Fill up your flask, sharpen your knives, and give that mustache one last brushing. It’s time for murder and mystery with history’s most famous authors. It’s Edgar Allan Poe’s Mystery Dinner Party.
In order to impress the love of his life, Edgar Allan Poe invites Annabel Lee to his house for dinner. In an effort to make things less awkward and obvious (no easy feat for Poe), Edgar makes the dinner a Murder Mystery Party and invites a host of famous authors. What starts off as a fictional game turns nefarious when a real murder occurs. Though egos abound, the authors agree to work together to uncover a murderer intent on killing off the world’s most famous writers.
I’ve been a writing and literature nerd since I was a kid. As my love for literature grew, I became increasingly fascinated by the lives of the authors. Like the character in the film Midnight in Paris, I long to be part of that romantic time when artists and authors met in salons, bars, and cafes to talk writing, art, and philosophy. I’ll watch almost any documentary or movie that gives you a glimpse into the life of an author.
The authors in Edgar Allen Poe’s Mystery Dinner Party are exaggerated versions. Hemingway is never without a drink. H.G. Wells always has an invention ready. The jokes about Emily Dickenson made me laugh the hardest.
I really liked the direction in which they took Poe’s character. I think they could have gone cliché and made him insane and menacing. Instead he’s sweet, awkward, and seems oblivious as to why others find him a bit creepy. You’re routing for him from the very beginning.
Though the authors are quick to compliment a phrase of literary genius, their egos and competitive nature also spur them to tear each other down.
At one point, Lenore suggests that they write down the events that have occurred so far and asks who in the room is the best writer. All hands go up.
Writers Writing Writers
The dialogue is amazingly clever and includes numerous, loving jabs at the authors and their works. I’ve watched the series several times and I’m still catching references I missed in previous viewings. The series blends proper literary language with modern phrases such as a Bronte exclaiming,
“snitches get stiches.”
My favorite episode involves two bumbling police officers who show up to the house. They are searching for a missing Agatha Christie. Edgar Allan Poe convinces the police that the authors are having a writers’ conference. As the police search the house, they keep coming back to question the authors, who are caught in the middle of ridiculous antics. Each time Edgar Allan Poe must come up with a different writing exercise the authors are engaging in. It gets sillier each time. As someone who has attended writers’ conferences and retreats, I laughed hysterically through the entire episode.
Though this is mostly a comedy, it’s still a murder mystery and possesses a lot of tension. I watched the series in real time when it first came out, so after watching an episode, I had to wait an entire week for the next new episode. I was on the edge of my seat. Everyone, but especially a literature nerd, will have a favorite author or two. Every Monday I pressed play, then crossed my fingers, hoping my favorite author/dinner guest would survive another week.
By the end of the series, I was convinced that Shipwrecked Comedy’s writers were brilliant. The ending took me by surprise. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but the ending, the reveal, the motive, left me giddy. It was more thought out and complex than I guessed. The final scene is a fitting nod to Edgar Allan Poe’s work.
More than Love
If you’re like me and aren’t into the guts and gore of Halloween, but still enjoy a little haunting murder and mayhem, then add Edgar Allan Poe’s Mystery Dinner Party to your fall viewing list. I plan on watching it every year.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Mystery Dinner Party has become one of my favorite mini-series. The acting is impressive, the production quality is professional, and the writing is the kind that makes me wish I could be part of such a creative, brilliant team.
Shipwrecked Comedy has a new noir short film debuting soon. I hope that this writing, acting, production team eventually comes to the attention of Netflix or Amazon Prime, etc. because I’d love to see another series by them.
You can watch Edgar Allan Poe’s Mystery Dinner Party on YouTube.