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Can You Solve the Murder Mystery at Kearney Mansion?



If you want some Halloween fun without blood and gore, check out the murder mystery events at Kearney Mansion Museum this month. (Photo provided by Marcus Esparza)
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For the second year in a row, the Fresno County Historical Society will host a set of Murder Mystery events at the Kearney Mansion Museum.

There will be six sessions starting Oct. 27 and continuing through Halloween night on Oct. 31.

“People are always looking for something fun to do around this time of the year, before the holidays really kick in, and what better place to stage a mystery than Kearney Mansion? Because it’s kind of mysterious as it already is,” said Elizabeth Laval, president of the Fresno County Historical Society.

According to Laval, all but one of the six sessions will start after dark at 6 p.m. A daytime performance on Sunday, Oct. 29 will start at 11 a.m.

What Guests Can Expect from a Night of Mystery?

As soon as doors open, guests will be treated to a cocktail to help “sharpen the senses.”

Guests will be offered unlimited alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages throughout the event as well as a four-course grazing menu of savory and sweet treats served by local catering company The Painted Table.

“Everybody that comes will be going through the different rooms, and there will be different food there,” Laval said. “So one room might have the soup, and then you get your soup, you sit down, and you question the suspect.”

After 20 minutes in one room, guests will move to other rooms, picking up clues while enjoying food and beverages.

“There might be a slider, or there might be some kind of, who knows what the menu is going to be. We never tell,” Laval said. “But there will substantial food in each room.”

Who Killed the Chef?

Each year the story is different, says Laval. This year, guests will have to find clues that point to “Chef Al Dente’s” murder.

Museum staff will play characters to help the story along, and while they will help guests move around the mansion, don’t expect to get extra help from them, she said.

“You can try and get us to break character, but you won’t,” Laval said. “We won’t talk about something else other than what’s happening right there.”

In each room, there will be a potential suspect that guests can interrogate as well as certain clues.

As in last year’s event, the suspects included a gardener, a cook, the lady of the manor, her best friend, niece, and her husband.

At the end of the event, guests will have to write down who they think did it, how the murder was done, and what the motive was.

For those who may think the mystery will be easy to solve, think again, Laval said. At last year’s event, 215 guests purchased tickets and only one person got all three answers correct.

What Can Event Guests Take from the Experience?

Laval said events like this can be another form of entertainment for adults who enjoy history or are just trying to have fun and meet new people.

Many learn to work together as a team, and some even come out making new friends.

“You learn a lot of history as you go, and it makes history come to life,” she said. “The mansion is there to be utilized, and that’s why we want to make sure people get a chance to come out there. And boy, is it fun, everybody had a ball last year.”

Where Can You Purchase Tickets?

The event lasts roughly three hours, and guests are advised to arrive promptly.

Tickets are $150 per session and include food and drink. You can purchase tickets here. 

Liz Juarez joined GV Wire in July, 2021 as a Digital News Producer. She has experience working for publications around the Central Valley including the Clovis Roundup, Porterville Recorder and Hanford Sentinel. While in college, she interned for Mountain West Athletics and served as Outreach Chair for the Fresno State Radio and Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). Liz earned a bachelor's degree in Media Communications and Journalism at Fresno State and a master's degree in Communications from Arizona State University. In her down time, she enjoys reading, drawing and staying active by playing basketball, taking trips to the coast and visiting national parks. You can contact Liz at