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!

PS – I’ve made a Facebook page for Murder, She Blogged. Go and like it, and enjoy the random pictures that people send through!

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