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S04E08 – Steal Me A Story

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JB is in LA for a book tour this week Fletcherfans, where a young woman named Gayle Yamada would very much like to speak with her. Her new boss, TV producer Avery Stone has rejected her story ideas for his TV show Danger Doctor and has asked instead that she use a story he read a summary of the other week… a summary of the new book by JB Fletcher. Our Heroine, being the kind and beneficent Queen of All Things, thinks the whole thing is hilarious and offers to help Gayle write a new plot line to give to Avery instead.

It looks like it’s going to take a little more than some JB magic to fix the problems on Danger Doctor though. The two leads on the show, Brenda Blake and Gary Patterson (previously seen as the Sheriff here), are getting fed up with the terrible scripts, and director Bert Puzo (previously seen here as Frank) is getting fed up with Avery’s colleague Sid Sharkey (who has already been seen here and here and will be back). To make matters worse, Stone is less than enthusiastic about Gayle’s story when she brings it to him, and less so when he finds out JB had been helping her. JB, always looking out for the little guy, decides to go over Avery’s head and goes to see network bigwig Kate Hollander, who has been trying to secure the rights to one of JB’s books. Kate swears up and down that she was unaware of Avery Stone’s thieving ways and that she’ll put a stop to it. After all, she’s been such a fan of JB’s work for so long and she’s so eager to bring her book to the small screen.

Ah yes, thinks JB. “Murder at the Asylum?”

“I loved every page,” says Kate.

“Oh dear I must be confused.” JB says. ” I think that we’re negotiating Calvin Canterbury’s Revenge”

JB had no time for your crap.

JB had no time for your crap.

Sid Sharkey doesn’t appreciate Kate telling him how to do his job and orders Avery to come into his office immediately. He accuses Avery of stabbing him in the back and fires him. Avery tells him they have a contract and until he hears differently he is going to keep working until he takes Sid for every penny. Things go from bad to worse for Sid when a call comes in from the crew - Gary Patterson has just stormed off the set. Sid marches down to the set and tells Bert to do whatever he has to do to get Gary back on the set or he’s fired. Bert genuinely couldn’t care less until Sid quietly reminds him of the time Sid put Bert in rehab after snorting half of Tijuana and gave him his first directing gig afterwards. Sounds like a threat huh?

Sid’s troubles are far from over. Brenda Blake, one of the stars of the show, had asked to be written out of the next three episodes so she could shoot a movie but Sid’s not having a bar of it, even when Brenda threatens to walk. Sid has two words for her: CON TRACT. His advice? Lay back and enjoy it.

Ugh.

Ugh.

That night, JB goes to pay a visit on Sid Sharkey but finds him out of his office. Instead she finds his secretary Frieda Schmidt (played by Fionnula Flanagan who has been in everything including but not limited to the Murder She Wrote movie Celtic Riddle EVERYTHING MOVES IN CIRCLES). Frieda informs JB, while taking a message for her boss about lunch at the Polo Club with a Mr Perlman, that Sid is out for the night but that she has the messages that JB left and that she will see that he gets them.  To make up for it, Frieda offers to drop JB back at her hotel.

Later that night Avery is alone in the studio working late. Except for the cleaning lady, some footsteps belonging to an unseen high heeled wearing stranger and Sid, who has decided that all of his problems will be fixed if they fire Bert in the morning. Avery goes home, weary, leaving Sid alone in his office with a package, which he excitedly opens. And then it explodes.

That’ll teach him for that “lay back and enjoy it” remark.

JB is summoned to the crime scene, as despite the blowing-upness, the office is almost entirely undamaged, including the note that Frieda left for her boss saying that JB was trying to get in touch. Inside, JB finds that Gayle had also been summoned, because as it turns out Lieutenant Bradshaw has a very important question for them.

[starts aggressively rocking out to the guitar solo in Live and Let Die]

[starts aggressively rocking out to the guitar solo in Live and Let Die]

In the interests of fact, Bradshaw would actually like to know where JB has been for the last three hours. JB, impervious to his tone, would very much like to know why she’s been summoned down here in the middle of the night.  Bradshaw tells her that Sid was blown to bits three hours earlier by a bunch of dynamite “wrapped in pink feminine wrapping paper.” that had presumably been delivered by a woman heard leaving in highheeled shoes. (Just to make sure you got the whole ‘suspect is a woman’ thing).

JB tries to explain that she’d only just met Sid recently, and that she’s a novelist. Bradshaw knows who she is, even read a couple of her books. Frankly they were a waste of his time.

That was unwise, Kananga.

That was unwise, Kananga.

Bradshaw  thinks it’s highly suspicious that JB came to visit someone she barely knew (but who was trying to steal her story idea), and left without alerting the night guard even when Jess points out the entirely unsuspicious reason – she left with Sid’s secretary. Kanaga will see about that!

On the way home, Gayle swears that she had nothing to do with the Great Explosion That Surprisingly Did Almost No Structural Damage; she was home alone writing. She hasn’t been in Hollywood long, she confides to JB, but she’s learned one thing: you’ve got to protect your fanny at all costs.

BUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA sorry.

BUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA sorry.

Gayle asks JB if she has an alibi for 8:45 and JB tells her she was soaking in a hot tub.

“Anyone with you?” Asks Gayle.

Word.

Word.

The next morning JB visits the set of Danger Doctor to find Avery has assumed the role of Bossman rather effortlessly. JB tries to ask him about the Great Explosion That Surprisingly Did Almost No Damage and in response he tells her to get off the studio grounds but before she can, Diane the “close personal friend” of Gary Patterson rushes over to tell her that Gary is hanging out in his trailer and would very much like to meet her.

Turns out Gary has a million dollar proposal for JB. No, not that kind, he wants her to get to work fixing the terrible scripts. In fact, he himself was working on polishing them up from 8:30 til 9:30 the night before. (See how smoothly he worked that in there?)

“Oh? Alone?” Asks JB.

“Well, no. The little lady was here with me.”

“Gary likes to bounce his ideas off of me.” Says Diane.

I feel like this episode has taken a turn...

I feel like this episode has taken a turn…

Excuse me just a sec…

Someone got into the chocolates a bit early this year...

Someone got into the chocolates a bit early this year…

Oh God. What’s happening? Oh right. So Avery turns up at the trailer eager to throw JB out but JB informs him that Gary has just offered her a job developing scripts and she’s just decided to accept. SUCKER.

JB is shown to her office by Frieda, who reveals she’s not exactly mourning for her late lamented boss. Jess asks her if she noticed anything unusual the day Sid died but Frieda remembers nothing except that she noticed that one of the file drawers had been rummaged through in between her leaving the office with JB and her arriving back after the Great Explosion That Surprisingly Did Almost No Damage. Jess asks her to see if anything was missing and goes to see her pal Avery who is tearing Bert and some other crew a new one. He is delighted to see JB and tells her how wonderful it is to have her on the show. Outside, while Bert drives off in his Jeep (I’m guessing this is important), JB bumps into Diane again, who begs her to take a look at the newest script and polish it. In response, JB asks why they lied about being together the night of the Great Explosion That Surprisingly Did Almost No Damage. Diane admits she left the set to go and get some medication for Gary from home, but that was it. JB urges her to tell Lieutenant Bradshaw, as she believes that while Bradshaw doesn’t have all the facts, he doesn’t seem likely to do anything impulsive.

