We’re back in the Cove this week Fletcherfans, and not a minute too soon. JB’s giving a speech at the Maine Sheriffs Association Dinner, and Amos is such a hurry to hear her speak eat til he explodes that when his car breaks down he doesn’t stop to dwell. It’s time for a roadtrip!

Yeah, it’s hard not to get excited about a bus trip with Amos Tupper, amirite?

Now just between you and me, I feel like this bus may be doomed. For one thing, there was some definite Psycho-related music playing when they departed Cabot Cove. For another, one of those old guys who sits on porches and predicts storms predicted a storm, and it turned up – even if it did look like it had just walked off the set of a Bela Lugosi movie.

Not to mention LOOK WHO’S ON THE BUS!

It’s just like the movie Speed in every way except reality.

True story: when Blanche from the Golden Girls first appeared I was so busy singing ‘Thank You For Being A Friend’ that I lost track of what was going on.

While Amos keeps everyone entertained with his impressions of the Fonz snoring, the bus pulls up outside a prison. Somebody is celebrating their release by catching the Bus Of Death, which is apparently now being followed by the Sportscar of Doom.

This can only end well.

Up ahead, the Cabot Cove equivalent of the SES pull them over to tell them that the storm has knocked the power out and that the road may not be open for much longer. The Sportscar of Doom doesn’t bother with such things as Helpful Information, however, and jets off into the night. The Bus of Death decides to take its chances.

I really want to go to Maine and catch buses everywhere now, which is of course what the writers of this episode intended.

Further along up the road the Sportscar of Death has inexplicably crashed in the torrential rain. The driver flags them down and gets on the Bus of Death. JB can’t help but notice the massive bulge in his pants…oh, it’s a gun.
The bus driver discovers he has bus trouble (no kidding?) and pulls over at the Kozy Korner Kitchen, which is horrifically offensive to my sense of spelling, and not as funny as Curl Up and Dye.

Inside, I finally realise why Blanche’s husband seems really familiar – he’s Major Frank Burns from M*A*S*H. Also, he’s a statistics professor and about as much fun as you’d imagine.

What we really need is a Golden Girls/ Murder, She Wrote spinoff. And by we, I mean I.

It turns out that all is not well in Golden Girls/M*A*S*Hland, and it’s only some sage advice from the Old Guy Predicting Storms (“Only a fool grows ulcers over something he can’t control,” – Life Lesson #33)

While Amos grumps about looking for the menu, Our Heroine notices the husband of Exorcist girl fighting with the recently-released mystery man on the bus but is soon distracted by Amos ordering apple pie with a slice of cheddar and some black coffee. (Me, I would have ordered apple pie with cream, ice-cream and custard, but I’m sure cheddar cheese is just as good).

The bus driver comes back inside to dry off, and JB goes back to the bus in search of her book. Instead, she finds the recently-released prisoner is now recently deceased.

Thank you very much, I’m here all week, Try the veal.

Jess immediately notifies the authorities (Amos), and he takes it pretty well considering his chances of winning the TV set from the Sheriffs dinner are fading. (Remember when TVs were called TV sets? Yeah, I’d forgotten that too). Clues at the crime scene are sketchy at best – his suitcase is missing but they find his wallet, which confirms he’d been a guest of the state up until that night – he’d been in for 15 years for armed robbery with two other men, one of whom died along with a bystander, and the other got away. Any further investigation is halted when Blanche gets on the bus, sees the dead body and swoons like a pro.

After a good strong cup of coffee Blanche dials down the hysterics, and with some gentle nudging from Our Heroine, Amos quizzes everyone on who they are, where they came from, and how much they like pie. Or something. At first Mr Exorcist denies speaking with the dead guy, Jess calls him out on it but he clams up. The driver of the Sportscar of Doom says he is a jewellery salesman, which is why he has the gun. The old coot and the sea-captain deny knowing anything about the dead man, and the bus driver (who in his spare time is the Dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding) says he was so busy trying to fix the bus he didn’t notice a thing.

The mystery! It deepens!

JB takes a leaf out of an old book and hits up the video games

And so the inspiration for ‘Video Games’ by Lana Del Ray was born. Probably.

No closer to finding the killer, Our Heroine and Amos go and take another look at the bus. Jess notices that the dampener switch is on, causing Amos to flip out with excitement and scurry off into the night. Nope, I don’t know why.  JB scurries in the other direction, and finds the late lamented’s suitcase out in the rain. The Exorcist Girl’s husband comes out and helps her bring the case inside, and comes clean on what he was fighting with the dead guy about – his father was the third partner who was killed the day of the robbery, and he wanted his father’s share of the money taken in the heist. But, when he realised what a pathetic loser the dead guy was, he just walked away. He shows Amos and JB a newspaper clipping that had all the information of the dead guy’s release. JB notices that the bystander killed in the crossfire of the robbery has the same surname as the bus driver.

Amos then informs Our Heroine that he knew who the killer was a half hour ago.

JB has been out of the Cove too long, Amos has forgotten who the boss is…

Amos announces he’s placing the culprit under citizen’s arrest – at first the suspect tries to deny it, but then he confesses!

I’m not comfortable living in a world where Amos solves cases before JB does.

He staged the bus break-down in order to avenge the death of his daughter who died during the robbery. Case closed.

And yet…JB announces the bad news. The dead guy wasn’t killed by the screwdriver. He was already dead. There was nowhere near enough blood for him to have been stabbed.

Amos magnanimously concedes defeat.

That’ll teach him to forget whose in charge around here.

Back to the drawing board, and still without a phone line (those poor souls. Whatever did we do before smartphones?) Ralph-the-cafe-owner suddenly remembers the CB radio out the back. Amos and the jewellery store guy go and check it out, while M*A*S*H guy, old coot and Husband of the Exorcist play a game of blackjack to pass the time. JB notices that the jewellery guy has left his suitcase of expensive things on the table. Can’t be too concerned about security then!

As usual JB is right. He’s not a jewellery salesman he’s an investigator sent by the bank’s insurance company to try to recover the missing moulah. JB accepts this, and after a bit of a think goes back to the bus to search for more clues. This time, without the added distraction of Blanche swooning all over the place, she manages to find the dead guy’s book and overcoat. She takes them back inside for a closer look, but the power finally goes out. Amos and Ralph get on the task of starting the backup generator.

Then a gun goes off. Natch. Someone has tried to shoot the investigator, but only got him in the arm. The CB radio wasn’t so lucky.

Amos conducts a search of the stranded passengers, but the gun is missing. Not only that, but the book is missing too! JB is nobody’s fool though, and retrieves the book from Blanche’s knitting bag – turns out Blanche knows how to spot a rare first edition. But why stop there? JB pulls a safety deposit key out of the book and asks  the Sea Captain if that was what he was looking for.

Ah of course. The sea-captain, who has said about five lines of dialogue in the whole episode, is the third partner, the one that got away. But he didn’t do it either.  Then Jess apologises to Amos – he was right the whole time.

Mr Bus Driver, it turns out, killed the dead guy twice but only admitted to the second one, knowing that the evidence would acquit him eventually.

Of course, he didn’t count on Our Heroine. Or the fact that Amos Tupper would get something right, albeit accidentally.

And on that bombshell…

Until next time, dear reader…

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