Ambit Creative
Christy Barritt

Christy Barritt's latest book Suspicious Minds (Kregel, 2008), is a lighthearted mystery about a sassy crime-scene cleaner who likes to stick her nose into police business. The first book in the series was Hazardous Duty, a finalist in the ACFW Book of the Year contest. She’s also the co-author of Changed: True Stories of Finding God in Christian Music (Standard, 2005). When she’s not working on books, Christy writes articles for various publications. She’s been published with The Lookout, Brio, Campus Life, The Plain Truth, Marriage Partnership, Evangel, The Secret Place, Devozine, Encounter, Kidz Chat, and more. She writes a weekly feature article called “Thumbs Up,” which salutes someone doing something positive in the community, for The Chesapeake Clipper, part of The Virginian-Pilot. Christy enjoys teaching and speaking at various functions, from writers groups to women’s luncheons. She has a passion for sharing the truths and lessons she’s learned throughout her life. For two years, she was an assistant editor at Standard Publishing. When her father became ill, she moved home to be closer to him. The move propelled her back to her first love—writing—and she hasn’t stopped since. She’s married to Scott, a teacher and funny man extraordinaire. They have one son, Eli Samuel, and two dogs, Duchess and Benji.

Writing Mysteries Can Be Murder - Mystery Dinner Theater

Now, if only I could figure out who’s trying to kill me…

Why does someone want me, a simple mystery author, dead?

That’s the question I’m asking myself thanks to the release of my latest book. Let me explain.

I wanted to do something creative for the release of my mystery novel, Suspicious Minds. I’m an out-of-the-box thinker, so I sat down with pen, paper, and a couple of friends to brainstorm some ideas. For a while, all I did was tap my pen against blank paper.

I’ve done book signings. I’ve taught workshops. I’ve had the book release parties.

I needed something fresh, creative, and exciting.

That’s when an idea hit: Why not do a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater that featured characters from my book? Better yet, why not do it as a fund-raiser and give the proceeds to a family in need?

The ideas started rolling. To get some pointers on how to approach the script, I contacted a woman I knew, Kathy, who writes Mystery Dinner Theaters. She gave me some good ideas. Still, I felt stalled because of all the details. I had many other demands that kept me from fully giving myself mentally to the task.

But God does work in mysterious ways.

A few weeks later, Kathy called and offered to write the script for me!

The plans grew bigger than I ever imagined. Several organizations expressed interest in hosting the fund-raising event. All of the actors—whom Kathy also assembled—volunteered to do the play as often as possible for free!

We titled the event “Writing Mysteries Can Be Murder.” The setup for the play is that I’m coming in to do a book signing, but on the way, my brakes fail, so I’m late. A detective shows up who’s been investigating several other mysterious incidents that have been plaguing my life lately—including a kitchen fire, a failed pipe bomb, and poisoned brownies left on my front doorstep.

As audience members eat their meals, people begin popping up in the crowd, each saying awful things about me. I slowly realize that they’re characters from my books. Each of them

has as gripe against me for various reasons: I didn’t give them a big enough role in the book, I painted them in a negative light, I didn’t give them a last name, etc. Each of them also has a motive to want me dead.

The audience gets to interact with the cast and ask them questions throughout the evening. At the end, everyone votes on who they think is trying to kill me.

We’ve done three performances so far. The second performance took place at an old one-room school house about forty-five minutes from my house. The intimate setting was perfect, as was the thunderstorm that began during the course of our performance. Lots of laughter, accusations, and fun filled the evening.

Afterward, cast members gave their testimonies; I sold my books. And audience members came away with a memorable experience! One person even accepted Christ after seeing the performance.

We have several more shows lined up. The idea was unique enough that we’ve even gotten some media coverage.

I’m glad I thought outside of the box, or as the newspaper said, I had a “novel” idea. Now, if only I could figure out who’s trying to kill me…

Suspicious Minds