Murder in the Cloisters
A body is found in the Pembroke College quad.
Credit: Greg Blatchford

Budding detectives get a chance to solve Oxford murder

Nearly 60 young sleuths from Oxfordshire, investigated a 'Murder in the Cloisters' at Oxford University over the Easter holiday (7-9 April) in a programme that gives students a chance to learn what university is like - socially and academically.

The twelve to fifteen year olds took part in the free spring residential activity at the University, but the peace of the college quad was shattered when a student was found dead and everyone became a suspect in his murder.

The students stayed in accommodation at Pembroke College and visited the University's libraries, lecture theatres and museums.

There were tasters of subjects they are unlikely to study at school, like learning Ancient Greek with the Faculty of Classics, and a chemistry lab was turned into a forensic science facility as the students explored samples from suspects' clothing.

The new skills and knowledge they picked up proved invaluable in their bid to find the killer. The students had to remain vigilant throughout the three-day course, as they saw the suspects around college and at a formal dinner.

The aim was to give students a taste of university life, including both the academic and social side of life at Oxford.

Tara Prayag, Head of Widening Participation at Oxford, said: 'Normal university life at Oxford doesn’t involve investigating murders, but who doesn’t like a bit of sleuthing? This event gives young people an exciting experience of university life as they work together to find the answers. It’s a little bit of Inspector Morse, a little bit of CSI, and hopefully a lot of fun for the participants.'