Disclaimer: My attention wandered in this episode. You have been warned.
Roadtrippin again this week Fletcherfans, this time to Sweet Home Alabama where Our Heroine is kicking back with her pal Ames Caulfield after a hardcore week of partying at a writers conference. Sadly, it all goes a bit pear-shaped en route to Ames’s estate and they break down outside of Hoopville.
While the car gets fixed, JB and Ames adjourn to the hotel which (in an Amazingly Unforeseen and Unpredictable Coincidence) is owned by a former student (and obvious former flame) of Ames’s, Cassie Burns along with her son Matthew-the-musician who is surprisingly adult if you know what I mean, nudge nudge wink wink etcetera.
Following up on the incredibly subtle suggestion that Matthew might be Ames’s son, Ames goes to watch Matthew play (and flirt with a perm called Linda) at the bar on the outskirts of town while the bar owner Frank Kelso shows off his new gun toy before the peace is Completely and Utterly Disturbed by
zombies the arrival of Linda’s brother Ed and his minions Andy and Billy who like booze and bullying. And eating brains, probably.
On a semi-unrelated topic….
Sometimes I even scare myself…anyway,
head zombie Ed decides he doesn’t like Matthew making loverboy-eyes at his sister and tells him accordingly. This amazingly leads to a massive brawl and Ed ordering Matthew to stay away from singing and his sister (in that order). The zombies take off in their zombiemobile car with Matthew in hot pursuit, telling Linda that he’s going to kill Ed even if he is her brother. Ames is left standing in the dust looking perplexed.
I can’t even begin to speculate what is going to happen next.
Back at the hotel JB is up late working (because that’s just how she rolls) when she hears Ames come in. As she looks pointedly at her watch, sirens blare outside. Because Ed
the zombie is dead. Not undead, just dead. Dead Ed. OH THE SURPRISE.
The next morning, Ames quickly recruits JB to come to the aid of Matthew, who has been arrested for the murder of Zombie Ed. Down at the sheriff’s office, Ames tries all sorts of name-dropping tricks in an effort to see Matthew but the sheriff and Daniel Day-Lewis are unmoved.
IMDB has just informed me that the Sheriff of Hoopville is also Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Mind. Blown. The Sheriff tells Our Heroine and Ames about the mountain of (circumstantial) evidence proving Matthew killed the zombie Ed, but admits that he has doubts about Matthew’s guilt. He also says that despite this, Matthew is a lot safer inside the jail than out on the streets where the local townsfolk are baying for revenge. JB and Ames return to the hotel where the clerk tells Ames that Cassie wants to see him at home immediately. JB stops him to ask if he remembers seeing anything after the fight to prove that Matthew is innocent but Ames can’t remember a thing.
Outside the sheriff’s office the angry mob is taking time out of its schedule to get good and drunk. Bar owner Frank Kelso drops by with more booze and tells Andy that he’s sorry that Ed was
a zombie murdered. Andy is having none of it though. Apparently everyone knew that Frank Kelso’s wife was having a thing with Ed before she went to “visit her mother” which is apparently code for “run off with the hardware salesman”. Frank hulks out but is silenced with a punch to the face.
JB goes to see the Sheriff to get the latest news and meets the Hoopville version of Doc Hazlitt, who is JB’s biggest fan even without having read any of her books. At last, someone with some sense. The doc tells JB that the body was definitely hacked at and moved post-mortem. The sheriff reluctantly lets JB look through Ed’s personal effects and is equally flummoxed by the presence of two cigarette lighters one of which bears the Cameron family crest. (The Murder She Wrote writers want to make that point clear. I feel this may come up later)
Outside, JB is accosted by Dead Ed’s sister who asks her to come and see her father to try to put a stop to
this episode the insanity. Dead Ed’s Dad seems disinclined to do anything but chop wood and mutter about the sheriff, but eventually comes clean – Dead Ed moved out without a dime but somehow managed to rent a house, buy an expensive new car and generally carry on like he was a Kardashian. He suspects Dead Ed of being a drug dealer, but hasn’t proof.
Back in town the mob is getting restless with just drinking and making nooses. Sheriff Shredder tells Our Heroine that someone was spotted leaving Dead Ed’s place but they don’t know who. JB has it with people not telling her things and tries to force Cassie to admit that Matthew is Ames’s son. She blusters and storms off but Ames admits it. He also tells her that Billy Willetts (associate zombie to Dead Ed) held a knife to Frank Kelso the night of the brawl. Apparently this is news we can use.
After the sheriff orders JB off the case, on account of the angry mob of zombies massing outside the sheriff’s office. Thankfully, JB ignores him and pays a visit on Frank Kelso, who greets her with his gun.
Frank wants to know why JB is snooping around. He tells her Billy held the knife on him to stop him from reaching for his ‘peacemaker’.
“Strictly speaking, a Peacemaker is a nickname for a Colt 45, used in frontier days. If I’m not mistaken, that’s a Webley Fosbury semi automatic revolver.” says Jess.
“Wellllll…..you sure do know your weaponry!” Says Frank. “You own one of them?”
“Oh no. No no no.” Jess replies. “Of course I just ran across it in research. For several days I considered using one to shoot a Bulgarian scientist.”
Frank has no time to think of an appropriate response. He gets a call from the Sheriffs office. There’s trouble.
Faced with the imminent zombie menace the sheriff prepares to fight the hordes of undead to the end, but is saved when Dead Ed’s father appears and orders the angry zombie mob to disperse. To celebrate, Sheriff Shredder arrests Andy for being a zombie. And a douchebag.
After emptying his pockets they discover Andy has a keyring with the Cameron crest on it. Hey guys! Remember that time with the lighter! See how it all comes together!?
The Sheriff asks Andy if he’d lost his lighter and Andy’s all “hell yeah, where’d you find it?”
“Off your friend’s dead body.” Says the sheriff.
Andy flips out. He gave the lighter to Dead Ed after they left Kelso’s the first time, since Dead Ed had left his behind. They went to play pool, got back into town at 12:45 then Dead Ed said he had to go to the bank.
And by bank…
Are you ready kids? So it turns out Frank Kelso was being blackmailed by Dead Ed because Dead Ed found out Frank killed his wife after she’d had an affair with Dead Ed. So, Frank killed Dead Ed. And then it was now.
Good lord. I need a nap. And a whiskey.
Until next time, dear reader.