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S02E01 – Widow, Weep For Me

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Fletcherfans! We’re back! And not only are we back, but we’re in the Caribbean! PINA COLADAS FOR EVERYBODY!

In any case, there is a lady called Antoinette in need, and when in the pits of despair (past the bridge of eternal peril), there’s only one person to write to:

You’re welcome, fans of obscure and pointless TV trivia!

JB is naturally concerned, especially when Antoinette turns up murdered, so she immediately blows the Cove and heads for the sunny shores of Jamaica. She doesn’t want anyone to know she’s coming though, so she CUNNINGLY ASSUMES AN IDENTITY.

Life Lesson #34 – Turbans. Wear them.

Disguised as notorious recluse Margurite Canfield, JB manages to scold the valet, the receptionist and Myrna Montclaire  within 30 seconds. (Sample burn: when Myrna hopes that ‘Margurite’ will enjoy her stay, JB replies with “I’m sure I will Ms Montclaire, or it will be a short one.” then clicks at the luggage boy and flounces off) HOLY CRAP IT’S AMAZING.

But it’s not all turbans and sass. JB is here to find out who murdered her friend. She is soon paid a visit by Chief Inspector Claude Renssalaer, who frankly is the most stylish policeman I’ve seen anywhere ever.

This is what the next Doctor Who should look like. (But not for a while, because Matt Smith is great)

The Inspector is not best pleased to see her. Word around the hotel is that Antoinette was murdered by a jewel thief, but JB is convinced there’s more to it than that. The inspector disagrees, and tells her that she’s putting herself in terrible danger just by being at the hotel, wearing what she’s wearing. (I’m assuming he’s talking about the turban). JB wants to know who her friend was hanging out with, and the Inspector reluctantly gives her some names.

Later that night, JB hits up the casino and her entrance is duly noted by three different men. JB pays them no mind – she’s got her eyes on the roulette wheel. She makes friends with another woman flying solo, Alva Crane, before being interrupted by one of Antoinette’s friends – a drunk American school teacher named Veronica Harrold who is in the process of being picked up by a tall man named Sven. It’s the age-old story. Veronica is well pleased with herself though, and tells Jess and Alva to eat their hearts out.

Alva: “You know, I never much cared for taller men, but for him I could make an exception.”

Before JB can high-five her, one of the men who noticed her entrance comes over. His name is Michael Hegarty, and would Ms Canfield like to join him for a drink on the terrace?

Whether it’s his Irish accent, his smile, or the possibility of free booze I don’t know, but JB says HELL YEAH (paraphrasing). I don’t know, he seems a bit sleazy to me… Over pina coladas they suss each other out: Hegarty doesn’t believe in steady employment, ‘Margurite’ doesn’t believe in giving anything away, including the fact that they have an audience – someone has his eye on them.

Later, as they stroll in the moonlight, she quizzes Hegarty on the object of Veronica’s affections, Sven. Turns out Sven used to be a skiing gold medallist who now just flits about the world, hooking up with fancy ladies. Of course.

“But what’s this now.” says Hegarty. “You walking in the moonlight with the likes of me talking about a young stud fifteen years my junior?

“If I was interested in Sven Torvald,” says JB/Margurite, “Believe me, he would be here now instead of you. I know what I want Mr Hegarty…and I get it”

JB is ON FIRE in this episode!

Hegarty goes in for the big moves – a nighttime trip to some waterfalls just down the road, but the moment is ruined by a guy snatching JB’s purse and legging it down the path. Hegarty gives chase but is thwarted by the guy from the bar, who turns out to be Sheldon Greenburg Hotel Detective. He claims to have been following Margurite/JB because he suspected something like this might happen. A LIKELY STORY. Alas, there is to be no waterfall related hijinks tonight.

The next morning JB asks her pal the Inspector if Sheldon has reported the theft of her purse – and he hadn’t. DODGY. JB can’t dwell on this right now, she’s on a mission to find out what the deal is with Veronica-the-School-Teacher who just so happens to be jogging past the phone box. Over iced teas “no lemon or chemicals – good for the blood, very invigorating” (Life Lesson #35), JB discovers that Veronica won her holiday in a contest she doesn’t even remember entering, and that Antoinette (remember how JB had come out here to investigate her murder? Yeah, I’d forgotten too) had singled her out on the first day to make her feel welcome.  Before long Sven appears, and whisks Veronica away to go sailing. Presumably that’s code.

