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S05E05 – Coalminer’s Slaughter

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Disclaimer: This wasn’t the best episode. I worked out who the killer was in 9 minutes. You have been warned.

On the road in West Virginia this week gang, where a mining company is celebrating another quarter of productivity by throwing its employees a dance. That might be the most boring sentence I’ve ever written. In any case, despite the big boss guy Tyler Morgan celebrating, not everyone is feeling it. His son Reese is fuming because his daddy is spending his inheritance on a company dance and not on computers to make people redundant (I’m guessing he’s part of the once percent) and he takes his anger out on his mother, who asks him to show his father some respect and is told in response “Like he respected you by cheating on you all these years?”

Ouch.

And then there’s the small matter of the gatecrasher Molly Connors who has returned back to the town to prove that Tyler Morgan was responsible for the death of her father in the mine years earlier.

Holy crap. Megan Mullally is 56!?

Related: I saw an episode of Diagnosis Murder that had the guy who played Will in Will and Grace in it as a sleazy mobster and it was weird.

She introduces herself to Tyler Morgan who declares that she’s turned into a right fine filly since she’s been away, am I right boys? Cue catcalling, URGH YOU GUYS ARE THE WORST. Tyler is less happy to hear that she wants to throw him in jail for the death of her father and orders the sheriff (who once wrote Joy to the World by 3 Dog Night) to arrest Molly for trespassing. At the jail her grandfather Eben turns up set to shoot his way in but Molly calms him down, saying she knows someone who will help bail her out. Her old English teacher, in fact.

Whoever could it be?

I wonder how many people have JB Fletcher as their one phone call from jail...

I wonder how many people have JB Fletcher as their one phone call from jail…

JB’s first order of business is to bail a grateful Molly out, but Molly has no time to explain – she informs the Sheriff she’s off to Yancyville to get a subpoena for Tyler Morgan’s business records from 1978, the year her father died. Outside the sheriff’s office they run into Carlton Reid, the mining union rep, who had been coming to check on Molly. He tells her he’s relieved she’s out, he’d been going to pass the hat around at the union meeting in Yancyville that night but that he’ll just tell everyone the good news instead.

Tyler appears out of his car and is less than pleased that Molly is already out of jail and has dragged “a stranger” into the whole business. Jessica tells him they’re hardly strangers, and that she’s looking forward to spending some time with her formal protege. Tyler points out that there’s no room at Molly and Eben’s place but a helpful passerby, Bridie Harmon, offers her boarding house to Jess for 10 bucks a night. For the record I don’t think Bridie’s son Travis likes Tyler Morgan all that much, as his father died in the same explosion as Molly’s father

Shoutout to all the Children of the Corn who read this blog.

Shoutout to all the Children of the Corn who read this blog.

Later that night JB has dinner with Eben and Molly at which Molly explains how the only possession of her father’s that she took to Cabot Cove was his book of Shakespeare, while Eben oils his gun and acts all crochetty. Guys I think the book is going to be important later on. Meanwhile Tyler gets a phone call and goes out.

Molly drops JB at the guesthouse and says she’d better get home before the storm hits. As JB waves goodbye she notices Bridie Harmon scurrying off into the night. Later, Tyler is shot in his cabin. UGH. This episode must have been written by Grady.

The next morning Jess is walking to Molly and Eben’s house when Reese Morgan appears from behind a bush and points a gun at her. Well that’s rude. He directs her at gunpoint to his father’s cabin where Sheriff Tate is conducting his investigation. He quizzes JB for an alibi but when she says she can’t prove she was in bed asleep at the time of the murder he tells her not to worry, that he doesn’t think she’d have cause to kill someone she’d just met and in any case, “unless I miss my guess you’re about as handy with a gun as I am with knitting needles.”

I don't even know what that means why can't I stop laughing send help

I don’t even know what that means why can’t I stop laughing send help

JB wants to know why he is asking for her alibi when he doesn’t think she’s involved, and the Sheriff says he was hoping she could provide an alibi for someone who needs one.

Cut to Tate breaking the news to Molly and Eben. Neither of them have an alibi, Eben was home alone and Molly had a flat tyre and so didn’t get home until 11:30am. The Sheriff tells them that the gun used to kill Tyler is still missing and Molly tells him to go ahead and search, they have nothing to hide.

In town, JB and Molly run into Carlton who offers to drive them home to avoid the whispers running riot through town. They spot Reese and his mother leaving the funeral home and Molly goes to offer her condolences, saying she wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Carlton offers the suggestion that considering how often Reese fought with his father maybe he was the one  who killed him. A brawl is on the cards but Jess diffuses the situation, pointing out that there won’t be evidence to prove Molly killed Tyler. Except the Sheriff appears with the news he’s just found Tyler’s missing gun under the front seat of her truck.

Awkward.

Despite JB pointing out that it seems ridiculous that a lawyer would leave the murder weapon in their car and not hide it in the woods the Sheriff is unmoved. Not even Eben turning up threatening to return with a posse is enough to get him to release Molly on bail. Back at the boarding house Carlton tells JB he will get the miners Legal Aid service on the case. They overhear Bridie arguing with her son – apparently he was out til three in the morning the night before. He yells that he’s not a baby anymore and that if he wants to go out nights he will…after all Bridie does. He storms off. Carlton goes after him and suggests he was a bit mean to his mother and he wouldn’t be getting away with it if his father was alive. Travis says his father is dead, and so’s the man who killed him.

Inside, JB manages to weasel out of Bridie that she was going to see Tyler on the night he died. They’d been having an affair for quite some time but now that Travis is getting older Bridie didn’t want to do it any more. When she went to the cabin to break it off he was already dead. She didn’t go to the cops because she didn’t want anyone to know about her and Tyler. Tyler’s wife had found out once, back in the old days, which had resulted in her and Tyler not seeing each other for a while. Hell, if Mona found out Bridie and Tyler were back together Mona’d probably kill Tyler…

I feel like this exact thing happened last week.

I feel like this exact thing happened last week.

