Alas, this weeks episode is not in Cabot Cove. My, that JB gets around. Instead, it’s San Francisco, where Martin Landau has changed his name to Al Drake, and is getting menaced by people who want their money.
I’ll come back to him in a minute.
JB is in town for the wedding of her niece, who frankly is just as lame as Grady, and her fiance ain’t much better. There’s trouble in paradise: Howard is working way too often, but not selling life insurance where he says he works, and Vicky has busted him with lipstick on his handkerchief. The outrage! To be honest though, I think Vicky’s hair is more concerning:
Vicky thinks the clue that solves the Case of the Mysterious Lipstick will be at a nightclub, and so drags Jess along. In an amazing coincidence, the club is owned by Al Drake, but alas the doorkeeper refuses to let them in. Fortunately, Vicky spots the owner and drops the “Don’t You Know Who My Aunt Is?” bomb on him. Grady wouldn’t have thought to do that.
They settle in to watch the show – first up is the World’s Worst Comedian (WWC) who supplies his own drum fill and appears to be caught in some sort of 1973 time vortex. After his act, Jess concludes that there is something strange about this place, and she’s not kidding. The next act on the bill is the world’s ugliest drag queen, but before he can get to the chorus of “Close to You”, there’s a scream – there’s a killer on the loose, and (s)he’s wearing the ugliest dress ever conceived by man.
A couple of patrons spear tackle him to the ground, and his wig falls off. Egad! It’s Vicky’s fiance Howard!
Does he look familiar to you? I’ll reveal all in a sec. God I love IMDB.
Howard is arrested, and Vicky (who really has much more of a spine than Grady) bullies the policeman into letting her see her fiance.
Kenickie Howard assures his finance that he didn’t do it, and Vicky is so relieved that her future husband is a transvestite and not an adulterer that she believes him. Before the moment can get too soppy, the local constabulary arrive and wonder which one to arrest. Jessica offers her not inconsiderable talents to the detective, but he’s not having a bar of it. It’s only when JB threatens to burn him on local TV that he agrees to listen.
The detective is convinced Howard is guilty, but Jess isn’t giving up on the chance to have a vaguely interesting person in the family. She gives Howard the opportunity to explain himself: he found the gun, and Drake already dead, but ran when Drake’s assistant walked in and screamed “CATCH A KILLER!”, which sounds more like a Herald Sun headline than a plea for help. Jess is relieved – the only killer in her family was from 1777, “and the redcoats shot first.” No mention if he was a cabaret transvestite or not though.
Jess hits up the club to do her own bit of sleuthing. Mrs Drake is pashing on with one of the staff and firing Drake’s assistant for being a bit too friendly with Drake. OW MY IRONY BONE. Jess cleverly arranges to give Barbara and her box of goodies a lift home, and does not in any way use the opportunity to pump her for information.
Just that face alone is enough to unleash a flood of possible suspects from Barbara. It was his wife! It was her lover! It was the WWC! It was his agent! It was the dog! (Okay, I made that last one up, shush). Even as JB is pondering the possibilities, his wife and her lover are having a clandestine meeting, trying to work out if the other did it! What a tangled web, etc etc.
Back at the club, JB and the detective are duking it out over whether or not the WWC’s drum playing could have masked the sound of a bullet. After a reenactment CSI would have been proud of, the aforementioned WWC appears, but is thankfully knocked out by a falling light stack before he can unleash any more of his “jokes”.
The next morning, JB and the detective are at it again, this time at the detective’s apartment. Get your mind out of the gutter. The detective is still convinced Howard did it, despite the lack of – what’s it called – evidence, and has come to the conclusion that the falling light tower was not a critique of the work of the WWC, but was meant for Jess.
Jess takes this news rather well:
With Howard now out on bail, Jess is even more determined than ever to “CATCH A KILLER!!”, and goes to visit each of the suspects in turn. Mrs Drake tells her it was either the WWC or the agent, they tell her to sod off.
Perplexed, our heroine goes home to take a nap, and has a brain wave. She knows who the killer is, and a little more reenacting confirms it.
Yep. You guessed it.
Life lesson 13: Always suspect anyone who thinks “If you’ll excuse me I have to fly to Vegas…hope my arms don’t get tired!” is funny.
So there you have it folks! The WWC is carted away to prison, where he belongs, and Howard and Vicky are free to get married. For those playing along at home, Howard left the dress-wearing to Vicky, which frankly disappointed me, although I am pleased to report that this episode ended with a freeze-frame laugh, which is how everything should end.
Until next week, dear reader.