Meanwhile, the hotel manager Eric Brahm (another of Antoinette’s fans) is having a meeting with Michael Hegarty. He’s discovered that Michael Hegarty isn’t who he says he is, and is concerned – mainly because he owes the casino ten grand. Michael Hegarty informs him that who he is and what he does is immaterial, and here, have a cheque for 25 Gs. Amazing how much better Eric feels now.

In the foyer, JB has just spotted Sheldon The House Detective chatting with the man who stole her purse. SHENANIGANS! Sheldon admits to getting someone to snatch her purse so he could get a look at her passport. He was a bit suspicious that Margurite Canfield looked a lot like the photo of JB Fletcher on the back of his book.

BUSTED.

He knows why she’s here – either to dig up information for her next book, or to “make Shelly Greenburg look bad.”

To this, JB lets loose.

“Mr Greenburg. Sheldon. Believe me I did not come here to embarrass anyone. I’m quite sure left to your own devices you’d get to the bottom of this! Anyone can see that you’re a bright, perceptive man, I mean a fascinating personality. Why, I can even see you inspiring a character in my next book!”

Sheldon is delighted, and offers his assistance.

ALL HAIL THE QUEEN.

To celebrate her newfound awesomeness, JB rings up the inspector for a meeting. She doesn’t want to be seen, though, so he suggests the lookout at Turtle Bay. When she goes to get a taxi however, Michael Hegarty pulls up in his Bugatti Veyron Ford and offers her a lift. As they cruise off into the sunset, another car follows. CUE SURVEILLANCE MUSIC.

As they speed past the turn-off for Turtle Bay, JB smells a rat and demands to be let out of the car. Michael Hegarty points out that they’re being followed, and with some deft driving he loses their tail. It’s time for some mutual interrogation.

Hegarty admits to knowing Antoinette, and in fact knows more about Antoinette than most people, i.e that she was married twice, not once. JB points out that the marriage to Leon Spinks was not common knowledge, and Hegarty counters that not only is it not common knowledge but his name is even less well-known. Then he plays his trump card – he’s met Margurite Canfield, and YOU”RE NOT MARGURITE CANFIELD WHO THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU?

JB is saved by her turban the arrival of a policeman – the Inspector wants her at once.There’s been another murder. It seems her cover has been well and truly blown. (And by cover I actually mean cover).

Sad to say that JB’s new pal Alva Crane has been done in, and her jewels stolen. The inspector is convinced that this proves his theory that they are dealing with a professional jewel thief, but Our Heroine is convinced that he’s wrong. She claims that Alva’s jewellery that she was wearing in the casino was all fake. They go to visit Sheldon and take a peek in Alva’s safe deposit box, but there’s no jewellery there. Sheldon has his own theory – he claims his boss Eric Brahm has been trying to get some money together PLUS he liked flirting with all the ladies. The inspector politely reminds him that it’s a police matter, and Sheldon says screw that, I’m hotel security, I’m a player.

This is how I imagine Paul Blart Mall Cop must start.

ANYWAY. JB decides to test out Sheldon’s theory and asks Eric if Alva had any financial troubles but it turns out she was rolling in it. She goes back to her hotel room but is rudely interrupted by Michael Hegarty going through her mail. She threatens to call the Inspector and he comes clean. Michael Hegarty used to work for British intelligence but now he works freelance – including for Antoinette’s father. It turns out Antoinette had a baby to her first husband, but was forced to give it up. A baby girl…who grew up and won a contest she didn’t remember entering, courtesy of the grandfather she didn’t know she had.

JB has a brainwave. She thinks Antoinette and Sven Torvald had a little something something going on, and if he found out Veronica was her daughter then he might start working hard for the money. They rush to the marina just in time to meet Veronica and Sven – turns out sailing wasn’t code, they actually went sailing. Sailing, and getting engaged. Michael Hegarty informs him that they know he had a fling with Antoinette, and that the wedding is just going to have to wait. Sven reacts sensibly by jumping in the water.

Down at the police station Sven admits that Antoinette had told him he had a daughter, but he didn’t know it was Veronica until they all met again on the island. So, he seized the opportunity, but he claims he didn’t kill her. Whatevs, man.

Unfortunately, Sven is proven right. JB digs out his passport and realises that he wasn’t on the island when the first attempted jewel theft happened. Sheldon is convinced that Eric Brahm is the thief, but it turns out he has an alibi – he was getting bizay with Myrna St Clare.

