Collecting & Other Diversions


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On this page...

| Games on the Web |Murder Parties & Events | Collecting |
| Art for Art's Sake (and Photography, Too)
| Collectibles & Gift Ideas (Sources) |


Games on the Web

Your one-stop resource for mystery games. Here you will find the world's largest database of mystery games, including Mystery Board Games, Mystery Party Games, Mystery Software, Mystery Jigsaw Puzzles and Online Mystery Games.

Presented by Mystery Game Central (above), this was the online version of SpinTop Games' popular Mystery P.I. computer game series, which includes titles such as Mystery P.I.: The Lottery Ticket, Mystery P.I.: The New York Fortune, Mystery P.I.: The Vegas Heist et al. Currently unavailable.

An open-ended, detective role playing game (RPG) where you solve mysteries by searching for clues, questioning suspects and interviewing witnesses. Every mystery is unique with different victims, suspects and clues. All mysteries are solvable, in fact there are always two ways to solve any single mystery, but player skill and a small amount of luck are necessary to nab the guilty suspect. Available in two flavours: Shades of Mystery and Noir.

  • USA Network

The USA Network offers several on-line games of possible interest to viewers of this site, tied-in, quite naturally, with their private-eyish detective shows Monk and Psych. Unfortunately, the Psych games seem to have vanished, but Monk's Mind Game, Are You Monk-ish? and Monk Concentration are still up.

  • Murder Parties and Events

    The Murder Mystery Company performs public and private live, interactive murder mystery dinner shows all across the nation, with locations in most major cities.

    They sell boxed murder mystery games, and are currently re-engineering the site to include links to all sorts of mystery sites and resources.

    Custom murder mystery games and parties with unique interactive features. This site helps you plan, create and customize downloadable "one-of-a-kind" murder mystery games.

    Susan Haley and her crew help you custom-design your own murder mysteries, games and scavenger hunts to help make your next corporate event unforgettable. They focus on team building, training, problem-solving, conferences and more, out of their world headquarters in San Rafael, California. They also offer Do-It-yourself whodunit scripts and mystery games for purchase.

    Run by Karen Palmer, of Bogie's Restaurant fame, Bogie's Mystery Tours is the original participatory mystery events company and creators of Mystery Dinner Theater. Karen and company have perpetrated play-fair whodunits since 1981 featuring professional actors and well-known mystery authors. Their interactive mystery events are perfect for special events, corporate entertainment, team building, scavenger hunts, fund raisers, private parties for all ages, weekends, cruises,and incentives.

    New York-based The Killing Kompany produces murder mystery dinner theatre shows for public and private events, where TV, film and Broadway actors are concealed among among the audience, who may at any time end up involved in the the plot. Prices start as low as $35 per person for a fine meal in a restaurant in your area, and a murder mystery show where you get to solve the mystery and match wits with the detective. They're willing to take the show on the road, and have done just that for such big corporations such as Pepsi-Cola and Mercedes, and regularly stage interactive evenings at clubs and theatres in the NYC area.

    Supposedly the largest producers of live interactive mysteries in New York -- and the world. They boast of having produced over 4000 shows both nationally and internationally since 1988, and proudly guarantee that "everything will be perfectly executed, including some of the guests!"

    What's different about Mysteries For Hire is that none of their mystery events are scripted. You select a theme for your event and they work with your guests to create your unique experience. Even they claim they don't know exactly what is going to happen.

    Murder mystery games for kids and adults, as well as a a bi-weekly ezine entitled The Reaper Reader with host tips, mini mysteries and lots of other mystery-related fun.

    Collecting

    Now here's something a little off the beaten track. If our Signed, Sealed and Delivered page has whetted your appetite, check out stamp guru Steve Tussel fascinating site that focusses on, like the title says, "Detective Fiction on Stamps." It's a relatively small topic, but over a dozen countries have issued postage stamps (and other philatelic items), hoping to cash in on the lucrative collector's market, mostly, connected to or commemorating fictional detectives and/or their authors.

    Gary Lovisi's zine, subtitled "The Magazine for Paperback Readers and Collectors," doesn't fool around -- it delivers the goods. Defiantly low-tech, it's nonetheless a pretty spiffy looking piece of goods -- oh, if only those great covers were in colour! Each issue is full of trivia and lore, everything from theme collections (DRUGS! ABORTION! LESBIANS!) to alternative covers, and the stories behind the writers, illustrators and publishers. Sadly, it appears to be defunct, although this site still lists back issues for sale.

    If you love books, and are interested in collecting them (although, I must admit, I prefer reading 'em) you might like to check out FIRSTS: The Book Collector's Magazine. The premier publication in its field, FIRSTS is an invaluable resource, providing information, entertainment, and an entry into the delightful world of book collecting.

