Thank you all for your lovely wishes about Dad. It’s been a rough couple of months, and we all miss him dreadfully but we are getting there xox.
Back in Cabot Cove this week Fletcherfans, where we find Mr Maurice Penroy going about his Penroy business and generally Penroying about.
Mr Penroy is having a marvelous day in the Cove. The Mayor has just reminded him to remember to register to vote, it’s his birthday party the next day and he has big plans for proposing to one of his landladies, but when a young bloke jumps over the fence and says hello (and another dude hides behind a tree and eavesdrops…and another is lurking outside his house when he gets home) the Penster is less than amused. It would seem Sir Pen of Roy has a SHADY PAST.
Meanwhile, Our Heroine is wrapping the Penster’s present when Seth arrives for help wrapping his present – a tie he got from Amos the previous Christmas. Classic Seth. JB is amazed to think that it’s been a whole month since Amos retired and went home to Kentucky. Seth is deeply suspicious of the new sheriff, Mort Metzger, a city cop who retired to Cabot Cove to get some peace and quiet with his wife the ‘energetic’ Adele. Jess still can’t believe Seth is going to give Maurice Penroy the tie, but Seth thinks it will be perfect on his honeymoon. Jess refuses to believe that one of Penroy’s landlords, Lillian and Helen Appletree are going to give up their renowned spinsterhood and marry Maurice Penroy but Seth is adamant his gossip is reliable.
Speaking of the Sheriff, the Mayor has just found him coming out of Brimley’s sports store with a set of golf clubs and is aghast to learn the new Sheriff has plans to get in 18 holes the next day while his deputies handle anything that comes up.
Says Sheriff Metzger:
Down at the Appletree’s Helen and Lillian are getting ready for the party by baking a cake and digging a hole to bury the late Maurice Penroy in, protected by the Appletree’s best tablecloth that was embroidered by Helen herself.
The next day, while the Mayor’s dog Winston investigate the newly dug petunia bed in the garden, Jessica and the Appletree sisters lament that Maurice Penroy was “called away” to “attend a sick friend”. Seth’s not buying it – he thinks Maurice got cold feet about the wedding Seth is convinced was about to happen. The guests are soon joined by Reverend Wilfred Smythe-with-an-E, actually one of Penroy’s visitors in disguise, who has come to wish his friend a happy birthday. He is alarmed when the sisters, Jess and Seth tell him that Penroy has left town and might be gone some time.
That night, while the sisters argue over who is going to forge Mr Penroy’s signature on his pension check so they can cash it at the bank the next day when they hear loud thumps coming from upstairs. Since they can’t call Amos on account of Amos being away, and they can’t call Mort on account of “He’s not one of us,” they decide to take matters into their own hands.
Cut to the exterior where the man masquerading as Reverend Wilfred Smythe-with-an-E is on the ground with a pitchfork sticking out of him, and Helen and Lillian are digging another hole in their garden.
The next morning Jess runs into the Appletree sisters at the bank and tells them what a pity it is that Mr Penroy couldn’t make his party, and that his friend the Reverend missed him. Lillian tells her that she felt Mr Penroy was there – in spirit – and the Reverend called to get the address of Penroy’s sick friend, and that he was going to the same place as Mr Penroy. On her bike ride home she runs into the Mayor trying to train Winston, who is more interested in returning to the Appletree’s garden and digging up Mr Penroy.
Sheriff Metzger is quickly called and demands answers. JB suggests the sisters might need more gentle handling and goes to see what she can find out – noticing the tablecloth that was covering him. Inside, the sisters plead ignorance about everything – although Lillian slips when Jessica makes a comment about Helen’s potential wedding to Maurice Penroy. Jess notices napkins with the same embroidery as the tablecloth outside but the sisters are adamant that they threw the tablecloth out months ago. Sheriff Metzger comes in to put the hard word on the sisters when his deputy comes in to announce they’ve found another body, a minister this time.
After taking the sisters in for questioning, JB and Mort return to the Appletree house to search for evidence. They find Penroy’s suitcases in the cupboard and Mort is convinced the sisters are guilty. Before he can go down to the basement to search for more evidence/bodies there’s a knock at the door. It’s Maurice Penroy’s wife, Marilee.
After collapsing upon hearing of the death of her husband, Seth is called and takes her back to her hotel room. JB and Mort return to the sheriff’s office with the pitchfork they found that Mort is convinced is the murder weapon. They are soon joined by Seth, and a visitor – Bart Klapper, special investigator for the Boston and Western Railroad, aka Penroy’s former employers. He’s on the trail of 5 million dollars that went missing after an armed robbery perpetrated by the three men who came to see Penroy – the punk, the one hiding behind the tree and the non-priest. Jess wonders why Penroy concealed his marriage and Bart tells her Penroy was never married – that woman was married to Cliff the not-priest. Helen and Lillian are released without charge.
Jess isn’t entirely satisfied with events and goes to see the sisters at home. They explain that Penroy died of a heart attack while proposing to Helen, and that they aren’t sure what happened to Cliff the non-priest. One minute they heard someone in the room upstairs, then they heard someone shout something like Holy and then they found Cliff with the pitchfork in him which they later disguised as irons for the fireplace. Jess asks them if anything was missing from Penroy’s room and they tell her the only thing missing was Penroy’s collection of baggage claim tickets.
Across town, Mort and one of his deputies arrest the two remaining suspects in the train robbery; Daryl the punk and Ole the dude-behind-the-tree. Jess asks about the money but Mort hasn’t found it yet. It suddenly occurs to him that there might be a reward and when he calls the company they confirm 10% of the recovered amount will be offered as a reward – and that Bart Klapper doesn’t work for them any more.
Meanwhile, the sisters have suddenly remembered the trunk they were storing for Penroy and head down to the basement to see what’s inside – they aren’t disappointed, it’s full of sweet sweet money. Their excitement is shortlived, however, when the thief tries to collect – Bart Klapper, who pulls a fire iron on them. Fortunately Mort appears to save the day.
But there’s the small matter of the missing suitcase of claim checks. And the murder of the not-priest Cliff. But Jess, thankfully, has it all worked out. I’m still wondering why Helen and Lillian didn’t get their own spin-off series.
Long story short, Cliff the not-priest left her when he finally got wind of some money, so she retaliated by stabbing him with a pitchfork and stealing a suitcase load of worthless ticket stubs. That old chestnut.
Until next time.