How to Survive a Murder Mystery


I’ve watched a lot of cop shows and murder mysteries on TV. Of course, for this list, I’ll be using the model you see from British murder mysteries like Poirot or Miss Marple. Still, whenever I’ve seen a murder mystery, there is a pattern of things that always happen in them as well as that the same kind of people usually end up dead or arrested. So if you find yourself in a fictional murder mystery, remember to follow these important rules in order to make it out alive and with no criminal record.

1. Don’t kill anyone. (Obviously since this is a murder mystery.)

2. If you’re in a series, it helps being either the detective or part of the main or recurring cast. (Main cast members are rarely suspected of murder and recurring characters have good odds as well.)

3. Stay where you are until the murder investigation is over and don’t make any plans to flee the murder scene’s jurisdiction. If you already have any plans to travel in the near future, cancel them immediately. If you’re just visiting or on vacation, prepare for an extended stay. (Attempting to go through with your traveling plans will result in either death or handcuffs by the end).

4. Don’t have very checkered past. (Or else, you’ll either have a personal secret worth killing for or everyone else will have a reason for killing you.)

5. If you’re head over heels for someone who’s unavailable, make sure he or she reciprocates and things will work out in a fashion that you two will live happily ever after by the end. (Happens all the time in Poirot and Miss Marple detective stories. Still, if you like someone who doesn’t care for you at all despite your willingness to do anything they say for a chance with them, well, let’s just say chances are good you’ll surely get it or arrested.)

6. If you’re a woman don’t get pregnant out of wedlock. (Women who get pregnant out of wedlock have an especially good chance of getting whacked, especially after just finding out within the first or second trimester {it happens}. Yet, women who’ve been pregnant for more than 4-5 months usually have lower odds of dying whether their pregnancy resulted from marital sex or not. Mothers of illegitimate children have low odds as well since it’s the kid’s father who usually dies.)

7. If you’re a man, don’t father an illegitimate child. (Guys, no matter how much time has passed, whether you know of the kid’s existence or not, whether your love child is alive, or whether being someone’s baby daddy may have something to do with the case, your odds of surviving as a free man are very slim, indeed.)

8. If you’re a woman, don’t work in the oldest profession. (Hookers are frequent murder victims on American cop shows, especially when there’s a serial killer lurking around.)

9. If you’re in Great Britain, don’t be clergyman. (With the exception of the Father Brown or Brother Cadfael stories or anywhere else the clergyman is a main character, being a clergyman is almost a death wish since many clergymen in British murder mysteries end up being killed, exposed as a murderer, or both. Midsomer Murders especially. Oh, and while most doomed British clergymen work for the Church of England {as far as I know}, they can be from any religious denomination.)

10. If you’re in a period piece, it helps if you’re under 18. (Kids rarely get killed or arrested in old-timey murder mysteries and if they do, then it’s especially serious business.)

11. If you think you’re in danger for having important information to the investigation, call the detective and tell him or her over the phone but not in a phone booth. Afterwards, make sure you’re not the only one who knows and tell at least two other people. If you possess certain evidence, give it to the detective immediately. (Otherwise, you’ll certainly be the next victim.)

12. Be the most obvious suspect. Helps if you get arrested right away after the murder. (In most murder mysteries, the most obvious suspect will almost never be the murderer. However, while being the most obvious suspect may ensure your innocence most of the time, it doesn’t prevent you from being killed.)

13. Don’t blackmail anybody. (You will probably get whacked.)

14. If you’re a suspect, you might want to suppress your natural indignation as best you can and remain courteous and helpful as well as confess your serious sins to the police. Also, it helps if you tell the investigator why he or she may have reason to suspect you of murder. (Those whose sins and motives are known first, will be found innocent. Yet, this doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be alive by the end.)

15. Don’t sleep with the detective. (Sleeping with the detective can either result in your death or later being found out to be the murderer. Best to go with the detective’s assistant instead.)

16. It helps if you’re a complete jerk who engages in suspicious behavior such as:

a. Having an affair.

b. Having problems with drugs or alcohol.

c. Losing all your money suddenly and trying to hide it from others, especially your significant other.

d. Being involved with someone who’d cause your parents to disown you if they found out.

e. Working undercover in another law enforcement entity or in intelligence.

f. Being a doctor whose personal habits or past mistakes could result in loss of practice should they ever become public.

17. It helps if you claim to be someone you’re not in order to divert the legal route of inheritance just as long as the person who gets it is nicer than whoever loses out. (Otherwise, I see bad things in your future.)

18. It helps if you make fun of the detective’s methods during the investigation, especially if you express constant doubts and ridicule his or her eccentricities or obnoxious ways. (That way you’ll be found innocent and alive as well as get your ultimate comeuppance in the end when the detective reveals who did it.)

