Commissioner Mallory Murtaugh here—I’m the head of this gumshoe outfit. I’m a no-nonsense private dick with an eye for the paper trail and a nose for stickin’ it where it don’t belong. An employee once joked that I have no sense of humour. So I canned ‘im.
Now, I’m usually the one asking the questions. But fine, shoot. Let’s see what you got.
Okay Ms. Murtaugh–
Uh, okay, Commissioner. So how does this thing work?
You’re signing up for a six day, improvised mystery adventure that takes place entirely over the phone. You’ll select a time of day, and from Monday to Saturday you’ll receive a 10 minute phone call at that same time each day.
Who will be calling me?
An Inspector from The Ministry of Mundane Mysteries will call you on Monday to review your case. After that, we’ll see where the trail leads. Often Clients receive calls later in the week from persons of interest relating to their case…
It says I have to provide a “mundane mystery from my own life.” What the heck does that mean?
You provide us with a real mystery from your life and we’ll try to solve it. “Mundane” means exactly what it sounds like. We don’t solve high stakes mysteries: if you get burgled, don’t come to us. But if your appliances are acting up, or your pet is behaving oddly, or you keep noticing curious coincidences (you know, the important stuff)–we’re here for you.
Does it have to be from real life, or can I make up a Mystery?
Improvisation is serious business, so generally our service works better if we’re responding to a real life mystery. The only exception to this rule is for some of our youngest gumshoes: we’re game to let their imaginations take us to a world of magic and fantasy. Or whatever. The closest I’ve ever come to having an imagination is dreaming about my next bourbon.
Oh, okay I understand. Well actually I keep losing socks in the-
-let me stop you right there. No socks. We’re socked out over here. Roll them into a ball when they go into your hamper then roll them into a ball when they come out of the dryer. There’s no mystery there. C’mon. You can do better.
So do I have to “act” while I’m on the phone?
No. Please don’t. You can definitely play along, but you’re not expected to “act”. You’ll get the most out of the experience if you simply respond sincerely and are open to having a conversation.
Will I be asked to share anything personal?
You won’t be asked to share anything you’re not comfortable sharing. The Inspector will ask you about the details of your mystery, so you’ll be asked to provide some information about your life. We’ll never ask you for financial information ever.
I’m kind of an anxious person and don’t love talking on the phone.
Totally fair. If it helps, our Inspectors are good listeners and excellent conversationalists, and there’s not a “right” or “wrong” way to experience this. It’ll be roughly equivalent to having a conversation with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while: “how are you?” “what are you up to these days”, that kind of thing. If anything, we hope the calls might let you turn off your anxious-brain and just enjoy the ride.
I know you said the calls are at the same time every day, but my schedule is all over the place. Could you call me at a different time each day?
No. Our inspectors are tackling dozens of investigations every day so messing with the schedule simply isn’t feasible.
Right, no, sure. But could you make an exception just for me?
We love you but no.
Okay, I understand but–
What happens if I miss a call?
It’s better if you don’t. Our Inspectors will call you over a twenty minute period to try and reach you. If you DO miss a call between Tuesday and Saturday, we’ll try to leave a message that includes the next instalment of your story. PLEASE NOTE: it’s particularly important that you don’t miss your Monday call, as it sets up your case for the whole week. If you do miss Monday’s call, we’ll have to re-book you for the following week.
Can we do my calls over the internet, like on Zoom or Google Hangout?
Part of the magic of the Ministry is that it takes place over the old-fashioned telephone! If calling you on your phone is a problem, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see what we can do.
I missed my first call/my call went straight to my voicemail. What’s the deal?
All Ministry calls will come from unlisted numbers and may appear as “NO CALLER ID”. Anonymity is an essential part of our work. If you have settings on your phone blocking unlisted calls, please ensure these are off during your time slot.
For Apple: Ensure “Do Not Disturb” mode is off by:
- Go to Settings > Do Not Disturb
- Choose Manual and turn OFF Do Not Disturb (when it is on you will see a moon icon in the status bar)
- From the phone app tap “More” > Call Settings > Call Rejection
- Next, tap “Auto Reject List” and then toggle the “Unknown” option to the OFF position
I live outside of Toronto. Can I still participate?
Yes! We can accommodate calls all over Canada and the United States, just keep in mind that our times are all in Eastern Standard Timezone. We’re working on being able to make international calls too in the near future, so standby. If you live outside North America and are interested, contact us at email@example.com and we may be able to arrange with a modest surcharge for long-distance fees.
My partner wants to participate too. Does that cost extra?
As long as you live together then no! Your mystery can be for an entire household. Speakerphone is our friend. See below for our “Two Household” option as well.
Oh cool. Can my kids participate?
Absolutely! The Ministry is perfect for kids, especially if they’re listening along with their parents. Ages 8+ will definitely appreciate it. Ages 5-8 will enjoy it but may need some help understanding. Below 5 is probably too young.
How about teenagers and preteens?
Like, totally. TikTak ain’t got nothing on us. (I don’t know how kids talk these days.)
Weren’t you ever a kid?
I’ve been 55 my whole life.
When I go to checkout, there’s a “Two Households Family Plan”. What’s that?
Think of it a little bit like “Netflix Party”. It’s an option to allow you to experience your mystery along with another household that we conference into a three-way call. It’s like going to the theatre with your parents/friends/kids/cousins/whomever, except that in this case it doesn’t matter if you live down the block or across the country. Perfect for families or friends who have been separated during this crisis.
I see you have a “Book for a Friend” option. What’s that all about?
You can give a mystery experience to a friend: you’ll purchase a ticket which includes a coupon code. Send it to your friend and they can book their own mystery, free of charge. We recommend sending them this FAQ too so they know what they’re in for.
And the “Pay-It-Forward” option?
Same deal, except for a stranger. Sort of like a “buy-a-coffee-for-a-stranger” thing you see in some cafes. If you’d like to receive a Pay-It-Forward ticket, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll give you one, no questions asked.
I don’t want to take one of the Pay-It-Forward tickets, but I am pretty concerned about my finances right now. Do you have a cheaper option than $35?
Yep. We have a $25 ticket for un- and under-waged clients. Just use code GUMSHOE at checkout.
The website says 100% of ticket sales go to the actors involved. If I use the underwaged option am I stiffing the cast out of money?
Nope. Outside the March will top-up your ticket to $35, so you’re just stiffing the company out of money. Just kidding. OtM is a charitable non-profit so is in a position to top-up a modest number of underwaged tickets, and it’s happy to do it. If you can afford the $35, great: you’re helping keep this project sustainable. If you can afford the $25 option, also great: that’s what it’s there for and, like, you’re still paying $25 so that’s not nothing.
When I checkout it says the ticket price is $39.55. You said it was $35.
Are you calling me a liar?
We have to charge 13% tax on the ticket, same as for any product. Plus there’s a small credit card fee and box office fee. That means it’s still under $40 for a totally personalized theatre experience lasting around 60 total minutes. We appreciate that everybody’s worried about money these days. We’ve tried our absolute best to find a balance between a reasonable ticket price and being able to adequately remunerate the professional actors involved.
Sounds like you really value art, Commissioner. I never would have guessed.
What, a grizzled old private detective can’t enjoy the finer things in life? First lesson of crime solving, kid: park your preconceptions at the door. You have to see the WHOLE case, you know?
Why are you holding that Twizzler like a cigarette?
What can I say, I got a sweet tooth. The whole case, kid. The whole case…