Joy Swift

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Joy Swift

Joys nice photo.JPG
Joy Angela Swift

(1956-10-02) 2 October 1956 (age 64)
Blundellsands, Liverpool
EducationMerchant Taylors' Girls' School
OccupationBusinesswoman, writer and events organiser
Years active1981–present
WebsiteJoy Swift

Joy Angela Swift MBE (born 2 October 1956) is a businesswoman, writer and events organiser from Liverpool, who is best known as the inventor of the murder mystery weekend.[1]

Early life and family background[edit]

Swift was born in Blundellsands, Liverpool, to Norman and Thelma (née Lake), Swift is the youngest of three children. Her father Norman was the fourth generation to run the family owned timber merchants business.


Swift went to college to study graphic design but she left to take up full-time employment at the Liverpool Echo. Swift left three years later to join a small chain of hotels.

Murder mystery weekend[edit]

In 1981, she came up with the idea of an interactive murder mystery that would allow hotel guests to become sleuths.[2] Swift hired local actors to play the main characters and on 30 October 1981, she staged her first murder mystery weekend. In 1983, Swift staged her first murder mystery weekend outside of the UK in New York.

In 1989, Michael Aspel hosted a televised interactive murder mystery set at a wedding called Murder Weekend, devised and written by Swift,[3] which invited viewers to solve a whodunnit to win a prize. The five episodes were entitled Dream Of Monks A-Coughing: A Funeral's In The Offing, Dream Of Gulls A-Screeching: Heed The Parson's Preaching, Dream Of Toms A-Snarling: A Quarrel With Your Darling, Dream Of Vipers Hissing: Your Favourite Dog's Gone Missing and Dream Of Yaks A-Mooing: Sign Of Your Undoing and were broadcast over three nights on ITV from August 18 to 20.[4] The cast included and David Delve, Eric Allen, John Hudson and Jason Salkey.[5]

In April 2007, Swift published her first paperback, The Joy Of Murder.[6] The book included a biography of Swift, behind-the-scenes anecdotes and a solvable whodunnit. In October the same year, Swift travelled to Egypt to stage four week-long murder mystery cruises billed as Death On The Nile.[7]

In November 2007 as part of Liverpool's 800th birthday celebrations, Swift created a solvable whodunnit for her local newspaper entitled The Great Echo Murder Mystery.[8] She wrote an historical plot that was printed each day as a two-page police evidence board of clues. Readers submitted their solutions in writing and 10 winners attended the denouement, where the murderer was revealed.

In May 2011, Litmus Films produced a six-minute segment for Japan's national broadcaster NHK about Swift and her murder mystery weekends.[9] Two years later, Swift wrote and co-directed a 90-minute interactive murder mystery for NHK, which screened on the channel over three nights.[10] Viewers attempted to solve a whodunnit at the same time as three studio experts.

In 2020 during the global Covid-19 pandemic, Swift created a unique realistic online whodunnit for sleuths around the world, Murder Mystery Investigation. The first online game was launched, titled Cold Case #1 - Lockdown.

Awards and nominations[edit]

In the 2001 New Year Honours, Swift was appointed a member of the Member of the British Empire (MBE) for services to tourism as the inventor of the murder mystery weekend.[11][12][13][14] She collected her MBE from Prince Charles at an investiture on 2 May 2002.

In 2006, Swift collected a Prestige Award for Excellence in Tourism and Leisure Services at a ceremony hosted by Sefton Chamber of Commerce.

At the inaugural Independent Travel Awards, announced on 25 September 2015, Swift was nominated for the Reader’s Choice Award with David Attenborough, Patrick Leigh Fermor and Michael Palin.[15]

In 2016, Murder Weekends were nominated for Best Special Interest Holiday Company in the Daily Mirror Travel Awards.


  1. ^ "The Murder Mystery". Lancashire Evening Post. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  2. ^ "A case of murder most amusing". The Independent. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Joy Swift, Filmography". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 23 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Murder Weekend". UK Game Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Murder Weekend. LWT's televised murder mystery game. 1989, presented by Michael Aspel". Jason Salkey. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  6. ^ "The Joy of Murder". ISBN Search. Retrieved 12 August 2015.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Latest Joy Swift plot for Original Murder Weekends". Coventry Telegraph. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  8. ^ "How to play The Great ECHO Murder Mystery". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  9. ^ "Murder Mystery Weekends". Litmus Films. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Mystery-Solving Tour: British Murder Weekends". NHK World Premium. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Honours for England: North". BBC News. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  12. ^ "The London Gazette, New Year's Honours List - United Kingdom, page S22". The Gazette. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  13. ^ "New Year's Honours overlook hospitality". The Caterer. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  14. ^ "Bee Gees add gongs to repertoire". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  15. ^ "Independent Travel Awards". The Independent. Retrieved 25 September 2015.

External links[edit]