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A 'Darkest Evening' Murder Mystery to solve

The four suspects:

Dorothy Felling Dorothy Felling
(played by Christina Dawson)
Mark Bolitho Mark Bolitho
(played by James Hedley)
Juliet Stanhope Juliet Stanhope
(played by Jess Johnson
Crispin Stanhope Crispin Stanhope
(played by Bill Burlton)

If you'd rather act out the mystery yourselves, you'll find the scripts on Pan MacMillan's website.

The Darkest Evening - UK edition The Darkest Evening - US edition

Are you among the people who've been keepting in touch during lockdown by getting together with friends online for quizzes and other virtual entertainments? Then why not have a go at solving a classic murder mystery?

Ann Cleeves has written a murder mystery script based on The Darkest Evening - like her previous stage-it-yourself mystery kits - but this one has been filmed, with four actors reading the parts, turning St Aidan's church Thorneyburn into a grand house.

You can watch the suspects read their statements, try and work out whodunnit and then - when everyone's submitted their answers - play the confession. You may recognise some characters and the situation from the book - but don't worry, it's a different story, and there are no spoilers for the book (or the other way round!).


For this evening we’re in an old country house on a snowy, long night in Northumberland. The house is in need of repair, but the parties are as glamorous as ever…

The Stanhope family and their tenants are gathered to celebrate the Winter Solstice at Brockburn House. Full of local artists and musicians, it is a favourite tradition of the village.

But then – the party is interrupted by a body in the snow. Harriet Stanhope, the lady of the house and Crispin’s wife, has been found stabbed to death outside the kitchen door.

In the tradition of the Golden Age detective novel, only the people in the house could have committed the murder. One of the suspects standing before you is a killer and your task is to decide which of them stabbed the unpleasant and arrogant Harriet. If you enjoy Agatha Christie and understand classic crime fiction, you can use your little grey cells to solve the mystery.

Witness statements

There are four suspects, so watch each of their statements in turn (you can pause after each one, if you like) then use the buttons under the video to name your suspect:

So who do you think is the murderer? Make your choice below:
, housekeeper at Brockburn House, and friend of Juliet’s
, writer, director, and Juliet’s husband
, Crispin’s daughter and heir to the Stanhope estate
, owner of Brockburn House