ESL Speaking: Murder Mystery Game

Learn English with a Murder Mystery

This is a 15 to 20 minute group work fluency exercise. Each person is one character. There are 12 characters in the game. If you have a large class, consider splitting the class into smaller groups. If you have fewer than 12 students the first 8 characters are essential for the game.

Print enough character cards for the students in your class. Hand out one character card per student. Give students time to read their character card and ask questions.

The character roles are here: esl-murder-mystery-game.

Instructions for the students

Read the information about your character. Move around the class and talk to the other characters. Your objective is to find out who killed the English teacher. The answer might not be so obvious so you will have to put together some clues.

Game Background

During a high school reunion, the guests heard a loud scream at 8.45 pm. Five minutes later, Miss Greenspoon, the school’s oldest English teacher was found dead. Someone had hit her on the head with a statue. Many items were found beside her body including a book, a handkerchief, a picture of another teacher.

Game Play

Your job is to talk to the other characters and ask:

  • who they are
  • what they remember about Miss Greenspoon
  • what they were doing when they heard Miss Greenspoon scream as she was killed
  • collect clues and use your brain power to find out the name of the murder


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19 thoughts on “ESL Speaking: Murder Mystery Game”

  1. yeah. who did it. kinda useless without the answers. haven’t tried to figure it out and really don’t have time either. excellent regardless

  2. Wow you guys aren’t too good at problem solving, it took me about 5 minutes to figure it out. It’s obviously Mr. Browman. His alibi is a lie because Barry Dean went to his office at the time of the murder and he wasn’t there. He knew Miss Green spoon since college, so he had an affair with her at some point fathering Barry Dean, and didn’t want the word to get out, since he would likely lose his job/ruin his reputation.

  3. Great game for up to 12. If you have less, you can cut out some characters. The only ones you have to keep are:

    Robert Browman (murderer), Barry Dean (the one who proves it was Browman), Tom Wilkins (gave her the handkerchief), Roy Kingston (gave her the book), Kelly Winters (tells that Browman and victim were arguing).

    To a lesser extent: Ian Hammer proves it wasn’t Tom Wilkins, who was seemingly alone in the bathroom.

    Great game, thanks for upload.

  4. I used to do this with my class but I had the answer. It would be nice if you gave use the solution.Thanks

  5. Ana,

    Here is the answer.

    The principal did it, Mr Browman. Read the clues and you can see he was caught in a lie. He killed the woman because of a secret. Long ago, he had an affair with the English teacher. She had a baby but he wanted that to be a secret to protect his career. His son is Barry, the teacher. Miss Greenspoon was his mom. She was going to tell him who his father was. That is why Browman killed her.

  6. Hi,
    I’ve tried it with three classes already and it is a lot of fun. Thank you for sharing this resource. My question is regarding one of the three clues… the picture of another teacher… I haven’t found a reference to it in any of the characters’ profiles… From whom was the picture? The young woman she had a short-lived affair with?

  7. Thank you so much for this! I used it just recently with a group of 5 students online. But as they are only 12 -13 yrs old I let them have 2 character cards each which I doctored to read in 3rd person. The students are then detectives. They transfer info to a table to make it easier of all to see key facts. Thanks for the answer though – I only suspected him but wasn’t sure why. Did you add the stuff about secret affair? I only used first 10 characters.

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