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S02E05 – Sing a Song of Murder

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There’s big trouble in Mother England this week, Fletcherfans. Our Heroine’s cousin, Emma Macgill, is a) an aging caberet actress b) in danger and c) very familiar in the looks department.

CUNNING USE OF WIGS

Remember that time with the turban? THIS IS WAY MORE EPIC THAN THAT.

Now I’m not sure if it’s the fur muffler, the dress, or the singing, but someone is out to get Ms Emma Macgill. It’s clearly noone in the audience though, since they’re all too busy singing along,

This is exactly what going to see Muse at the Big Day Out in 2010 was like. #nottrue

This is exactly what going to see Muse at the Big Day Out in 2010 was like. #nottrue

Methinks the grief may be coming from everyone else in the theatre like Archie, the guy who inherited half the theatre from his father and now wants to sell up, or his conniving wife Violet, or Kitty, the daughter of Oliver Trumble the opening act who is both a comedian who was last funny in 1937 and also bumping uglies with the star of the show.  (If you’ve been playing along since Season 1, you’ll remember that an unfunny comedian is always the most likely suspect).

Meanwhile in Cabot Cove, JB gets a phone call informing her of her cousin’s tragic demise from Emma’s lawyer Ernest Fielding, who I’ve just realised was the Right Hand Of Death last season, and so clearly has form. JB quickly hops the concord for Heathrow, but is accosted on the street by Danny Briggs, a man who wants to buy Emma’s musical and enjoys doing crap impressions of Michael Caine.

(Sidenote: after googling Ernest Fielding I fell down an IMDB rabbit hole and ended up here. I COMPLETELY FORGOT THIS SHOW EXISTED, NOW EXCUSE ME WHILE I YOUTUBE).

Ahem. So, failed Michael Caine wants to get his Cockney hands on the music hall that Jess inherited about thirty seconds ago, (seems familiar right?), but Jess politely tells him to jog on, and meets up with the aforementioned Ernest Fielding. He escorts JB to his car and politely but firmly insists she get in the back.

ZOMBIES! MOAR ZOMBIES! (I might be having a Walking Dead withdrawal problem, shut up alright?)

ZOMBIES! MOAR ZOMBIES! (I might be having a Walking Dead withdrawal problem, shut up alright?)

Turns out it isn’t the reanimated flesh eating corpse of Our Heroine’s cousin (boo), it turns out Emma faked her own death. Through some devilishly clever cutaway shots, Emma, JB and Ernest Hemingway Fielding try to nut out who exactly has it in for Emma. While drinking tea, since they are in London after all. Our Heroine is less than excited to learn that her cousin has set her up as a potential victim so she can discover who is trying to bump Emma off.

This picture deserves a better caption than this.

This picture deserves a better caption than this.

Having had quite enough of her cousin’s rampant drug use bright ideas, JB decides to pay a visit on her old friend Inspector Kyle, who you may remember from such episodes as this one. Unfortunately he’s off on holidays so Jess enlists the help of Inspector Crimmins.

The next day, JB turns up at Emma’s ‘funeral’ in much the same way that Clint Eastwood walks into a bar. She has a bit of a poke around in Emma’s dressing room but is busted by her maid, Bridget. JB quizzes Bridget about Emma’s ‘accidents’ before she ‘died’ in a ‘car accident’ but Bridget doesn’t know terribly much. JB runs into Oliver and his daughter Kitty but they’re off on a secret Shakespearian mission. Or something.

Has anyone else noticed the distinct lack of murders in this episode of Murder She Wrote? Just saying.

Later that night, JB and Inspector Spacetime Crimmins are having a quiet shandy when JB decides they need to go and search Emma’s flat for clues. It turns out to be a brilliant idea – they arrive just in time to see Bridget-the-maid, wearing Emma’s leopard print coat, get mown down by a car. SO THERE IS A MURDER, OKAY RELAX EVERYONE.

Inspector Crimmins calls time out on the whole Emma-faked-her-death thing and orders Emma and Ernest to go down to Scotland Yard. Word gets out that Emma is less dead than originally thought, and Archie (co-owner of the theatre) turns up to suss out just how undead Emma is, and if this new undead Emma might want to sell the theatre. Emma refuses to leave the flat and so JB and Inspector Crimmins go to see her to find out just exactly why her maid was breaking into her flat and stealing her leopard print coat. Our Heroine cuts right to the chase – noone would have been trying to run anyone down if they thought Emma was still dead (as opposed to her current undead status). JB smells a rat. A dirty, undead rat.