Cut to Bradshaw trying to arrest Kate Hollander. Her minions think it will make for excellent press coverage but her secretary is outraged. Bradshaw won’t give up, until Kate informs him that she was in bed reading scripts. With her secretary. Who was taking notes. She is then interrupted by one of her minions informing her that USA Today wants to do a spread on her and she tells him to set it up. “Now, where were we?” She asks Bradshaw.

“I believe we were discussing dictation.” Says Bradshaw.

Dictation.

DIC. TATION.

DIC! TATION!

DIC! TATION!

Bloody hell I hope she solves this soon, I’m in serious danger of losing the plot completely. Back at JB’s office Gayle wanders in to say goodbye – she’s decided to chuck her TV writing career in for writing a novel. Bless. Meanwhile, Frieda has worked out what’s missing from the file she noticed open the night of the Great Explosion That Did Almost No Damage – the contract belonging to Brenda Blake. JB goes to confront her about it and Brenda pleads ignorance, until Bradshaw turns up with a warrant. After much bellyaching, Brenda finally admits to stealing her contract out of the drawer, but says that she had no motivation to kill Sid since he was meeting with the producer of the movie she was trying to get cast in the next day. She does however remember seeing the package on the table when she stole the contract.

Bradshaw is a bit miffed, but it’s okay! JB has worked it out! In the absence of proof, JB stages an elaborate plot involving Frieda, some lies and when that doesn’t work a fake kidnapping but she finally gets him to admit in the end.

 

 

 

Not gonna lie, I'm not sure I care.

Not gonna lie, I’m not sure I care.

Afterwards, Bradshaw grudgingly admits that she’s not much of a writer but she’d make a damn fine policeman. Whatever dude. Then, as JB is finally making her escape Kate Hollander reappears with an idea – the JB Fletcher Mystery Hour! A weekly show devoted to the crime busting adventures of a mystery writer!

JB tells her it’s the worst idea she’s ever heard. OH THE LOLZ. But never mind that, because Twitter has just informed me that Angela Lansbury is being made a Dame today. So, by the power vested in me by me I hearby declare April 15 to be World Angela Lansbury Day. Now go! Hurl sass around and be the fabulous Fletcherfans I know you all are!

Until next time!

DIC! TATION!

DIC! TATION!

S04E07 – If It’s Thursday, It Must Be Beverley

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This week Our Heroine is getting her hair done in a place that could accurately be described as my worst nightmare.

So. Much. Pink.

So. Much. Pink.

That delighted postman (previously seen as Lieutenant Casey in these two episodes) is George Tibbits, who delivers mail and New Hampshire lottery tickets which apparently pay out more than Maine ones. Jess confesses to having no luck gambling, but the other ladies are all up for it. If you know what I mean.

Hair did, JB goes off out into the world and runs into Seth, who is dropping his secretary off at the beauty parlour for her regular hair cut. Seth invites himself around to JB’s for dinner so he can cook a recipe he found in Frugal Cuisines of the World magazine. As they talk, they see Night Deputy Jonathan Martin pull up to collect his wife Audrey who immediately starts berating him for not letting her know he was out the front and for suggesting they go and get icecream. Seth comments that he wouldn’t wish the job of night deputy on his worst enemy…or the wife.

That night, Audrey pins her lottery ticket up on the corkboard, puts last week’s ticket in the losers box, abuses her husband for being a failure of life and bursts into tears when he gives her roses because Charlie Wilson used to give her gardenias and she should have married Charlie Wilson and she should have stayed in Boston. Pretty sure your husband agrees with you love.

Meanwhile over at Casa de JB, Seth is whipping up a culinary frenzy, despite Jessica’s scepticism and memories of the Chicken Veronique that resulted in a mild case of food poisoning. Just as Seth is putting the finishing touches on his masterpiece Amos turns up to return a book/case the joint for food. Under orders from JB Seth grudgingly allows Amos a spoonful. Amos loves it until he finds out calamari isn’t a fancy kind of chicken.

Poor Amos.

Poor Amos.

While Seth finishes off the last few touches, and puts the pie in the oven, JB gets a phone call from Flossy at the Sheriff’s office looking for Amos. No one can get a hold of Deputy Jonathan Martin, and shots have been heard from inside his house. Amos, Seth and JB go to investigate and find Audrey lying dead on the floor, gun in hand. While it appears to be suicide, JB can’t help thinking it doesn’t make sense – women don’t usually shoot themselves, they prefer pills. JB thinks it’s sad that there’s no cards or photos on the corkboard. Just an old shopping list and some receipts. Okay?

Jonathan arrives home to find them all there, and is surprisingly heartbroken. He confirms that they never locked the door, as Audrey thought Cabot Cove was so boring that nothing would ever happen, and that the gun she used was the spare he kept in the dresser upstairs. Amos begins to come round to the murder theory, and asks Jonathan where he’d been and why he didn’t answer his radio. He says that he went to rescue Eve Simpson’s cat that was stuck in a tree, and he turned the radio off so it wouldn’t startle the cat. Then he drove around, remembered the radio was off and turned it back on to hear the news. Amos tells him to take a few days off while they sort it out.

The next morning notes are compared at the beauty parlour. Ideal Malloy (not kidding, that’s her name) never considered killing herself when her husband left, Eve Simpson (owner of the wayward cat) thinks it’s a relief that at least she had her hair done before she did it, but the owner of the parlour, Loretta, has heard differently. She heard that Amos had taken Jonathan’s badge off him, which makes no sense to Ideal. What does Jonathan’s badge have anything to do with it? Amos cautiously wanders in on cue to ask them about Audrey’s behaviour the previous day but they all want to know if Amos thinks Jonathan really killed his wife (“with his badge?” Adds Ideal.) Amos doesn’t look like he’s enjoying himself.

Amos does not have a way with the ladies.

Amos does not have a way with the ladies.

Seth isn’t having the best day either, when JB drops by to return his pot. His secretary Beverley has called in sick for the first time in twenty years, the phone won’t stop ringing with people looking for her, and “What really scorches my slippers is that I can’t find my copy of New Hampshire Weekly.” He was stuck on the crossword, but luckily Our Heroine is there to tell him the answer. She’s about to leave Seth to his rage when Amos wanders in looking shellshocked. He tells JB that Eve Simpson confirmed what the logbook said; that the only call the previous night was about her cat. “About all I could make sense of all that caterwauling’.” Says Amos. “Women.” He adds.

f2

“Present company excluded ma’am!” Amos hastens to add.

SHE IS THE DANGER.

SHE IS THE DANGER.

JB’s next stop is to see her travel agent and fellow beauty parlour patron Phyllis, who is also the town travel agent. While they’re chatting JB learns that Eve Simpson’s trip to the south of France might now be with someone, and that back in the day Audrey Martin was friends with Phyllis’s cousin. Both of these things are probably important.

The next day (according to Our Heroine’s wardrobe change), JB is at home hard at work on her next novel when she gets a knock at the door. It’s Jonathan Martin, looking for JB’s help to clear his name, as long as she’s not too busy working.

And then we receive a lesson in context.

Deputy Martin: I’ve got just the cure……That better?

Our Heroine:  Oh….Oh my Goodness…Yes…Ooh…Just wonderful…Oh….My husband used to do this for me all the time…

Deputy Martin: That so?

Our Heroine: Yes that’s the very spot right there…Oh he had the most wonderful hands…

Deputy Martin: How’s that feel?

Oh my.

Get your minds out of the gutter.

