TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The identity of the person who killed Hilo Patty was discovered at the annual Oklahoma Home and Community Education Mystery Tea on Thursday morning.
Club members gathered at the Oklahoma State University Extension Office, dressed in Hawaiian-themed attire, to enjoy a murder mystery experience, treats provided by members, and hot tea in pretty china.
The multigroup activity included members from the Park Hill, Aprons and Lace, and Woodall OHCE clubs.
Everyone was invited to tea to solve the case of "Who Poisoned the Perfect Pineapple Proprietor?" Scripts were provided to all readers, and they took turns telling about the characters they portrayed and how Hilo Patty had been mean to each one.
They all had their reasons, but only one actually did the deed.
"If not for Patty, I'd be the Hula Queen," said Hatti from Hana, read by Rochelle Johnson, who found out Patty had paid a boat driver to keep her away from the Honolulu competition, which Hilo Patty won.
The murdered woman's niece, Jean Ology, read by Teresa Sanders, said her aunt Hilo Patty wanted to live to be 100.
"I'm her only heir, and she taunted me that she would outlive me, but I didn't do it," she said. "She was so healthy I gave her a bicycle and lots of fun activities, like parasailing."
Read by Sue Halluin, Belle Le Danseur was a Georgia peach whose sugar daddy owned a sugar plantation and wanted to buy Hilo Patty's estate for Belle. In her dialogue was a joke: "What did the bra say to the hat? You go on ahead. I'll give these two a lift."
Ann Lamons was Bea Kinni, who loved string and made string bikinis. Hilo Patty had spoiled her fashion show by putting itching powder in the swimsuits, making the models miserable.
"She ruined me," said Lamons' character. "I wanted to string her up."
Luau Lu, read by Sherri Bell, operated the biggest luau on the island until Hilo Patty made it hot for the fire dancers.
Bell enjoyed the comedy of the event most, as well as the companionship of being with her friends.
Heather Winn, OSU Extension educator, claimed to be a traveler, Tilli the Tourist. She had missed her bus while trying on muumuu, and wanted to join the women for lunch. In the end, she turned out to be an undercover detective investigating Hilo Patty for smuggling.
"Every one of you has a motive," she said. "So, who is it?"
Each OHCE member voted on who they thought was the murderer.
"The niece did it. She had easy access, knew about the credit card scam, and would inherit," announced Winn.
The four members who guessed correctly won prizes.
Shirley Jones thought it was interesting to hear the stories and try to figure out who killed the woman.
"There were so many clues. I went for the vain person, but didn't get it right," she said.
Geneva Reves enjoyed hearing all the participants read their parts. She was Pineapple Polly, who competed with Hilo Patty to be Pineapple Queen.
"I guessed it right," said Reves. "I knew she was an heir and kept planning dangerous activities for her aunt."
Annie Stephens said she loves the OHCE club and the people in it.
"This was a nice event and the clues were hard, but I guessed right because she was an heir," said Stephens. She read the part of Dee Fishent, who was accident-prone when around Hilo Patti.
Sue Halluin loved the story.
"The whole skit was fun to participate in," she said.
Winn said the event started as a membership tea, and over the years, they added the murder mysteries to make it more fun.
"We had one guest today," Winn said. "We usually have more people, but it's really cold and wet today, so probably some didn't want to get out."
Fite writes for Tahlequah Daily Press, a CNHI News Service publication.