Grand Lake: Gangsters gather for ’20s mystery dinner |

Grand Lake: Gangsters gather for ’20s mystery dinner

by Cyndi PalmerSky-Hi Daily News

Shady gangsters and frilly flappers are just some of the intriguing, suspicious characters that will crop up at the Bears Den’s next murder mystery dinner April 19. Five seats remain for the event, which includes entertainment and a four-course meal with tea, coffee or soda.The family restaurant, which serves home-cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week for visitors and locals, tries to host murder mystery dinners once a month. Owners Vickie and B.J. Johnson open up a private room off the main dining room for murder mystery guests to enjoy their meal and collect their evidence and thoughts. Cast members are given informational packets beforehand, and are lead through the process by a Bears Den host, who is available to help all levels of players (including first-timers). Everyone is usually encouraged to search throughout the dining areas for clues and informants to possibly bribe for secrets.The guest list for the Murder at the Four Deuces mystery dinner April 19 includes Don Wannabe, who owns a chain of houses of ill repute with his wife and is chief lieutenant for Don Big Jim Ravioli. Then there’s Madam MeMe Wannabe, Don’s wife who is a madam. The evening’s festivities highlight the opening of their newest business venture, The Four Deuces Speakeasy.Capo Toto Tequila is a self-proclaimed boss of bosses. His reason for visiting from New York is in question, but everyone knows that when Capo’s involved, it’s something big. Don Big Jim Ravioli is the father of the Chicago mob or the family. His new, younger wife Carrie Crooner-Ravioli was a jazz singer in one of Big Jim’s clubs and is attending the evening’s event to do a special performance.Vicki Ravioli, Big Jim’s ex-wife, will also be in attendance to stir things up. Jim’s daughter Rebecca is trying to get Jim’s blessing to marry Rhett Bumbler, a buffoon gambler (and cheater) who blew into town just six months before.The expected speakeasy crowd is rounded out with Baroness Ravioli and Inspector Neville The Nose Nutella. Baroness Ravioli is Big Jim’s mom who likes to think she’s a baroness, despite the royal bloodline to prove it. Inspector Nutella is attending the function to investigate the murder of the Black Hand Gang, which happened two nights prior to the evening’s festivities. The bodies of Jonathan The Joker Jiseppi, Harry The Hammer Hambini and Sam The Squeeze Senell were found under the South Side Bridge in what looks like a gangland-style murder. Inspector Nutella is sticking his nose everywhere to find out whom, or what group, did the dirty deed.Roles still open include those of Sly Sleaze, Mayor Big Bill Bumpkin, Cash Steal, Jack Greasy Thumbs Guiseppi, and Guilda Guiseppi. Stringent security measures are to be in place for the Grand Opening of the Four Deuces speakeasy April 19, but with a murderer on the loose and a mystery afoot, you never know what’s going to happen. Gangsters, hitmen, politicians, a jazz singer and other classic characters should make for a very interesting evening.The popularity of the murder mystery dinners has grown and reservations are already being taken for the Bears Den’s May 17 ’50s Sock Hop mystery/dinner event. The Bears Den is also open to booking private murder mystery dinners for groups of 15 or more. The Johnsons are able to customize guest lists (parties are also available for teens ages 13-18) and Vickie is an excellent seamstress with a costume collection she’s willing to loan. For more information, e-mail

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