Fortunately Jess is saved by the arrival of the mailman George, who she drags into her house. George is a bit taken aback to see Jonathan, and even more so when JB shoves them both out on to  the street.

Jonathan’s hands have made JB suspicious and she goes to look at the logbook again, which says that he was at Eve Simpson’s for an hour, then Jonathan claimed that he was driving for an hour and a half after that. If he was telling the truth, says JB. Amos doesn’t believe it. “But he has to be telling the truth! How can it take two and a half hours to get a cat out of a tree?”

JB examines the log book a bit more closely and notices that Eve Simpson’s cat had a habit of needing to be rescued every Tuesday.  JB then tells Amos about Phyllis’s news that Eve was looking for a second plane ticket for her trip to France.

“Kind of makes you wonder if it was the cat Jonathan was attending to…or the canary.” Says Amos.

Ohhhh, CAT.

Ohhhh. CAT.

JB and Amos go to ask Eve about this mysterious second person she’s travelling with, but Eve informs them that it’s her own business. Instead they ask her about her “cat” that needs “rescuing” on a regular basis, to which Eve replies “Yes, she’s a very bad cat, and the deputy seems to have a way with her.”

I think Amos is about to pass out

I think Amos is about to pass out

They go to confront Jonathan who admits that he was with Eve at the time his wife died. He didn’t mean for it to happen, it just did. That old chestnut. Later, JB and Amos are walking past the beauty parlour when Loretta spots them and tells them she’s decided to tell the truth about something. JB tells her it’s okay, that they know about Jonathan and Eve Simpson.

Loretta is scandalised. What? That’s old news! She’s talking about Ideal Malloy!

Did she live up to her name though?

Did she live up to her name though?

A quick check of the logbook confirms that Ideal Malloy had a habit of seeing prowlers in her garden on Monday nights. And by prowlers in the garden I think you know what I mean. While Amos bellyaches about how his deputy isn’t going to get away with this, and that he asked Ideal Malloy to the pictures last Monday and she said she had to wash her hair, JB has made a discovery, which she shares with Amos.

Life Lesson #54: THERE ARE MORE THAN TWO DAYS IN THE WEEK.

Phyllis Grant the travel agent admits that her dog didn’t actually run away every Wednesday. Amos is scandalised that she would take up with a married man, but she tells him that’s what made it perfect. Ideal admits to being Mondays but has an alibi for the murder – she was with Loretta and Coreen at the cinema at the time of the murder.

As you would expect, Seth Hazlitt has some thoughts on these new developments. “I know he’s supposed to service the town at night, but don’t you think that’s going a bit far?”

Amos has other issues. “Why him? What’s he got that I – that’s so special?”

“Perhaps he should will his body to Harvard medical school, maybe they can find out!” Chortles Amos.

They spot George the mailman, and Seth asks him about his copy of New Hampshire weekly, but George has nothing for him. Maybe it was never loaded onto the truck? JB asks Seth if Beverley was going to be in the office, Amos and she had some questions for her. Because if it’s Thursday…GEDDIT?

Beverley is not one to hide behind innuendo and hyperbole.

m2

n2

Who says romance is dead? Amos and Seth adjourn to the nearest coffee pot for a strong cup to settle their nerves, leaving JB to interview Beverley, who tells them that Jonathan was planning to leave his wife and be with her. He never actually said so, but a woman knows these things. With no help on offer from Amos and Seth, JB then asks Beverley where she was the morning after the murder, since she was late to work. Beverley informs them that she was making a casserole for Jonathan, and if Seth wants to fire her for being late once in twenty years then he didn’t need Jessica to do his dirty work for him. She was going out into the world to have some fun!

THIS IS THE BEST EPISODE EVER.

THIS IS THE BEST EPISODE EVER.

“No wonder she seemed so relaxed on Friday mornings.” Says Seth.

Meanwhile at Jonathan’s house, Eve Simpson has just made a chilling discovery.

Oh yes. Jonathan has been having his casserole and eating it too.

Oh yes. Jonathan has been having his casserole and eating it too.

Needless to say, the atmosphere is a little subdued down at the beauty parlour when JB and Amos roll in. Amos can’t handle it and asks JB to take the lead while he goes to read magazines in the corner. JB asks Loretta if she knows whether any of Jonathan’s women had acted like they’d been dumped, but Loretta can’t think of anyone. Amos takes a break from his magazine to notice Coreen the assistant acting suspicious so he decides to pay her a visit later that night.

Would it amaze you to learn she’s not alone?

q2

r2

To paraphrase one of my favourite movies, does this guy have chocolate flavoured nipples?

Jonathan swears he’d never been to Coreen’s until that night, and that she’d asked him to come and fix her screen door, because everyone at the beauty parlour said how wonderful Jonathan was…at fixing things.

Amos asks her where she was the night of the murder and she tells him she was at the cinema with Ideal Malloy. “Ah yes,” says JB. “And Loretta.”

Nope. Loretta was visiting her sister in Augusta.

A clue! Remember that time someone was murdered? Uising every ounce of self control remaining, Amos asks Jonathan if  he’d ever had a little something something going on with Loretta.

Jonathan nods. “My one big mistake.” Turns out Loretta was after him to leave his wife and be with her, and was relentless.

Poor, poor Amos.

Poor, poor Amos.

But when they go to see Loretta, the murder of Audrey Martin isn’t her secret. Secret botox injections from a night doctor are.

Just when all hope seems lost, JB catches sight of the lottery tickets stuck to the mirror. Guys! Remember that time they bought lottery tickets from New Hampshire, and then Seth didn’t get his copy of the New Hampshire Weekly? IT WAS ALL CONNECTED.

Fair enough then.

Fair enough then.

All those booty calls and it all came down to George the postman recognising Audrey’s winning numbers in the New Hampshire Weekly and wanting to retire.

This episode though. I think I need a stiff drink and a lie down.

Later gang!

Later gang!

S04E06 – It Runs in the Family

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I have exciting news Fletcherfans. This episode not only doesn’t have Grady in it, it has everyone’s favourite English cousin in it.

I can't tell you how happy this screen cap makes me

I can’t tell you how happy this screen cap makes me

Emma is just kicking back and having a beer with her friends when a mysterious stranger arrives by the name of Humphrey Defoe who wants a private word. He represents the 18th Viscount Blackadder Blackraven, who Emma knew back in the day as Lieutenant Geoffrey Constable. He would like Emma to come and visit him after all these years. Humphrey gives her an envelope with a thousand pounds but Emma is scandalised. She doesn’t need a bribe to visit her old friend.

I dunno. A thousand quid is like twenty bajillion Australian dollars. But I’ve never been good with currency conversion.

Anyway, the next morning Emma heads off into the countryside with Humphrey to pay a visit on her old friend. Emma freaks out seeing the size of the house, and wonders what she was thinking, going to see a man she hadn’t seen for forty years – she’s not exactly the same nineteen year old Geoffrey remembers. Humphrey kindly points out that Geoffrey won’t be the same either, but that if he might be permitted an observation, the years have been very kind to both of them.

Oh Humphrey, you old charmer.

Inside the reception is mild bordering on warm. Geoffrey’s sister Sybil greets Emma, telling Humphrey she was sure her brother was sending him on a fool’s errand.  Jeffrey’s niece-in-law Pauline is far more frosty, and is more concerned with trying to get her son Derek to stay home and not go out raging/playing tennis. For someone who started out life as a baker’s daughter, she seems a complete cow. Humphrey takes Emma upstairs and reintroduces her to Geoffrey, who tells her that one of the reasons he invited her down was to tell her he was leaving her one of his houses, but mainly to see her one more time before he dropped off the perch.

