A Game of Clue with a Special Suspect

Long ago, in a time before Covid-19…

“My cousin is a suspect in the Master Detective edition of Clue,” June, one of my closet friends, told me one day. As a mystery author, the minute I heard this exciting news, I knew there was only one thing to do: assemble a team of BFFs to play the game… which none of us had done in years.

How did June’s cousin John Dods achieve this amazing achievement, you ask? John is a special effects and prosthetics designer for the entertainment industry. His friend Tim Hillebrandt happened to be painting characters for this mid-80s Parker Brothers special edition and decided to toss in John as a suspect.


John became “M. Brunette – a many of many talents, many accents – many passports.”

On a sleepy Sunday, my friends Nancy and Mindy joined June and me at June’s Santa Monica condo. We enjoyed lunch and then June dealt the suspect cards.


Mindy on the left, Nancy on the right.

Like I said, none of us had played the game in years. But we had a great time getting up to speed, and soon the game board looked like this…

game board

Some of us were better at it than others, me falling into the “others” camp. Compare the notebook of Nancy, a production manager at a local center for the performing arts, to my notebook…


I’ll let you figure out which is hers and which is mine.

I’m not gonna lie. Things got ugly at one point. June and Mindy went at each other with weapons.

The game reached its conclusion faster than we expected, with June solving the case. I don’t remember the details but I do know that “M. Brunette” was not the culprit.

The character of “M. Brunette” was retired after this Clue Special Edition, so you probably won’t find him in the version you have collecting dust on a closet shelf. I’m not a game person and I don’t come from a family that gravitated to them. As my frustrated friend Laurie once exclaimed when she joined us for a weekend at my parent’s old cabin on a lake in Connecticut, “All you people do is read!” But convening three of my besties for a good-natured round of Clue proved to be so much fun that we’ve vowed to meet again for another crack at it.

And maybe I’ll actually write some notes in my Detective Notebook next time -if only so my page doesn’t look so embarrassingly empty next to Nancy’s.

Readers, are you a game person or not? Do you have fond memories of Clue? Do you still play it?

53 thoughts on “A Game of Clue with a Special Suspect

  1. I’m not much of a game fan as an adult, but I have some awesome and funny memories of playing Clue with my cousins and my brother who was old enough at the time (the younger one had a cousin his age to hang out with and usually we could count on them playing outside). We used to make tons of notes and hide our notes in our laps lol. Definitely some fun times, but honestly now I’d rather read the books you all write for us than play board games. 😊

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Oooh, Ellen, I’m so jealous. The closest I can come to a noteworthy relative is my mother’s brother who was a bigamist. My entire family loves games but only those involving strategy, the most boring being Pit, the purpose of which to be the first to corner the market on wheat, barley etc. Since I can’t travel to L.A. to join your next game, I’m making do by renting Clue on HBO tonight.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your friend June is the coolest person I know… Well, know vicariously through a mystery blog. That is AMAZING! I’m such a big Clue fan and this made my day 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Love this post! Fun to meet your friends and how cool that her cousin was IN Clue, gasp!

    We played Clue a LOT and I also adore the movie. Was there a version of the board game with video component too? Or am I thinking of the version of the film that had multiple endings…or did every rendition of the film have multiple endings? My memories claim that early on, there was just the ONE ending we saw in the theater, but now I’m getting confused…

    Need more coffee. I’ll be taking it…in the conservatory with a cup! (If I had a conservatory.)

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Cynthia, I, too, am a big fan of Clue — and Tim Curry! We have the DVD, which is one of those movies I rewatch annually. There are three endings. In its theatrical release it played with Endings A,B, or C. I actually saw it three times at the theater back when it came out, so I could see all three endings! (Yep, I’m a nerdling.)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I grew up in a game-playing family and raised my kids in one, too. Clue was definitely in the rotation. My detective notebook was always jammed with info and—not to brag, she said, bragging—I won a lot of games. It’s hard to play many of our games with just me and hubs, but I have been collecting board games at thrift stores and garage sales over the years because I’m THISCLOSE to perfecting my purses made from them. I’ll let you know when I have a good Clue purse!

    Liked by 6 people

  5. I love Clue! Except when playing with my parents. They would analyze things so much between rounds it would take forever. I don’t think they get why I don’t like playing “thinking” games with them. Seriously, three minutes between rounds? No!

    I have Master Detective in my game closet, as well as a traditional Clue board game.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Great post, Ellen! Being a suspect in a Clue game is such a cool claim to fame! You were probably enjoying chatting with your friends so much that it made it difficult to focus on your notes! I imagine that would be the case if the Chicks got together to play Clue, lol!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. What a fun post, El! Yep, I am still a big Clue fan. As a kid I was mainly intrigued by the mansion. My friend had a home somewhat like it, complete with a Chinese gong in the conservatory. Her mom told us it would cause thunder and heavy rain if we touched it. Well…we did. And it did. Don’t touch the gong, Cynthia!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Ohmygersh! What a fantastic post!!

    I absolutely love board games, and Clue is near the top of my list. My family is more into card games, however, so we don’t break out Clue nearly as often as I would like. This has inspired me to encourage them to play–AND watch the movie afterwards!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I’ve never seen the movie version of Clue, and had no idea there were multiple endings–so cool! Must watch it now! (I just looked: It doesn’t appear to be on Netflix now, alas, but is on Amazon Prime.)

    We played the board game a lot as a kid, and I always insisted on being Colonel Mustard–since I love yellow and love mustard.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Carol, that reminds me of the funniest game night we ever had. There were about 20 people here and you know how loud Pit gets, so just imagine what it was like, everyone yelling and yelling. But slowly, all the voices died down because it was dawning on us that somehow none of us were cornering any markets. Turns out my prankster son held one of every card so nobody could win. He was just sitting there, innocent as the day he was born until we all figured it out! Still so funny.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. It was so hilarious and we were all sitting there trying to puzzle it out. We were all going around showing our hands … “Who had my corn?” … “who had my coffee?” Finally he showed his hand. It was so evil-genius we couldn’t be mad! But it was the longest, loudest, most frustrating game of Pit we ever played!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Clue is one of my favorite games, but it’s hard to find people to play with, since I usually win. I admit, there area family members I don’t like to play Monopoly with, for the same reason. I can’t even imagine knowing someone who was a character for Clue–how incredibly exciting! His card looks fantastic. I think they should bring him back.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I didn’t play Clue as a child since it was, usually, just my grandmother and I playing any games. (I grew up with my paternal grandparents.) I only played a few times as most of my friends were NOT into detective games. They were only interested in games that included alcohol! 😉 This was a great post, Ellen, bringing up about actual real people as the characters from time to time. Yes, I loved the movie with Tim Curry. (I watched Rocky Horror Picture Show 32 times and Clue 17 time!)

    Liked by 2 people

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