Murder in mind ...

'Borrowers of the Night' Clifton murder performance at the Black Horse, Clifton. Pictured are Beth Jones, Laura Womersley, Julian Hirst and Mark Humphreys.

'Borrowers of the Night' Clifton murder performance at the Black Horse, Clifton. Pictured are Beth Jones, Laura Womersley, Julian Hirst and Mark Humphreys.

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Guests and the audience were treated to murder mystery evening with a difference at the Black Horse, Clifton.

Based on the real life murder of 20-year-old Elizabeth Rayner in Clifton Wood in 1832, the event included a description of Clifton life in the 1830s from local historian Margaret Sharp.

After the audience’s three course meal inspired by the cuisine of the time, author Anna best helped put together a short play expressing the suspicious theories held by villagers in the weeks following the crime. Anna wrote the play from her research on a book about the murder, ‘Borrowers of the Night’.

She said, “Because the murder was unsolved, there continues to be a great deal of speculation about who the murderer was. The play expresses a number of conflicting theories through the voices of characters who were contemporaries of Liz, and it was intriguing to see which of the prime suspects the audience felt was guilty.

“It was amazing it has taken place as we thought there was a bit of Liz Rayner curse.

“We had originally planned the performance for 2012 but people kept on having to drop out for various reasons.

“When we arranged it this year we thought we had more problems because of the snow but the overall performance went very well.”

The characters were played by Beth Jones as Liz Rayner’s ghost; Julian Hirst as Jim Pease, the inn keeper of the Black Horse; Laura Womersley as Ruth Glover; Hannah Williams as Sarah Green and Mark Humphreys as Sir George Armytage of Kirklees, who was the magistrate. As a venue, the Black Horse was appropriate as it was there Liz’s body was taken for the post mortem.