That night at dinner the whole family frocks up at Geoffrey’s request, including Geoffrey’s other nephew Johnny who has inexplicably arrived with Daphne from Frasier.

I was going to make a bad Jane Enters/Jane Leeves pun but I didn't so consider yourselves lucky.

I was going to make a bad Jane Enters/Jane Leeves pun but I didn’t so consider yourselves lucky.

At dinner, while the rest of the family struggle to contain their horror at Daphne Gwen’s tales about her three quid a class dance lessons, Emma has to inform Geoffrey that while she appreciates him going to the effort of ordering pickled herring in remembrance of  the restaurant they used to gorge themselves at after Emma’s performances back in the day, she can’t actually eat it on account of getting food poisoning from the herring at said restaurant before it closed down.

After dinner they are entertained by Pauline doing a wonderful piano rendition of Hashtag Selfie.

For real though. I heard that song for the first time the other night and tried to throw myself out of a moving car.

For real though. I heard that song for the first time the other night and tried to throw myself out of a moving car.

After Pauline massacres the piano for a bit, Geoffrey begs Emma to take over. She starts to play a song but he has a very specific request – the old classic “How’d You Like To Spoon With Me.”

This song choice is a bit more divisive.

For the record, I'm firmly in the LOL camp.

For the record, I’m firmly in the LOL camp.

Actually, the only people in the WTF camp are Cybil and Pauline, who after the performance is in a glass cage of emotion.

See? Told you. EMOTION.

See? Told you. EMOTION.

The next morning Emma, Gwen, Johnny, Sybil and Humphrey are out having breakfast on the terrace when Derek enters via the bushes, asking whether his great-uncle has kicked the bucket yet. Cue the entrance of Geoffrey’s doctor who is delighted to announce that Geoffrey’s health has miraculously turned around, and that he could live for another twenty years.  This news isn’t greeted with the greatest excitement from anyone, except Emma and Humphrey. The man himself appears a short time later and tells Emma to pack a basket, they’re going on a picnic.

While Emma and Geoffrey drive off to amuse themselves *nudge nudge wink wink*, and Geoffrey tells stories of his late father who died just a couple of weeks previously, Sybil and Pauline rage against Humphrey for bringing Emma into their lives.  Humphrey refuses, saying that he talked Geoffrey out of returning to Emma after the war and he’d always regretted it. Sybil tells him that she knew he was smuggling whiskey in to her father against doctor’s orders before he died, and informs him that once her brother has passed away they will decide whether to retain Humphrey’s services.

Meanwhile, out in the paddock, Geoffrey is snacking on pickled herring and trying to propose to Emma when he collapses. He sends Emma for help but dies in the mean time. The good doctor suspects a heart attack but Inspector Frost suspects murder by death poison. Fun fact about the Inspector – he wrote the lyrics to Goldfinger and all the songs in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

 

Hands up who's going to be singing the Oompa Loompa song all afternoon? *raises hand*

Another fun fact mainly for my brother: he once played a character called Heironymus Merkin.  

The Inspector goes to the Blackraven estate to inform the family that Geoffrey didn’t make it, and not a single tear was shed. He asks to speak to Emma and Pauline informs him that as wife of the new Viscount Blackraven, he can address all questions to her. He informs her that he’ll go and ask Emma himself, much to Pauline’s disgust.

Out on the terrace Emma is heartbroken to hear of Geoffrey’s death. He asks her whose idea the picnic was and who prepared the food, and she tells him Geoffrey planned it and she got all the food together. Humphrey asks why the Inspector wants to know and he tells them of his suspicions that Geoffrey was poisoned.

Pauline doesn’t take long to stamp her authority on her surroundings as the new Vicountess. She informs one of the ladies from the Garden Society that she will come for lunch with the society at her house  at 1pm, and to make sure it’s something light as it’s important they all watch their waistlines. UGH, THIS WOMAN. Unfortunately for her, her influence doesn’t extend to her husband, as when Derek comes in looking for money to go skiing in Grenoble his father tells him to get a job, much to her horror. BOOM. I like this new Viscount, he’s alright.

Down at the police station the Inspector tells Emma that the family were quick to tell him about her inheritance, but that he doesn’t suspect her. He suspects the poison was confined to the herring, and as Emma had told him the story of the night before about how she doesn’t eat pickled herring, he thinks someone else put the poison in the fish to cast suspicion on Emma. Emma, remembering something Geoffrey had told her, wonders out loud whether the same thing might have happened to Geoffrey’s father. The inspector is impressed by this theory but Emma is modest, saying it’s the sort of thing her cousin would have thought of.

Life Lesson #53 – Always ask yourself, WWJBD?

The Inspector informs the family that he will be exhuming the body of Geoffrey and Sybil’s father Rupert much to everyone’s horror. They all manage to swallow their indignation and get on with their lives, however. Pauline goes off to show off her new Viscountessness to the ladies who once snobbed her for being a baker’s daughter and Johnny decides to go shooting with Derek for reasons I will never understand.  As the body is being exhumed, Humphrey appears with a bit of gossip for Emma – Johnny Constable is in a bit of financial strife with some shady characters from the Middle East. Oh look! Nothing changes! He wasn’t able to find out more information than that, but Emma tells him he was asking the wrong person.

Emma takes Gwen out for a pint, and finds out that Johnny was all set to try to borrow money from his great-uncle but that he died before he had the chance. The same thing happened not a few months earlier, when Johnny tried to borrow from Geoffrey’s father – even tried buttering him up by sneaking him chocolate bonbons – but the old dude said no.

Before Emma can ask another question, Humphrey turns up with some grim news – Derek’s just been shot. After a quick stop to alert his mother Pauline  - thankfully before she’d sat down to lunch with the ladies –  they rush back to the manor to find Derek mostly fine, but whining. While the killer carefully throws blame at Johnny Emma alerts the Inspector to a clue outside. The inspector returns, announces that he is taking Johnny in for questioning and escorts him out to the car. As they watch the car drive away Emma announces she’s also leaving, getting a lift to the station with Humphrey.

Or are they? The cunning theft of a distributor cap means that Humphrey’s car won’t start. They’ll have to borrow Pauline’s car. But Pauline would prefer that they didn’t, what with the shotgun in the boot that was used to shoot Derek and frame Johnny so that he could take the fall for the murders of Geoffrey and his father.

What a cow.

What a cow.

And so the crime was solved and the next season of Downton Abbey was born.

Cheers!

Cheers!

 

 

S04E05 – The Way to Dusty Death

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Fletcherfans, remember that time I discovered Benjamin Horne and Tony from West Side Story were the same person? Well he’s back but this time as Morgan McCormack, the heir apparent  to the throne of business tycoon Duncan Barnett. His wife Virginia has enlisted the help of three witches a psychic to try to predict when said ascension is going to take place. Luckily for Lord and Lady Macbeth, the psychic has good news – he will take over sooner rather than later. But beware! There is a determined woman with a will far greater than even his.

And then the psychic tries to steal Morgan’s watch. But it’s all good news really. Lady Macbeth is beside herself, and even more so when a call from Duncan Barnett comes in inviting them to a weekend at his estate. (Side note, whenever the I hear the name Duncan this happens inside my brain.)

