The good folks up in Langley, Wash., have the perfect solution for curing the mid-winter blaaahs.




For the past 23 years, their chamber of commerce has staged a Mystery Weekend over the last full weekend of February. They write a script with local citizens playing starring roles. Thousands of visitors pay $5 for a map and a booklet of clues. They interview suspects, swap notes, and try to solve the crime. How successful are these amateur sleuths? They learn the results when the Mystery Weekend ends Sunday evening in a local school auditorium and detective I.B. Fuzz reveals the culprit. Those with winning solutions line up to collect prizes donated by Langley merchants.




It is a whodunit to end all whodunits. Only the script writers know the plot. The solution is so well concealed that sometimes the feller whodunit doesn't know hedidit until Fuzz identifies him.




Last year's mystery was "A Fishy Fowl Felony." Willy Slique, founder of the Flying Fish Ferry Company, is missing. Since the crime occurred at sea, Coast Guard Lt. Terry Cloth might be guilty. Tex E. Driver is a suspect. He is in transportation and needs Flying Fish Fertilizer Fuel for his fleet. And don't forget Howie Hurts, Mac Ann Tosh and Cap Tuncrunch.




The 2007 Mystery Weekend was back on land. Forty three locals starred in "Death Chocolate." The once famous Super Cheerleader and community leader, CoCo Geaherdelli, was found dead on First Street in Langley Friday morning. Whodunit ?




It could be Jose de Gaul, whose real name is Clyde Duper. He and his paramour, Bonita Poutine (actually Bonnie Bunco) met while attending the Chef Desespere Ecole (Desperate Chef's School) in Paris. Bonnie and Clyde tied for last place upon graduation and had a "Fromage et Ecrous (cheese and nuts)" addendum on their diplomas. They came to Langley to open a French-Mex restaurant.




What about Judias Epicurus, a lawyer hired by an Italian family who was cheated by Jose de Gual? Or it could be Cinnamona Carmelo, a Mexican chef who was promised a job by Jose but he refused to hire her? Cannelle Sucrerie has the same motivation but she is from France.




Greg Ouray Peck is a scion of the famous Ouray Pecks of Ouray, Colo. He is a union organizer, assisting his son, Peter Piper Peck, who wants to organize the school kids who want to work in the Cafe Maximilion during summer break. His mother, Pika Peck, is another union organizer.




Leonides Epicurus is the nephew of lawyer Judias Epicurus. He is a hot-blooded Greek investor who wants his money now, or else!




Santiago Ponderosa is a sales rep for Western Ecuadorian and Bolivian Fraternidad del Cafe (WE B Cafe). She is here to sign a contract with Jose for her organization.




Langley Coroner Gus Gruesom is trying to determine the cause of death. He is helped by his wife, Gussy Gruesom. "I am currently studying for my degree in Crime Scene Investigation at Useless Bay Community College and hope to assist my husband," Gussy gushed.




So who did it? I haven't the foggiest idea. Real murder mystery fans can contact Mrs. Nany Rowan, executive director of the Langley Chamber of Commerce, for the answer. Mrs. Rowan provided the details and included a Langley cookbook. I just had to try German Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake. Was it good? I will leave that a mystery, but here is a clue: My grandkids loved it!




INGREDIENTS:




2&

65279;1/2 cups flour




1 teaspoon baking powder




1 teaspoon soda




1/2 cup cocoa




1/2 cup sauerkraut, drained




1 cup melted butter




1&

65279;1/2 cups sugar




1 cup water




2 teaspoons vanilla




3 eggs




PREPARATION: Beat eggs, sugar and butter. Add water and sifted dry ingredients, with vanilla and sauerkraut. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, bake 35 to 40 minutes.