Jess goes to see Mona to try and get her to calm her son down. Inside, she notices a wall full of shooting ribbons and Mona admits they’re hers. When JB admires them Mona says “hell, most people can shoot the petals off a daisy by the time they’re 10 years old…”

KNIT ONE PURL ONE BITCH

KNIT ONE PURL ONE BITCH

On the way back to town JB runs into Carlton who is worried. The Sheriff reckons he’s got a solid case against Molly. JB is outraged, saying that anyone could have planted the gun in Molly’s car, and Carlton agrees saying anyone could have grabbed the gun from the unlocked cabinet by the door, but that Tate has more. A ledger sheet is missing from the business records from 1978, Eben and a posse of pals are on their way to bust Molly out of jail and Reese could be not far behind.

Meanwhile, outside the Sheriff’s office…

 

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THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT

THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT

The sheriff tells everyone to go home and take a chill pill and the angry (musical) mob disperses. Inside the sheriff’s station JB asks him why Molly would tell him she’s going to subpoena the records if she’s already stolen one? It’s more likely that someone else has stolen it to prevent some incriminating information getting out. The sheriff doesn’t care, he’s lost the key to his gun rack and he needs to get someone to come break into it for him.

That gives JB an idea and she hightails it out of there to make a call and to ask Bridie just what happened the day her husband and Molly’s dad died in the mine. Bridie tells her that Molly’s father claimed to have found proof that dodgy shenanigans were going down at the mine and that he was going to present proof at the union meeting the next night, but the explosion happened that day.

Meanwhile, down on the farm Ebden is kicking back sharpening his axe when he gets a whack on the head. Jess arrives soon after to find the house empty, and takes the opportunity to hunt down Molly’s father’s copy of the collected works of Shakespeare. Inside the cover, hidden in the dustflap, she finds the proof she needs to confirm the suspicions I had nine minutes into this episode.

"Anybody could have reached into the unlocked gun cabinet by the door and shot Tyler". REALLY MSW WRITERS? REALLY?

“Anybody could have reached into the unlocked gun cabinet by the door and shot Tyler”. REALLY MSW WRITERS? REALLY?

Carlton’s reaction to being discovered as the crooked murdering miner is to try and kidnap Jess, but is thwarted by dem meddling kids.

Carlton went into the corn and was never seen again. And by corn I mean jail.

Carlton went into the corn and was never seen again. And by corn I mean jail.

Now, case closed and I have a confession to make. If it seems like I was vaguely disinterested in this episode it was because a)I refer you to Carlton’s speech about the gun rack and b) whenever I see Megan Mulally in anything these days the following thing happens in my brain:

 

Brain: Huh, Megan Mullally is in this.

Brain: She’s married to Nick Offerman.

Brain: Nick Offerman is Ron Swanson in Parks and Rec.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8ZpEokvNCQ

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

S05E04 – Snow White, Blood Red

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I’m going to just come right out and say it – this episode is misleading. From the title I was expecting JB was going to have seven jaunty sidekicks  to help her solve the crime BUT IT DIDN’T HAPPEN WHAT THE HELL WRITERS.

And then there’s the summary on IMDB:

A massive storm results in Jessica snowed in at a ski lodge with an Olympic men’s ski team…

Say what now?

…with a murderer on the loose.

Still, I’m pretty sure JB was devastated to be trapped with the American men’s ski team. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

JB is on a ski holiday awaiting the arrival of Grady Failure (who never turns up, classic Grady) and making friends with the aforementioned US ski team and ski shop owner (and recently retired team member) Mike Lowery and his wife Anne who have a convenient plot point hanging in their store.

This crossbow would later be stolen by Daryl Dixon and used to kill zombies #factsIjustmadeup

This crossbow would later be stolen by Daryl Dixon and used to kill zombies #factsIjustmadeup

Sidenote: the actress who plays Mike’s wife Anne was once in a movie with Billy Bob Thornton called Copper Chicks in Zombieland and I would like to know why I’m only finding out about this now?

I’m getting sidetracked again.

Anyway, it turns out it’s actually the trials for the US Men’s Ski Team and noone’s place is secured, except for renowned lothario and recent meddler in Mike and Anne’s marriage, Gunnar Tilstrom, previously seen as Little John in Robin Hood: Men In Tights.

 

*commences singing "We're Men, We're Men In Tights" for 45 minutes*

*commences singing “We’re Men, We’re Men In Tights” for 45 minutes*

Gunnar is accosted by a woman named Pamela Leeds in the lodge bar who wants know what he was thinking messing around with a gangsters wife in Lake Tahoe, and why is there rumours that he won’t compete in the World Cup. Gunnar is more interested in his beer than answering her questions, even though she’s threatening to tear up the lucrative contract he signed to endorse her company’s product. He’s even less interested in talking to his coach, Karl Andersen who is slightly miffed when he hears via Pamela that Gunnar might not even compete. Gunnar’s response is to shove his coach to the ground and flounce out.

Later that evening Jess arrives to dinner and makes friends with former NYPD cop Ed McMasters and his wife Sylvia. While they eat and Ed talks about retirement the band pause for shoutouts to some of the potential ski team members – Larry McIver, John Dowd (who was in the Irish Riddle Murder She Wrote movie as Irish Pat Cash/fake Bono) and Gunnar, who is sitting with Anne Lowery, much to the disgust of her husband Mike who scowls and leaves the bar. Early the next morning, and despite a snowstorm, Gunnar decides to go for one last run – and is shot to death with a crossbow. How very Walking Dead.

The storm has hit the resort hard and it’s bedlam in the lobby. JB jokingly asks Pamela whether she should take a number and Pamela replies that she thinks it’s women and children first, but this is America so who knows?

USA! USA! USA!

USA! USA! USA!

Word gets back to Mike that Gunnar has been found dead on the ski slope and is horrified to discover his crossbow is missing. They get in touch with the sheriff via radio but the storm has made it impossible for them to get in. They need someone to work in the meantime to protect the evidence and protect the nervous guests, and there’s only one person for the job.

She's just perfect, really.

She’s just perfect, really.

Jess points out there’s a former NYPD detective staying at the lodge but Anne informs her that they left early and got out before the storm hit. And really, she’d end up doing all the work anyway, lets face it.

JB’s first order of business is to examine the body and recruits the closest doctor she can find to assist. Unfortunately the closest person is a gynecologist and he’s not enjoying himself.

A writer, a cop and a gynecologist walk into a bar...