The only thing puzzling Lady Macbeth is who is this mysterious determined woman with a great will?

Seems appropriate

Seems appropriate

JB has also been invited to Duncan’s little shindig as she loves to have a beer with him is on the board of directors. She’s not just there to make up the numbers though. Duncan wants to close down a paper mill in Cabot Cove, and JB is having none of it.

Unrelated: Duncan Barnett looks like an older version of Steven Moffat. *mumbles something about Duncan Barnett being better at writing female characters than Steven Moffat*

Ahem. 

Next to arrive is Spruce Osborne (not kidding) with his girlfriend Serena “Just one name, like Ann-Margaret”. Duncan’s wife Lydia introduces them to Jess but Jess is already acquainted with the Sprucester – he’s after her shares in the company. JB wonders at Spruce’s presence at what appears to be a special gathering of the board but Lydia has no idea what her husband is up to.

That night, as they gather for drinks and desserts on the terrace, Lord and Lady Macbeth mutter to themselves that Duncan isn’t going to announce his retirement, while Lydia gives her husband side-eye as he cosies up to the only other female on the board, the conveniently named Anne Hathaway. Lydia reminds her husband to take his heart medication, and the Sprucester is horrified when he takes it with seltzer instead of brandy. Duncan informs him that his doctor only permits one brandy a day, which he takes right before bed. He sticks to it, because he plans to be around for a long long time, much to the general dismay of almost everyone gathered.

Well, that’s the nail in the coffin right there.

As he goes up to bed, Lord and Lady Macbeth and Tom and Kate Dutton scurry after him to try to allay any suspicion that they wanted him dead/retired. He just laughs at them and goes to bed. Lady Macbeth doesn’t take kindly to being mocked and decides it would be a better idea to kill him.

That night, JB is reading Macbeth a book when the lights flicker. She notes the time, 12:15am, because JESSICA FLETCHER MISSES NOTHING. The next morning she is woken by a screaming Lydia.

You're welcome, fellow nerds.

You’re welcome, fellow nerds.

Will it surprise you to know that King Duncan is dead from a television in the bathtub? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

#sorrynotsorry

#sorrynotsorry

Doctor Grayson is called, and he decides that Duncan had a massive heart attack either before or after the TV went in the tub. JB goes to get Lydia the glass of brandy she’d spotted earlier but it’s disappeared. Macbeth comes in to offer his condolences to Lydia and to tell JB he’s called an emergency board meeting for that night. He tells her she doesn’t have to be there, but JB tells him she thinks she should be there if they are electing a new chairman.

That night, as they all meet in the boardroom at Barnett Industries Macbeth and Tom Dutton compete over who can fawn over JB the most. While the new arrival, Q.L Frubson arrives and tries to work out which board meeting he’s at, JB sneaks into the kitchen and calls Doctor Grayson – she suspects Duncan might have been murdered but has no proof.

Macbeth calls a vote to elect a new chairman, He gets two votes, Tom Dutton gets two votes, Anne Hathaway abstains but gets a vote from Q L, leaving the deciding vote to Jess who is unwilling to cast a vote without knowing the candidate’s positions on things. This is not good news for Q L who announces it’s gonna be a long night. He goes in to change his plane reservation, but actually calls the Sprucester, and tells him he has things under control. The meeting drags on until morning, when a compromise is finally reached between Macbeth and Tom Dutton – Macbeth is to be temporary chairman for ninety days.

That crisis temporarily averted, JB returns to her suspicion that Duncan was murdered. While she waits for the results of the drug test to come back she tells Macbeth of her concern for the company if there is a murder investigation and asks him if he heard anything suspicious, since he and Lady Macbeth were in the suite next to him. Macbeth is very quick to inform JB that both he and Lady Macbeth were asleep by 11:30pm. JB then goes to see the Sprucester, who tells her that he sold his shares in Barnett Industries that morning, and is no longer terribly interested in the company.

The next day, JB attends the wake for Duncan and confides her suspicions to Doctor Grayson, that Duncan was killed by an overdose of heart medication. She suspects that it was in the brandy but that it can’t have been as she saw the full brandy glass the morning after Duncan died. The good doctor does some checking and discovers that four of Duncan’s digitalis pills are unaccounted for. Tom Dalton’s wife Kate overhears their conversation and drops a vase in shock – Duncan murdered? Inconceivable!

Kate Dutton manages to get over her shock enough to tell JB and Doctor Grayson that she heard the Sprucester’s girlfriend Serena in the hot tub with Duncan the night he died. Jess confirms this when she finds one of Selena’s charms on the floor near the hot tub.

Later, when Jessica is leaving the graveyard after Duncan’s service, she runs into Doctor Grayson and the lieutenant. There was no trace of digitalis found in Duncan’s system. He was electrocuted when the TV went in the tub, either accidentally or on purpose.

Back at the Barnet house, JB spots Serena sneaking upstairs, presumably looking for her charm. Jess confronts her and she admits to knowing Duncan before she arrived at the house that weekend. She had in fact ended up with the Sprucester on Duncan’s orders, to keep track of him so to speak. She swears he was alive when she left him in the hot tub at 12:15 though and has the Sprucester as an alibi. Nudge nudge wink wink say no more.

JB finally confronts Lord and Lady Macbeth, who try to bluff it out but eventually Lady Macbeth comes clean. Her husband got chicken when he heard the woman’s voice in the hot tub, leaving Lady Macbeth to put the digitalis in the brandy. She doesn’t know if it was Serena or not, as the water was running and the door was closed.

And therein lies the final clue, apparently.

Or as I shall always think of her, Other Lady Macbeth of Death

Or as I shall always think of her, Other Lady Macbeth of Death

So we weren’t entirely wrong. She wanted her husband to get a better deal, Duncan laughed at her, she got mad and threw the television in the hot tub.

In other words…

#neversorry

#neversorry

And on that note…

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

S04E04 – Old Habits Die Hard

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First of all thanks to everyone who tweeted along with me as I watched The Celtic Riddle last Sunday (or in the case of my housemate, shouted enthusiastically at the television).  If you click here and scroll down, you will be able to see how we all fell apart. (You’ll notice that it makes about as much sense as a regular Murder, She Blogged post so I feel we achieved something there).

For the record, I have still not recovered from seeing Mark Sheppard in it, although it does prove that all the best things have Mark Sheppard in them. Yeah science!

But nevermind all that, because this week JB is hanging out in Louisiana with nuns, specifically her old school friend Claire, who is now Mother Superior. If I know nothing else, it’s that you DO NOT MESS WITH NUNS THEY HAVE MAGICAL POWERS.

I have a sudden urge to watch Sister Act

I have a sudden urge to watch Sister Act

JB is not the only person hanging out at the Convent of the Immaculate Heart, although she is the only one dodging a deadline (MY HERO!). New nun Sarah has joined up, much to the dismay of her (ex) boyfriend Mike Phelps who is raging all about the place, and someone called Nancy Bates is trying to get in to see Sister Emily but without any success.

Meanwhile, JB has bigger problems than her deadline-dodging. She’s just been spotted by the mayor’s wife Marian Simpson, and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t recognise her at first.

To be fair, Mrs Peacock's hair was not that epic in Clue.

To be fair, Mrs Peacock’s hair was not that epic in Clue.

