We’re on the road again this week Fletcherfans, this time to Lake Tahoe where Jess has been lured under false pretenses by her editor’s assistant Joan. She has a BRILLIANT IDEA for JB’s new book, based on the resident hotel hypnotist who goes by the name Cagliostro, and who happens to be George Clooney’s uncle.

He’s hypnotising you right now…

Remember when hypnotism was a thing? Somebody once hypnotised me and made me watch Maid in Manhattan – now that I think about it, I still haven’t had justice for that. But I digress.

This Cagliostro character is adored by his fans (especially Joan) but has made an enemy of the hotel owner, mostly because the C-bomb shagged his missus. His missus naturally claimed she had been hypnotised. What a genius excuse! A couple of reporters – Andy Townsend and Bud Michaels –  have a bone to pick with the C-bomb too, and so he makes a deal: they can come up to his room and ask anything they like, as long as they let him hypnotise them first.

Across the restaurant, JB does an exceptional job of not being interested…

JB learnt her powers of surveillance from her neighbours in the Cove.

Joan can’t handle a gauntlet being tossed around like that, and runs off to demand that the celebrated mystery writer JB Fletcher be permitted to attend the demonstration, to which the C-bomb magnanimously agrees. Jess meanwhile is being harrassed by a lunatic at the slot machines who is convinced that JB is a character from Doctors after Hoursand desperately trying to get JB to come and meet her bridge club who are playing craps. Jess tries to get Andy’s attention, but he flees in the elevator.

Huzzah for a topical caption! (Sorry)

Eventually she is saved by Joan, who tells her that the C-bomb will be honoured to have JB attend his soiree. Jess pointedly tells Joan that she most certainly will not be attending, and Joan says “You’re a writer…aren’t you the least bit curious?”

MAGIC WORD.

Joan and Jess hit up the elevator, but they’re too late. The C-bomb has started his demonstration and his lackey on the door doesn’t even have a key to get in, which is a problem when they hear the glass of the window shattering. Fortunately the boss of the hotel appears with his Boss Key and opens the door.

The C-Bomb is dead, and the six journalists are all hypnotised. THAT’S GOT TO SUCK.

Enter the pipe smoking Lieutenant Bertcam (not kidding), who is stumped. Fortunately, JB is on the case. She Using Joan’s recording of the C-Bomb’s most recent performance, the police bring the journalists out of their trance. Honestly, where would these people be without our gal?

The good news is, JB’s picked up the scent of a juicy murder. The bad news is, she’s completely stumped as to how it happened…

JB sums it all up.

…so she pays a visit to the town shrink, to get a professional opinion. He volunteers to give Jess a demonstration by hypnotising her, and despite her rampaging scepticism she agrees. The doctor promptly turns our hero into a drunken barfly and a rich snob, just for our amusement.

I’m going to be honest with you – I got a bit distracted by the ink blot behind the doctor’s desk.

Freud would have a field day with me.

Reinvigorated, Jess goes back to the casino to do some sleuthing and discovers that the police are convinced that the hotel owner, Mr Kellijian is their number one suspect, despite the small matter of him walking out of an elevator seconds after the C-bomb was murdered. Jess isn’t the only one asking around either – Bud Michaels, whose drunken shenanigans caused the whole shindig in the first place, is determined to find out who killed the C-bomb and why, so that he can stop writing for Today Tonight the local rag, and work for a proper newspaper again. What he neglected to mention is that the reason he is writing for the local rag is because the C-bomb ruined his life back in the old country. Jess has a chat with the C-Bomb’s assistant and learns the truth. That, and that she used to be a trapeze stripper in Vegas.

Yeah. Just think about that one for a minute.

JB decides it’s high time she has a chat with this Mr Michaels, and asks him why he pretended to be rolling drunk the night of the murder. (Obviously that incident down in Hollywood has made her drunken senses much more keen). He admits to faking drunkeness in order to avoid the C-Bomb Sideshow, but doesn’t have an alibi. Before Jess can grill him even further, she spots a guy abseilling down the building and runs off to find out how such unauthorized activity can be taking place without her.

It turns out it’s a joint effort between the PD and Joan, who have the new working theory that a trapeze stripper from Vegas could easily rig up an abseil, wander over the side, stab the C-Bomb in the back and bugger off without being seen by anyone.  Sigh. People like this are why the Lindbergh baby was never found. Besides, a trapeze stripper from Vegas wouldn’t stab someone in the back, she’d glitterbomb them to death.

Fed up with the incompetence of those around her, Jess has a word with Mr Kellejian who scoffs at her mild suggestion that he is a suspect, and doubly so at the idea that his wife did it. Jess is unsure about this, and even less so when she spots Mrs K slinking out of the parking lot looking furtive.

Faced with a fleeing suspect, JB does the only thing she can do – hijacks a motorbike and guns it.

Life Lesson #22 – it is possible, if not advisable, to wear a skirt while riding a motorbike…

They tail Mrs K to a deserted road and watch her give an envelope to a mysterious man of mystery. JB’s chauffeur asks what that was about and JB primly says “I believe that’s what they refer to as a payoff”. Her new friend pisses himself laughing, so presumably “I believe that’s what they refer to as a payoff” is code for something, or JB goosed him. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

Back at the hotel JB goes up to Mrs K’s room and demands an explanation. Mrs K admits to ordering a hit on the C-Bomb but was getting blackmailed by the hitman. She swears she had nothing to do with it, and JB tends to believe her, despite the whole contract killing biz. Jess is stumped, but when the Lieutenant mutters about his suspects being deaf, dumb and blind, she has an idea.

A cunning trap is set, and the killer falls right into it. JB ALWAYS GETS HER MAN.

And the killer is…Andy!

And there you have it folks. Andy is busted trying to avenge the death of his father, who committed suicide after the C-Bomb ruined his career, and Joan finally convinces Jess to write a book about it.

What hijinks will ensue next week? Stay tuned!

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