The Boston Herald

Get Clued in to Samoset’s fun murder-mystery packages

March 6, 2003

By Robyn Taylor Parets

ROCKPORT, Maine – Trust no one. Watch your back. Any of the people sitting around you could be suspects. That’s right. Suspects.

Those gathered at the welcome cocktail party at Samoset Resort on this frigid Friday evening were in for a murder mystery weekend filled with twists, turns and of, course, murder. The evening jumps into high gear when cast member Jerry Caruso barges into the reception. Playing a Boston police detective here to crack the case, Caruso lightens up the crowd of wanna-be sleuths with a comedy act rivaling that of any top-notch improvisation club.

And, then, “pow.” A single shot rang out, killing guest John Abbott while he stood at the buffet table. Who did it? That was the million dollar question and the beginning of an entertaining weekend packed with clues, evidence and plenty of laughs.

The next morning, Caruso provided the guests with blueprints to a bank and notes from someone who hired a hit man. No one knew what to make of it, but it didn’t seem to matter. Caruso kept the crowd in stitches by picking apart their occupations, hometowns and even physical limitations. One Polish man, Al Juniewicz, was the butt of Polish jokes and became affectionately known as “The King of Poland.” Another guest, Pat Robinson of Bucksport, Maine, could not escape Caruso’s classic Maine jokes ripping into the state’s accent. Yet another participant, Mark Harris from the Boston area, had a broken ankle and was nicknamed “gimpy” or “hop-a-long.”

At lunch, the group gathered together again and, right before desert, a busboy came staggering in with a knife in his chest. He dropped dead. Caruso suspected Don and Joyce Henckler and we all followed him to their hotel room, where fresh bloody towels were discovered. At dinnertime, Don accused Frank Hankey of framing him and then Hankey collapsed, apparently poisoned to death. The plot continued to thicken.

The murder mystery weekend concluded at Sunday brunch. Everyone delivered their hypothesis about who committed the three murders and why. “Gimpy did it,” shouted Joe Tipping. Not quite, said Al Juniewicz, who correctly pegged Frank Hankey’s wife Margo and her illegitimate daughter, who worked as a waitress at the hotel. As it turned out, the waitress, John Abbott, the Hankeys and the Hencklers were all part of the cast.

“Last night at 11 PM it just came to me. It was like cooking a good soup. I put all the ingredients together and let it simmer,” said Juniewicz, clutching his grand prize, a Maltese Falcon statuette.

A murder mystery weekend at the Samoset, however, is not just about solving the crime. In between scheduled meals, guests have ample free time to work out at the resort’s state-of-the-art fitness center, take a dip in the indoor pool, or stroll along the ocean breakwater. If you simply want to relax in your room, it’s easy to forget it’s not summertime. The guest rooms have stunning views of Penobscot Bay and the world-class golf course overlooking the ocean.

For those who want to venture outside the resort, the Rockport-Camden area offers plenty of quaint antique shops, art galleries, and cafes. Camden’s quintessential New England marina is a must see, as is the area’s Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center. The museum features an unparalleled collection of art from Andrew Wyeth, one of the best-known realist painters of the 20th century. If you love the outdoors, be sure to visit Camden Snow Bowl, where you can ski the seven trails at Ragged Mountain while marveling at the magnificent ocean views.

Samoset Resort is about a 3 ½ drive from Boston. The murder mystery weekend packages start at $129 per night per person and include four meals and a cocktail appetizer welcome party. Samoset will hold its next murder mystery weekends on March 28-30 and on October 31-November 2. For more information on Samoset and murder mysteries, call 800-341-1650 or log on at You can also find out more about Keith & Margo’s Murder Mystery events at