Marian is very good at having those conversations where the other person involved is completely irrelevant. She manages to continue talking at JB from outside the convent (where she lived as a kid) all the way up to the Mother Superior’s office and barely stops to register that the Mother Superior is in the middle of a conversation with a private detective about a potential former resident of the convent, Linda Crane, or Linda Stone as she’s known now. The Mother Superior has nothing for him, but thinks Sister Emily might be able to help. JB volunteers to take the detective Ray Carter down to see Sister Emily, as Marian Simpson has got to finish this conversation about the invitations to the dedication ceremony taking place in a couple of days. Unfortunately for Ray, Sister Emily is not really feeling very forthcoming and gives him the old brushoff.

While JB and the Mother Superior chillax over a pot of tea, JB notices Sarah drop an envelope with her name on it and hands it back, complimenting Sarah on her ornate crucifix. Class, I feel like this is going to come up again later.

Speaking of later, JB is raiding the convent library when there’s a knock at the door. It’s Doctor Marshall, dropping off a prescription for Sister Emily. JB informs the nearest nun, Sister Paula, who is surprised as Sister Emily usually uses Doctor Hart. Class, I feel like this might come up again later too.

Meanwhile, at the Mayor’s house, Mrs Peacock Marian Simpson has informed her husband that the detective Ray Carter is looking for Linda Crane and he freaks out. Guys, do you think this might come up later too?

Later that night, JB is just about to call it a day when a scream sends her out of bed. Sarah has just found Sister Emily, face down in her room, a hand-written Bible passage next to her.

The Mother Superior refuses to believe it’s suicide and informs everyone accordingly, including the Bishop when he comes to see her the next day. JB wants to believe her friend, but the Sheriff’s report seems conclusive so like the Bishop says – the amount of medication in her system killed her, and in any case there was no way for anyone to break in to the convent so unless the Reverend Mother thinks that one of the nuns did it…

Now I can't stop humming Oh Happy Day.

Now I can’t stop humming Oh Happy Day. 

The next morning during the service JB spots Sarah making eyes at her ex boyfriend Mike and sneaking out in the middle of the choir singing In The Garden Of Eden by I Ron Butterfly a hymn. After the service, JB asks the sisters if they saw Sarah the previous night when Sister Emily died. Between the three of them they establish that they had no idea where she was then or now.

Before JB can do any more detecting, she’s accosted by Marian Simpson and her husband who are just simply devastated about Sister Emily’s suicide, and that nothing like this has ever happened at the convent since the Civil War when it was used on the Underground Railroad and yada yada yada. JB points out that they don’t know all the facts yet (which is accurate, since it only happened about 12 hours ago) but Marian refuses to believe it could be anything but. Although…she did see Nancy Bates yesterday. It turns out this Nancy Bates has just got out of prison, where she ended up thanks in part to the testimony of Sister Emily.

While the congregation is out on the lawn nomming down on some tasty baked goods made by the Sisters, JB takes advantage and goes snooping in Sister Emily’s classroom. She hears a noise in the cupboard and finds one of the convent’s wards, Amy hiding there. Between the crying and the whatnot, she tells JB that Sister Emily used to write out passages from the Bible for her. JB asks to see some and Amy shows them to her. They’re a match to the Bible passage the Sheriff and the Bishop are convinced was a suicide note.

Jess confronts the Sheriff but he’s still not convinced it proves Sister Emily didn’t kill herself. As they argue JB hears a noise coming from Sister Emily’s room. It’s Doctor Marshall rummaging through drawers. When he heard about Sister Emily’s death he wanted to check for himself what was on the pills, as the prescription he placed for her wasn’t strong enough to kill her. JB tells the Mother Superior about the Bible passage and the prescription and she’s even more convinced that Sister Emily was murdered. The Bishop says that if that’s true then it must have been one of the nuns. Jess disagrees, reminding him about Nancy Bates. The Bishop tells her that the convent was locked from after dinner until the police arrived so there was no way for anyone to get in and no way for JB to prove it.

“No,” says JB. “Not yet.”

BOOM.

JB goes to see Sarah who is out pruning in the garden, but she refuses to admit where she was the night Sister Emily died, or where she was after the service the next day. Sarah’s boyfriend Mike says exactly the same thing, but JB spots Sarah’s fancy crucifix around his neck. KNEW IT. That night JB is looking at the old floor plans of the convent and spots a crypt with potential for a secret passage. When she goes to investigate she’s attacked by a gloved hand.

There is a high probability I am going to wander around the apartment shouting HAND ATTACK for the rest of the day

There is a high probability I am going to wander around the apartment shouting HAND ATTACK for the rest of the day/week/my life

The gloved hand turns out to belong to Nancy Bates, who had snuck in through the disused tunnel into the convent to retrieve the proof that she’d been to see Sister Emily the night she died. She tells JB that she wanted to see Sister Emily to thank her for all she did in getting Nancy to turn her life around, which is what prison did. JB asks her why noone else knows about the tunnel and Nancy says it was uncovered by some wards in the 60s and it was kept a secret by the wards ever since. JB decides she probably didn’t kill Sister Emily and asks her if she saw anything the night Sister Emily died. Nancy says no, but she may have seen a shadow hiding in the crypt as Nancy left.

JB decides to search Sister Emily’s room for clues, with the Mother Superior’s help, and they discover that one of the Sister’s habits is missing, along with the photo the detective gave Sister Emily to try and jog her memory about Linda Stone. Jess goes to see him and finds him packing up to leave town. He comes clean about the investigation – some rich so and so was concerned Linda Stone was a gold-digger after her son’s money and wanted to look into her background, but as it happened she ended up eloping with someone else. JB asked why Carter’s client was so concerned with Linda and he tells her what he knows of Linda’s life – she turned up at the convent pregnant 15 years ago, with a sob story about a husband who was killed in Vietnam that was completely fictional as far as Carter could see.

Apparently this was all the proof JB needed, and enlists the help of the Mother Superior to set the trap to catch the killer. And lets face it, between JB and a Reverend Mother the killer had no chance of getting away with it.

In the library with the candlestick. By which I mean in the convent with the drugs.

In the library with the candlestick. By which I mean in the convent with the drugs.

Ah yes. That old my-husband-knocked-up-a-ward-of-the-convent-fifteen-years-ago-and-noone-must-know-or-he-won’t-win-the-election chestnut. But dude, you messed with nuns. NOBODY MESSES WITH NUNS.

And on that fact…

Later gang!

Later gang!

PS – I want it noted that despite the title of this episode I made NOT ONE DIE HARD REFERENCE. I blame the being woken up early by the Grand Prix two days in a row. Seriously, DOES IT HAVE TO BE 7:30 IN THE MORNING????????

S04E03 – Witness for the Defence

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Fletcherfans, once upon a time, there was a far away magical kingdom called CANADA to which Our Heroine travelled to visit her friend Jim Harlan, his mother Judith, his wife Patricia, and her friend Monica Blane. Those were the halcyon days when talk was confined to new novels and family heirloom brooches.

That night, they adjourned from the Harlan country house to the Harlan townhouse, after Jim dropped Monica at the airport and Patricia went to get her hair done. Or so they thought. Instead, a wandering butler steps in to inform Jim’s mother Judith that there was a fire at the country house and Patricia’s body had been discovered.

Fast forward six months, Jim has been arrested for the murder of his wife and JB has been summoned to return to Quebec, in the magical kingdom of Canada to act as a witness for the defence led by Oliver Quayle, Attorney At Law who is everything you could ever want in a defence attorney.

