I don’t know about you Fletcherfans, but I could use a little ridiculousness after this week. Fortunately, Our Heroine is home in the Cove again, which means you know who.
Amos is cheating on his regular diner (owned by Bo Dixon) with a new restaurant called the Joshua Peabody Inn, named after Cabot Cove’s answer to Jebediah Springfield. In fact, most of the town is, including Doc Hazlitt, who is taking Jess to breakfast.
All is not well inside the Inn, however. The owner, Floyd is frazzled, the chef Alan Dupree is drunk and trying to get fired, and the patrons – including two feuding local politicians and some out-of-towners who have stopped in for a bite to eat – aren’t all that convinced that it’s the best place for them. I can’t imagine why though, with menu items like Eggs Benedict Arnold, or the Benjamin Frankenfurter (with beans), or the One if By Land, Two if By Sea Surf and Turf platter, or Life, Liberty and Prosciutto Happiness with Melon, how could you go wrong?
Amos plonks himself down with Seth and JB and promptly starts arguing with Seth about whether Joshua Peabody was a real person. Cornelia, the waitress, stops by their table with the jam and Seth says “At least you didn’t have to dress up like Betsy Ross at the old place!” to which Jessica says “Doctors who walk around in hip boots hardly qualify as fashion experts.”
Meanwhile, Bo the spurned diner owner is also having breakfast, trying to see where all his customers (and his waitress) have gone. Amos spots jam on a neighbouring table, occupied by two ladies from out of town named Wilhelmina and Betty and snares it for his toast before Cornelia snaffles it up and places it briefly on the table of the two warring politicians before delivering it to a family table. One can only presume that this game of Musical Jam has some sort of nefarious point.
While Seth and Our Heroine argue over the bill, the father of the family that last had the jam comes rushing back into the restaurant. His son has fallen ill! Well colour me surprised, etc.
Seth goes running and finds the son rolling in agony on the ground. The two politicians come outside and one collapses. Then Amos hollers – Betty from the next table is on the ground, and not moving.
That’s it, I’m calling it now.
Down at Cabot Cove General Hospital (which is what I assume the hospital is called), Seth is tending to his patients when Margo Perry from State Health (also known as Anne Francis from Forbidden Planet) arrives demanding information and bringing a whole lot of sass.
Margo The Feisty gets to work immediately, going through the Inn and making sure her minions collect a sample. It goes a little something like this:
Amos: I had some of that.
Amos: (worried) I had some of that.
Amos: (really worried) I had some of that too!
Our Heroine: (dryly) You had some of everything, Amos.
Paying scant disregard for Amos’s rising terror, JB discovers a preserves rack with the raspberry jam missing. She asks Floyd who was sitting at that table but he’s too busy trying to keep up with Hurricane Margo. Jess gets Amos to drive her back to the hospital, where Seth insists on giving them a checkup. Before he can do so, Eric from The Bold and the Beautiful comes in looking for his wife Wilhelmina – the friend of the woman who died. Seth tells him that his wife is going to be fine, but her friend Betty Fiddler didn’t make it. Eric promptly collapses in shock.
In the corridor, Jess tells Seth her theory – the food was poisoned by someone who removed it before the state health people arrived. They don’t notice Hurricane Margo come up behind them until she tells Seth to stop formulating pointless theories with the local “crisishound”, and start testing samples.
Back at the Peabody, Jess resumes the hunt for Jam of Death, but it’s nowhere to be found. As she searches, she asks Floyd if he has any enemies, and he tells her about the Chef Who Can’t Cook, Dupree. Floyd imported him from France, assuming that a) he was French (he isn’t) and that he could cook like his family (he can’t). The only way Dupree can get out of his contract is if Floyd fires him, which he won’t.
Seth calls and tells Jess he needs to tell her. He has a theory about what the problem is – atropine poisoning. He has an antidote for it, and if it works it will confirm Our Heroine’s theory that it wasn’t food poisoning, it was poisoned food. Theory confirmed, JB goes to see Cornelia the waitress, who was the last person to see the suspect jam. She tells JB that she left it on Bo Dixon’s table when the hubbub began.
Upon hearing this, Amos runs with it. But of course Bo is guilty! Not even JB pointing out that he had no chance to put the poison in the jam and collect the jar afterwards can convince him otherwise. Surely that just means Cornelia the waitress must have helped him! Why, some of that poison might have been meant for Amos! He did (unintentionally) take Bo’s customers to the Joshua Peabody Inn, because you know what they say “Where goes Amos Tupper, so goes Cabot Cove.”
“I must be moving in the wrong circles,” JB mutters to Seth. “I haven’t heard anyone say that.”
JB tells Amos about how Dupree is trying to get out of his contract at the Inn, but is interrupted by Mercer Hawthorne, the local politician who has now recovered from his bout of poisoning. He tells them that his dinner date and fellow politician Eb(enezer) McHenry is the poisoner, since Mercer has proof of Eb’s shady dealings.
That’s enough for Amos, who inexplicably throws both Bo and Eb in the cells, releases them and then picks up Dupree. He tells Amos and JB that he wasn’t the only person who had access to the kitchens. Bo turned up in there, and so did some random dude who wanted to take a look at the diner. Amos scoffs at this, but fortunately said mysterious stranger comes in to complain about the parking ticket he just got while he was in the hospital visiting his wife.
It’s Eric from Bold and the Beautiful again!
Amos demands to know how
Harrison Fraser III Eric Forrester could have been in the kitchen at the Joshua Peabody Inn that morning when he said he was in Portland when he heard the news about the food poisoning. JB ponders why he was so devastated about Betty’s death, but barely concerned about his wife’s illness, which leads her to wonder who he was looking at from the kitchen at the Inn that morning, and who he was trying to avoid. Eric flounces out without replying.
Later that night JB is hard at work on her next best-seller when she gets an unexpected visitor. Eric Forrester appears. He confesses to JB that he was having an affair with Betty, and that he followed them to stop Betty from telling his wife about their affair. He swears he didn’t poison anyone.
JB is stumped. She believes Eric, but she’s rapidly running out of suspects. She goes to see Bo Dixon, who is disinclined to provide any information to JB. Fortunately, a throwaway comment about leaving a tip on a credit card from Hurricane Margo, who is sweeping off home, sets Jess off. She knows who went on a poisonous rampage.
You may have guessed, too. It’s kind of obvious. Though at this point, I’d like to highlight how restrained I’ve been so far. Okay?
Thank you, Murder She Wrote writers, for allowing me the opportunity to utter the phrase Willie Of Death.
And on that highbrow note…