Emma comes clean and admits leaving a message for Oliver, letting him know that she was in fact undead. JB and Inspector Crimmins go to pay him a visit but he’s not at home. Crimmins suggests taking a listen to the ‘answering device’ and discover that he’s still on his Shakespearian mission, by which I mean audition. The message from the director of the play is on the machine, after the message from Emma advising her undeadness. JB goes to see his audition, the highlight of which is the part where he loses his mind and starts Shakespearian insulting everyone in sight. (Though he doesn’t drop the ‘You Painted Maypole!’ which has always been my favourite).

The director doesn’t take too kindly to this turn of events:

You're welcome, fellow Shakespearian nerds.

You’re welcome, fellow Shakespearian nerds.

…leaving JB and Kitty to console poor Oliver. He brightens up when JB tells him she’s still alive, but he’s not impressed to hear that he’s the last to know. This suprises JB, who points out Emma called him and left a message. Oliver tells her he hasn’t been home, he’s been too busy begging for an audition. Unfortunately, Inspector Crimmins has other ideas and drags him off to Scotland Yard under arrest.

JB does not entirely agree with this view of the whole shebang, and goes off to see Emma, but Danny Briggs gets there first. Fortunately, Emma is nothing like Grady.

SMASHING VASES LIKE A BOSS.

Emma Mad! Emma SMASH!

A peculiar thing happens. The bump on Danny’s head has knocked some sense into Our Heroine, and she’s worked out who the killer is…

I thought there was a little 'Evil Stepmother' thing going on with her...

I thought there was a little ‘Evil Stepmother’ thing going on with her…

There you have it guys. Kitty tried to bump Emma off 4 times and managed a 0% success rate. Well done, Kitty.

And on that rather depressing note…

Until next time...

Until next time…

S02E04 – School for Scandal

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This week we find our heroine in Vermont, where her old pals Beryl and Henry have invited her to come and give the commencement  speech at Crenshaw College, and accept an Honorary Degree in Being A Boss. Naturally Jess is all over that, and is even more excited when she finds out the English Head Dr Jocelyn Laird is throwing a party in her honour. And by throwing a party I mean making eyes at her subordinates.

Remember that time she tried to stop her granddaughter hanging out with Johnny Depp in Cry Baby...in fact remember Johnny Depp in Cry Baby? Yeah.

Remember that time she tried to stop her granddaughter hanging out with Johnny Depp in Cry Baby…in fact remember Johnny Depp in Cry Baby? Yeah.

Dr Joss has bigger problems than her eyesight though. Loverboy up there, who might be named Ron but I’m sticking with Loverboy, is a bit peeved that Dr Joss promoted the other man, Alger, instead of him. Dr Joss is pissed at him for reading her daughter Daphne’s tawdry tales of sexy-times to his students, apparently making her a mockery. Then, to make matters worse, Dr Joss’s daughter turns up with her latest hunk of man meat. This is going to be one hell of a party.

Sidenote: Dr Alger is being played by Roddy McDowell, who I get confused with Malcolm McDowell. He’s not from a Clockwork Orange, but is in fact from both Planet of the Apes and Fright Night, in which he played Peter Vincent the magician that would later be played by David Tennant.

You're welcome.

You’re welcome.

And for the fact that I worked David Tennant into a Murder, She Wrote episode makes me the winner of EVERYTHING EVER. I’m taking tomorrow off.

Wait, I’m off topic again. Right, the party. Dr Joss has Stuff On Her Plate, but Daphne promises that the embarrassment will be kept down to a bare minimum, and not to worry. Once the party starts though, and Jessica is armed with a glass of punch, it all seems to go wrong. Alger and Todd are circling each other about the promotion, and Daphne and Nick the Boy-Toy are determined to liven up the party with a bit of skinny dipping and some champagne.

Daphne tells JB that she loves her books (well, obviously) and JB returns the favour saying that Daphne has a talent for imagery. Daphne then declares Picasso to be so hot right now, to which JB has the appropriate reaction.

JB enjoys knowing she's the smartest person in the conversation.

JB enjoys knowing she’s the smartest person in the conversation.

Nick the Toy Boy decides to make a little mischief, cracks on to Loverboy’s wife (wait, what?) before punching Loverboy in the face and departing for the guesthouse with Daphne. Daphne has one final display of her assets before she leaves.

Keeping the embarrassment down to a bare minimum. BARE. MINIMUM. Get it?

