A brutal murder had been committed inside HQ Karaoke and Bar (HQ). Bright yellow CAUTION tape was stuck up all over the outside of the bar. A quieter, more serious-looking crowd replaced the usual inebriated karaoke enthusiasts.

This wasn’t a real murder, however. It was a mystery game, proudly presented by HQ. Opened by celebrity Irene Ang in Club Street, the karaoke bar is fast becoming the place for the young, the hip and the artsy crowd to hang out and let loose. The place had been transformed into a crime scene for their first anniversary celebration on May 29, and all of the patrons that night had been invited to help solve the mystery. Someone had been ‘killed’ in HQ that very night, and it was up to everyone present to exercise their super sleuth skills in order to find the murderer.

Throughout the bar, there were various numbered ‘exhibits’, or rather, evidence: a white tape outline of a body on the floor, a tiara, and a glass cabinet displaying three bags with each of their contents spilling out. It looked just like a real crime scene.

Before any sleuthing could be done, the detectives needed sustenance, which was provided in the form of delicious penne pasta and spicy sausages laid out in the front. HQ was also serving a free flow of beer and fruit juice. As the modest crowd mingled amongst themselves, a lady in a white robe soon approached UrbanWire and introduced herself as ‘the ghost of Molly’.

Short in stature, with short hair, black-rimmed round glasses, and a face painted white, Molly was the picture of your typical comedic ghost. A friendly chat with a ghost was certainly a conversation that would not be forgotten any time soon. Molly, soon-to-be married, had come to HQ for a night of drinks for her bachelorette party, but all pre-marital bliss soon vanished when she ‘died’ mysteriously.

On the dark pink walls of the cosy bar hung several posters, which contained background information and possible motives for the three suspects: the sisters Paige, Phebe and Paris Lopez. One was a crazy ex, one heavily in debt, and the last one a business partner. Each of the three sisters had a strong motive for murder, but who had been brutal enough to kill the bride-to-be?

Everyone had to spend time talking to each of the three suspects (and Molly’s ghost) and inspect the evidence, in order to solve the mystery. Over the next two hours, UrbanWire mingled with the other sleuths over food and drinks.

Audrey Tan, a 22-year-old intern, was there for the first time with three of her colleagues.  “It’s cosy here, and quite cool!”

The suspects made their way around the bar, talking to the patrons. Paige was aloof, snooty and expressionless, true to her character description. She never smiled. She played her role well, and made those around her feel highly uncomfortable and intimidated. Could a steely personality like this be a cold and ruthless killer? A large contrast to Paige’s glacial demeanour, Phebe went around announcing the excessive affection she had for Molly. Her display of slightly crazy and obsessive behaviour in general was indeed suspicious. Was this a crime of passion? Possible. And what about Paris, the gambler who was heavily in debt? Money was the root of all evil, and it wouldn’t be surprising if she was the murderer.

UrbanWire’s favorite personality of all was Molly the ghost. “Do you care who killed me?” she demanded, to the amusement of the sleuths. UrbanWire’s very own detectives tried to sniff out as many clues as possible by asking her for the nitty-gritty details like the last thing she remembered before dying, and who she personally thought was the killer. “If you ever see Phebe around, do not be attracted to her. She’s crazy, I tell you!” Molly warned. All attempts to get the characters to crack up were to no avail. It was simply impossible to get any of them to break character. The staff certainly deserved an Oscar award each!

Soon it was time for everyone to make their decision, and submit their entries. As the entries were counted, HQ offered $1 housepour shots, which were sold out very quickly. What a pity, those multi-coloured little shot glass gems sure looked like a yummy (and cheap) treat.

“Can I have everybody’s attention? Thank you for coming. We are now going to announce who killed me,” Molly said into the mic. Alas, the killer was Paige! Three lucky winners who had guessed the right answer walked away with either a six-litre keg of Krombacher beer, or a six-pack.

A best-dressed patron was also chosen. Evia Wan, UrbanWire’s very own photographer, won a wine hamper. Dressed in a shirt, blazer and a bowtie, her outfit wasn’t daringly different, but it certainly suited the night’s theme! “I just thought of what the mafia wears and I chose this,” she said, when asked how she picked her outfit.

It was a great night, all thanks to the cleverly planned and executed (excuse my pun) murder mystery. The event successfully brought out everyone’s inner sleuths, getting us to interrogate suspects, inspect clues and make our own deductions. Never before had Singapore seen an event organised such a creative and quirky way.

“I had so much fun being a detective today. I’ve never done anything like this before,” Kelly Lau, a 22-year-old student, shared her elation with UrbanWire.

UrbanWire would like to wish HQ a happy first birthday! Thank you for letting us be a part of your celebration, and also for helping us hone our sleuthing skills.