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As always, our New Year’s Eve plans come along last minute. Last year’s family Sherlock Holmes Party was such a success, that we decided to continue the tradition of having a mystery movie night this year by introducing the kids to the fabulous story-telling of Dorothy L. Sayers. Tonight, we’ll be dusting off the DIY Detective Kits we made last year, and we’ll be showing the kids 2 of the 3 movies from the 1987 BBC/PBS Masterpiece Mystery edition of “Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries,” starring Edward Petherbridge as Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey and Harriet Walter as Harriet Vane.
The first two films in the trilogy, Strong Poison and Have His Carcase, are close to six hours in length, combined.
So, we’ll put off viewing the three hour Gaudy Night installment for another movie party, perhaps a Back to School Night this coming weekend! I’m not usually one to promote the film before the books…But, in this case, we’re hoping that once they have seen these films, the kids will want us to read them Sayers’ fabulously written novels over the months ahead.Dorothy L. Sayers
Here’s our menu for the evening, followed by a list of Lord Peter Wimsey film & Radio titles:
LORD PETER WIMSEY’S CASE-CRACKIN’ NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY MENU
STRONG POISON APPETIZERS
Teas from the Oriental
A Sampling of Green Teas & Lemon-Laced Tap Water
Sweet Omelette with Jam
A “Cracked Egg” Omelette Made at the Table, served with our Homemade Blueberry Port Jam
Miss Climpson’s Sampler Plate
Toast, Crackers & Cheese for our Pickier Eaters, Served on a Ouija Board
HAVE HIS CARCASE MAIN COURSE
Hitchhiker’s Fizzy Lemonade
A Sparkling Combination of Lemonade and Club Soda
Dancing at the Resplendent Dinner Salads
Greens Tossed with Cucumbers & Tomatoes, Drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil and a Bit of Sea Salt
Tonight, we’ll make our well-loved Thin Crust Pizzas into”Romanov Pizzas” by either leaving off the sauce entirely or by flooding the pizzas with loads of extra sauce to signify the problem with the royal blood lines at the heart of our mystery.
GAUDY NIGHT DESSERTS
Rest Assured: Neither Turkish Delight nor Stewed Prunes are on the menu this evening!
Bunter’s Famous Hot Cocoa
A Bowl of Hot Chocolate Served with Marshmallows in a Little Ramekin
Gifts from the Larder: Cookie Plate
“I remember you, Annie. You always left the Buttery door unlocked.” – Harriet
For dessert, we’ll serve a smattering of our favourite holiday cookies.
See our recipes for Cookie Meteors & Santa Babies.
LORD PETER WIMSEY IN RADIO & FILM (faithful adaptations)
Radio Plays Starring Ian Carmichael
Lord Peter WimseyBBC Radio Series
Films Starring Ian Carmichael
Clouds of Witness, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Five Red Herrings, Murder Must Advertise and The Nine Tailors
Films Starring Edward Petherbridge & Harriet Walter
A Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery: Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night
“Excellent!” I cried. “Elementary,” said he.
- “The Adventure of the Crooked Man,” Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
I didn’t think I would be writing another Lunchbox Season post until 2012. The Advent Shadowbox has been set aside for next winter. And, for the first time in a long time, we had plans for a family New Year’s party outside of our home. Unfortunately, our friends have had to cancel their New Year’s Eve bash due to illness. So, we had to come up with something festive to do as a family at home.
The kids have been taken with The Hound of the Baskervilles DVD that I received in my stocking on Christmas morning, playing “scenes” from this movie and from the preferred Basil Rathbone version they watched online. They’ve also been asking for the Gutenburg Library copy of the Baskervilles novel that came on the ereader they gave me a year or so ago. While I’m not ready to let them watch my copy of the fabulous BBC Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch just yet (another fabulous Stocking Stuffer – but a little too adult), I have let them screen the recent Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) adaptation from a few years back. In any case, in searching for a theme, there was no doubt about it - a family Sherlock Holmes party was going to be a surefire hit with the kids and with the parents, too.
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.”
- A Study in Scarlet
Of course, this isn’t the half of it….
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939), Basil Rathbone
Pearl of Death (1944), Basil Rathbone
Sherlock Holmes: Dressed to Kill (1946), Basil Rathbone
Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), Writer: Chris Columbus
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939), Basil Rathbone
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), Peter Cushing
Sherlock Holmes (2009), Robert Downey Jr.
The Spider Woman (1944), Basil Rathbone
They Might be Giants (1971), George C. Scott
Murder by Decree (1979), Christopher Plummer
Sherlock (2010), Benedict Cumberbatch
Food & Drink
“Great sorrow or great joy should bring intense hunger–not abstinence from food, as our novelists will have it.”
- The Poison Belt
If we had more time on our hands, we might have chosen to serve a Full English Breakfast (Holmes was sometimes known to indulge in those) or a traditional English meal such as Bangers & Mash or Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding. If we were going uber Holmes, we might have tried Fricassee of Eel or Violets Dipped in Beer Batter and Fried…but we’re not there yet.
As for Beverages, well, those are New Year’s Fare. We’ll be serving Sparkling Juice to the kids. Meanwhile, my husband and I will indulge in a few pints of Guinness, a drop of Whiskey, and perhaps a Champagne Cocktail (Champagne or Prosecco and Chambourd).
“I can never bring you to realize the importance of sleeves, the suggestiveness of thumb-nails, or the great issues that may hang from a boot-lace.”
- A Case of Identity
Of course, it wouldn’t be a party without a few great favours for the kids! After heading out to the dollar store for some New Year’s Eve themed items and some “Spy” gear, I came up with this DIY Detective Kit (in a New Year’s Hat):
Supplies (per Detective Kit)
Glittery Top Hat, Gift Box, Bag, or Other Large Container
Notebook & Pen
Colourful Masks (2 of 5-pack)
Small Plastic Bead Containers (3 of 6-pack)
Small Paint Brush
Lemon Juice (or Baking Soda and Water)
Large ”Powder” Makeup Brush
Roll of Scotch Tape in a Dispenser
Ink Pad for Rubber Stamps
Plain Paper, Legal Sized
Sticky-Backed Paper (8.5×11 sheet), a Label Maker, or Plain Paper & Tape
Computer & Printer or Pen
How to Fill that Glittery Top Hat…
Fingerprint Removal Kit
Fingerprint Dust: one small plastic bead container filled with baby powder and labeled with sticky-backed paper.
Fingerprint Duster: a large “powder” make-up brush labeled with sticky-backed paper.
Fingerprint Removal Tape: a roll of scotch tape, labeled.
Specimen Bottle & Toy Binoculars
A small plastic bead container, labeled “Specimen Bottle” for collecting evidence.
Invisible Ink Kit
A small plastic bead container filled with lemon juice (or baking soda and water), labeled “Invisible Ink”
A paint brush
Instructions: Use the paint brush to write words and draw pictures with the liquid on paper.
Let it dry.
Use a heat source such as a light bulb or grape juice to reveal the secret code.
Flashlight & Interchangeable Masks
Two different coloured party masks of the same size and shape, but of a different colour. Explain to the kids that they can “change identies” at a masked party in order to remain inconspicuous while investigating.
A flashlight will do the kids a better service than an oil lamp, no doubt.
Notebook, Pen, & Magnifying Glass
For use only by the “Consulting Detective(s)” in the room…
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