The Story Begins:
Many years ago, the Little Old Woman of your favorite nursery rhymes and storybook tales lived a peaceful life in a small one-room cottage, baking treats and watching an unhealthy number of soap operas. She was known throughout the land for her gingerbread, which was so delicious that it had an uncanny tendency to get up and run, run, run as fast as it could! A Food Critic from the big city heard rumors of her baking prowess and came to the cottage to investigate. When he gave her a rare and prestigious five star rating, she was suddenly the talk of the town, and packed up her bags to go to the city and make it as a professional, artisanal baker who sells her goods for obscenely-high prices. She also brought along the Gingerbread Man – the one who likes to run – as a favor. After all, he is the one who made her famous! He’s quite the showman.
You all gathered in a fancy ballroom to celebrate the opening of the Little Old Woman’s restaurant, “The Gingerbread House,” and sample some of her world-class sweets for yourselves. This is a very selective event, and only the best and brightest were allowed access. There’s even a red carpet! How about that?
However, something terrible happened that brought the night to a screeching halt – and threw the Little Old Woman’s career into jeopardy! As she was giving a speech in the ballroom, a brief high-pitched scream was heard from the nearby kitchen. When the Little Old Woman finally made it there (she walks very slowly, with a walker) she was horrified to see her companion, the Gingerbread Man, with one leg and one arm completely torn off. It looked like a clean cut, but a weapon was nowhere to be found. Even worse, in violation of all health, safety, and sanitation laws, he was laying on the ground - dead! The horror! Scattered in the area next to him were a big hunk of cheese, a disposable camera, a “VIP” pass, and some aviator sunglasses. None of the party’s attendees were allowed to leave, meaning that somewhere among you lurks a criminal who committed this atrocious crime. Can you piece together the clues and discover whodunnit? It’s up to you now. Good luck!
Chef’s Apprentice – The Chef’s Apprentice was the first to see the aftermath of the murder, because he says he was washing dishes at the time. When the Little Old Woman hobbled over to see what was wrong, she saw the Chef’s Apprentice sobbing over the remains of the Gingerbread Man. The Apprentice is a city-dweller, professionally trained in culinary school, which means he doesn’t mesh well with the Little Old Woman’s “informal”-style kitchen. He is a big fan of the Food Critic and the (amateur) Sommelier, both of whom he has become close friends with. The Chef’s Apprentice has grown annoyed with the Little Old Woman’s mannerisms recently, like leaving awful soap operas playing while baking, not washing her hands as often as she should, and feeding the mice that plague the building. He wants the kitchen to be more professional, and to cook “real food.”
Food Critic – The Food Critic is the one who gave the Little Old Woman her first five-star rating and kickstarted her career in gourmet baking, and he doesn’t let her forget it. Like all artists and VIPs, the Food Critic is very emotional and at times unpredictable (oh, and he dresses in a black turtleneck, even when he’s sleeping). Since the Little Old Woman became famous, he has pressured her to give him exclusive access to her kitchen – so he was quite upset when she began to invite other critics and reporters to her events, like the one tonight. The Critic feels very hurt by this and feels she didn’t keep up her end of the bargain.
Impatient Kid – The Impatient Kid (he wouldn’t tell the detectives his name) was dragged along to the party by his parents, but got bored and caused a ruckus the entire time. He talks in one-word sentences that are sometimes difficult to understand, but during the party these three words were his favorite: “Hungry,” “gingerbread,” and “yum.”
Mafia Thug – The Mafia Thug infiltrated the party, she says, because she wanted to intimidate the Gingerbread Man into paying back his gambling debts to the Mob Boss. Apparently, running as fast as he can isn’t the only thing the gingerbread man likes to do... The Mafia Thug is tough, secretive and loyal only to the Mob Boss, but she did say that she never intended to harm the Gingerbread Man – just “teach him a lesson, if you know what I mean.” The Thug drove to the party on a cool motorcycle, clad in a black leather jacket and sunglasses.
Mouse 1 – Both Mice are completely convinced of each other’s guilt and will do anything to sell the other Mouse out. Mouse 1 talks incredibly quickly and in a very high-pitched voice. He says he lives in the rafters above the kitchen and saw Mouse 2 verbally attacking and then biting the Gingerbread Man. Mouse 1 calls himself a pacifist and is outraged that someone would do such a thing to such an innocent cookie.
Mouse 2 – Both Mice are completely convinced of each other’s guilt and will do anything to sell the other Mouse out. Mouse 2 talks incredibly slowly and in a very low-pitched voice. He says he lives in a hole next to the kitchen and saw Mouse 1 delicately and patiently sawing the gingerbread man’s arm and leg off while cackling to himself about how much it would sell for on Mouse eBay. Mouse 2 hates pacifists with a burning passion.
Little Old Woman – The Little Old Woman is the star of the night, but the assault of the Gingerbread Man risks ruining her career. She’s embarrassed that he was found on the floor, because that’s unsanitary, and she’s concerned that without the Gingerbread Man in one piece she will no longer have a mascot for her restaurant. Her close friends know that she misses her cottage and her simple life, and is secretly fed up with life in the city. She tends to cry... a lot.
Rival Chef – The Rival Chef is, well, a rival chef. Typically, you wouldn’t allow your rival into your restaurant, but the Little Old Woman is new to the business and didn’t know any better. Besides, she wanted to show her a little country hospitality. However, dressed in a classic white chef’s hat and outfit, it would have been easy for this dastardly saboteur to sneak into the kitchen undetected and learn the secret ingredients that make up the Gingerbread Man...
Social Media Influencer – The Social Media Influencer is always snooping around to try to get the perfect photos for her millions of followers. When she was invited to the Little Old Woman’s restaurant as a VIP, she couldn’t believe it. But the pressure was also on to snap some great pics, and the Influencer was very stressed about not being able to succeed. She spent most of her time mingling with high-profile guests, like the Rival Chef, the Sommelier, and the Food Critic. The Social Media Influencer uses lots of “like” and “um” when she speaks. Capping off a terrible night, the Influencer says she misplaced her VIP badge at some point – and it later turned up at the crime scene. Was she responsible for the murder?
Sommelier – The Sommelier is a dapper connoisseur of all things wine. He tends to chuckle to himself, he talks in a fancy British accent, and all conversations eventually wind back around to wine. Despite all of this, he only tastes it as a hobby, and works as an accountant during the day. (Unfortunately for him, everyone knows his secret.) He runs an unpopular blog where he reviews wine, but he isn’t sure how to get more followers. The Amateur Sommelier dresses very formally in all black, and throughout the party he constantly asked people which wine would go best with gingerbread. He’s always been curious – and a little jealous – of the Old Woman’s rise to stardom.
Sous Chef – As second in command at the Little Old Woman’s kitchen, the Sous Chef is an obvious suspect. If the Old Woman were to pack up and leave, the Sous Chef would be in complete control. However, she’s quite fond of her boss, and thankful to her for giving her a job. She enjoys baking and all (it’s very soothing), but she is not the biggest fan of the Gingerbread Man. The Sous Chef thinks he is a major show-off and that the business would be far better without him running around the kitchen and screaming the lines of that dreadful nursery rhyme over and over again...