A writer, a cop and a gynecologist walk into a bar…

The cop and the gynecologist, recognising the skills, leave the body to Jess, who finds Gunnar’s room key in his pocket and decides to go check out his room. On the way she bumps into Anne who tells her Gunnar received an urgent phone message that morning from someone called Vicki with a Nevada number. Jess tries the number and finds out that the number belongs to a Vicky Tartaglia and whoever is on the other line is not pleased someone is calling.

In Gunnar’s room Jess finds Mike acting shady. It turns out he was looking for Anne’s cigarette lighter that she left in Gunnar’s room the previous evening AWKWARD. He insists that his wife had nothing to with Gunnar’s death, and he knows this because he was spying on her and she didn’t leave Gunnar’s room until well after seven, after the time of death. Oh dear this is awkward.

Downstairs in the bar Gunnar’s teammates are commemorating their friend by getting wildly drunk, much to the disapproval of team member Larry who leaves them to it. Jess has a chat with Pamela, who at first tells her she barely knew Gunnar but then relents and tells Jess of his habit of ladychasing, allegedly including the mobster’s wife in Lake Tahoe. Jess asks if the woman’s surname was Tartaglia but Pamela is not sure. JB suggests that Pamela sounds a little bitter for someone with no personal relationship with Gunnar and Pamela tells her that yes, considering the contract he signed and the fact he was throwing it away due to his philandering, she was bitter and she could have killed him.

Case closed, let's celebrate with a drink!

Case closed, let’s celebrate with a drink!

Later, the snow is still coming down and Pamela is in the gym having a chat to Larry, who is still unhappy about the wake and is now unhappy that Pamela is sniffing around looking for his signature. Despite her protests that she’s just there working out, he departs to get  changed. Pamela is about to do the same when she is accosted by a drunk Viking in the form of Karl, Gunnar’s coach, who accuses her of looking for a way to get out of Gunnar’s contract, and if he finds out she had anything to do with Gunnar’s death, he’ll kill her. Rattled, she goes into the changerooms and finds Larry’s clothes on the floor and Larry hanging from the shower head after being shot by an arrow. Cue Psycho violins.

While Pamela recovers, Ed McMasters provides the update – Larry was whacked on the head in the mens room, then strung up and shot in the ladies. Anne Lowery appears to inform them that the phone lines are down. JB remembers seeing a four-wheel-drive in the carpark with a CB radio and suggests it would be worth trying to get in touch with the sheriff about that. McMasters decides to have a chat with Karl the Viking in the mean time.

Mike and JB have no luck with the sheriff and return to the store. Jess asks Mike if there was any specific reason why he invited his former team mates to the mountain that weekend and Mike shrugs, saying it was good for business. They are interupted by John Dowd falling through a curtain, shot in the shoulder with a crossbow.

To make matters worse, he has a terrible allergic reaction.

The poor poor man.

The poor poor man.

Meanwhile, in the hall outside John’s room:

And then the musical episode we had to have.

And then the musical episode we had to have.

Jess is convinced that the killer is left handed, and that two of the attacks were an attempt to divert suspicion from the main target. But as to who the target was, she can’t say.

Later that night, while the storm continues going about its stormy business, Jess gets a phone call from Ed’s wife Sylvia. Ed got a phone call, grabbed his gun and rushed out, and now Sylvia’s worried, so worried that she’s jangling bells. Jess rugs up and hunts for Ed at the ski shop. She meets him outside and he tells her someone called to say that they had information and to meet outside the ski shop. Jess suspects it’s a trap, confirmed by the arrow that is now sticking out of the sign above her head. They hear an engine rev and see a… sled? One of those motorised ones? I am against cold weather for moral reasons so in this area I am not entirely down with the lingo. Point is, it’s just come crashing out of the shed and Ed shoots off a couple of rounds, stopping the driver with the crossbow in his tracks.

It’s Karl Anderssen. No more drunk viking. Which in my opinion is the best kind of viking so that’s sad.

Ed McMasters feels the case is closed, but JB is not so sure. She enlists the help of the poor gynaecologist to extract the bullets from Karl’s body, as she suspects Karl might have been shot twice. The gyno guy is still not happy.

ICE TO SEE YOU. I don't care what anyone says, Batman and Robin is gold.

ICE TO SEE YOU. I don’t care what anyone says, Batman and Robin is gold.

JB has a quick look in the shed, notices the phone and is about to return to the lodge when she whacks some sleigh bells hanging on the wall. Tis the season, I suppose.

But that triggers something in the old brain palace for our friend JB.

Think I prefer Masters of Sex to be honest. That's a great show.

Think I prefer Masters of Sex to be honest. That’s a great show.

Ah yes. The old “pretend to be a cop and bump off some bloke that had been shagging the boss’s wife” routine.

Until next time.

Later gang!

Later gang!

S05E03 – Mr Penroy’s Vacation

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Thank you all for your lovely wishes about Dad. It’s been a rough couple of months, and we all miss him dreadfully but we are getting there xox.

Back in Cabot Cove this week Fletcherfans, where we find Mr Maurice Penroy going about his Penroy business and generally Penroying about.

What a dapper fellow

What a dapper fellow

Mr Penroy is having a marvelous day in the Cove. The Mayor has just reminded him to remember to register to vote, it’s his birthday party the next day and he has big plans for proposing to one of his landladies, but when a young bloke jumps over the fence and says hello (and another dude hides behind a tree and eavesdrops…and another is lurking outside his house when he gets home) the Penster is less than amused. It would seem Sir Pen of Roy has a SHADY PAST.

Meanwhile, Our Heroine is wrapping the Penster’s present when Seth arrives for help wrapping his present – a tie he got from Amos the previous Christmas. Classic Seth. JB is amazed to think that it’s been a whole month since Amos retired and went home to Kentucky. Seth is deeply suspicious of the new sheriff, Mort Metzger, a city cop who retired to Cabot Cove to get some peace and quiet with his wife the ‘energetic’ Adele. Jess still can’t believe Seth is going to give Maurice Penroy the tie, but Seth thinks it will be perfect on his honeymoon. Jess refuses to believe that one of Penroy’s landlords, Lillian and Helen Appletree are going to give up their renowned spinsterhood and marry Maurice Penroy but Seth is adamant his gossip is reliable.

Speaking of the Sheriff, the Mayor has just found him coming out of Brimley’s sports store with a set of golf clubs and is aghast to learn the new Sheriff has plans to get in 18 holes the next day while his deputies handle anything that comes up.

