Firstly, a massive thank you to everyone who tweeted along with South By Southwest on Monday. It was so close to being the Breaking Bad/Murder She Wrote crossover I always dreamed of! (But seriously, what was Jess transporting on the train? And who were that crazy couple of death? SO MANY QUESTIONS) I might hit pause on the Tweetathons just for a while, because there’s only 2 more movies and there’s *gulp* eight more seasons of Murder She Wrote to
improve destroy edit watch.
Speaking of which.
Our Heroine has gone down to steamy Savannah Georgia to catch up with her old friend, playwright Eugene McClenden who has invited her down to to sit in the heat and hear him read his new play.
Also listening from an upstairs window is Crystal Wendle (who has just married Eugene’s nephew Todd who is in bed and doesn’t really care about anything apart from getting laid right now) and behind a pillar is Broadway actress Deirdre French who asks which role is meant for her. Eugene asks her how she can be so sure there’s even a role for her, since she doesn’t know what it’s about. She tells him she’s sure it’s about one of Eugene’s sex-starved Southern women, although in her experience Southern women are rarely starved for sex.
Eugene and JB adjourn inside, where Eugene orders Todd to get him another boubon and yells at him when he and Crystal dares to mention what the doctor said. They are soon joined by Broadway producer Arnold Goldman and Eugene’s lawyer (and Todd’s boss) Jonathan Keeler who are there to talk about staging Eugene’s new play.
Later, JB is upstairs unpacking when Eugene pops in to her room to ask if she’d packed anything to wear to a small family nuptial ceremony. JB is delighted to think that Eugene’s ladyfriend Grace Banfield is about to make an honest man out of Eugene but Eugene tells her that Grace is fine until she spots some pants (presumably, another man. Or, she really likes pants). The bride he was thinking of was Jessica Fletcher.
There’s method to his madness. Eugene is dying, and he’s worried about his play. If JB is his wife, she can oversee the production after he dies and can make sure Arnold doesn’t rewrite it and Deirdre doesn’t wriggle her way in to the lead role. He doesn’t trust anyone else – Todd’s an idiot, Crystal just wants his money and Jonathan has been cooking the books for 20 years. JB tells him not to be so dramatic.
After dinner, Deirdre takes Arnold out to the verandah to “discuss” her role in the production, while Crystal takes it upon herself to try and make some food Eugene will eat, while Eugene, Todd, Jonathan and JB hang out in the lounge. Eugene orders another drink, and Jonathan goes to the kitchen to fix it when Todd points out his drink is just fine. Apparently he takes too long and Eugene doubles up in pain, and sends JB to find some bicarb soda for his “indigestion.” In the kitchen, Jess finds a smashed glass and Jonathan and Crystal arguing. She offers to help clean up the mess but Crystal tells her it’s fine, she’ll do it, and she just wants to be left alone. Later, when Eugene is getting ready for bed, Crystal comes to offer to make him something to eat and Jonathan arrives wanting to speak to Eugene in private. He shoos them both out.
Later that night, JB is curled up on the lounge reading a book when she hears gunshots. Everyone comes running to find Eugene standing over the body of Jonathan, gun in hand. Well that escalated. Naturally, the presence of a dead body is going to require the presence of the police, and let’s face it this one is more dapper than most.
It turns out Homicide Captain Walker
Aubergine Thom’s family used to own Eugene’s house until Jonathan screwed Thom’s father in a business deal and they lost it. I’m guessing he’s not particularly fussed Jonathan is dead then. In any case, he thinks it’s open and shut – they found the gun that was used to kill Jonathan, even though Eugene swears that’s not the gun he had when they found him. There’s also that small matter of Jonathan skimming off the top of Eugene’s income. So, y’know, there’s that.
Later JB quizzes Eugene but is interrupted by the arrival of his ladyfriend Grace who has returned from Atlanta horrified to see JB cooking poached eggs for Eugene and mildly disturbed to hear about Jonathan’s death. She orders JB to go tell Orla Mae (the maid) to cook bacon and grits and have her baggage brought up to Eugene’s room which Eugene amends to have her baggage moved to the Magnolia room. Awkward.
Downstairs Deirdre is making sure her name is still at the top of the (potential) cast list, while Crystal apologises to JB about the scene with Jonathan the previous night. Apparently her interest in furthering her husband’s career at the law firm was misconstrued. Meanwhile, Todd and Arnold discuss how best to circumvent Eugene’s displeasure. Captain
Aubergine Thom turns up to inform Eugene that the gun taken matched the gun used to kill Jonathan and that his presence was required down the station, at which point Eugene collapses again. The doctor is called but Eugene has no interest in going to hospital and throws everyone out of his room. The doctor tells JB that he’ll run tests on the blood he managed to get out of Eugene and see if he can find the problem.
JB catches up with Captain Thorne to tell him some of her theories about the shooting, namely that to her it sounded like the gun was fired from outside, which made no sense since the window in Jonathan’s room was closed, which itself made no sense because ERMAGHERD THE HEAT. Captain Thom is interested to hear this and tells her he has work to do. Just after he leaves, Orla Mae comes in looking for him to get a receipt for the missing comforter from the room where Jonathan died. JB tells her that the captain didn’t mention anything about a comforter and Orla tells her that maybe he thought it was none of her business.
Later, JB finds Orla Mae pouring bug spray to kill the ants and has an idea. She gets the doctor to test for arsenic poisoning and he confirms it – someone has been slipping poison to Eugene for quite some time. Captain Thom is informed and they debate how they’re going to catch the poisoner in the act. JB has a cunning plan to draw out the assassin. They go downstairs and Eugene tells everyone that Jessica has agreed to marry him. Everyone is aghast (except Deirdre, who is too concerned with getting the role to care). Eugene tells them that the wedding will take place the next day, before an extended trip abroad, and now that he thinks about it he has some legal issues to take care of and would Todd dig out a copy of the will?
Exit, Eugene and Jessica. Naturally the plan works a treat and later that night a shadowy figure is captured before they can shoot Eugene in his sleep.
So when she said Jonathan was misconstruing how far she’d go to advance her husband, what she actually meant was “You construe correctly and so I’m going to kill you too”. Or something.
And with that, it’s case closed, job well done and Long Island Iced Teas for everyone. So until next time…