Friday, November 12, 2021

True Crime Whodunit Maps

Reading's Rabble Theatre has created an interactive whodunit map game based on a real-life murder case. Who Killed Alfred Oliver? is a whodunit mystery which requires you to use a 1929 map of Reading in order to discover the killer of a tobacconist on Cross Street. The game is actually based on a real-life event in which Alfred Oliver was bludgeoned to death in his own tobacconist shop.

Using the map you can visit a number of locations around the Berkshire town and interact with a number of very suspicious suspects. If you click on any of the characters or the highlighted locations shown on the map you can listen to recordings made by some of the chief witnesses and suspects of Alfred Oliver's murder. If you listen to all the clues then you just might just be able to identify the killer. 

After exploring the map I have my own suspicions as to the true identity of Alfred's murderer. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any way to actually confirm if your detective work has led you to the real killer. The map does link to a radio version of the full story on BBC Sounds. However the BBC no longer allows you to listen to the story. So it isn't possible to discover if the radio play of Who Killed Alfred Oliver? actually resolves the crime.

It is possible that the identity of the real murderer in Who Killed Alfred Oliver? can't actually be solved from the clues in the game.The radio play and game are based on real-life events. In 1929 Alfred Oliver was really killed in his tobacconist shop in Reading. His killer was never found and the case remains officially open to this day. In the radio play, game and in real life the chief suspect was an American actor who was in Reading starring in a theatrical play. Although the actor, Philip Yale Drew, was never charged with the murder the coroner's enquiry into Alfred Oliver's death became a virtual trial of the American actor, who was named by several witnesses as being near Oliver's shop near the time of the murder.

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