That only leaves one person. And JB has just worked out who it is…

Crap cop gone bad.

Someone wasn’t happy storing jewellery in his office. He wanted it for himself, but was COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY THWARTED.

There you have it gang. Veronica jets off to meet her grandfather (and her inheritance), and Michael Hegarty promises JB that she’ll be seeing him again. Something tells me he’s right. (And by something I mean IMDB).

But until then…

See you next week Fletcherfans!

And now, a word from our sponsor…

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Season 2 of Murder, She Blogged will start on Sunday, I promise.

In the meantime, remember to like MSB on Facebook and enjoy this sneak peak…

JB IS WEARING A TURBAN, YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID.

See you on Sunday, Fletcherfans!

S01E22 – Funeral at Fifty-Mile

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It’s the season finale this week Fletcherfans! JB is in Wyoming for a friends funeral. A minor scandal is caused when a man liked by noone – Carl Mestin – turns up with his Barbie doll wife, but noone thinks any more of it.

Back at the ranch there’s a storm a-brewin’ and tumbleweed a-tumblin. It’s okay though, because Our Heroine is getting stuck into the dandelion wine.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

The local sheriff who prefers to be called marshall comes over for a chat, and informs Jess that he read one of her books…it was “not up there with Mickey Spillane, but darn good for a woman”.

Jess accepts this compliment with good grace.

Jess manages to not punch the marshall in the face.

She notices that the marshall wears his holster tied down for a quick draw – he offers to demonstrate but she politely declines. (I am assuming that this is all code for penis).  She asks him if he’s had to draw his gun on anyone before, and he says no, but when the time comes, he’ll be ready for ’em to “make my day!”

WORD.

Meanwhile Mary Carver (daughter of the late lamented Jack), her uncle Tim and her father’s friend Sam are having a chat about the ranch. Tim announces that his brother was going to leave the ranch to him, which is news to Mary, but Sam points out that there is no will anyway so there isn’t anything anyone can do for the time being.

Incidentally, remember this guy. We’ll see him again in a season or two.

For now, he’s Sam Breen Attorney-At-Law. But we’ll see him again soon.

They are rudely interrupted by the arrival of Cowboy Ken and Barbie, who are waving a piece of paper around and announcing that Jack left the ranch to them. Needless to say this causes a bit of a ruckus, and Mary’s fiancee Art Merrick steps in to defend her honour. Peace restored, Mestin goes to get a drink and JB wanders over for a chat. Mestin tells her he thinks Jack left him everything because he saved Jack’s life in Korea.

Oh, says Jess. Then you must have known my husband, Tom Fletcher?

Sure, says Mestin. Good guy.

LIAR! LIAR! JB’s husband’s name was Frank, as we all know. I call shenanigans on the Cowboy Ken and Barbie show.

As the storm from the set of Dracula moves closer, the manly men of the ranch batten down the hatches, including Cowboy Ken who has just lost an arm wrestle to Cowboy Barbie. (Not code).

See, not code.

The storm clears and Art gets a lift back to the house from one of the ranchhands Jesus (who is listed in IMDB as Hay-Soos. Really?), after he got his truck bogged in the storm. Before he can sit down and have some soup though, Jesus comes running from the barn. Cowboy Ken is hanging from the rafters.

The sheriff is called, and he’s less than thrilled that they left the body hanging like that. Jess apologizes, saying she did that because she figured he’d want to see everything undisturbed. While the marshall stares at the body and ponders, Jess asks the Doc how many murders the marshall has investigated. Naturally, it’s none. Armed with this knowledge Jess manages to guide the sheriff into realising that it was no suicide, and that he had a blow to the head as well as being strung up.

That night, the sheriff sits everyone down for a little chat. Subtly prompted by JB, he demans to know where everyone was at the time of the murder. Tim Carver, Sam the lawyer, Bill the friend from the army, and the Doc all alibi each other. Mary was sleeping, Emma the maid was cleaning, Cowboy Barbie was having a nap in the RV and JB was in her room “getting rid of jetlag,” aka downing bottles of dandelion wine.

JB mulls on the fact that none of the women have an alibi, but the sheriff has moved on. He’s decided there can only be one answer – Art is the killer.

Jess makes her views obvious.

