Summerland Singers and Players will stage Murder on the Rails: The Case of the Sunken Rum. The play will be performed aboard the Kettle Valley Steam Railway’s steam train. In the top row from left are Trista Bassett, James Fofonoff, John Fraser and Linda Guebert. In the bottom row from left are Rob King, Bryan Laver, Kim Palmer and Al Toots. (Contributed)

Murder mystery set aboard Summerland steam train

Story inspired by actual events from early 1920s

It will be a time for mystery and mayhem as the Summerland Singers and Players stage a drama aboard the Kettle Valley Steam Railway’s historic steam train.

Betty-Ann Xenis of Summerland Singers and Players says the play, Murder on the Rails: The Case of the Sunken Rum, is inspired by historic events from the region.

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The story is set in Summerland and along the historic Kettle Valley Railway line in 1921, when prohibition was in place. It is based on the story of a rum runner at the time who dumped kegs of rum into a lake and then later was searching to retrieve the kegs.

This story appeared in an Okanagan Historical Society report.

In the murder mystery retelling, J.M. Robinson, a prominent figure in Summerland’s history. In the early 1900s, Robinson was the manager of the Summerland Development Company and provided important services to the community. He was also Summerland’s first reeve.

“There are so many stories in Summerland,” Xenis said.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Summerland Singers and Players staged two murder mystery plays aboard the steam train, in 2018 and 2019. In the last two years, plays were not held as a result of pandemic protocols and restrictions.

“It’s really cool to be able to do it again,” Xenis said of the upcoming mystery plan.

Part of the play will be staged at the railway station before the train departs. The actors will also have scenes aboard the train and at the Trout Creek trestle bridge. The conclusion will be at the station, when the mystery will be revealed.

The play will be held July 8, 10, 15 and 17 beginning at 4 p.m. each day. Tickets are available online at www.kettlevalleyrail.org.

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