Says Sheriff Metzger:

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You said it Amos. Incidentally, you may recognise Sheriff Metzger from such times as these ones.

Down at the Appletree’s Helen and Lillian are getting ready for the party by baking a cake and digging a hole to bury the late Maurice Penroy in, protected by the Appletree’s best tablecloth that was embroidered by Helen herself.

Wait, what?

The next day, while the Mayor’s dog Winston investigate the newly dug petunia bed in the garden, Jessica and the Appletree sisters lament that Maurice Penroy was “called away” to “attend a sick friend”.  Seth’s not buying it – he thinks Maurice got cold feet about the wedding Seth is convinced was about to happen. The guests are soon joined by Reverend Wilfred Smythe-with-an-E, actually one of Penroy’s visitors in disguise, who has come to wish his friend a happy birthday. He is alarmed when the sisters, Jess and Seth tell him that Penroy has left town and might be gone some time.

That night, while the sisters argue over who is going to forge Mr Penroy’s signature on his pension check so they can cash it at the bank the next day when they hear loud thumps coming from upstairs. Since they can’t call Amos on account of Amos being away, and they can’t call Mort on account of “He’s not one of us,” they decide to take matters into their own hands.

Cut to the exterior where the man masquerading as Reverend Wilfred Smythe-with-an-E is on the ground with a pitchfork sticking out of him, and Helen and Lillian are digging another hole in their garden.

Wait, WHAT?

The next morning Jess runs into the Appletree sisters at the bank and tells them what a pity it is that Mr Penroy couldn’t make his party, and that his friend the Reverend missed him. Lillian tells her that she felt Mr Penroy was there – in spirit – and the Reverend called to get the address of Penroy’s sick friend, and that he was going to the same place as Mr Penroy. On her bike ride home she runs into the Mayor trying to train Winston, who is more interested in returning to the Appletree’s garden and digging up Mr Penroy.

Sheriff Metzger is quickly called and demands answers. JB suggests the sisters might need more gentle handling and goes to see what she can find out – noticing the tablecloth that was covering him. Inside, the sisters plead ignorance about everything – although Lillian slips when Jessica makes a comment about Helen’s potential wedding to Maurice Penroy. Jess notices napkins with the same embroidery as the tablecloth outside but the sisters are adamant that they threw the tablecloth out months ago. Sheriff Metzger comes in to put the hard word on the sisters when his deputy comes in to announce they’ve found another body, a minister this time.

I love these two.

I love these two.

After taking the sisters in for questioning, JB and Mort return to the Appletree house to search for evidence. They find Penroy’s suitcases in the cupboard and Mort is convinced the sisters are guilty. Before he can go down to the basement to search for more evidence/bodies there’s a knock at the door. It’s Maurice Penroy’s wife, Marilee.

WAIT, WHAT?

After collapsing upon hearing of the death of her husband, Seth is called and takes her back to her hotel room. JB and Mort return to the sheriff’s office with the pitchfork they found that Mort is convinced is the murder weapon. They are soon joined by Seth, and a visitor – Bart Klapper, special investigator for the Boston and Western Railroad, aka Penroy’s former employers. He’s on the trail of 5 million dollars that went missing after an armed robbery perpetrated by the three men who came to see Penroy – the punk, the one hiding behind the tree and the non-priest. Jess wonders why Penroy concealed his marriage and Bart tells her Penroy was never married – that woman was married to Cliff the not-priest. Helen and Lillian are released without charge.

Jess isn’t entirely satisfied with events and goes to see the sisters at home. They explain that Penroy died of a heart attack while proposing to Helen, and that they aren’t sure what happened to Cliff the non-priest. One minute they heard someone in the room upstairs, then they heard someone shout something like Holy and then they found Cliff with the pitchfork in him which they later disguised as irons for the fireplace. Jess asks them if anything was missing from Penroy’s room and they tell her the only thing missing was Penroy’s collection of baggage claim tickets.

Across town, Mort and one of his deputies arrest the two remaining suspects in the train robbery; Daryl the punk and Ole the dude-behind-the-tree. Jess asks about the money but Mort hasn’t found it yet. It suddenly occurs to him that there might be a reward and when he calls the company they confirm 10% of the recovered amount will be offered as a reward – and that Bart Klapper doesn’t work for them any more.

Meanwhile, the sisters have suddenly remembered the trunk they were storing for Penroy and head down to the basement to see what’s inside – they aren’t disappointed, it’s full of sweet sweet money. Their excitement is shortlived, however, when the thief tries to collect – Bart Klapper, who pulls a fire iron on them. Fortunately Mort appears to save the day.

But there’s the small matter of the missing suitcase of claim checks. And the murder of the not-priest Cliff. But Jess, thankfully, has it all worked out. I’m still wondering why Helen and Lillian didn’t get their own spin-off series.

Oh, yes, right.

Oh, yes, right.

Long story short, Cliff the not-priest left her when he finally got wind of some money, so she retaliated by stabbing him with a pitchfork and stealing a suitcase load of worthless ticket stubs. That old chestnut.

Until next time.

Later gang

Later gang

 

 

And now, a word from our sponsor

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On October 3 my Dad passed away suddenly while travelling around Australia with my Mum on a yearlong road trip. He was 58 years old.

This pic is from my 21st birthday, which was 10 years and five months ago.

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Almost certainly drunk though.

In the last couple of weeks a lot of people have told me about how Dad shaped their taste in music and I certainly know the feeling. My childhood was The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin and The Eagles and I love them even more now because when I listen to them I can hear my Dad singing (badly) in the background while doing his little groovy dance that was somewhere between drunk Boris Yeltsin and a chicken.

The blog is going on hiatus for a couple of weeks, but it will be back. In the meantime, here’s a song Dad loved that my uncle and his mates played at the memorial we had for him on Tuesday. Do me a favour and play it loud.

Love you forever Dad.

S05E02 – A Little Night Work

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Back in NYC Fletcherfans, where Our Heroine is attending a political fundraiser on the invitation of Theo Wexler, who is introducing her to all the attending bigwigs as her new literary agent.

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Classic Klinger

Classic Klinger

Turns out that’s a bit of an overstatement – what’s actually happening is that her agent retired and he’s taken over the business, and is desperate to keep her at the agency (and isn’t doing a great job of it so far).

