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:
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
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…
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…