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Why do the Art Deco Period and Murder Mysteries go so well together? – by Martin Gaisford

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The theme for a Murder Mystery evening more often than not ends up in the Art Deco period. Why is this? For us at Art Deco Productions it was a matter of continuing our original format of performing the events  with myself as an Hercule Poirot lookalike running the investigations, which could only be played in this period.  After an intervention from the legal department of Agatha Christie Ltd and an issue of intellectual property rights we decided we loved the period so much we continued it throughout our plots and 16 years later still do due to it’s popularity. Incidentally, I am now the licensed Hercule Poirot Lookalike for Agatha Christie Ltd.

The way of life in the 20’s and 30’s also seemed to have a certain innocence to it which adds greatly to the comedy aspect of the writing, with characters such as the dotty housemaid, the wayward vicar and the Lord of the Manor all combining to create a recognisable sit com setting we are so familiar with in the UK and even overseas. The murder methods also seem to have a sort of romantic simplicity as well, far different from today’s gruesome encounters we often portray in our modern day setting CSI team challenge events.


The actresses frequently comment on how great it is to get dressed up and feel the character and I have to say, I think the costumes beat any other period hands down. I suppose it helps that the grande dame of Crime writers Agatha Christie, set and wrote most of her plots in this era which helps that link in our minds along with the stunning costumes from the TV series of Poirot and the Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries set in Australia.


Through setting our plots in the art deco period, we have been lucky enough to work at some of the great period venues such as Burgh Island Hotel, Claridges, The Ritz, Mount Stuart and even the Venice Simplon Orient Express, which with all due respect, beats the hell out of a modern day  plot in the Holiday Inn!

We will continue to offer the James Bond plots, the wartime themes, modern day pharmaceutical and financial plots, but for us, the romance, costume finery and sheer elegance of art deco will never be beaten.

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