Make yourself comfortable, Fletcherfans. I have a story to tell.
Once upon a time there was a comedy duo by the name of Mack Howard and Murray Gruen. It’s the same old story, they took the world by storm, parted in anger and have hated each other ever since.
Fast forward 30 years and Mack Howard is a late night talk show host while Murray Gruen is struggling after buying an old lodge in the mountains. Someone is making boatloads of money from videos of their old routines, though each swears it isn’t him. Worse than that, their children Kip and Corrie have fallen in love, gotten engaged, and are throwing a party at Murray’s lodge to celebrate. Father of the groom Mack Howard doesn’t want a bar of it, but his wife Edie tells him that if he doesn’t go to the party he shouldn’t bother going back to the apartment either.
Meanwhile, father of the bride Murray Gruen is already at the lodge, self- diagnosing his medical issues with the 1980s version of WebMD, while his friend Norma wonders exactly why she’s there since he doesn’t seem to understand she’s in love with him.
Fortunately, JB drives up at that moment with the bride and groom to be. And honestly, I don’t know why Murray is relying on books to self- diagnose. His daughter is marrying a doctor.
Murray is delighted to see his late wife’s dear friend Jess.
Clooney is unmoved.
Dinner that night is a raging success, everyone forgives everyone for everything.
As the insults between Mack and Murry escalate, Jess has a quiet word in the ear of Phil Rinker, former manager to both Mack and Murray, now manager to Mack, and he interrupts the bickering to give a toast. Mack is touched, and gives his own toast. In response, Murray stands up and smashes a glass in the fireplace.
Gotta admit, the guy has style.
The bickering starts again, with Mack and Murray accusing each other of cutting the other one out of the video sales, while their former business manager Farley Pressman tries to tell them that there is no money in the video sales, which sets Phil Rinker off as he’s convinced there is. Buddy storms out, Mack storms out, and Farley offers JB a brandy.
The brandy break is cut short when they hear Murray screaming in his room. Everyone comes running to find Murray slumped over in the hall, howling in pain. Someone has stabbed him in the back.
YO, CLOONEY, PREP THE O.R OR WHATEVER.
In the bathroom retrieving medical supplies, JB notices the knife on the floor. Farley goes to pick it up but she tells him it’s best not to. Clooney returns to tell them that all the doors and windows are locked from the inside. While they wait for the doctor to arrive (since Clooney isn’t stepping up), JB asks Murray if he saw his attacker. He tells her not really, he just saw a shadow and then a flash of colour. JB asks him what colour the flash was, and after careful deliberation he says a deep red.
Mack is unhappy with being called a backstabber and flounces off to pack. JB talks him down, pointing out that Murray didn’t actually accuse him of stabbing him, and Mack relents. He tells JB that if Murray so much as hints that Mack shived him, he’ s outta there.
Corrie and Kip go for a walk to calm down, but Kip has other things on his mind.
Meanwhile, JB is inside dealing with the local constabulary in the form of Acting Chief Wylie B Ledbetter. Well, trying to.
She gently explains to him that it seems very unlikely that a stranger would break into a house full of people to kill one of them, so the only conclusion to be made is that the culprit was someone on the inside. She also suggests he take statements to establish where everyone was at the time of the stabbing. He eventually gets there and establishes that Farley was in the den with JB, Edie was in the kitchen while Norma, Corie Kip and Mack were all in their rooms when Murray was stabbed.
They realise that Phil is missing, and JB reports that his coat and overshoes are missing from his room. JB suggests that Wylie get someone to the train station to see if Phil is there, but Wylie tells her that he and the chief are the only two cops in town – but he’ll get his mother to take a look.
The next morning, JB goes hunting for sugar in the cabinet in the storeroom and finds Phil hanging from the ceiling instead. The note apologising to Murray for stabbing him convinces everyone that it’s suicide but Jess is unconvinced. The group gathers to watch Phil’s body get loaded into the ambulance, and are soon joined by Farley, who announces that he’s been all over the grounds and hasn’t seen Phil anywhere. He’s very surprised to learn that Phil was in a storeroom the whole time.
JB does some basic geometry and comes up with a startling fact – there was no way Phil could have killed himself. She goes to the police station to inform Wylie who doesn’t want to know about it but shows her the lab report of the knife used to stab Murray. It contains traces of white paint, which Wylie assumed happened when someone used the handle of the knife to scrape paint.
Armed with this new information, JB conducts an investigation of the bathroom
She also spots some chunks taken out of the bathroom door, and a a pile of white dust on the floor of Murray’s bedroom. Upon closer inspection JB finds a peephole carved into the wall, allowing Murray to see into Mack’s bedroom.
JB confronts Murray who breaks down and reveals the truth – he stabbed himself and set Mack up. He couldn’t bear the thought of Corrie spending time with his arch-enemy Mack. Seems legit.
That still leaves the small matter of who bumped off Phil, and for now Jessica is stumped. That night, while they are preparing dinner she asks Wylie if he learned anything from the lodge’s phone records. He tells her that the only call out on the night Phil died was to a video distribution company in New York. Edie and Norma worry that they have to spend another night with a killer in their midst, but Wylie tells them not to worry, he expects to solve the case before the end of the day.
Fortunately for Wylie, JB has already solved the case. The killer has fallen neatly into her trap.
Spoiler alert: it wasn’t Batman.
Farley, you see, had been the mysterious person getting all the money for the video sales. Farley had been embezzling money from Mack and Murray for thirty years. And when Phil cottoned on to him, he had to go.
But it’s not all bad news. Mack and Murray buried the hatchet, Corrie and Batman were more in love than ever, and Murray finally asks Norma to marry him.
And they all lived happily ever after. Probably.