The sheriff goes to find Art trying to unbog his car, and arrests him. The next day, Sam goes in to try and get him released but the sheriff is drunk with power and says no. Not even the combined badgering by Sam and JB is enough to make him change his mind, and he storms off in a huff.

Art tells Jess and Mary that he overheard a conversation between the sheriff and the coroner – apparently Cowboy Ken did die from hanging, and the blow on the head came after which is the opposite of what the Doc said happened. Jess decides to pay him a visit at his surgery but he’s out. She does manage to find out from his receptionist that the Doc threw Cowboy Ken out of his office for snooping around in his files. MYSTERIOUS.

Later that afternoon the sheriff finally sees sense and releases Art. JB congratulates him on a rare moment of intelligence. He asks her who she think did it if not Art, and she enigmatically suggests that the sheriff challenge Cowgirl Barbie to an armwrestle. He does so, and gets his arse kicked, but he agrees with Jess that she was certainly strong enough to hang her husband. Cowgirl Barbie takes umbrage to this and declares that the sheriff and JB can “suck eggs”. Oooo-kay?

That night, Our Heroine wakes up to find a hangman’s noose outside her window. She’s positively delighted! She’s making someone nervous!

The next morning, the sheriff arrives at the ranch to arrest Cowgirl Barbie, much to Mary Carver’s delight. Unfortunately JB steps in again – it turns out Cowboy Ken and Cowgirl Barbie were never actually married, so she gets nothing out of the will. The sheriff agrees, and Cowgirl Barbie rides off into the sunset in her RV.

While Mary and Art go and retrieve his pickup from where he left it, JB goes for a little walk in the barn. She has a feeling she’s solved this case.

Of course she has.

Kinda obvious, huh?

It turns out that Cowboy Ken was an absolute creep who used to work on the ranch until he raped Mary’s mother…and so was Mary’s real father. Charming. Totes got what he had coming to him.

The men admit what they did, and tell Jess that they will go to the sheriff and come clean, as long as she doesn’t tell Mary the truth. She agrees, and they leave the barn.

There you have it, Fletcherfans! One season down, eleven more to go. Season 2 is on its way, so stay tuned for more Murder, She Blogged mayhem, hijinks and double entendres.

Until next time, dear reader.

S01E21 – Murder at the Oasis

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Apologies for the delay, Fletcherfans! It turns out the Murder, She Blogged typewriter is very much like Melbourne’s public transport system in that it freaks out when it gets hot.

This week Our Heroine is back on the road, this time catching up with an old school-friend who has tickets to her ex-husband’s tennis tournament. You know, that old story. I can’t imagine why he’s her ex though…

There’s a lot going on here…

Or maybe I can. In any case his name is Johnny Shannon, his kids hate him, and he has upset the local Mafia representative. I can’t imagine any of these being a problem…

It’s not all bad news though – he has his very own minion, who travels with him everywhere. An Amos to his Jessica, if you will.

For some reason, I’ve started humming ‘All The Single Ladies’.

Johnny and his jester-friend are on their way to meet JB and Peggy Shannon, who are reminiscing about their shared hatred of brussel sprouts while watching a John McEnroe wannabe spit the dummy out on the tennis court. Jess can’t help but notice that said dummy-spitting man is a bit of all right.

You know what I love about tennis? The double entendres.

They are soon joined by Johnny (the jester and the bodyguard/Hulk relegated to another table) and by Peggy’s daughter Terry, who doesn’t stick around long – she’s got a hot lunch date with He-Who-Thinks-He’s-John-Macenroe. It’s obvious she’s only doing it to spite her Dad, and has a great old time watching him get into a shoving match with El Dummy Spit. Only the convenient arrival of the local constable calms everyone down.

Later that night, Johnny’s jester comes down to his study to deliver a ‘glass of milk’ (actually, it looks like it is just milk…huh) but finds the door locked. While he bangs on the door, his son Mickey runs to find his sister – who is in her bedroom with El Dummy Spit. Nudge nudge wink wink say no more. Lou the friendly bodyguard/Hulk breaks the door down and they find Johnny more dead than ususal.

The next morning JB and Peggy go to comfort the recently bereaved. Except Terry, who’s gone to the tennis club to suggest that El Dummy Spit gets out of the country before the po-po start knocking on his door. At least I think that’s what she’s saying. I can’t hear her over her necklace.

Seriously though, what is that?

