Murder Mystery

This is a story taken out of English File Elementary that I thought was a fantastic way to focus on asking questions about something in the past and answering those questions with irregular verbs.

Read the following passage.

June 22nd 1958 was Jeremy Smith’s sixtieth birthday. He had dinner with his wife, Amanda, his
daughter, Barbara, his business partner, Gordon, and his secretary Claudia. The next morning,
when Amanda Smith went to her husband’s room, she found him in bed…dead.

Based on what you read, who do you suspect killed Jeremy?

crime scene

Now, read the following investigation.

Inspector Granger arrived about 9:00 a.m. He was a tall man with a big black mustache.
Amanda, Barbara, Claudia and Gordon were in the living room. The inspector came in. “Mr.
Smith died between midnight last night and seven o’clock this morning,” he said. “Somebody in
this room killed him.” He looked at them one by one, but nobody spoke.
“Mrs. Smith, I want to talk to you first. Come into the library please.”
Amanda followed the inspector into the library and sat down in the large chair in front of a
“What did your husband do after dinner last night?”
“When we finished dinner, Jeremy said he was tired and he went to bed,” said Amanda.
“Did you go to bed then too?”
“No, i didn’t. I went for a walk in the garden.”
“What time did you go to bed?”
“About quarter to twelve,” responded Amanda.
“Was your husband asleep?”
“I don’t know, inspector, We…we slept in separate rooms. But I saw that his door was closed.”
“Did you hear anything when you were in your room?”
“Yes, I heard Jeremy’s bedroom door. It opened. I thought it was Jeremy. Then it closed again.
I read for about half an hour and then went to sleep.”
“What time did you get up this morning?”
“I got up at about 7:15. I had breakfast and at 8:00 I took my husband a cup of tea.
I found him in bed…he was dead.”
“Tell me, Mrs. Smith, did you love your husband?”
“Jeremy is…was a difficult man.”
“But did you love him Mrs. Smith?”
“No, inspector. I hated him”

Answer the following questions about the text.

What time did the inspector arrive?

What did he look like?

What time did he say Jeremy died?

Who did he question first?

What did Jeremy do after dinner?

What did Amanda do after dinner?

Did Amanda hear anything in the night?

How did Amanda feel about Jeremy?

Now, write your own investigation – both questions and answers – of someone else that was present the night of the murder.

Telling a Story

This is a fantastic way to get people talking about their dreams as well as practicing present and past simple.

To begin

Do you often/ever make wishes?

Do you believe that wishes come true?

Have you wished upon a shooting star?


What happened in the video?

Who were the people in the video?

When you were a child, did you ever wonder what the moon was?
For homework, write a dialogue between the three characters.