'Twas a dark and stormy noon and something foul was afoot in Brick Lane, and it had nothing to do with curry. Charles van der Rood, art-critic, gambler and philanderer had been found murdered the previous night, and team Londonist was on the case! On a Saturday when all sensible folk were holed up in doors, a hardy bunch of investigators met at the Vibe Bar to collect a copy of the victim's diary and the coroner's report, and try to solve the mystery of A Brush With Death.
Initially expecting a variation on a scavenger hunt, it turned out to be much more. The plot involved everything from a wronged wife, a pregnant mistress, an angry son and a feisty South American artist, to an underground society with a deadly code. We were hooked as soon as we met the first character in the field, CIA operative Agent Orange (the character names were fantastically groan-worthy). It wasn't simply a matter of turning up and collecting a clue sheet: teams had to join in the performance and run errands to trade for information with the characters. Special commendation to Private Investigator Buck Stroke (pictured above making a shadowy deal) for going the extra mile and refusing to break character. Tracking down the clues involved covering all corners of central London (including a few places Londonist had been before), invisible ink, a secret handshake, and mild computer hacking... and that's just the stuff we figured out. The only complaint coming from the teams was that there just wasn't enough time to investigate all seven locations.
Despite the horrible weather, everyone was keen to get through as much of the plot as possible, but we all had to be back at Vibe Bar by 6 to submit our evidence and accuse the murderer. To our eternal shame, although we had barely covered half the locations we did have the two vital clues that would have pointed to the murderer, but we failed to spot the fiendishly small detail that linked them. A huge congratulations and thank you to Tom Williams who organised the whole thing. Our verdict: the most fun you can have with an Oyster card.
Tom and his crew are taking a much deserved break, but there are rumours of something in the pipeline for next Spring. If you're keen to get in on the action, drop him an email via the Brush With Death contacts page.