I am pleased to report that the second episode of MSW takes place in the
murderous tranquil surrounds of Cabot Cove. Better yet, it takes place during a hurricane!
Jess gets a visit from her crotchety friend Ethan, a local fisherman who would not have been out of place in the ‘Old Gregg’ episode of Mighty Boosh, who tells her that although he’s glad she’s alright, he’s a bit fed up because some clueless city folk have gotten themselves caught out on their boat in the hurricane.
The next morning, Jess goes out for her morning run and comes back to find a hobo in the garden, offering to do jobs in exchange for a plate of bacon and eggs. Life Lesson #7:If a strange man appears in my garden looking like a hobo, offer him a bacon sandwich in exchange for fixing my oven. Totally going to try this lesson out.
Ralph the hobo tells Jess about his life of hobo’in, but gets called out. Well, actually, JB accuses Ralph of being full of clam dip, which I’m going to take as being almost rhyming slang for something else. Ralph admits that he’s new to the hobo scene, but is interrupted by a call from Jess’s pal sheriff Amos Tupper. THERE’S A-DOINS A-TRANSPIRIN.
Many people might stop and question why the town sheriff is calling a widower substitute teacher to come and consult on a possible murder. I call these people Al Quaeda. When there’s something strange in the neighbourhood and Bill Murray’s not available, who are you gonna call?
It transpires that the boat stuck out in the middle of the hurricane contained millionaire Stephen Earle and his four daughters, Grace, Lisa, Nan and Maggie. They tell the sheriff that their father was swept overboard during the hurricane, but Amos just isn’t so sure. Ethan the fisherman accuses him of reading too many JB Fletcher novels, to which Amos says “Shows how much you know, I haven’t read any.”
Regaining her composure after this appalling attack, Jess offers to let the sisters stay at her house. After all, she’s already got a hobo – chuck in some murder suspects and you’ve got the best Pictionary game EVER. The sisters decline, choosing to stay in one of Cabot Cove’s luxurious B&B’s.
Job done, Jess goes home to find her hobo fast asleep in her hammock, listening to Mozart. I’m starting to wonder about this Hire a Hobo business plan… anyway, they bond over a cup of tea before the hobo goes off to do some hobo business, which sounds like a euphemism but I swear it isn’t. As Jess does the washing up she has an epiphany – THE SISTERS ARE LYING.
Ethan, Jess and the Sheriff pay the sisters (minus Nan who has inexplicably disappeared) and Maggie confesses. She shot her father, dagnabbit! Amos promptly arrests her, but Jess is less than excited. There’s something rotten in the state of Cabot Cove…
Jess’s ruminations are interrupted by the arrival of the press, who have naturally gotten the story completely wrong. Jess notices the picture of the dead man, who was an actor before he was a millionaire. An actor, you say? Could he act a hobo, you ponder?
Ponder no more. Dead millionaire guy is in fact the hobo living in Jess’s garden. WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF THAT. Jess goes home to confront him, but he has yet to return from his hobo business, which is starting to look shadier by the minute. Ethan accuses Jess of going round and round like a roman candle on the Fourth of July, which I’m choosing to take as a compliment, but reluctantly agrees to help Jess look the next morning.
By the next morning of course, the hobo is less hobo and more dead guy floating in the water, and Jess is MAD. She oversees the interrogation of the guilty sister Maggie, until Maggie is devastated to hear that her father has turned up dead. Turns out, she lied about killing her father (as you do). They cooked up a fiendish plot to try to trap a gold digging so-and-so who was after Maggie’s sister Nan. Jess agrees and explains to Amos that the millionaire was a hobo hanging out in her garden, therefore couldn’t have been shot on the boat.
While the Sheriff licks his wounds, Jess is hot on the scent of a lead – but she’s not too busy to take the time to verbally bitch slap the husband of one of the sisters:
Douchebag: You know, Mrs Fletcher, you seem like a very sweet old gal. This is a family affair. We don’t need strangers poking their noses where they don’t belong.
Our Hero: I beg your pardon Mr Shelby, but Mr Earle was no stranger, not to me. And as for my nose, it’s right where it belongs!
On a roll, she drops another bomb on the gold digging wannabe husband of Nan Earle, who proclaims his innocence. He knew about the murder because someone pretending to be a reporter (but who was actually the millionaire hobo) rang him up to get a quote. He tells Jess he gave him a quote alright, but as she is a lady he won’t repeat it – to which JB says “I am familiar with most Anglo-Saxon words.”
BANG. Humbled, the Golddigger tells Jess what really happened – he flew up to see his beloved, who met him at the airport after being filled in on the Fiendish Plot put together by the fake millionaire hobo journalist and his daughter. NOTHING SUSS.
Fuelled with this new information, Jess goes to visit the Sheriff, but is stalled by the Demonic Deputy of Doom…
…but defeats her through the cunning use of eavesdropping. She finds the Sheriff on the beach with Ethan hunting for a clue. He gets handed one, in the form of a pair of shoes, but it takes Jess to work out that “if you find a heelless shoe, the heel is bound to be somewhere. (Life Lesson #9). The Sheriff wonders who they belong to, but Jess is naturally fifty million steps ahead – the shoes belong to Nan. The plot, as they say, thickens.
The Sheriff and Jess visit Nan at the hotel, and after a bit of Cinderella work on the part of Amos, he arrests Nan for murder, much to Jess’s chagrin. Despite this, she plays along – she’s a lady with a plan. Not only can she trap the killer, she can rid Nan of this pesky gold-digger once and for all.
Terry, the One True Love of Nan’s life comes to see the Sheriff at the police station to protest loudly her innocence – until Amos wonders if they were in on it together, at which point Loverboy heads for the hills. Meanwhile, Jess pays a visit to Nan’s siblings who have just pitched in drunk as lords and plants the seed – the police have found the heel of a shoe, but no shoe.
The trap set, Jess goes home to wait. And sure enough, the killer arrives.
Guys, it was the sister all along! Not only did she hatch a Fiendish Plot with her father, she hatched an Even More Fiendish Plot on her own! Unfortunately for Maggie, there is no Plot too Fiendish for our heroine to solve.
Case over, and another win to the good guys, JB celebrates by going fishing with her pal Ethan. And that, dear reader, is the end of another epic episode of Murder She Wrote.
Catch you next week.