Housebuilder sponsors murder mystery competition at Sturminster Newton Literary Festival

Publication Date: 11-06-2024 09:00

Housebuilder sponsors murder mystery competition at Sturminster Newton Literary Festival

A local housebuilder has sponsored a Cluedo-style ‘whodunnit’ murder mystery competition at Sturminster Newton Literary Festival.

Bellway Wessex, which is building new homes at Corallian Heights in the town, has donated £150 to help fund prizes in the free crime mystery challenge at this year’s festival.

The organisers of the festival, which runs from Saturday 8 June to Sunday 16 June, are asking visitors to play detective by solving a fictional murder through a number of clues that have been strategically placed within six shops in the town.

The competition – devised by Rachael Rowe who is programme manager for the festival – challenges participants to identify the killer of an elderly man in Sturminster Newton. The clues feature a bizarre selection of murder weapons, including a sack of Thomas Hardy novels, a flagon of cider and a butter knife. The murder suspects include Dr Lime, Miss Scarlett and Farmer Grey.

The first four winners pulled out of a hat – who have successfully identified who did it, which weapon was used, where the crime took place and what the motive was – will receive book tokens.

Sturminster Newton Literary Festival celebrates three famous writers associated with the town – Thomas Hardy, William Barnes and Robert Young – as well as current Dorset and Wessex writers and aspiring writers of the future. The nine-day celebration has a range of talks, workshops, guided walks and collaborative events with local businesses to promote writing from the region.

Rachael Rowe and festival chairman Pauline Batstone visited Corallian Heights, off North Fields, to receive the cheque from Bellway.

The sponsorship deal will see the Bellway logo feature in the festival programme and on flyers for the murder mystery competition.

Rachael said: “When Bellway agreed to sponsor part of the festival we were absolutely delighted that such a prestigious company would get involved. This is our fifth year and we can only carry on putting on a good festival attracting lots of visitors if we are sponsored by local businesses.

“Bellway has sponsored the murder mystery competition which I created as a way of engaging visitors and getting them to pop into six shops in the town. It is based on the board game Cluedo and asks people to turn detective to solve this heinous crime. It’s just a bit of fun.”

Emily Putnam, Sales Manager for Bellway Wessex, said: “Sturminster Newton Literary Festival is a fabulous celebration of the writing heritage of the town but is also designed to promote and encourage new authors. The event offers a host of different activities and brings the businesses in the town together.

“The festival is one of the highlights of the town’s calendar and we are proud to be associated with it. We have festival programmes and flyers for the murder mystery competition in our sales office at Corallian Heights and they are proving very popular with visitors – some of whom can’t wait to get into town to start looking for clues to try to solve the riddle and name the killer.”

For more information about the festival visit

For more information about Corallian Heights, call the sales team on 01258 650604 or visit