries to Habitat for Humanity.”

For more information or to purchase a ticket, call Dave Hughes at 541-567-8774.





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