First of all thanks to everyone who tweeted along with me as I watched The Celtic Riddle last Sunday (or in the case of my housemate, shouted enthusiastically at the television). If you click here and scroll down, you will be able to see how we all fell apart. (You’ll notice that it makes about as much sense as a regular Murder, She Blogged post so I feel we achieved something there).
For the record, I have still not recovered from seeing Mark Sheppard in it, although it does prove that all the best things have Mark Sheppard in them. Yeah science!
But nevermind all that, because this week JB is hanging out in Louisiana with nuns, specifically her old school friend Claire, who is now Mother Superior. If I know nothing else, it’s that you DO NOT MESS WITH NUNS THEY HAVE MAGICAL POWERS.
JB is not the only person hanging out at the Convent of the Immaculate Heart, although she is the only one dodging a deadline (MY HERO!). New nun Sarah has joined up, much to the dismay of her (ex) boyfriend Mike Phelps who is raging all about the place, and someone called Nancy Bates is trying to get in to see Sister Emily but without any success.
Meanwhile, JB has bigger problems than her deadline-dodging. She’s just been spotted by the mayor’s wife Marian Simpson, and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t recognise her at first.
Marian is very good at having those conversations where the other person involved is completely irrelevant. She manages to continue talking at JB from outside the convent (where she lived as a kid) all the way up to the Mother Superior’s office and barely stops to register that the Mother Superior is in the middle of a conversation with a private detective about a potential former resident of the convent, Linda Crane, or Linda Stone as she’s known now. The Mother Superior has nothing for him, but thinks Sister Emily might be able to help. JB volunteers to take the detective Ray Carter down to see Sister Emily, as Marian Simpson has got to finish this conversation about the invitations to the dedication ceremony taking place in a couple of days. Unfortunately for Ray, Sister Emily is not really feeling very forthcoming and gives him the old brushoff.
While JB and the Mother Superior chillax over a pot of tea, JB notices Sarah drop an envelope with her name on it and hands it back, complimenting Sarah on her ornate crucifix. Class, I feel like this is going to come up again later.
Speaking of later, JB is raiding the convent library when there’s a knock at the door. It’s Doctor Marshall, dropping off a prescription for Sister Emily. JB informs the nearest nun, Sister Paula, who is surprised as Sister Emily usually uses Doctor Hart. Class, I feel like this might come up again later too.
Meanwhile, at the Mayor’s house,
Mrs Peacock Marian Simpson has informed her husband that the detective Ray Carter is looking for Linda Crane and he freaks out. Guys, do you think this might come up later too?
Later that night, JB is just about to call it a day when a scream sends her out of bed. Sarah has just found Sister Emily, face down in her room, a hand-written Bible passage next to her.
The Mother Superior refuses to believe it’s suicide and informs everyone accordingly, including the Bishop when he comes to see her the next day. JB wants to believe her friend, but the Sheriff’s report seems conclusive so like the Bishop says – the amount of medication in her system killed her, and in any case there was no way for anyone to break in to the convent so unless the Reverend Mother thinks that one of the nuns did it…
The next morning during the service JB spots Sarah making eyes at her ex boyfriend Mike and sneaking out in the middle of the choir singing
In The Garden Of Eden by I Ron Butterfly a hymn. After the service, JB asks the sisters if they saw Sarah the previous night when Sister Emily died. Between the three of them they establish that they had no idea where she was then or now.
Before JB can do any more detecting, she’s accosted by Marian Simpson and her husband who are just simply devastated about Sister Emily’s suicide, and that nothing like this has ever happened at the convent since the Civil War when it was used on the Underground Railroad and yada yada yada. JB points out that they don’t know all the facts yet (which is accurate, since it only happened about 12 hours ago) but Marian refuses to believe it could be anything but. Although…she did see Nancy Bates yesterday. It turns out this Nancy Bates has just got out of prison, where she ended up thanks in part to the testimony of Sister Emily.
While the congregation is out on the lawn nomming down on some tasty baked goods made by the Sisters, JB takes advantage and goes snooping in Sister Emily’s classroom. She hears a noise in the cupboard and finds one of the convent’s wards, Amy hiding there. Between the crying and the whatnot, she tells JB that Sister Emily used to write out passages from the Bible for her. JB asks to see some and Amy shows them to her. They’re a match to the Bible passage the Sheriff and the Bishop are convinced was a suicide note.
Jess confronts the Sheriff but he’s still not convinced it proves Sister Emily didn’t kill herself. As they argue JB hears a noise coming from Sister Emily’s room. It’s Doctor Marshall rummaging through drawers. When he heard about Sister Emily’s death he wanted to check for himself what was on the pills, as the prescription he placed for her wasn’t strong enough to kill her. JB tells the Mother Superior about the Bible passage and the prescription and she’s even more convinced that Sister Emily was murdered. The Bishop says that if that’s true then it must have been one of the nuns. Jess disagrees, reminding him about Nancy Bates. The Bishop tells her that the convent was locked from after dinner until the police arrived so there was no way for anyone to get in and no way for JB to prove it.
“No,” says JB. “Not yet.”
JB goes to see Sarah who is out pruning in the garden, but she refuses to admit where she was the night Sister Emily died, or where she was after the service the next day. Sarah’s boyfriend Mike says exactly the same thing, but JB spots Sarah’s fancy crucifix around his neck. KNEW IT. That night JB is looking at the old floor plans of the convent and spots a crypt with potential for a secret passage. When she goes to investigate she’s attacked by a gloved hand.
The gloved hand turns out to belong to Nancy Bates, who had snuck in through the disused tunnel into the convent to retrieve the proof that she’d been to see Sister Emily the night she died. She tells JB that she wanted to see Sister Emily to thank her for all she did in getting Nancy to turn her life around, which is what prison did. JB asks her why noone else knows about the tunnel and Nancy says it was uncovered by some wards in the 60s and it was kept a secret by the wards ever since. JB decides she probably didn’t kill Sister Emily and asks her if she saw anything the night Sister Emily died. Nancy says no, but she may have seen a shadow hiding in the crypt as Nancy left.
JB decides to search Sister Emily’s room for clues, with the Mother Superior’s help, and they discover that one of the Sister’s habits is missing, along with the photo the detective gave Sister Emily to try and jog her memory about Linda Stone. Jess goes to see him and finds him packing up to leave town. He comes clean about the investigation – some rich so and so was concerned Linda Stone was a gold-digger after her son’s money and wanted to look into her background, but as it happened she ended up eloping with someone else. JB asked why Carter’s client was so concerned with Linda and he tells her what he knows of Linda’s life – she turned up at the convent pregnant 15 years ago, with a sob story about a husband who was killed in Vietnam that was completely fictional as far as Carter could see.
Apparently this was all the proof JB needed, and enlists the help of the Mother Superior to set the trap to catch the killer. And lets face it, between JB and a Reverend Mother the killer had no chance of getting away with it.
Ah yes. That old my-husband-knocked-up-a-ward-of-the-convent-fifteen-years-ago-and-noone-must-know-or-he-won’t-win-the-election chestnut. But dude, you messed with nuns. NOBODY MESSES WITH NUNS.
And on that fact…
PS – I want it noted that despite the title of this episode I made NOT ONE DIE HARD REFERENCE. I blame the being woken up early by the Grand Prix two days in a row. Seriously, DOES IT HAVE TO BE 7:30 IN THE MORNING????????