I guess you could say she kept the embarrassment down to a… bare minimum.  Yeahhhhh! We won’t get fooled again! (Sorry)

The next morning, JB is out on her morning run and finds Nick the Boy Toy slightly more deceased than usual. The police are called and JB quickly assumes the lead in the investigation, mainly due to the chief’s proud declaration that he’d never investigated a homicide before. Of course not. Jess explains to the chief how Nick the Dead Boy Toy definitely didn’t fall out of a window, but was left there by the killer(s). Dazzled by logic and evidence, the chief insists that Jessica assist him while he investigates the case. Jess demurely insists that she doesn’t want to interfere, (LIE), but the chief insists.

First on Starsky and Hutch’s their list is Daphne, sadly now wearing clothes. She tells them she didn’t see or hear anything, on account of the sleeping pills she took. When she gets tired of the Chief asking questions she volunteers to recreate at least one event from last night, and the chief bolts. Jess goes to see Dr Joss on her own, to pay her respects and see if she can unearth any goss on the Boy Toy, with little success.

Back at Beryl and Henry’s Alger is gossiping with Beryl about the drama – apparently he missed the whole thing when he had to leave early to see his ill mother. The Chief turns up to tell Jess what he’s learned so far – the time of death – and find out more info about the Great Punch-on that occurred between Nick and Loverboy. Beryl reveals that she saw Loverboy heading towards Dr Joss’s house after the party which piques Jess’s (and therefore the Chief’s) interest. The chief gets a phone call tip saying that Daphne Clover is the killer, and gets over to Daphne’s house to find some evidence. Fuelled with his own investigative genius, the Chief quickly locates the murder weapon (a candlestick, which must make Daphne Miss Scarlet, and Dr Joss Mrs Peacock) and a blackmail letter and promptly arrests Daphne. JB is sceptical, and goes to alert Dr Joss to the situation.

At the police station, JB gets fed up with the police interrogation and starts bomb-dropping. It was impossible for Daphne to have taken the candlestick from the main house back to the guest house without being seen, since all she had on was a fur coat and a big smile. The chief concedes this, but is still clinging to the proof of the blackmail note. JB (rightly) points out that it would be stupid for Nick the Boy Toy to be sending blackmail notes to someone he sleeps with, and the Chief reluctantly agrees to release Daphne for now.

After an incredibly amusing “Who’s on first” style routine with the baggage man at the train station, JB runs into Loverboy’s wife, who offers her a lift back into town. JB asks her how she knew Nick the Boy Toy, and she reveals that Nick came onto her at her house. She denies loverboy killing the boy toy, but admits she can’t prove he stayed home in bed.

JB goes back to see Dr Joss and through some subtle ninja-style detecting realises that a) she didn’t write the note but b) Joss wrote the books for which her daughter has become famous. Joss admits as much, and then admits to killing Nick. Jess takes her down to the police station to confess, but in a STUNNING TWIST her daughter Daphne admits to the killing. JB decides to leave the case in the capable hands of the Chief and goes to prepare for her speech.

While Jessica prepares for her speech, she Henry and Beryl learn of the resignation of Alger – it turns out that Dr Joss had decided to promote Loverboy over him after all (and by promote I think you know what I mean), so he decided to resign.

Apparently that’s not all he did.

I thought his 'going to see mother' excuse was a little bit Norman Bates

I thought his ‘going to see mother’ excuse was a little bit Norman Bates

Let’s work this out backwards. Nick the Boy Toy is lying dead on the floor. Dr Joss calls Loverboy and asks him to help her move the body, assuming that her daughter had done it. But ACTUALLY, Alger saw the Boy Toy go into Dr Joss’s room and lost his mind. He decided to frame Daphne as punishment for the smutty books she wrote that upset her mother. MORE FOOL HIM.

Cased closed, bitch. (There’s an alternate universe in which this is Jessica Fletcher’s catchphrase. I’m convinced of it).

Until next time, dear reader.

Later, Fletcherfans!

Later, Fletcherfans!

S02E03 – Murder in the Afternoon

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Happy New Year Fletcherfans! I hope you all had a marvellous Christmas and an appropriately ridiculous new year. If that saying about what you’re doing at midnight holding true for the year is accurate, I will be dancing Gangum Style with a bottle of wine in each hand while fireworks go off behind me. I’m not sure whether that’s a forecast for my year or an inevitable fact.

Ahem. Anyway.

Our Heroine is on a roadtrip again this week, catching up with her sister Agnes and her niece Nita, who has just got a role as a homicidal lunatic called The Avenger on a daytime soap opera called Young Bold Days of Our Beautiful Restless Hospital Our Secret Lives. This can only end well.