For some reason Quebec lawyers are more British than I had expected.

For some reason Quebec lawyers are more British than I had expected.

 

JB is a bit concerned about Quayle, particularly his insistence that she wear a straw hat with violets in it.

This look has been previously reserved for when Grady says something stupid, i.e everything.

This look has been previously reserved for when Grady says something stupid, i.e everything.

Fortunately Quayle is distracted first by a phone call from his ex-wife Deidre then a reminder from his assistant Barnaby Friar that he is late for an appointment.

Speaking of Barnaby…

It's been a million years since I've watched the original Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

It’s been a million years since I’ve watched the original Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

That night JB goes to see Jim and Judith at home, to get more answers than she got from the Quaylemeister. Jim tells her that the fire was suspected to have been deliberately lit, which is how he has ended up on trial for murder. His mother orders him off to bed in preparation for the trial in the morning, and confides to JB that they didn’t really know much about Patricia before Jim married her.

Fun fact: Judith Harlan is being played by Julie Andrews, who is being played by Claire Trevor from Key Largo, which is a Bogart movie I haven’t seen yet.

(I really thought at least one person in this episode would be speaking French).

(I really thought at least one person in this episode would be speaking French).

Incidentally that is what she wore to Jim’s trial so if you have jury duty coming up I seriously suggest reconsidering your entire wardrobe.

The first witness for the defence is one of the policemen called to testify about the circumstances of the fire, and is torn to shreds by Quayle. The second witness, the gardener Clay McCloud testifies that he heard Jim arguing with Patricia the weekend before she died – she wanted a divorce but he said “I’ll see you dead.” Under examination from the Quayle it is revealed that McCloud had spent time in jail and was sacked the same day as the fire for allegedly stealing things. To conclude: McCloud is a bit of shady customer.

Next on the stand is the coroner, who testifies that the body was almost completely destroyed by the fire, and that identification was made only through the jewellery recovered from the scene. Also that the victim died from a massive whack to the head, and not the fire. DRAMA.

Back at the Quayle nest JB is not entirely convinced that the lawyer has got things under control. It is clear to her that Patricia died before the fire started, meaning that Jim had better get his alibi sorted. He tells her that he was with Monica Blayne, but that no one has been able to find her since the fire. JB has the audacity to ask the Quayle whether he’s tried to find Monica Blayne and he curly informs Our Heroine that her services will no longer be needed.

Jim has a private word to JB, and tells her that Patricia had been burning through money without accounting for it, and some harsh things were said as a result but that he didn’t threaten her. JB wonders why the gardener lied and pays him a visit in the guise of a reporter from the Cabot Cove Gazette. He tells her that he knows for a fact that Patricia was dead before the fire started, because when he went back to the country house to collect some backpay he saw Patricia lying on the floor.

Back in the courtroom Quayle has managed to get the coroner to say that the blow to Patricia’s head may have been caused by a falling beam. The next witness, the owner of a hotel near the airport, testifies that Monica Blayne booked a hotel room for a couple of hours for herself and Jim Harlan. Quayle wisely decides not to cross-examine this witness.

The next witness, the prosecutor announces, will be Jessica Fletcher.

Clearly this was all part of JB's plan.

Clearly this was all part of JB’s plan.

The questions from the prosecutor are all straight forward, and summarise the events of the night Patricia died. Quayle, on the other hand, chooses different line, suggesting that she stole her next novel idea from Jim, that she was insane and spent time in a sanatorium, and that three of her relatives have been arrested for murder, twice in the case of her nephew Grady Fletcher. Ugh.

Character sufficiently assassinated, Quayle has no further questions and JB steps down from the witness stand. Having lunch in the cafeteria she spots the prosecutor, Annette Pirage, who sort of apologises for putting her on the stand. JB asks her if she really believes Jim killed his wife, and Annette tells her she intends to prove that Jim and Monica Blayne were in it together, despite the fact that Monica is still MIA.

In the car, JB demands some answers from Jim. He tells her that his marriage to Patricia was sinking fast, she was burning through money and even withdrew twenty thousand on the day she died that was never recovered.  He confirms that he was with Monica in the hotel at the time his wife was murdered, but without Monica to back him up it’s not a great alibi.

That night JB is getting ready for bed when she gets a knock on her hotel room door. It’s Judith, apologising for the Quayle’s behaviour in the courtroom that day and to say goodbye before JB returns to Cabot Cove. JB thanks her but tells her she’s not leaving yet, even though Judith thinks it would be better. Judith tells JB that she would do anything for her son, including hire a private investigator to check up on her new daughter-in-law, who it turns out spent a year in jail in Arizona. JB correctly guesses that Monica Blayne also spent time in the Arizona jail as well.

In the morning, JB sneaks in to the Quayle nest to see if she can take a peek at the police report. Barnaby is happy to prove how influential he is in the office and shows her the report, confirming that the only way they could identify the body was through the engraved engagement and wedding rings. JB asks about the brooch she saw Patricia wearing the night of the fire but Barnaby doesn’t know anything about it. They are interrupted by the arrival of a private investigator to see the Quayle and despite Barnaby’s offer to assist the man simply tells them to tell the Quayle “Monica Blayne”, that he’ll be down the street and to bring five large.

And a cunning plan was hatched

And a cunning plan was hatched

Armed with an envelope she liberated from the Quayle nest JB pays a visit to the private investigator who has taken up residence at a bar down the street. He asks her who she is and she tells him “The name I go by in Quebec is Fletcher.” This turned into a spy movie very quickly… JB correctly guesses that this is the same private investigator Judith hired to investigate Patricia but before she can get any information out of the man the Quayle appears and the Quayle is displeased.

The next morning Barnaby informs JB that they found Monica Blayne and flew her up from NYC to testify. Unfortunately for the defence Annette Pirage gets in first and calls Monica to the stand, where she informs the jury that they were together the night of Patricia’s death but that Jim left early, saying he had something to sort out at the country house. Back at the Quayle nest Jim swears she’s lying but is interrupted by Quayle walking in, losing his mind at JB and ordering Jim and  Judith into his office. While Barnaby is on the phone to Quayle’s second ex-wife, JB helps the secretary find a missing earring which turns out to a) have a lot of sentimental value and b) give JB an idea.

You'd think I'd be better at drawing light bulbs by now...

You’d think I’d be better at drawing light bulbs by now…

And now a disclaimer: for almost this entire episode I was convinced that the body they found burned was Monica Blayne and that Patricia had taken money and left to start a new life with the gardener, and that the reason that the brooch wasn’t found was because she took it, to pawn later or some such. Even when Monica Blayne turned up I thought that. Turns out I was overthinking it, and that the reason the brooch wasn’t found was because the killer took it back. For sentimental family heirloom reasons.

To be fair to her, she did say she'd do anything for her son.

To be fair to her, she did say she’d do anything for her son.

For his role in helping to acquit Jim Harlan (by doing what JB told him to do) Barnaby was made First Assistant to the Quayle, and the Quayle got to take on a new high-profile case defending Judith Harlan. He’s delighted to inform JB that he intends to call her as a witness in a few months time.

Stay tuned next week for the Epic Murder She Blogged Tweetathon Part The First, where I will be live-tweeting The Celtic Riddle. If you would like to tweet along, just use the hashtag #celticriddle so I can see you all fall down the rabbit hole with me. I may even put the highlights up here once I’ve sufficiently recovered.

