SATA Community Theatre Group

Murder at the Museum ... all is revealed

Recently multimillionaire Billy funded an archeological dig near Cuerdale Hall lead by Faye (an up and coming TV archeologist). During this expedition they found a the missing Cuerdale Cup!! The original Cuerdale Hoard was found on the banks of the Ribble near Cuerdale in 1840. The Hoard is a collection of over 8,000 pieces of Viking silver. It was found by workman but quickly confiscated by the land owner before being declared Treasure Trove.

It was rumoured that between discovery and the Treasure Trove declaration several items of the Hoard went missing. Some of the earlier lists of the Hoard mention a damaged silver cup which late went missing. It was always assumed the cup was damaged in the initial cleaning stages so discarded, reclassified or possibly even thrown back in the river.

However, this recent dig has (along with one or two coins) unearthed the Cuerdale Cup! This will be of great value. Faye (an expert on the Hoard) has assured its validity. The Secretary of State has declared it ought join the British Museum following it‘s display at the Harris. The British Museum has been told it needs to pay Faye and Billy the reward. It‘s an undisclosed sum - but not a small one.



Billy is going broke (as seen by the email from his accountant) and needs a quick injection of cash. He came up with a plan - create a fake cup find an archaeologist who could be convinced to verify it - and make a fortune. Unfortunately for him Anna worked out it was a fake!! This is evidenced in several ways. The ‘how to test for real silver‘ article, the fact that Anna found a similar cup for sale in an auction and, most importantly, the evidence from the crime scene itself. If you looked at the crime scene photos on top of the printer was a drawing of the Cuerdale Cup on top of the artist‘s impression of the restored cup. The drawing Anna had found in the Harris Archives of the original Cuerdale Cup (as mentioned in her letter to Billy O‘Naire). Although the Cup they are claiming is the Cuerdale Cup matches the written descriptions it does not match the contemporaneous sketch. The morning the ‘Cuerdal Cup‘ went missing Billy bought Anna a coffee. An innocent gesture in an attempt to appease.


She was the archaeologist Billy conned into verifying his cup. She was fed up of grovelling in the dirt. If Anna revealed what she knew about the Cup Faye‘s career would be over! She did send Anna a snake in the post (as you saw on the crime scene photos and the parcel receipt in her bag). However, the snake was harmless and was only sent to frighten Anna in an attempt to make her co-operate (and beside as the policeman kindly told us - there were no marks on the body).


Nicola is not all she seems. Nicola has travelled the world (as seen by the pages of her passport and the various denominations of money in her bag). She has also worked at several of the museums where artifacts have been stolen (mentioned in the script and mentioned in the news cuttings in Sandy‘s bag). She does this to get an idea of their security systems. She is the purple pimpernel (purple petals found in Nicola‘s bag). She was the one who stole the cup but she had nothing to do with the murder. As a very reliable intern she was (foolishly) trusted with the Cup (she was the one who brought the presentation box to the talk having already taken the opportunity to remove the Cup). She was the only one unaware the Cup was a fake. Though I‘m sure she‘ll work it out in time. The blow pipe in her bag is a complete red herring (sorry) and besides again, as the policeman said, no marks on the body.


Museum guard Sandy has been assigned personally to guard the artifact while it is in the Harris‘s possession. Little do the powers that be know but Sandy is bored. She wants to move on in her career. Her application to a new agency Museum Muscle had been turned down as she had never caught a criminal (email in her bag). She decided to lure in the Purple Pimpernel, the thief seemed to have a liking for Viking Silver (as evidenced by the news stories in her bag). She thought if she gave the information to the Purple Pimpernel he would try and steal the cup - she could catch him and the new job would be hers (evidenced by the security schematics in her bag, the email from the Purple Pimpernel and the security disc).

However, when Anna shared her concerns with Sandy about the cup being a fake Sandy thought the Purple Pimpernel had already struck and she‘d missed her chance (one of the news stories said the Pimpernel sometimes replaced real artifacts with fakes to delay discovery). Especially as Billy continually denied the cup was a fake. When the Memo came from the Museum saying anyone caught being negligent in the security of the cup would be dismissed Sandy panicked. She thought the only way to save her career was to stop Anna going public. She borrowed a book from the Harris library to research Hemlock after reading in one of the news articles that it is currently growing on the banks of the River Ribble.

When Anna needed an envelope she took her chance. She poisoned the gum strip (using the poison she had in the now empty bottle in her bag and saying she spilt some water on it) and when Anna licked it she sealed her fate.


The most accurate and detailed answer in terms of suspect, motive and evidence was from I K Bagwell and we will be in touch shortly with your prize.

The most inventive answer came from Irene Flack....

Who did it - Nicola Jewells

Motive - She was the purple pimpernel. A professional trader in antiques and a smuggler.

Evidence - The purple petal in her bag, she flies to different countries and gets commissions from drug dealers (in Cambodia) to steal valuable items for their private collections. Also the ‘gin‘ is blue. She has a purple masked turtle as a little talisman (this one is called Donatello - maybe her favourite artist and she wants to steal a painting of his). Some of the coins seem to resemble ones stolen. Her red wristband has a symbol on it which might mean she‘s a member of a larger gang.

Again we will be in touch shortly with your prize.