To Die or Not to Die is a case featured in Criminal Case, appearing as the twenty-second case of the game as well as the city of Grimsborough, and the first one to take place in the Historical Center district.


Jones and the player headed to the local Grimsborough theater after Ramirez told them about a death there. The team then collected the body of actor Jacob Dawks, who was crushed by a sandbag on the theater stage that was given more weight than it could handle according to Nathan's autopsy.

The detectives were welcomed to the district by old lady Margaret Littlewood, before the detectives investigated antiques dealer Desmond Galloway's antique shop thanks to her testimonies. They then discovered from Ramirez that stage director Phineas Fine had planned to carry on the night's show as scheduled. The killer then turned out to be Phineas himself.

According to Phineas, Jacob was ruining Phineas' new play since he was a bad actor. Phineas had also tried to fire Jacob a lot of times but the role was secured by a binding contract which prevented Jacob from getting terminated at will. He said that Jacob had a bad tone and that he used to misbehave with everyone. Phineas then told Jones and the player that Jacob had to be replaced, or else the theater company would be bankrupt before the end of the month. This confession prompted Judge Hall to sentence him to 30 years in prison with no chance of parole.

After the trial, they helped actress Sheila MacCarthy find her missing Italian mask in the theater and figure out who ate Margaret's cookies, which turned out to be Margaret's pet dog Astrid. Jones also purchased a stylish clock gifted to the famed Lord Bygone from Desmond for decorating his bedroom.



  • Jacob Dawks (he was crushed by a sandbag on the stage of the Grimsborough Theater)

Murder Weapon

  • Sandbag


  • Phineas Fine 


Killer's Profile

  • The killer wears make-up.
  • The killer drinks wine.
  • The killer wears fur.
  • The killer uses anti-aging cream.
  • The killer is 45 years old.

Crime Scenes


Chapter 1


  • Investigate Grimsborough Theater. (Clues: Sandbag, Victim's Body; Victim identified: Jacob Dawks; Murder Weapon registered: Sandbag; New Suspect: Shiela MacCarthy)
  • Autopsy Victim's Body. (18:00:00; Attribute: The killer wears make-up)
  • Examine Sandbag. (Result: Substance)
  • Analyze Substance. (00:30:00; Attribute: The killer drinks wine)
  • Talk to Sheila about the murder. (Prerequisite: Grimsborough Theater investigated; New Suspect: Phineas Fine; New Crime Scene Unlocked: Jacob's Room)
  • Ask Phineas about Jacob Dawks. (Prerequisite: Sheila interrogated)
  • Investigate Jacob's Room. (Prerequisite: Sheila interrogated; Clue: Torn Playbill)
  • Examine Torn Playbill. (Result: Playbill)
  • Examine Playbill. (Result: Cleaned Note)
  • Ask Nellie about the note. (Prerequisite: Cleaned Note unraveled)
  • Speak to Margaret. (All tasks before must be done first; Profile updated: Margaret wears make-up)
  • Go to Chapter 2. (1 star)

Chapter 2


  • Investigate Galloway's Antique Shop. (Available after unlocking Chapter 2; Clue: Newspapers)
  • Talk to Margaret. (Prerequisite: Galloway's Antique Shop investigated)
  • Investigate Galloway's Antique Shop. (Prerequisite: Margaret interrogated; Clue: Box of Props)
  • Examine Box of Props. (Result: Knife)
  • Analyze Knife. (06:00:00; Attribute: The killer uses anti-aging cream)
  • Examine Newspapers. (Result: Theater Review; New Suspect: Desmond Galloway)
  • Ask Desmond about the review. (Prerequisite: Theater Review found; New Crime Scene Unlocked; Jacob's Bed)
  • Investigate Jacob's Bed. (Prerequisite: Desmond interrogated; Clues: Drawer, Torn Paper)
  • Examine Drawer. (Result: Photograph)
  • Talk to Nellie about the photograph. (Prerequisite: Photograph found; Profile updated: Nellie drinks wine)
  • Examine Torn Paper. (Result: Letter)
  • Ask Sheila about the letter. (Prerequisite: Letter restored; Profiles updated: Sheila wears make-up, Phineas wears make-up, Nellie wears make-up)
  • Go to Chapter 3. (1 star)

Chapter 3


  • Investigate Backstage. (Available after unlocking Chapter 3; Clue: Rope)
  • Examine Rope. (Result: Fibers)
  • Analyze Fibers. (06:00:00; Attribute: The killer wears fur)
  • Talk to Phineas. (Prerequisite: Backstage investigated; Profile updated: Phineas drinks wine and uses anti-aging cream)
  • Talk to Sheila. (Prerequisite: Backstage investigated; Profiles updated: Sheila uses anti-aging cream, Nellie uses anti-aging cream)
  • Speak to Desmond about the play. (Prerequisite: Phineas and Sheila interrogated; Profiles updated: Desmond drinks wine, Margaret drinks wine)
  • Investigate The Shop Entrance. (Prerequisite: Desmond interrogated; Clue: Human Skull)
  • Examine Skull.  (Result: Powder)
  • Analyze Powder. (06:00:00; Attribute: The killer is 45 years old)
  • Take care of the killer now!
  • Go to Additional Investigation. (1 star)

Additional Investigation


  • Ask Desmond Galloway for decorating advice. (Available after unlocking Additional Investigation)
  • Investigate Galloway's Antique Shop. (Prerequisite: Desmond interrogated; Clue: Certificate)
  • Examine Certificate. (Result: Lord Bygone's Clock Certificate)
  • Buy the stylish clock from Desmond Galloway. (Prerequisite: Clock Certificate identified; Reward: 200 XP)
  • Propose help to Margaret Littlewood. (Available after unlocking Additional Investigation)
  • Investigate Jacob's Room. (Prerequisite: Margaret interrogated; Clue: Empty Plate)
  • Examine Empty Plate. (Result: Saliva)
  • Analyze Saliva. (03:00:00)
  • Talk to Margaret Littlewood about the cookie thief. (Prerequisite: Saliva analyzed; Reward: Burger)
  • Talk to Sheila MacCarthy about her problem. (Available after unlocking Additional Investigation)
  • Investigate Grimsborough Theater. (Prerequisite: Sheila interrogated; Clue: Broken Mask)
  • Examine Broken Mask. (Result: Italian Mask)
  • Give back her Italian mask to Sheila MacCarthy. (Prerequisite: Italian Mask restored; Reward: Harlequin Vest, Venetian Mask
  • Move on to a new crime! (3 stars)


  • The case's title is a reference to the soliloquy of one of William Shakespeare's play characters Prince Hamlet: "To be or not to be, that is the question."
  • During the moment of Phineas's arrest—specifically after he reveals the reason as to why he killed Jacob—Jones remarks, "This is madness!" Phineas then responds, "This is theater!" This is an obvious reference to the popular "This is Sparta!" Internet meme which originated in the 2007 American fantasy war film 300.
  • In the crime scene "The Shop Entrance", can be seen:
  • In the Chapter 2 cover photo, a self-portrait of William Shakespeare can be seen.
  • The poet Lord Bygone, whose clock is acquired in this case, is a reference to Lord Byron, a British poet of the Romantic movement.
  • In Chapter 3, a quote from Hamlet is mentioned.
  • Faberico Zeffiretti is an obvious parody of Franco Zeffirelli, director of the 1968 rendition of Romeo and Juliet.


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