I am pleased to report we are back in the Cove this week Fletcherfans, just in time for the annual Fire Station Fundraising Rummage Sale, where children climb on old fire engines. Jess thinks it’s funny that all kids want to be a fireman, but Seth tells her he never played fireman, he was too busy playing doctor.
As they wander the rummage sale, and bemoan the lack of attendance (and the quality of the sale items) they run into local antique dealer Lois Fricksey, who asks them what they think of the rummage sale this year.
Lois’s husband Bud is in charge of the second hand furniture stall and JB is on the hunt for a new bureau/chest of drawers so while JB drags Seth off to go drawers shopping (heh heh), Lois receives a welcome lemonade from one of the volunteer firefighters, Ron Stiller.
JB and Seth find the thing they’re looking for, and bump into local accountant Stanley Holmes in the process. He tells JB the drawers are a steal for $50, but when Jessica goes to find Bud to give him a cheque she instead finds him about to start a brawl with fire chief Carl Wilson. Lois tries to step in, but he yells at her for taking everyone else’s side and storms off. Before JB can follow him, Mayor Sam Booth launches into his welcome speech.
Later on, Jess visits the furniture store of Fred Owens, who also happens to be the treasurer of the fire engine fundraising fund for fundraisers. He’s busy trying to make a sale though, so he sends her in to Stanley to get a receipt for the cheque. As she does so, she notices a photo of Stanley’s fiancee on the desk, but what I’d really like to talk about is the number of times the words SMALL BUREAU get uttered in this episode and I swear to god they need to stop because as it turns out I really freaking hate the word bureau #TheMoreYouKnow.
When Jess gets to painting her drawers (ahahaha oh I am tired) she discovers that one of the drawers is stuck. Always quick to help Jess with her drawers (AHAHAHAHAHA) Seth had a bit of a fiddle and manages to prise it open – an unopened envelope, written in a woman’s hand and addressed to Bud Fricksey, Lois’s husband, was wedged in the back. Doing her civic duty as a citizen of Cabot Cove, and absolutely not sticky-beaking, Jess takes it around to Bud who is less than impressed with the contents, whatever they are.
One can only assume bad news, since the next day we find Bud in his car with binoculars trained on his wife, who is having trouble with her gas tank. Fortunately her pal Ron is there to help her out – until Bud comes up, orders his wife home and punches Ron in the face. Well that escalated.
Later that night, Jess, Seth, Mort and Mayor Sam Booth are in a meeting at the Mayor’s office to appoint a new fire chief. Now I have some follow-up questions about this, namely is this the town council? Or are these four people running the show behind the scenes ARE THEY IN FACT ILLUMINATI OMG I’M RIGHT AREN’T I?
Anyway, the old fire chief is resigning to spend more time with his family, to which Sam says at least he knew some people who weren’t that selfish.
Sam has a few thoughts about who should replace Carl as fire chief, namely himself. Mort suggests his wife Adele, since she had fire warden training in the marines but Seth and Sam pooh-pooh that idea, to which Jess demands to know why shouldn’t the fire chief be a woman DAMN STRAIGHT JB I’M SORRY I ACCIDENTALLY IMPLIED YOU WERE IN THE ILLUMINATI.
All this talk of fires, and wouldn’t you know it a building has just caught fire, specifically Fred Owen’s furniture store. They rush to the scene but Cabot Cove’s finest have already got the situation under control. While Sam whinges about another missed opportunity, JB passes the comment that Fred Owens is conspicuously absent from the crowd.
Inside, the fire fighters have made a discovery – Bud Fricksey’s body has been found in the back office. They summon Seth who confirms Bud died from smoke inhalation, presumably from fighting the fire. Mayor Sam starts a soliloquy about the virtues of Bud Fricksey, which lead to several new ideas including a statue in his honour and naming the fire engine fund after him.
Mort is not impressed with this news as he catches deputy Floyd up to speed. He’s even less impressed when he gets a visit from insurance investigator Connie Kowalski, who informs him that it was definitely arson and that she will sort it out for him because she’s an expert and he’s not.
Down at the crime scene they find Fred surveying the damage. Connie is quick to start interrogating him, much to Mort’s disgust but unfortunately for Fred he doesn’t have a good alibi for the night before. He tells her that he had no reason to burn the business, since it was doing so well, and the only reason that he upped his insurance coverage was to stop all the harassing phone calls and letters from the insurance company.
Meanwhile, JB is bothered by something completely different. She’s convinced that it’s not a coincidence that on the same day she gives Bud a dead letter, Bud is found dead. WITCHCRAFT! Seth tells her to calm down, but she’s curious about the origins of the bureau. She visits newly retired postal worker Agnes, who donated the b-word to the sale, and asks her about the letter. Agnes tells her that she was ordered not to deliver the letter by Lois, who’d written it while at her sisters in Boston, but had second thoughts and asked Agnes to destroy it. She couldn’t do that, postal regulations and all, so she stuck it in a drawer.
JB pays a visit to Lois who confirms what we’ve all figured out – she wrote that letter saying she was leaving Bud but changed her mind, it was a horrible and she’s glad he never saw it.
Lois had no idea that the letter had resurfaced, which leads Jessica to wonder where it is. Unfortunately for Lois, Mort found it on Bud’s body and has no intention of keeping its contents secret as the letter clear provides motive for the murder of Bud – because, as we and Jess are finding out, Bud wasn’t killed by the fire he was killed by a severe blow to the head.
JB and Mort return to Lois to ask for the name of her lover, but she won’t give him up and anyway he’s too kind and sensitive and dedicated to peace and non-violence.
Lois’s lover is Ghandi? Wait, Lois’s lover is Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise?
Mort only succeeds in making Lois cry so they return to the sheriff’s office where Connie the insurance investigator has just confirmed that the fire was deliberately lit using benzene. She has no interest in the dead body, she’s too busy nailing Fred Owens for the arson. Everything else isn’t her problem.
Connie declares she will do her thing, and the Sheriff will do his, and whomever solves the case first wins.
Sheriff Snake Eyes agrees.
Despite the crazy eyes, Mort hasn’t actually got a case. Fortunately he does have Jessica who points out they now know the source of the fire, now they need to find out where the benzene came from. Jess remembers Lois telling her about Bud’s jealous rage at the petrol station. Petrol stations have benzene!
They head straight to Ron’s petrol station but he’s not there – he’s at the firehouse attending to important business in the form of a high stakes poker game. Mort drags him away for questioning but he doesn’t fit the perfect lover profile Lois was describing. They are interrupted by Connie dragging Stanley in and celebrating her victory – it turns out Fred’s business was failing and he owed money all over town. Jess still thinks that’s not a motive for murder, and even when Connie says that probably it was a case of Bud catching Fred in action and Fred hitting him with whatever was handy Jess remains unmoved.
At Lois’s JB manages to wrangle the truth out of her – there was no lover, she’d just said that in the letter to make Bud think he had competition, but when he finally read the letter it made him jealous, not a better husband. She shows JB a picture of them looking happy and JB has brainwave.
It was there all along. But it wasn’t.
Poor old Stanley. He has a champagne girlfriend but a passion pop budget and so to pay for his fancy new girlfriend he got crazy with the embezzling and tried to destroy the evidence and clonked Bud on the head. That old chestnut.
So that’s depressing. But the good news is that Cabot Cove has a brand spanking new fire engine! And on that note, I bid you farewell. Let us all enjoy this week’s freeze frame together.
Until next time.