19. It helps if you and your spouse have serious marital problems in the beginning as long as they don’t pertain to spousal abuse. (Those who physically abuse their spouses and families will ultimately get whacked. It’s those in seemingly happy marriages who get found out as the murderer.)

20. For men: if the victim is a woman, make sure it’s someone you’ve slept with. (Though most female murder victims are killed by their significant others most of the time, this is almost  nonexistent in British murder mysteries, especially if her husband was a real dickhead to begin with. The only exceptions may be if the dead woman and her significant other had a seemingly happy relationship. Murdered women in American crime dramas or murder mysteries are a different story, especially if she’s either single and having an affair with a married man or has a husband cheating on her {Monk had plenty of cases involving women that turn out like this}.)

21. Still, don’t be too much of complete asshole that people will certainly not miss if anything happened to you. (Or else, one person will get so pissed off with you that you’ll be a corpse the next morning. Assholes get killed a lot in murder mysteries since they’re much harder to solve and carry a more interesting investigation. We can’t have all murder victims be of innocent people to feel bad for. In Midsomer Murders, this happens 75% of the time.)

22. For men: if you’re the town Casanova, make your line of work doesn’t require house calls. (While the horny little pizza delivery boy may score in a porno flick, he ends up a corpse in a murder mystery.)

23. Then again, best that your line of work doesn’t require house calls. (They tend to witness everything that goes around town and sometimes may get whacked for seeing something he or she may not be supposed to see.)

24. If you find yourself being chased by a killer, don’t run into unfamiliar alleyways. (It will usually be a dead end or the killer will be waiting at the other end.)

25. You might want to think twice before hiring Hercule Poirot to solve the case. (Hiring Poirot to solve your case does not excuse you from innocence. Many times those who hired Poirot are later found to have actually committed the crime. Still, if you hire Poirot to investigate chances are he will find out who did it, whether you like it or not. And that murderer will be brought to justice unless he or she was a fellow passenger on the Orient Express and only out of compassion.)

26. Be present in the same place as the detective when the second murder occurs. (Obviously, you will not only have an air tight alibi for the second murder but be exonerated as a suspect from the first.)

27. While attending the summation gathering circle, make sure you’re not the last person the detective talks about. (The last person the detective talks about is the murderer.)

28. During interrogation, it’s best if you don’t ask to invoke your Miranda Rights. (Either you’ll be dead or found as the murderer, especially in American cop shows.)

29. If you’re the victim’s doctor, make sure there’s nothing in their medical files is crucial to the plot. (Or else, you could be dead, too. Yet, unlike most normal people, doctors can’t really rely on investigators if they have information important to the case, though many eventually will despite their vow of medical confidentiality.)

30. If you’re in a murder mystery that has any connection with Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse, it helps if you have nothing to do with Oxford University. (Because many people who get killed in a series inspired by the Colin Dexter series can be a student, teacher, staff member, or someone just visiting even.)

31. You might want to be cautious around company when the detective shows up for anything other than for solving a murder, especially if no one has been killed yet. (When the detective is on vacation or solving a non-murder case, it only takes a matter of time before someone is killed and he or she is asked to help out with the investigation. Happens with Poirot and Monk all the time as well as Nick and Nora.)

32. If you’re a suspect, it helps if you’re the biggest and most blatant jerk of the group. (The biggest jerk suspect is usually innocent but he or she sometimes gets killed though.)

33. When traveling as a pedestrian, always walk with a buddy even at a short distance. (In murder mysteries, most people get killed while traveling on foot by themselves.)

34. Never underestimate little old ladies. (Especially Miss Marple or Jessica Fletcher.)

35. If you find yourself invited to attend a special function in a British country manor during the 1920s or 1930s, you might want to politely decline. (Chances are it will not go well.)

36. If the murder victim was an asshole, just don’t try to be the nicest person in the suspect pool. (Else, you may later be found out as the murderer.)

37. When the detective asks you whether you killed the first victim, simply say, “I was planning to kill (insert victim’s name here) but someone beat me to it before I can get to it” or “Yes, I intended to kill so-and-so but not like that.” (You will be exonerated from all suspicion.)

38. If you’re in America, you might want to avoid convenient stores, jewelry stores, or pawn shops. (A lot of people get killed at these places.)

39. If you’re in America, make sure your job doesn’t pertain to being a security guard or night watchman. (Chances of you being a victim are very likely.)

40. If you’re having an affair and don’t want to leave your spouse, make sure it’s with a person who’s mentally stable and isn’t looking for a serious relationship. (Else, you may end up dead.)