Our Heroine is down in NYC this week Fletcherfans, at the store of Blackthorn and Sons, hoping to gain inspiration for her next book but instead getting the time-proven comedy routine of Laszlo and Stavros that involves smashing a fake diamond with a hammer and a lot of yelling.
Jess meets the company’s designer, Andrea Dean, but as yet has not met the son of Blackthorn, Hudson Blackthorn, who is tied up in a meeting with his store manager Diane Raymond and his head of security Leo Selkirk about the Queen of Tara Tiara and promises to meet her for dinner that night. It would seem all is not well in House Blackthorn, Diane is in love with Hudson and is worried that Andrea might be stepping on her turf. That old story.
Over dinner Hudson tells JB about his staff, but isn’t too eager to talk about himself. He’s relieved when JB tells him she wants to see the vaults but that Leo was hesitant to let her in without written permission. Hudson and Jess return to the store, Hudson shows off his state of the art 1980s technology but as they get to the vault, and meet the night guard Mr Wilson, the alarm goes off and there’s a loud bang, They rush to the front of the store and find the front door blown open, the Queen of Tara Tiara missing and an envelope full of cash in it’s place.
BOOM. HEIST TIME.
NYPD’s finest arrive in the form of Detectives Bess Stacey and Kathleen Chadwick (and the fact it’s taken til season 5 for there to be two female cops has not gone unnoticed). Chadwick confirms nothing else has been taken and Stacey struggles with fact that the missing item is called the Queen of Tara Tiara.
JB has no time for this “you say tara I say tiara” routine and investigates the front door. She remarks that it’s odd that the door was blown out, like the explosion had occurred on the inside, not the outside, suggesting an inside job. Stacey and Chadwick go to interrogate the night guard Wilson who tells them he didn’t check every office and promptly collapses. This is all too much for Detective Stacey, who starts interrogating JB as to how long she’s been in town and just why she’s so interested in the vault.
JB is free to go – for now – and go she does. Hudson sends her back to the hotel but remains at the store. He’s soon joined by Diane and a pesky reporter by the name of Ken Parrish who has been lurking around the store trying to get more information about the Queen of Tara. Diane and Hudson adjourn inside where Hudson is horrified to learn that the tiara isn’t insured for its full worth. They’re joined by Leo Selkirk who fails at saying I told you so.
(Side note, the acting is pretty good in this episode).
The next morning JB is chowing down on some breakfast at the hotel cafe when Ken Parrish sits down at her table to pump her for information about the Tara Tiara. When she tells him she actually knows next to nothing about it he takes her around to the Siobhan O’Dea Theatre for a lesson in tiaras and recluses.
Are you ready kids? It’s story time.
In 1957 the screen sensation Siobhan O’Dea staged her final big show at the theatre that now bears her name in a show called The Fields of Tara, a play she comissioned herself since she believes she’s descended from the Ancient Kings of Tara. Which I assume means Ireland. At the closing night party she received the tiara as a gift from her then fiance, Winfield Sprock. Before he could become husband number 4, he choked to death on an oyster at the Empire Grill.
JB reacts to this news the same way I would.
After Winfield’s oyster-related demise, Siobhan’s career went into decline, and she sold the tiara to cover her mounting debts. She became a recluse and hasn’t been seen in public for 12 years.
JB thinks this is all well and good, but fails to understand how this has anything to do with her. And there’s the clincher – Ken can’t get in to see Siobhan, but he knows she’s a massive fan of JB, so if JB went to see Siobhan….
Not for nothing, but the actress who plays Siobhan O’Dea was pretty foxy in her time. Fun fact, she used to be married to Howard Hughes, and was a recluse for a time. I can only imagine how dinnertime was in that house.
Meanwhile all is not well in House Blackthorn and JB arrives at HQ just as Andrea Dean flounces out over a pay dispute. JB tells Hudson that she’s going back to Maine until everything calms down, but before she can take her leave there’s a phone call – Laszlo is missing and there’s no answer at his apartment.
Oh yeah, MURDER she wrote, not STOLEN she wrote.
Needless to say, Laszlo has in fact shuffled off his mortal coil and is now an ex-Laszlo. JB orders everyone out of the apartment but not before noticing a ceremonial knife holder on the wall (the contents of which now sticking out of Laszlo) and a picture of Laszlo with Siobhan O’Dea.
That plot sure thickened quickly.
JB goes down to the precinct to inform Stacey that she’s decided to go back to Maine, but Stacey is having her own crisis involving an out of work husband, a backed up sink, a son failing English and a partner that’s off seeing a shrink. “You ever have one of those days?” She asks JB.
JB casually drops it into the conversation that Laszlo was found dead by herself, Hudson and Diane Raymond earlier that day. Stacey is a little sceptical that JB just happened to find Laszlo’s body but is interrupted by an anonymous caller telling her that she saw the killer – Ken Parrish. This lets JB off the hook, until her packing for Cabot Cove is interrupted by a lawyer from Parrish’s TV network. Ken Parrish is requesting her help to prove his innocence.
Never one to turn down a plea for help, JB goes to see Ken in prison. He tells her that yes he was at Laszlo’s apartment that night, noone saw him and he didn’t kill Laszlo.
It’s story time again.
Ken tells JB that he was sitting outside Siobhan’s apartment, trying to work out how to get in to see her when he spotted Laszlo going into the building carrying a brown paper bag that he swears contains the tiara. When Laszlo came out 10 minutes later without the brown paper bag Ken followed him home, parking illegally in the process. Ken went up to Laszlo’s apartment to talk to him but Laszlo wouldn’t let him in. Ken suspected someone else was in the apartment but he couldn’t say who.
Detective Stacey is less than impressed when JB tells her the story a short time later, but agrees that if JB goes into Siobhan’s apartment and finds something then she will investigate it.
JB pays Siobhan O’Dea, Havishaming it up in her apartment across the street from her theatre. JB spots the tiara amongst some mementos and Siobhan tells her Laszlo gave it to her as a present.
Back at the precinct Stacey is contemplating increasingly ridiculous theories about how the Queen of Tara stole the Queen of Tiara Taras when Chadwick gets a call. It turns out, the Queen of Tara Tiara is a Fake-ara. Ye Gods, I’m cracking up.
Hudson of House Blackthorn confirms the diagnosis but is perplexed – where’s the real one? Stacey accuses him of stashing it but he asks what would the point be, since the insurance didn’t cover the whole amount. JB decides that Laszlo made the copy and left the envelope full of cash to cover the cost of the gold and jewels he used to make the copy. That’s fine, says Hudson, but there’s no way Laszlo made the copy, he didn’t have the expertise.
Which can only mean one thing.
In her defence (?) it was an accident. She was trying to get the Tara Tiara Tara Tiara back from Laszlo and they fought and so on and so forth and if I never write the word Tara Tiara again I will be a very happy little hobbit.
Until next time