I have bad news Fletcherfans.
Sheriff Amos Tupper is retiring!
I have worse news Fletcherfans.
Look who is replacing him:
Fortunately for the people of Cabot Cove, the most recent death to hit the crime capital of the universe appears to be a straightforward accident. Beverley Gareth was electrocuted, after trying to fix her TV and have a bath at the same time. You know, that old story. Amos is relieved, and tells Harry not even Mrs Fletcher could make a murder out of this one.
Jess is at home, being talked at by town busybody Edna while Doc Hazzlitt is trying to fix JB’s toaster. And by toaster…nah, I actually mean toaster. Adding to the chaos, travel writer Michael Digby has just arrived on the door step, all set to put Cabot Cove on the map.
The next day, Amos celebrates his retirement by going fishing, while Jess shows Michael around Cabot Cove. Something strange is happening in town – people are receiving mysterious gossipy letters and the townsfolk are getting a bit uppity. Jess shows Michael where the lighthouse used to be, until it burned down the year before. Now the land is about to be redeveloped, now that the former owner and current corpse Beverly Garrett has sold the land. Not that this information will have any bearing on the case at hand, since her death was an accident.
Jess is interrupted mid-exposition by Edna arriving to give her a Cabot Cove Kiss – a whack in the head with a handbag.
Edna orders JB to stay away from her husband and flounces off, leaving JB somewhat mystified.
Back at home, Amos is loving retirement when the postman arrives with a letter so outrageous that Amos marches down to Harry Barnes at the sheriffs office to make his feelings known. Harry simply adds it to the pile.
Down at the docks Jess pays a visit to local repairman Larry Burns (no relation to Mr Burns, despite my first thought). He and Jess both wonder why they haven’t received letters yet, before Beverly’s boyfriend Adam arrives to accuse Larry of murder. He fixed her TV the week before she died, but Larry swears there was nothing wrong with the cord when he gave it back to her. Drunk Adam is out for blood, but is swiftly thrown in the harbour by Nils the Fisherman, who I’ve just decided should have been Sheriff.
Harry’s got a lot on his plate. The letters are piling up, he’s got a drunk in the cells and now a lady named Elvira has just walked in bellowing that she’s just been threatened by “that hairy foreigner I rent my downstairs to”.
One of Harry’s minions arrives and drops off some more letters and Elvira goes pale, saying “But I only sent one!” She refuses to say who for, or what was in it, and then runs out.
“Sheriff Tupper told me that nothing ever happens in this town.” Laments Harry.
Harry calls in the big gun for assistance, and JB is happy to oblige. Not wanting to feel left out, Amos comes along too. Reading the letters doesn’t seem to yield many clues, and since Harry threw the envelopes out they can’t get much from those. All they know is that the letters were all postmarked Cabot Cove. Amos finds his letter again in the pile – it says that the lighthouse was deliberately burned down, and tells Amos to ask himself who would benefit most from that?
JB jumps in before Amos can actually ask himself that question. Beverley got a lot of money from the sale of the land, but her alibi for the fire was solid. Plus, she’s dead. Jess turns her attention to the planning commissioners who okayed the land for development. Maybe they got a little more out of the deal than they thought?
After dinner with Michael-the-travel-writer JB decides to pay a call on Elivra, to see if she can find out why Elvira acted so strangely about the letters. Instead she finds Elvira has committed suicide. While she waits for Harry to arrive Jess snoops around Elvira’s apartment, and finds a suicide note and some pain medication. Jess starts to suspect this may not be a suicide after all. Her suspicions are confirmed the next morning, when Doc Hazlitt gets the results back – Elivra had severe arthritis, which would make her hanging from a tree until dead seem a little impossible.
The next morning JB goes to visit Edna, who has calmed down since the Great Bag Thumping. She tells JB that Elvira used to work for Beverley’s father a long time ago, and was very close to Beverley. So close, Jess mumbles, that she might be trusted to send an anonymous letter to Sheriff Tupper, for example. Down on the docks Harry has taken it upon himself to arrest Larry Burns for Elvira’s death – apparently someone saw them fighting the day she died, but Larry swears Elvira was just pissed at the way he’d fixed her lamp.
Naturally Jess thinks Harry has got it all wrong, and hatches a plan of her own. She enlists Michael to go down to the bar and keep an eye on the three developers while she has a poke around Beverley’s place. She hears footsteps and quickly hides, but a light upstairs and a tiny hole in the floor of the bathroom reveal her co-snooper is Amos, who was just in the neighbourhood.
Jess is convinced that Beverly was also murdered – the hole in the floor of the bathroom was in the perfect spot to see the bath, the power point and was in easy reach of the fuse box. They are very nearly caught in the act by Beverly’s boyfriend Adam but he is neutralised by a clunk on the head from Amos.
Back at the Sheriff’s office Harry Barnes has Adam put in the cells with Larry and Elvira’s hairy foreigner, who was busted trying to skip town. He’s convinced one of them did it, but he’s just not sure who. Jess is sure it isn’t any of them, and is starting to think the crazy letters were all a way for the killer to try and throw people off the scent of the one true
ring anonymous letter – the one sent to Amos about the lighthouse fire. While she sits around her kitchen table talking it out with Doc Hazlitt and Amos she suddenly remembers Michael, still at the pub trying to stall the developers from developing anything. A quick phone call to the bar reveals that Michael has done an amazing job of staying sober, but hasn’t learned much. The developers were out of town when the lighthouse burned down, but they could have paid someone to do it. Apparently they paid a massive finders fee to some real estate guy in town, but Michael wasn’t sure who.
Jess tells him to let one of the developers prise some information out of him, but not to make it too difficult. He staggers back to the table and slurs out that JB is on her way to Beverly’s house to prove that the fire was deliberate. The developers put in a quick call to their sidekick as a heads up. Meanwhile, JB is sitting in the basement waiting for the fly to enter her web.
And after awhile, he does. Oh dear.
At first he tries to bluster his way out of it, but JB is relentless. She tearfully explains how she worked it out. In reply, Harry draws his gun on her, but Amos, Seth and a deputy emerge from the shadows and take him away. “You don’t know how much I wanted to be wrong,” says Jess, sadly.
OW MY HEART.
I hate ending on a downer, so here’s Life Lesson #40: be wary of hairy foreigners renting out your downstairs.