Among the other guests at the party are Axel Weingard and his wife Marta, who don’t seem to be enjoying each other’s company, Miles Hatcher, a real estate broker, and this guy.

THIS GUY. I'll get to him later.

Dennis Stanton. I’ll get to him later.

Meanwhile I don’t think JB is having such a great night.

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE

JB is saved by the Andy the waiter from South Carolina, who brings coffee and lots of admiration.  Turns out Andy is a budding writer himself, and if she had a second, he could really use her advice. Alas his boss spots him chatting and he scurries off again just as JB gets a visit from the mysterious Dennis Stanton requesting the pleasure of the next dance.  JB accepts, but not before confirming that he’s not another literary agent.

“Not at all. My motives are highly personal and only moderately selfish.” Says Dennis.

Uh oh.

After a brief but dominating waltz…

At least these people know when to get out of the way

At least these people know when to get out of the way

…JB retires for the evening, but her night ain’t over yet.

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WHAT THE HELL.

WHAT THE HELL. (Although it turns out the actor who plays Dennis Stanton is Australian, so it actually makes more sense now)

“Hello again Jessica, I was in the neighbourhood so I thought I’d sort of drop in.” Says Dennis. He thanks her from saving him from no end of embarrassment and departs – only to return a second later saying “on the other hand, there’s no sense in rushing off, care to offer me a nightcap?”

JB demands an explanation but Dennis says he has to be discrete and would JB do him a favour and tell anyone who knocks at the door that he’d been in her room for the last half an hour?

You don't just come in off the balcony expecting booze and alibis Dennis. (Unless you're me. Then I expect those things)

You don’t just come in off the balcony expecting booze and alibis Dennis. (Unless you’re me. Then I expect those things)

“Then you’d rather see me shredded like a cabbage by an irate husband?” Says Dennis.

Huh. I see how this is.

Dennis decides the coast is clear and bids JB good night, saying that meeting her was a delight he will cherish forever.

Jess NO

Jess NO

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What is this episode?

What is this episode?

As JB dwells on this, Dennis the Menace departs the hotel, carefully avoiding the crowd out the front and the swarm of police cars that just arrived. SHADY STANTON.

The next morning JB gets a visit from Andy the waiter who bribed his way up with her breakfast so he could continue the conversation they were having the previous evening. Unfortunately for Andy Jess has just noticed an article in the paper about a jewellery theft that happened the previous evening. Someone stole Marta Weingard’s necklace between 12 and 12:30am – the same time Dennis the Menace was acting all shady in Jess’s room. Apparently Mrs Weingard was very upset – but noone knows what Axel thinks about it all, as he’s disappeared. Jess asks Andy if it’s possible that the Weingard penthouse could be above her hotel room, and it turns out that it is. JB has an inkling she knows who the burglad is, and departs, telling Andy she’ll talk to him later about his book.

Downstairs JB finds Lieutenant Alffano studying the newly discovered body of Axel Weingard, who had been dumped in a maid’s laundry basket and taken down to the basement. Alffano listens to JB’s description of Dennis Stanton the previous evening while across town Theo Wexler is telling Miles Hatcher that he’s not investing in his condo development, as he heard Axel Weingard was about to pull out of the project. Miles concedes he’s having a problem with Axel but points out that Theo hates Axel just as much as Miles does. Their meeting ends with the arrival of JB, who is set to tell Theo that she’s going to find another agent. Theo begs her to stay, saying they’re in a bit of  a mess financially, and Weingard’s publishing company dropped four of Theo’s clients for no reason. JB informs Theo that Weingard has ceased to be, and Theo gets on the phone to his broker immediately to dump his stock in Axel’s company.

Leaving Theo’s office (and presumably on the hunt for a new agent), JB bumps in to Dennis the Menace loitering outside. He remembered she had an appointment at Theo’s office and to show there were no hard feelings about her sicking the police on to him he’s decided to take her to lunch at a Burmese restaurant. JB is not swayed and demands answers, like what’s this she hears about an alibi for the theft/murder? Dennis tells her that as far as the police know he was playing gin rummy with councilman Wellington Kendall until the wee hours, and yes that was techincally a lie but the lady he was visiting was married.

“Don’t you mean was?” Says JB.

“What an opinion you must have of me.” Says Dennis, scandalised. He’s already moved on to bigger and better ideas though, like having JB for dinner that night. She tells him she’s going back to Boston on the 5pm flight, but that next time she’s in town they’ll have a date.

Back in her hotel room JB is packing up ready to go when she gets another unexpected visitor on her balcony – this time it’s Shannon McBride, special claims investigator for Sasquahana Fire and Casualty insurance company. Her company holds the paper on the missing necklace, and she has some questions for JB after learning that Dennis Stanton was in her room the previous evening. JB confirms that he was but says she’s having trouble getting people to believe her. Shannon does, saying  that Councilman Wellington Kendall is Dennis’s brother in law, and that he’s been alibiing Dennis for years. She can’t prove it, but she thinks Dennis the Menace is a cat burglar, and tells JB to tell Dennis there’s a hundred grand reward for the return of the necklace, and fifty for JB if she talks Dennis into returning it.

As Shannon deprats JB gets a call from Lieutenant Alffano. They’ve arrested a suspect – but it’s Andy the waiter and he’s not asking for a lawyer he’s asking for JB.

Naturally.

It turns out Andy sent his book to Axel’s publishing company the previous year, and while they didn’t publish it they did rip it off and put out a similar book. JB is perplexed as Andy explains the plot and wonders how he can be so angry Weingard stole his idea when Andy stole it from Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Andy tells her he didn’t steal it, he adapted it, and it was his idea first.

JB has some followup questions for Lieutenant Alffano, namely how did the thief get the necklace off the neck of Marta Weingard. Alffano explains that she took it off following a fight with her husband and threw it at her husband before going off to get some air/sober up. JB tells him it makes absolutely no sense that Andy would steal the necklace if he wanted revenge for the book situation. She’s convinced Dennis is involved, and has an idea for proving it. She calls him and says her plans have changed, and he is delighted to hear she’ll be coming for dinner. Off the phone, Lieutenant Alffano is impressed with her nerve, but JB has more important things on her mind like getting her hands on the case report.

