A Roman Murder Mystery

Tonight, our dinner club for the year got off to a late start, as this was our first meeting, but it was a successful start [1] to our season nonetheless. After getting out of church in a bit of a late start and then having difficulties cooking my chickpeas and dealing with a frighteningly loud noise in my car while driving, I did not arrive in Colton until about 6:30PM, quite a bit later than I wanted to arrive, with everyone else present and most everyone else getting into costume for our murder mystery-themed dinner. That said, I was able to get into my own custome as Licentious Caesar and we were able to begin eating and chatting about the murder mystery. It was striking that the conversation did not involve any personal conversation whatsoever, which is a stark contrast to most of the dinners that I have been a part of. That said, given the awkwardness of the group as a whole, and not my own personal awkwardness, in this case, it was perhaps for the best that there was no personal rancor and we were absorbed in the murder mystery of one poor Flabius Corpus rather than in any interpersonal drama, which is for the best.

The less that is said about the specific clues in the murder mystery, the better. Being the sort of mystery that showed a casual treatment of various scandalous matters of promiscuous vestal virgins, people engaged in adultery and fornication, treason, theft and arson on an industrial scale, and other such difficulties, the fictional characters involved were all people of questionable if not downright disreputable personal conduct. To be sure, I would not consider my own character to be anything like how I am personally, given how he was said to be particularly dim-witted and looking nothing like his father, two things that would be ridiculous for anything to say. The character was also known to have a taste in young women–two of the female characters were reputed to be present or former lovers, one of whom was a teenage vestal virgin, who had previously given birth to the previous emperor’s lovechild, and the other was Cleptopatra, the thieving vassal queen of Egypt, who was played by one of the teenagers in our dinner party. I found that sort to be uncomfortable, but I appear to have been the only person who considered the awkwardness of so many teenage lovers, something I suppose I would be somewhat sensitive about. Given the amount of innuendo in the clues and discussion and characters, I was a bit concerned as to how the young people would take such matters, but it appears that many of our party struggled to read the words of the facts to reveal in the first place.

Much more edifying than the murder mystery itself or the various clues and “facts” about the fictional characters we were playing was the food itself. I brought two dishes, cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) as well as a salad made up of Italian parsley, yellow onions, and cooked snowpeas (as I could not find lentils at my grocery store yesterday afternoon). The person responsible for bringing out the various courses put the two dishes together, and the result was a fantastic and tasty salad. I am not used to such experiments when it comes to salad, at least not those ingredients together, but the salad was very tasty, and one I will have to add to my own extensive salad repertoire. The salad was the second course, after we enjoyed some cheese and crackers and grapes for hors d’ouvres. After this came an odd type of bread with some very sour topping that I did not greatly care for, then some stuffed fig leaves, before very tasty cornish hens and rice. For dessert there were a couple of cookies, one of them with semi-sweet chocolate on top, and the other a sort of coconut cookie, before there was an attempt to serve Greek salad, by which I was too full personally to eat. I would think the Greek salad would have been better towards the beginning along with my salad. I must admit I don’t like to eat salad at the end of the meal, but rather at the beginning.

By the time the murder mystery was done, and the true killer had been revealed, while everyone was more or less thoroughly discredited as a corrupt roman in the worst way, it was about 10:30PM, and we all changed out of our stiflingly hot togas and most people wandered home, while I stayed, not feeling myself particularly comfortable driving my immensely noisy vehicle home in the dark while I was fairly tired from a very long and busy and stressful day, and also at least an hour from my residence. Just before we all wandered off, though, I informed the rest of the guests that I wished to host the next dinner in three weeks’ time at my place, with the theme of food with a story, and I told them that I was going to cook some krapow gai kai dow (basil leaf chicken with fried egg on top), which was one of my regular go to dishes when I lived in Thailand [2]. I know that one of the other people had mentioned that they wanted dessert, but that still leaves plenty of other options as well for the dinner, if others are so inclined. With that, our party broke up, and I changed and considered it time to undertake my normal scribal duties of recording life for the sake of posterity.

[1] See, for example:













[2] See, for example:



About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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