But until then!

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

S04E02 – When Thieves Fall Out

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There’s something fishy going on in the Cove this week Fletcherfans. Coach Kevin Cauldwell is finally retiring as coach of the Cabot Cove High football team, and so to celebrate Our Heroine is throwing him a retirement party, and to celebrate that one time Cabot Cove High won the thing in 1966 (I’m not entirely sure what. As I’ve mentioned before, there’s Aussie Rules football and Sports That Aren’t Aussie Rules football. This is most definitely in the latter category).

Before I continue, I’d just like to subtly point out something that caught my attention:

(Not pictured: Dack Rambo)

(Not pictured: Dack Rambo)

Before JB can get to Coach’s retirement party there’s a knock at her door. A man named Andrew Durbin, has come to collect the keys to JB’s pal Lila’s house which he’s renting for a few weeks. Before he drops her at the party he asks her where the sheriff’s office is, he has some paperwork to give him. MYSTERIOUS.

Meanwhile, all is not well with the Great and Glorious Team of ’66.  Arnie Wakeman is in a wheelchair after a car accident, Dan Pulling is drunk all the time and has just been fired from the caryard fellow team member Bill Hampton (aka Dack Rambo) owns,  and Judge Perry Sillman has just had Amos Tupper and Andrew Durbin in his office with some paperwork. MYSTERIOUS PAPERWORK OF DEATH, probably.

Oh no, just parole papers. At the coach’s party Judge Sillman tells JB that it turns out that Andrew Durbin has just been released from prison after serving 20 years for murder. Shady. Coach isn’t really up for reliving past glories and the party dies down pretty quickly. As they leave, Bill Hampton finds a cutout of a newspaper article from the Cabot Cove Gazette, a story about a businessman that died and the hitchhiker accused of his murder. His wife asks him why he looks so upset and he says it’s nothing, just someone’s idea of a practical joke. He gets in the car and drives off, but not before noticing the red corvette parked across the street.

SUBTLE PLOT POINTS ARE SUBTLE.

That night, Bill and his wife are woken by a phone call and a jack-in-the-box.

Dack Rambo is cool in a crisis.

Dack Rambo is cool in a crisis.

As the newspaper cuttings rain down around them, the red corvette drives past at a crawl. Bill’s wife Alison wants to call Amos but Bill says no, he’ll handle it himself.

The next morning Alison takes things into her own hands and goes to see JB for guidance. She tells JB the whole story, including the subject of the newspaper articles – businessman dead, hundreds of bearer bonds missing. She begs JB to talk to Bill and naturally she agrees, but she wants to do some research first.

That night, when Bill is driving home from the car lot, he is run off the road by – SURPRISE! A red corvette with one headlight! The next morning, Alison finds JB coming out of the offices of the Cabot Cove Gazette and tells her that she heard Bill tell someone he was killed by a red corvette, and now he’s carrying a gun. Who does he think he is, Rambo? Oh wait…

When JB goes to see Bill at the showroom he’s a bit flustered. Andrew Durbin has been in complaining of car trouble – his little red corvette only has one headlight working. He tells Bill the story about he bought the car from a little old woman whose husband was killed twenty years ago. OKAY, WE GET IT, DURBIN IS THE HITCHHIKER, JESUS. Bill tells Andrew that he will take a look at his car at nine o’clock that night. JB asks him what the connection is between him and Durbin, and Bill tells her to leave. After she’s gone, Bill calls someone and tells them that Durbin has been around, and to meet him at the caryard before 9 o’clock so they can end it, gun style.

JB and Amos confront Durbin, who freely admits to being the hitchhiker who was in the car with the businessman the night he died, and was later convicted of his murder. He tells them his version of events – that a car ran them off the road, turned around to come back towards them, he went to get help but couldn’t find any and when he returned to the car the business man was dead and the police were pulling up. JB asks him how Bill Hampton figures into all of this and Durbin tells her that while he was in prison he subscribed to the paper to work out who he saw that night – the passenger, not the driver, was Bill Hampton, wearing a white dinner jacket as it was prom night. JB correctly guesses that Durbin still hasn’t found out who the driver was, which is why he is messing with Bill, in order to smoke the mystery man out.

Amos has had enough of this, and tells Durbin to leave town before he’s arrested. Durbin correctly points out he hasn’t done anything yet, he’s just out for justice.

Amos is breaking bad

Amos is breaking bad

That night, at the scheduled meeting time, Bill Hampton is greeted by his co-conspirator and the click of a gun safety. The next morning, Bill turns up dead, an apparent suicide to everyone except JB as the bullet wound was on Bill’s right side and Bill was lefthanded. JB points out that a stranger might not have known Bill was left handed…

Cut to Durbin being asked for an alibi, and OH THE SURPRISES, he has an airtight one. JB asks him if he will be leaving town now but he’s got unfinished business with the driver of the car. JB then goes to see the judge and his wife, who are consoling Alison and are equally convinced Bill didn’t kill himself. Jess tells them her murder theory and asks them if they remember anything about the night of the prom and they all agree that they went to a diner after prom and had a wonderful time. LIARS!

Down on the docks Coach Cauldwell spots Andrew Durbin and punches him in the face. Jess takes him back to her place to calm down and asks him what he remembers about prom – it turns out he left early for the same reason JB did, the flu. Coach is convinced that none of his boys could be killers, but Jess remembers one of the boys having the nickname Animal. That was Dan, the raging alcoholic who doesn’t have two cents to rub together, so an unlikely holder of stolen bearer bonds. JB then considers Arnie, suing Bill for selling him a dodgy car that landed him in a wheelchair, who became unexpectedly wealthy after high school.

JB pays Arnie a visit, who is outraged when Jess asks him where he got his money from after highschool. He throws her out of the house, even after she helpfully brought in a special delivery letter from his insurance agency.

I've used Stayin Alive lyrics three times in this blog now and I'm still not sorry.

I’ve used Stayin Alive lyrics three times in this blog now and I’m still not sorry.

Eagle-eyed JB spotted scuff marks on the newly polished floorboards (that’s convenient) and so set a cunning trap using her phone bill as bait. Busted, JB escorts Arnie to Amos’s office, where he admits to setting up the dodgy insurance scam because he’d run out of money, but the money he had after high school was an inheritance. JB asks him about the prom and Arnie tells them that Bill was blind drunk that night, and that Alison abandoned him on the dance floor part way through the night. She left at about eleven o’clock, despite Bill trying to get her to stay. Amos gets a phone call placing Dan the Drunk in a drunk tank a couple of towns over, ruling him out as a suspect.

Jess confronts Perry, his wife and Alison about their prom night lie, and Alison comes clean. Bill was trying to get her to go to a hotel with him but she refused. She left early, but Bill went back to the prom, saying he had a trophy to collect. And therein lies the clincher for JB. Because the person he collected the trophy from was supposed to already have left.

This has taken a turn for the depressing

This has taken a turn for the depressing

Coach lied about leaving the prom to cover up the truth – he was driving a very drunk Bill home, and while Bill was trying to get Coach to take him to the diner where his friends were the car began to swerve all over the road and they hit the corvette. When he saw the bearer bonds on the backseat of the car he snapped, killed the driver and took half the bonds, giving the other half to Bill. That way he could have the football camp he always wanted, but it never got off the ground.

Well. That was…miserable. Better luck next time Fletcherfans!

Until then.

See you next week gang!

See you next week gang!

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