That night, Alffano drives her to Stanton’s apartment and gives her a transmitter so they can listen in on their conversation. JB asks him about a couple of points in the case report, namely a red carnation petal with a drop of blood on it, which wasn’t the victims, and the scratches on the victims hand. Alffano confirms they think the carnation belonged to the killer but that they aren’t sure what caused the scratches on Axel’s hand.

Upstairs, Dennis asks what caused JB’s change of plans and she tells him she has a message for him from Shannon McBride. He correctly assumes it’s about the reward and tells JB that Shannon has been after him for years, convinced of his guilt. JB charms him into playing a ‘what if’ and the truth comes out – Dennis is a cat burglar, but only steals high end items from people who can afford it, and are insured with Sasquahana Fire and Casualty – the company that wouldn’t pay his late wife’s medical bills and left him in debt a quarter of a million dollars in debt. He exacted revenge by stealing items insured by the company – he made his money back years ago, now he’s just sticking it to the man. But he didn’t kill Axel Weingard, and he regrets to tell her that he didn’t even steal the necklace. When he went up to steal it he heard Axel Weingard arguing with someone and retreated to the bedroom. He went back for a second look after about 20 minutes and found the room (and the safe) empty. The arrival of Mrs Weingard saw him retreat to the balcony and drop in on JB.

JB asks him if he didn’t go into the lounge room like he claims then how did a red petal get in there as it says in the police report. Dennis asks her if she’s in the habit of reading police reports, finds the transmitter and legs it off the fire escape before the NYPD burst through the door.

Back at the precinct Shannon McBride is convinced of his guilt and tells them her report will be the same way. JB convinces Lieutenant Alffano that Andy is innocent and Alffano releases him. Later, he calls her to tell her that Dennis is almost certainly guilty, and that he’s just called his brother in law to say he’s leaving town but that once he’s sold the merchandise he’ll send him a piece of the action.

JB and a red carnation say differently.

Foiled by a red carnation

Foiled by a red carnation

Miles admits to everything, strangling Axel when he refused to stay a partner in the business deal, dumping the body and stealing the necklace in order to make it look like a robbery.

And what of Dennis? Thanks to some slick lawyering, a suspended sentence and some probation. But his thieving days are over. So he says. I think this isn’t the last we’re going to hear of Dennis the Menace.

And on that note

 

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

 

S05E01 – J.B as in Jail Bird

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Welcome to season five Fletcherfans! Only seven more seasons to go! This must be how it feels to run a marathon :S

JB is in San Francisco this week, and whatever plans she had planned have fallen apart very quickly thanks to an old friend.

This can only mean trouble.

This can only mean trouble.

JB bumped into him leaving the airport, and gentleman that he is he offered her a lift to her hotel, Unfortunately it’s all gone a bit wrong and he’s now on the trail of some Bulgarian dude who hightails it out of a hotel room window and down the fire escape. He tries to hijack the car containing JB but as she helpfully points out that she doesn’t have the keys and she doesn’t know how to drive, shots ring out and he collapses. Jess looks up just in time to see Hegarty scarper as the police cars make an unexpectedly quick arrival leaving Jess no time to do anything but pick up the book the dead Hungarian had in his pocket.

Damn it Hegarty!

Classic Hegarty

Classic Hegarty move

While JB gets hauled off to the cop shop Hegarty is back at base listening to his boss list all the things he is going to throw at Hegarty for stuffing up the mission.

Hegarty is a bit cranky and tells his boss that he didn’t shoot the guy, it was their arch nemesis the Cobra, a deadly assassin who has evaded capture for some time. Lancaster is vaguely appeased but is still furious that Hegarty got a civilian involved. She’ll talk to the police! She’ll talk to the press! She’ll compromise everything!

Hegarty assures his boss that he has JB covered. At least, temporarily.

Down at the police station JB is trying to persuade the detectives to let her go, but they aren’t having it. They want to know her real name and nationality. When she tells them her name is Jessica Fletcher from Cabot Cove Maine they tell her the REAL Jessica Fletcher reported her bag and luggage stolen from the airport. Sergeant Nash orders her to be booked as a Jane Doe. JB tells them she was supposed to be meeting her nephew Grady who is in town on business. He’ll vouch for her.

Oh dear.

Back at base, Lancaster, Hegarty and his colleague Roger Travis assess the situation. There’s an African politician coming to give a speech at Berkeley in a few days, to publicly shame his home country. The ruling party can’t bump the guy off at home but sources indicate that the Cobra has been hired for half a million bucks to assassinate him. Lancaster says the Americans don’t believe there’s a threat so they’re on their own. Hegarty is furious, saying that if it all goes wrong the Americans don’t have to worry about the clean-up in Africa, they do. Travis says they already have a mess to clean up thanks to Hegarty’s panicky trigger finger. They nearly come to blows before Lancaster threatens to get out his axe again. They calm down, but not before Travis warns Hegarty not to say any more.

BY THE POWER VESTED IN ME BY ME I DECLARE TODAY TO BE REX MANNING DAY

BY THE POWER VESTED IN ME BY ME I DECLARE TODAY TO BE REX MANNING DAY

Back at the precinct JB is in a holding cell bored out of her brains when Sergeant Nash arrives with Grady. He asks Grady if this woman is his aunt and he tells the sergeant he’s never seen this woman before in his life.

Really though, what did you think was going to happen? Grady barely knows who HE is

Really though, what did you think was going to happen? Grady barely knows who HE is

Outside, Nash tells Grady that the woman pretending to be his aunt iced a Commie in an alleyway. Grady is flabbergasted – that sweet old woman? Nash shrugs and tells Grady to get his aunt to call him when she gets a chance. In his office, Nash finds a detective from Miami going through a file on his desk. Detective Santiago tells him he recognised the MO of the Bulgarian’s murder as they had something similar in Miami six months earlier and a description of the killer matched JB.

Hegarty catches up to Grady outside the police station to confirm he didn’t identify his aunt. Grady is horrified that he helped keep his aunt in jail on a murder charge but Hegarty insists it’s for her safety and explains the situation with the assassination attempt. Grady insists that he help the case (oh for crying out loud) and Hegarty tells him to go back to his hotel room and call if anyone turns up asking for Jess.

Meanwhile, Santiago and Nash continue interrogating JB, and she’s rapidly losing patience. She tells them to do a nitrate test to prove that she didn’t fire a gun, but they point out she was wearing gloves. She snaps and tells them to test the gloves then,  and Santiago asks her how come she knows so much about nitrate tests. She tells him it’s her business to know – then seeing his reaction hastens to add she’s a mystery writer. She insists on her phone call to her attorney but Nash says her attorney is already here.

