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We had another chance to play A Weekend in the Country (Second Edition) by Lari Assmuth. Here’s how the author described it in the reddit post where I learned of the game: A Weekend in the Country is a GM-less game for one or more players, in the British cozy mystery style of Hercule Poirot. Spend a weekend relaxing in the Adlers’ country home with the old cavalry colonel, his wife, his family friends and his staff. Until… a murderer strikes! Gather clues to find out what really happened at the Adlers’ estate, and to find out which of your main suspects had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crime!
Lord Adler, retired colonel of the Imperial Yeomanry Cavalry.
Lady Adler (Q♥), Lord Adler’s young wife. A child of merchant wealth rather than the aristocracy.
Lady Blakeley (Q♠), amateur artist and friend of Lady Adler. Her sickly older husband is not visiting the estate.
Lord Entwhistle (K♦), a young lord here with his mother, the widow Lady Entwhistle. His late father served with Lord Adler but was dishonorably discharged following a court-martial.
Mr. Cooper (J♣), Lord Adler’s ambitious valet.
A Weekend in the Country is designed to have a single detective investigate the Adler murder, with all players controlling that one detective. Our group of four players decided this playthrough, our detective would be a forebear of Benoit Blanc (from the movie Knives Out).
Benoit Blanc, an American detective, unimpressed with class-based British norms.
1. Bedrooms/7♦: Blanc goes first to the scene of the crime, Lord Adler’s bedroom. There he finds a crumpled up blackmail note, but the writing is so shaky he cannot make out the signature. Someone is demanding payment from Lord Adler!
2. Servants’ Quarters/9♦: One of the servants has been concealing Lord Adler’s private ledger. It records suspicious payments stretching back years. Perhaps these are related to the blackmail threat.
3. Study/10♦: Another servant reports that Lord Adler recently had a friendly game of cards with several close friends, but then the stakes turned serious.
4. Attic/7♣: Next to some open boxes in the attic, rests a drink with a sedative mixed into it. Was this Lord Adler’s glass? Or someone else’s?
5. Kitchen/2♦: In a drawer in the kitchen, Blanc finds a new copy of Lord Adler’s will, one with some key changes.
At this point, we have a pair of sevens. That’s pretty weak, and we are shockingly close to a ten-high flush. With only diamonds and clubs, the murderer is either Lord Entwhistle or Mr. Cooper. We could accuse now, but we feel no pressure to do so.
6. Attic/Q♦: Blanc finds Old Lady Entwhistle poking around at boxes in the attic. She tries to buy Blanc off, offering a large sum of money to drop the case. Blanc refuses, valuing his honor too highly. He now suspects her son is the murderer.
With a queen-high diamond flush, Q10972, we present our case. Lord Adler is the illegitimate father of Lord Entwhistle and has been making payments to Old Lady Entwhistle over the years to help raise him. He stopped payment recently, given that Lord Entwhistle should be independent at this age. He did not respond to demands to resume it. Lord Entwhistle engaged Lord Adler in a seemingly-innocent game of cards with a group of friends, and when the stakes got too high for Lord Adler, Lord Entwhistle demanded he be included in Lord Adler’s will. When he later uncovered the latest copy of the will, which does not include him, he murdered Lord Adler in rage.
Lord Entwhistle’s defense is a pair of jacks. He says that the maid warned him that Lord Adler suspected his life was in danger (J♦) and accuses Lady Adler of having an affair (J♥). This is so weak that the police easily see through it.
Wow, this game went quickly. This is the third time we have played A Weekend in the Country, and once again Lord Entwhistle is the murderer. Given that our accusation was a diamond flush, he was actually the only possible suspect for that set of clues! We are very curious if this trend will continue next time we play.