    A site dedicated to preserving (and selling) memories of yesteryear's pulpy artwork. They sell not only postcards adorned with the covers to titles like Shameless Honeymoon and Black Opium, but key chains, T-shirts, and more. But, even if you don't buy a postcard, you can electronically send a free pulpy postcard, or just browse through a great collection of pulpy old covers from paperbacks and the pulps.

    Check out their main drag! Tawdry Town mission purpose is to act "as a forum for the examination, consideration and exhibition of paperback books produced by both the major publishers and the semi-underground following World World II," and then gleefully announces that many may find the books on exhibit therein and the attitudes of the authors offensive" and informs us that "the creator...does not endorse violence toward women, unsafe sex, negative attitudes toward or stereotyping of gays, lesbians, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, African-Africans, Asian-Asians, or Latinos, whether residents of bordertowns or otherwise; wrestling and/or hairpulling among women in lingerie, or any of the other multitudinous reprehensible acts depicted in these books." Unfortunately, the main drag doesn't seem to have been paved in a while...like, twenty years?

    Gary Lovisi's intriguing and informative 1995 essay on collecting paperbacks is a nice overview and introduction, for those just starting out. Part of Gary's Gryphon Books web site.

    Some suggested books for those interested in further reading. Part of our bibliography section.

    Art for Art's Sake (and Photography, Too)

    J. Kingston Pierce, of January Magazine and Rap Sheet fame, reveals himself to be a crime cover geek of the f, reveals himself to be a crime cover geek of the first degree in this don't-miss blog. He offers a cover-of-the-week feature, discusses both legendary and hot new artists and illustrators and keeps an eye on the good, the bad and the ugly.

    Oh, man, talk about eye candy. This allegedly scholarly magazine devoted to the history of American illustration art is just too delicious to leave to the eggheads. It's published quarterly in full color and each issue features some of the highest quality printing, photography and color reproductions of original art you'll see anywhere. Highly recommended for any gazebo out there with a jones for pop culture and commercial art, but readers here will particularly dig the regular features that pop up on the artists and illustrators who worked on comic books, paperbacks and the pulps. Fun? YES! But collectors will love it too.

    Found that one-in-a-zillion rare hardcover in a church sale or thrift bin, and blown all of a quarter for it, but it lacks a dust jacket? Let the crew at Facsimile Dust Jackets dress up your treasure, so it can proudly take its rightful place of honour on your shelf. FDJ print brilliant facsimile editions of the original covers, working from original sources. An extensive collection includes many rare crime and detective novels, ranging from Cleve F. Adams to Raoul Whitfield. Yeah, it's not the real deal, but man, do they look cool! and they've recently branched out, offering posters as well.

    Guy Budziak may just be the only man alive currently selling hand-printed woodcut posters taken from scenes from classic film noirs. The Summer 2007 cover, for example, was taken from This Gun For Hire, starring Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. For more on the painstaking process and attention to detail that Guy brings to each and every one of his posters (and a look at his growing selection) visit his web site..

    Shutterbug and visual raconteur Mark Krajnak dishes it out Jersey-style on his great blog. Mark's a pro, a storyteller extraordinaire, with a knack for catching people and places at just the right moment -- and a real weakness for what he calls " noir photography" "Think old Humphrey Bogart and Veronica Lake movies," he explains. "To me there is noir, and then there's Jersey Noir.." But why settle for a few words, when a picture's worth a thousand of 'em? Head on over to Jersey Style and check out some of his weekly offerings of "Friday Noir." Tell him Kevin sent ya...

    Collectibles and Gift Ideas (Sources)

    Try the sources below for gifts ranging from t-shirts, lawn ornaments, handcuffs, tapes of old radio shows, books, mugs, puzzles, and more, ranging from tacky to tasteful, from marvelous to morbid.

    Gee, I never heard of these guys. I think they sell books or something...

    The complete source for all your library needs, from labels, binding supplies and book covers to furnishings. They're so well-known in the industry, and among serious bibliophiles like my pal Jan, that their archival-quality jacket covers are commonly referreed to simply as "Brodarts." For serious collectors.

    Think about it. For rare or one-of-a-kind gift ideas, you just never know what you'll find here.

    Check out their gift guide for some elegant and practical gifts for "serious readers." Now if only they sold time to read....

    Specialists in various old-time radio goodies, most notably cassettes and CD's of old episodes. Also videos, and the elusive Matese Falcon statuette.

    Just what you really need: body bags, business card holders, mugs, T-shirts, toe tag key chains, etc., all adorned with the crest of the LA County Coroner's Office.


    Drop a dime. Your comments, suggestions, corrections and contributions are always welcome.
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