Oh look, now he’s Clark Kent.

Genius.

Cunningly disguised in glasses and a thick southern accent Hegarty explains the situation to JB and says it will only be for a few more days. JB is furious, but decides to make the best of a bad situation and asks for the book she had when she was arrested (that she lifted from the dead Bulgarian) so she could “finish reading”.

Meanwhile back at his hotel, Grady finds a mysterious blonde banging on the door looking for Jess. She says she’s Glenda Morrison, the one writing a piece about JB for the Chonicle and that JB needs to get in touch, pronto. Grady alerts Hegarty who isn’t particularly concerned until Grady reports that he rang the Chronicle and they’d never heard of a Glenda Morrison. While Grady searches for the phone number to show Hegarty, a car pulls up across the street, and Hegarty spots a gun barrel sticking out of the window. He tackles Grady to the ground as shots ring out and the car screeches off. Grady is hysterical and calms down only when Hegarty tells him the bullet was probably meant for him. Hegarty tells Grady to go back to his hotel, while he baits and casts another line.

Back at the precinct Nash has a visit from Kevin Styles from the State Department, looking for a copy of the file and checking in on the investigation. He tells them that they’re reporting it to the Bulgarians as a robbery turned homicide which Santiago thinks makes no sense as there was nothing found on the ‘Jane Doe’. The Jane Doe herself is still kicking back in her cell, investigating the book when she gets a visit from Rex Manning Travis, who tells her that they know she and Hegarty were in it together and that if she comes clean they can cut her a deal. JB decides to call the guard instead and Travis (with an inexplicable Australian accent) slinks off again. JB’s next door neighbour overhears the conversation and says “Gee honey, I had you figured for shoplifting or maybe kiting cheques but murder…Jessica, I knew you had class.”

Indeed

Indeed

Meanwhile, Grady and Hegarty lure Glenda Thompson back to the hotel to find out who she really is, and are a little disappointed to discover that all she lied about was working for the Chronicle. She’s working freelance and was planning to sell the article about JB to Rolling Stone. Hegarty checks in on JB who tells him about her visitor and he correctly guesses it was Travis.  She asks what happened to the payoff money and Hegarty tells her his theory that there was never any money, as half a mill would be too bulky. Instead it would be something less obvious like a cheque or an account number, and judging on what’s happened since, the Cobra hasn’t received whatever it was. JB has had enough of Hegarty’s shenanigans and demands to be released. Back to the cell she goes. and as she’s flicking through the book again she notices the postage stamp on the postcard that was being used as a bookmark. With a smile she asks her neighbour Veronica for writing materials. She’s going to write a letter.

Across town, Grady is taking the spying business a little too seriously.

You're an idiot Grady.

You’re an idiot Grady.

The subject of Grady’s clandestine viewing is Glenda Morrison, who is covertly following Detective Santiago for reasons noone has bothered to make clear so let’s not dwell on that. Santiago goes in to Grady’s room, Glenda follows him and Grady follows Glenda. Sensing them behind him, Santiago pulls his gun. He explains he was looking for…something? Seriously though, why is he even there? They don’t know they have Jess in custody, why are they searching the room? And why hasn’t Jess told someone to go buy her book to prove who she is?

Anyway.

JB has a viist from Kevin Styles, the guy from the State Department, arrives to check on JB who tells him that her identity is easily proven if he goes to the nearest bookstore…oh there you go. Thanks MSW writers. He asks her if he can get her anything, and notices the book on her bed. He decides after close examination that he’s read that one, and leaves, but promises to return and bail her out if he can confirm her identity. Nash soon appears to tell JB’s neighbour Veronica to get ready for court. After he departs, JB asks Veronica for a favour – can she call Grady from the courthouse and pass a message on?

Back at their top secret base, Travis tells Lancaster of his suspicions that Hegarty killed the Bulgarian. Fed up, Lancaster tells Travis to tell Hegarty he wants to speak to him but Travis tells him Hegarty has been AWOL for the last hour.

Kevin Styles returns to see JB but instead of bailing her out he demands the stamp. It turns out the stamp is worth 3 million dollars. It also turns out Kevin Styles doesn’t work for the State Department. He works for himself. In a way.

Wait, what?

Wait, what?

The Cobra tells JB that he has Grady, and that if he doesn’t walk out of there with the stamp, Grady’s in trouble. JB tells him the stamp is in her shoe, and kicks it off for him. It lands at the edge of the cell, and as the Cobra bends down a hand holding a gun shoots through the bars and around his neck.

Wait, WHAT?

Wait, WHAT?

And there you have it. And I’ve watched this episode twice now and I’ve only just realised that the reason why JB asked for writing materials is because she wanted to swap out the expensive rare stamp for another one to lure the Cobra. At least, I think that’s what was happening. At this point I don’t even know.

So until next time…

Sometimes I hit pause at precisely the wrong time. This is not one of those times.

Sometimes I hit pause at precisely the wrong time. This is not one of those times.

 

 

S04E22 – Body Politic

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Down in Ohio this week Fletcherfans, where JB is visiting her friend Kathleen Laine who is running for state senate. Unfortunately for Kathleen, all anyone (particularly TV host Edmund Hall) wants to talk about is her love life and rumours that she’s been cheating on her husband and resident wealthy dude Jackson with her campaign manager Bud Johnson.

Oh the 80s. Isn’t it great that in 2014 politicians don’t resort to cheap tactics and focus on issues?

*Tumbleweed blows past, crickets chirp*

Indeed.

Unfortunately that is the least of Kathleen’s problems though, as her speechwriter has also resigned. So when JB arrives to help drum up support for her friend’s campaign, Kathleen has a favour to ask – would JB stay and be speech writer?

“Look, Kathleen, if you give me a good juicy murder and a few suspects my imagination will swing into high gear but speechifying? I’m not sure I could write on a soapbox!” says JB.

YOU GUYS JB SAID SPEECHIFYING! The only person I hear say ‘speechifying’ is me when I”m pretending to be a a country lawyer in a 1950s courtroom drama (and you’d be surprised how often this happens, I do get bored doing the dishes).