It turns out all is not well on the set. One character is refusing to die, another character wants to get killed off, one character called Julian seems to have issues facing the fact he isn’t really a doctor, one of the actresses is having an affair with one of the writers, who’s wife is the head writer and despised by everybody.

Fun fact. Her name is Joyce and she’s also Malory Archer and Lucille Bluth.

I didn't know Malory Archer and Lucille Bluth were the same person. Mind. Blown.

I didn’t know Malory Archer and Lucille Bluth were the same person. Mind. Blown.

Later than night Joyce is at home, plotting to kill off another character. Her husband Larry (having an affair with the actress from the show) starts making eyes at her but she gives him the cold shoulder. He tells her he’s off to the Friar’s Club, to which she replies “I may call you later. You’d better be there or else I may have to cut off your…inheritance.”

Allowance is code for penis.

Allowance is code for penis.

Joyce settles down to finish her work, but is interrupted by a bullet shot by a figure dressed as the Avenger from the show, who walks in while the theme from Pink Panther inexplicably plays in the background. No more Malory/Lucille/Joyce. The masked marauder steals Joyce’s script for the next day and hightails it out of there.

The next day, JB is packing up to head back to the Cove when she receives a visit from the police. There’s an arrest warrant out for Nita for the murder of Joyce/Lucille/Malory.

JB is clearly delighted by this turn of events.

JB takes exception to a man wearing a hat indoors.

JB takes exception to a man wearing a hat indoors.

He takes her downtown to see his boss Lieutenant Antonelli, who has just finished establishing that Joyce’s husband did not go to the Friar’s Club, but was so wasted  that he didn’t know where he was. Needless to say he is not in the best of moods, so when JB explains that it’s just not possible that Nita is the killer, he responds with “Mrs Fletcher, let me be frank. You’re writing ain’t my kind of reading.”

To which Our Heroine replies “Well lieutenant let me be even franker, anyone who is capable of imagining that my niece can commit murder is being grossly overpaid or taking up valuable space in this office.”

That'll teach him to sass her books.

That’ll teach him to sass her books.

Copping the oratory bitch slap with remarkable good grace, the lieutenant explains that the killer was seen leaving the apartment building at the time of the killing, which JB sensibly explains doesn’t mean it was Nita. Then the lieutenant drops a bomb – Joyce called her sidekick Gordon and told her that Nita had tried to kill her. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if she did do it, she’d still be more awesome than Brady, but JB storms out before she can tear the lieutenant a new one. She goes to see her sister to talk strategy, and receives a phone call from Nita who is hiding out at a hotel. Before Jess can go and collect her she is arrested by the police. That lieutenant didn’t take his scolding that well after all.

Nita admits to Jess that she went to see Joyce, after it became clear that Joyce was going to kill Nita’s character off, but didn’t go inside her building. Jess tells her to buck up and goes out on a mission to get more evidence. She runs into Bibi (banging Joyce’s husband) and another actor from the show downstairs, who politely ask about Nita and demand to know what has happened to the new script. JB brushes them off – she’s got nieces to protect.

JB goes to see the recently widowed Mr Joyce, aka Larry, and asks him why he lied about the time he left the house. He admits he was upstairs banging Bibi-the-actress, but denies killing his wife. Stay classy, Larry. Back at the studio, asks the new head writer Carol and new director Gordon if they knew what changes Joyce was planning to make to the show. Gordon admits he does, and arranges to meet with JB later that evening. Unfortunately for  Gordo, he gets lured back to the studio with a  recording of the actors bitching about him and shot in the shoulder for his trouble.

Antonelli immediately jumps to conclusions about who the shooter is, and tries to arrest Todd-the-actor-who-wanted-out, but receives a phone call that the gun that shot Joyce is the same one that shot Gordo, but isn’t the Avenger’s gun. Yeah, okay? JB decides to conduct a little experiment and gets the help of the new head writer to drop some new dialogue into the show. Aided by the teleprompter, Julian (actor who has trouble remembering he’s not really a doctor) confesses to killing Joyce.

Say it ain't so!

Say it ain’t so!

WHAT THE HELL?

Wait, no, no. The whole gun thing. Julian had the Avengers gun, the Avenger gun wasn’t the murder weapon.

Turns out it was the husband the whole time.

Ah yes. That old chestnut.

Ah yes. That old chestnut.

And there you have it gang! Another week goes past and JB doesn’t have any murderous relations! Huzzah! Let’s hope it continues next week.

Later, Fletcherfans!