Beth Olliges, Brooke Paige, John Lina, Avery Curtis, John Thwing In Murder By The Sea: The Dark Veil Mystery. Photo: WhoDunnit

Murder By the Sea: The Dark Veil Mystery

Written by A.S.Waterman
Directed by Joe Monroe

A review by Keith Waits

Entire contents are copyright © 2023 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

For a murder mystery, Murder By the Sea: The Dark Veil Mystery takes its time letting any murder transpire, concentrating the first two scenes (of four) on the superstition of brides in the Waring family meeting an untimely demise if they fail to wear the family heirloom black veil at the wedding.

It’s all creepy context for another Angus MacCrimmon mystery, the Scottish-born physician who is A.S. Waterman’s own Sherlock Holmes, her Hercule Poirot. Except MacCrimmon is not formally an investigator but an individual who has the misfortune to happen upon many mysterious circumstances.

Although not a detective, the good doctor is unflappable and possessing of a keen mind, so he is inevitably the best-suited person on the scene to observe and make sense of the facts. The fact that his wife is not very long deceased is arguably his motivation for pursuing these cases. Grief is a powerful catalyst.

The intended bride is Melinda Waring (Brooke Paige), the younger of two Waring sisters. The elder sister, Chesney Waring (Avery Curtis), is sarcastic and aloof while the father, Charles (John Lina) is a little addlepated but jovial. The girls’ aunt, Agnes Asquith (Beth Olliges) is stern and disapproving, a sure indicator that she knows a few secrets, like the real identity of a hirsute vagabond (John Thwing) who is now being seen around the estate.

As a fictional character, MacCrimmon was born in Rhode Island and there the character remains. The Yankee atmosphere of upper-crust New England families is not unlike Agatha Christie’s settings; big houses, big estates, and big secrets that result in murder. I have seen four actors portray the character, and this is Ryan Beyer’s second time in the role. He is a solid, masculine presence. Upright and intelligent, Beyer manages a good Scottish brogue, consistently rendered with a lot of flavors but still intelligible to American audiences.

The rest of the ensemble is also strong, with a few late cues but good handles on their characters. One of the necessary restrictions of reviewing a WhoDunnit show is that it can often be true that the murderer is the most delicious character to play, but I cannot praise that actor by name without spoiling things. Suffice it to say that this killer displayed outright glee when they were revealed, and the performer relished playing it.

I think Waterman’s satirical perspective on these fatuous, entitled, members of the privileged class is a little more pointed in this script. Their craven desire to hold onto that privilege with casual disregard for propriety is no accident in the writing, and we are allowed to enjoy their misfortunes.

Some performances may feature alternate performers not listed in this review.

Murder By the Sea: The Dark Veil Mystery

Saturday Evenings, 7:00 pm February 25 thru April 1, 2023

WhoDunnit Murder Mystery Theater
Bristol Bar & Grill Downtown
614 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202

Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being the host of Artists Talk with LVA on WXOX 97.1 FM /, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in LEO Weekly, Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for