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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.