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Murder at the Circus


There has been a death at the circus. Each six must gather clues and interview witnesses in order to deduce who the dead man is, how he died, who killed him and why.


Equipment needed: Sheets of instructions and notes to be given to each six (downloadable here as a Word document), Pens for them to make notes with, instructions for each adult (see below), 5 adults or young leaders, evidence (downloadable here as a Word document), a 'knife' covered in 'blood', a plaster, a pair of clowns shoes, a cardboard lion's claw, chalk.

Give each adult the following instructions and ensure they understand their role:

The Wolf Baby

You did not kill Fred. You hated the victim because you were jealous, but you tell the detectives you liked him very much. He was a fellow freak who you lived with.

Make sure they ask you about where you were at 8.30pm on 2nd June, not any other time. If they ask you about any other time, make it up. At the time of the murder you were taking part in the freak show, but have no evidence to prove this (there may be some evidence around the circus).

You have a bloody knife by you. This is because you cut yourself preparing dinner.

If they ask you (or you think they need help) when you last saw Fred, tell them it was at 5.30pm as he was leaving to go to the cinema, with a lady friend.

If you get annoyed, or just want to have some fun, go grrrrrr!

The Lion Tamer

You are the lion tamer. You did not kill Fred. The animal welfare inspector has just threatened to take your lions away because they are so badly looked after. One lion has lost its claw, but you do not want anyone to know.

If they ask you where you, or the lions, were at the time of the murder, first ask when the murder took place. Then, if they tell you 8.30pm on 2nd June, tell them you were with the lions at a lion show. If they ask you about a different time tell them whatever you wish.

If they ask you whether all lions were present at the show, the answer is yes.

Your lions are appallingly looked after, but you tell them they are well fed, and have never eaten anyone before. If they ask you too many questions about their welfare, you get annoyed and won’t answer anymore questions.

If they ask whether you can prove anything they have asked, tell them no, but there may be some evidence around the circus.

Tilly the Trapeze Artist

The murderer was your ex-boyfriend, Covetous the Clown. You witnessed the whole thing happen, but will not tell anyone. You are being paid by your ex to keep quiet. Money and fame are the only things that are important to you, and you feel being involved in a murder would ruin your career.

Fred was helping you on the trapeze, and had fallen in love with you. The clown was incredibly jealous, and had dumped you a few days prior to the murder. However, you tell the detectives that on 2nd June you were with the Clown in his caravan the whole evening. You were really at the cinema with Fred, and when you got home your ex murdered Fred. Only if they confront you with the evidence that you went to the cinema do you break down and admit this, but you never tell them what you know about the murder.

If they ask you if you knew the victim, you had never even met him. Only if they confront you with evidence to the contrary do you admit you were lying.

If they ask you if you have any evidence to prove what you have told them, tell them Covetous the Clown can provide an alibi.

Tell the detectives you are madly in love with Covetous and are still going out with him.  Do not tell them he dumped you, unless confronted with evidence about this.

Covetous the Clown

You killed Fred! You hit him over the head with a clown shoe when he and Tilly, your ex girlfriend  arrived back from the cinema. You tell the detectives you were with Tilly on 2nd June, in your caravan, and that Tilly will back this up.

If they ask you if you knew the victim, say no.

If they ask about your giant shoe, accompany them to the body to see if the shoe print fits with that found on the body. If they are convinced it does, tell them you lost your shoe, or Chabo borrowed it, or just make something up.

N.B: You were jealous of the time Fred was spending with your girlfriend. You dumped her a few days prior to the murder. You do not tell the detectives this, and still refer to Tilly as your girlfriend. You are paying Tilly, who witnessed the whole thing, to keep quiet.

Madame Mystique

You are a fortune teller and must answer any direct question truthfully. You can not tell them who the murderer is as you are too traumatized. The Brownies will come to you if stuck. Help those that need help. Pretend to see visions and wail - lots of overacting please!

Scatter the following pieces of evidence across your playing area:

- Tilly's wallet with a cinema ticket inside of it
- A suspicious letter to Tilly
- A letter to Tilly from the clown
- The lion show times
- A newspaper article about the Wolf baby's performance
- A newspaper article about the competition between the 'freaks'
- A newspaper article about Tilly
- A letter to Tilly inviting her to the cinema
- A letter written by the Wolf baby
- An animal welfare report
- A clown shoe inprint on the body
- A lion's claw by the body
- A knife by the Wolf Baby
- Clown's shoes

The Wolf baby should have a knife sitting beside her and a plaster on her finger. There should be a chalk outline of the body drawn on the floor. This should include a clown's shoe shape on the bodies head, and five hands!  The lion's claw should be placed near the chalk outline.

Explain the premise to the Brownies and give each team their instructions and notes. Let them wander round looking for and making a note of the evidence they may find. They should also interview the witnesses to find out more.

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