Death by Chocolate: The ultimate whodunit

It started out as a fun evening of chocolate and champagne at an Augusta County Historical Society fundraiser held in the Smith Center for History and Art in Downtown Staunton. And then the evening turned sinister as party attendee and prominent architectural preservationist Bill Frazier turns up dead in the very building he helped restore a decade ago. At least that’s what supposedly happens at the hilarious mystery spoof, “Death by Chocolate,” being conducted by the society on Sunday, November 4 at 7 p.m.

You won’t want to miss this great evening of hilarity with the area’s local notables as the cocktail party guests get to “interrogate” the suspects and figure out who killed Bill Frazier and why. Was the victim drowned in chocolate? Poisoned with chocolate? Or was he a chocoholic perhaps?

Why would Staunton City Councilman Bruce Elder, or Historic Staunton Foundation Director Frank Strassler be suspects in the crime? Perhaps they are innocent and it was really Daily News Leader journalist Cindy Corell who got more involved in her investigative reporting than she meant to? Or maybe Staunton Downtown Development advocate Janie Ballurio had some hidden agenda that caused her to be a suspect in the murder.

The final suspect in the evening’s crime will add even more hilarity to the event. For years, the architect T.J. Collins has rested peacefully on a hill in Thornrose Cemetery. One hundred years ago Collins single-handedly changed the face of downtown Staunton with his building designs. It was he who designed the Smith Center as a grand railroad hotel in the 1890s. But now he has left the gates of Thornrose and has shown up at the historical society’s cocktail party. Collins’s ghost, played by Bobby McAllister, appears to be a little disgruntled about the fact that his fancy hotel is now a history and art center. But is he mad enough to commit murder? And if he is, how does a ghost do that anyway?

For an evening of hysterical historical fun, make sure you order your tickets today and help solve the murder mystery. A prize will be awarded to the one who correctly identifies the “murderer” and the motive. The first event of its kind sponsored by the Augusta County Historical Society, Death by Chocolate will feature champagne, all types of chocolate and other goodies, an imprinted souvenir champagne flute, and most of all, great fun!

Tickets are $45 each and can be purchased at the Gallery Shop at the Smith Center (11-5 M-F, 10-4 Sat., 1-4 Sun.), from the ACHS website at or by calling 540-248-4151 or emailing Seating is limited, so order your tickets now.

augusta free press news
augusta free press news