Anyway, JB is ultimately persuaded by her friend’s campaign slogan and agrees to stay for a week.

I didn't work it out until I IMDB'd. Side note that top is amazing.

I didn’t work it out until I IMDB’d. Side note that top is amazing.

The next day Edmund Hall gets an anonymous tip to go to the train station, where he gets a call on a payphone with instructions to open the phone book. Someone has very conveniently left him a key to a locker and inside the locker – an envelope containing something so shocking Ed Hall’s face begins to twitch with delight.

Meanwhile, JB is hard at work on Kathleen’s next campaign speech and getting tips from Bud. Another member of staff, Nan Wynn, arrives back from a campaign stop and tells them that the Party Chairman invited Kathleen around to his house for dinner after her speech at the old folks home.

Later that night while Jess is getting ready for bed, the eleven o’clock news comes on and it is soon revealed just what had Ed Hall palpitating with delight – pictures of Bud and Kathleen. IN THEIR BATHING SUITS! SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

Jess tries to call Kathleen’s room but there’s no answer. On her way over she bumps into Nan who has also seen the news. She can’t find Kathleen or Bud. The mystery is soon resolved when Kathleen pulls up in the campaign car downstairs to find police and onlookers surrounding the body of Bud the campaign manager – an apparent suicide.

While being questioned by local cop Lieutenant Gowans it is revealed that Bud fell from Kathleen’s hotel room balcony, while wearing her robe. Kathleen has no explanation for this, but insists she wasn’t having an affair with Bud. She gets a phone call from her husband who tells her he’s an hour away. Meanwhile, Gowan’s minions have found something in Bud’s room – specifically his pants. JB takes note of this while pointing out to Gowans that his fingerprint dude didn’t find one print on the balcony door, and that it would be weird for someone committing suicide to wipe their own prints off the handle.

Gowan confronts Kathleen with the photos but she still insists that they weren’t having an affair.  Gowans tells her that they have established time of death to be just after the news bulletin aired, and could she confirm where she was? JB tells him she was at the party chairman’s house but Kathleen tells them that when she got there noone answered the door so she sat in her car for half an hour and drove back to the hotel. With that she goes to her new room to wait for Jackson. In her old room, Gowans finds a note with polling numbers scribbled on it showing Kathleen trailing her opponent Arthur Drelinger by only 7 points. Nan tells them that she wrote the note but pushed it under the door when she realised Kathleen wasn’t back in her room (or didn’t want to be disturbed). She hadn’t told anyone else about the new poll. Upstairs, Kathleen assures Jackson that she wasn’t having an affair and he believes her. Yay!

The next morning Kathleen and Jackson call a press conference to present a united front and smack down the unbelievers including Edmund Hall. Jackson tells reporters he believes his wife, and that since she’s only 7 points down in the polls he believes she’ll win on primary day. Everything is awesome until Edmund Hall starts insinuating that Kathleen killed Bud and so Jackson goes ballistic. FFS SOMEONE CALL OLIVIA POPE.

Down at the police station Gowans is convinced that Kathleen killed Bud but hasn’t worked out how to prove it yet. He admits to JB that due to insufficient evidence the case might not ever get to trial if Kathleen was even arrested. JB is furious, as her friend is already facing a trial by media, and asks Gowans if he’d considered the possibility that someone was setting Kathleen up. He tells her that yes, the thought had crossed his mind.

“Well next time it starts crossing, Lieutenant, please stop it half way and give it some attention. I have known this woman for seventeen years and believe me, she is incapable of deceit or subterfuge. And also she is incapable of committing murder.” JB declares.

The crowd goes wild (I call myself the crowd now).

“I get it, she’s your friend I understand.” Gowans says in a tone that can only be described as Horrifyingly Patronising,

*pew pew* (I wish I could do this though)

*pew pew* (I wish I could do this though)

 

Back at the hotel Jess is waylaid by Edmund Hall who would like to offer her an open invitation to appear on his show. She tells him she will consider it if he tells her the source of the photos. Eddie is forced to admit he has no idea, he got an anonymous phone call that paid off, but he doesn’t want that info getting out.

e2

d2

JB goes to see Kathleen who is flummoxed by the thought that someone killed Bud to win an election. JB asks her about the failed dinner with the party chairman and Kathleen tells her that he never called – someone pretending to be him called Nan to set the meeting up/lure her away from the hotel. Jess decides it’s time to visit the source of Kathleen’s troubles.

Great minds think alike. Gowans pays a visit to Arthur Drelinger and his campaign manager (and shady character) CW Butterfield and discovers that their alibi is a little on the hazy side. On his way out Gowans bumps into JB and tells her that her speech got to him so he’s trying to tie off loose ends, and getting nowhere. JB has a different line of questioning, specifically about the photos. CW and Arthur both condemn the photos but get a little flustered when JB mentions the dirt file she’s heard about from an ‘unnamed source’ (Edmund Hall). They are interrupted by someone coming in with new polling info – it’s Nan. She swears to JB she wasn’t a spy for Arthur, she just followed the money and escaped the bad polls. She shows JB the polling history – Kathleen started 20 points behind, got as close as 5 points on the day of the murder but then the scandal made her drop 12.

Well that can’t be right, says JB. The polling data Nan shoved under the door had shown Kathleen down by 7.  Turns out Nan got the info wrong, but luckily the only people she told were Gowans and JB.

Wait a minute…

When JB arrives at Kathleen’s house the media pack have gathered. Kathleen is pulling out of the race. As she speaks to the media JB (and later Lieutenant Gowans) have a quiet word with the killer. They know who took the photos and sent them to Edmund Hall. They know who set up the fake meeting with the party chief. And they know who killed Bud.

This got sad rather quickly :\

This got sad rather quickly

Alas for Kathleen, her husband’s questionable business practices were not going to stand under scrutiny. And when Bud worked out Jackson wasn’t in the Bahamas at the time the photos were taken like he claimed…well you get the picture.

And so concludes season 4 of Murder She Blogged. Stay tuned for season 5 next week. But first, I have a favour to ask you all.

On October 5 I’m taking part in the 7 Parks Walk to raise money for the Cancer Council Victoria (I figured it was more of a challenge that dumping a bucket of ice water on my head). I’m almost half way to my target of $500, so if you have a few coins around that you want to give to a good cause, my supporter page is here.

Thanks gang!

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

 

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