I backed off my searches, and focused on the "mystery" part. This helped some, but there was still a lot to be desired in most of the posts I found. But alas, this was about gathering ideas, and that is what I did. Once I finally had some ideas, I had work to do.
My son played an integral role in putting everything together and he helped with everything from clues to set up to playing a role in the party. The first thing was planning, so we started with a list:
1. A mystery to solve.
2. A way to reveal clues.
3. A victim
4. A perpetrator.
5. to serve food.
6. give fun and theme related gifts
7. make sure the girls had fun! (This meant games or activities...)
8. Make it Memorable
That's a lot to ask in one week.
We needed details and fast. We were still thinking murder mystery dinner party, so we wanted to give each girl an identity. Following the format of the Parker's Brothers game Clue we decided on colorful names, and why not combine those colors with famous detectives? Our hope was to match girls with favorite colors, but that was too difficult. It would have been fun to have the girls dress the part, learn about there character and in some way use those traits to solve the mystery, but again the time crunch did not allow for this.
My son and I came up with the following cast:
And my right hand little-man:
Now just for the decorations, food, clues, invitations, and party games...No Problem!