Back at the house, recently relocated from Chicago Lieutenant Barnes (previously only known as The Constable) informs Peggy, Mickey and JB that he’s on the case, since there is no homicide division. Mickey suggests that JB help him out, but JB humbly says that her occasionally exploits are grossly over-exaggerated. (Liar!). Lieutenant Barnes says he doesn’t mind though – JB has covered the subject of murder fairly well in her books, even if she isn’t always accurate.

For insulting her honour, JB considers punching him in the face.

He takes her down to the scene of the crime, where they quickly establish that there was no way someone could have snuck in via security. THE CALL KILLER CAME FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE! They are interrupted by Buster-the-Jester, who tells them that Lou is out on the patio trying to kill Mickey as payback for Mickey killing his father. Lieutenant Barnes deftly handles the situation by shoving Lou into the pool.

According to IMDB, you will know Lieutenant Barnes from such things as 30 Rock and Grey Gardens.

The reason for the confusion, it seems, is that Lou saw Mickey going into the den and obviously 2 + 2 = 5. Mickey explains that while he did go into the den he came out of it again, and at no point did he shoot anybody. I believe him – he’s starting to remind me of Grady.

Peggy comes running up to inform everyone that Mickey didn’t do it and admits to sneaking El Dummy Spit in through the service entrance. This is enough for Lieutenant Barnes, who demands to know where El Dummy Spit is. Peggy admits to giving him money to get out of town, but Lieutenant Barnes doesn’t give up that easily.

Our Heroine asks Lou where he was when Johnny got shot. Apparently Johnny told him to get lost, which is code for having a girl over according to Buster. Lou says that this is impossible, since he didn’t have a name to call down to the security gate.

Ah, says JB. Which is short for, “But what if it was someone the guard knew by sight? Someone who might have been married to Johnny once upon a time?”

Back at the tennis club, Peggy admits to ‘paying her ex-husband a visit’, if you know what I mean. She swears she didn’t kill him, and her children didn’t either. Jess apparently accepts this and talk turns to Johnny’s enemies, of which apparently he had a few of. Like Milo Valentine, the friendly neighbourhood Mafia guy.

Hanging out in Lieutenant Barnes’s office, JB sketches out her mob hitman theory, and he agrees. He seems convinced that El Dummy Spit is a tennis player by day and a mob hitman by night. Which is a genius set-up for a television show, and you’re welcome TV land.

Back at the house, Terry overhears Buster on the phone trying to get in touch with said Mr Valentine. SUSS.  JB arrives in a taxi (and says to the taxi driver “Thank you for a lovely ride!”). She goes to visit Terry who tells her about overhearing Buster on the phone to Mr Valentine. JB notices a video tape missing from Johnny’s collection and Terry says it’s from the camera over the billiard table. Johnny used to film himself ‘playing’ so that he could ‘correct’ his mistakes. I bet he did.

Lieutenant Barnes arrives, and wants to know what JB’s doing there.

“Taking care of business,” she says sweetly.

Seriously though, she’s the best.

Turns out Lieutenant Barnes just wants Mickey’s statement. They’ve found El Dummy Spit making a break for Mexico.

Having his ass busted on the border, El Dummy Spit is hauled back for questioning. He insists that he didn’t kill Johnny Shannon, and that Terry did. JB quietly suggests he might want a lawyer, and the interview is over. Peggy, Mickey and Terry head home, accompanied by JB who has some unfinished business to take care of.

Out on the patio, JB grills Buster on his phone call with Milo Valentine and he admits to calling, but only to make sure there was no hit out on him. This is just like The Sopranos, probably. Buster explains to Jess that Milo got Johnny started in show business, but when he got famous Johnny resented being told what to do. One night, to clear the air, Johnny had Milo over for a friendly game of pool.

Aha! That explains the missing tape! SEE HOW IT ALL COMES TOGETHER. JB has it all figured out. The killer had two assignments – kill Johnny and steal the tape. More than that, she knows who the killer is.

I’m glad she knows, because I didn’t see this one coming.

Sigh. Can we trust no one in this crazy world?

I liked the Lieutenant of Death, right up until he pointed a gun at JB and said “You’ve won a prize – a trip to oblivion!” It turns out he’s a cop by day, mob hitman by night. The opposite of Batman, if you will.

Before things get too out of control Jess hollers and her posse come running.

There you have it, Fletcherfans. Another case neatly tied up by our heroine. Stay tuned for the season finale next week!

Until then, dear reader.

See you next week!

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