The Lollipop Man

Reviewed by Matt Forrest

Over the last year, the majority of us have had spare time on our hands. Some of us have got fitter, some of us have tackled the bookshelves that feature prominently on our zoom quiz backgrounds, and some of us have done sweet FA. However, one thing I can pretty much guarantee, is that at some point over the last 12 months most of us will have been sucked into a good TV murder mystery. It may have been one of Netflix’s countless true crime documentaries, the BBC’s Line of Duty, or ITV’s The Bay; at some point we’ll have been shocked or screaming at the telly, uttering that immortal line, “I knew it was him!”

Well the good people at Unsolved Online Creations, have tapped into our blood lust with their first offering, The Lollipop Man? The brainchild of Stacey Harcourt and John O’Neill, this interactive, online murder mystery, provides something a little different to ease the lock down blues while putting our newly found amateur sleuthing skills to good use.

Set at the turn of the millennium in Salford, local lollipop man Martin Morris, is found brutally murdered by the Irwell, with a list of subjects as long as his luminous stick. Suspects include, the dead man’s daughter, Kayla Morris (Stacey Harcourt), or maybe local thug, Paul Cheadle, (John O’Neill) or could it be a lifelong friend of Martin’s, Mandy Newton (Fiona Boylan)?  These are just three of the eight suspects.

Each suspect gives their accounts of this fateful night, spread over several nights on the Unsolved Online Creations, Youtube channel, (https://bit.ly/3bsOWYj) these come in the form of short police interrogation interviews. In addition, new evidence is also released containing clues (or red herrings) as to whom the culprit might be.

This is a fun, innovative way to spend some time each week. Like any good murder-mystery, it keeps you on your toes. We’re three weeks in and I’m still non the wiser. You can pick it up any time, as all videos are on Youtube: I only started last week and am hooked.

It is a bold attempt to do something fresh. The performances are solid throughout, nothing fancy or OTT, just believable and intriguing enough to draw you in. The police questions that move the action forward can be a little jarring at times, and I wish more time and care had been spent on how they are delivered, but this is a minor quibble for what is an ambitious project, which on the whole wants to create conversation, debate and, most of all, a community and the chance to use the internet for something other than a zoom quiz!

The Lollipop Man? is online and can be found at: https://unsolvedonline.blogspot.com