There’s a-doin’s a-transpiring down in Montana this week Fletcherfans. JB and literary agent Dorothy Westerfield have arrived in Custer Creek to be at the dedication ceremony for a new postage stamp celebrating the life of author Trevor Hudson.
While Dorothy goes off match-hunting, JB awaits the arrival of their ride Bob Jarrett, who has been hired to turn the rough draft of Trevor Hudson’s last manuscript into a finished novel. When he arrives, he tells her that they won’t make it on time to the ceremony but Jess has bigger fish to fry – she demands to know what was so important that they couldn’t speak on the phone? Bob asks her if Dorothy is with her, and has said anything about the manuscript, but before he can elaborate, she reappears without matches.
Meanwhile, the ceremony is underway. Trevor Hudson’s grandson-in-law, Barney Drake (who is apparently the mayor in Sharknado 2 which reminds me I haven’t watched Sharknado 2 yet) conducts the ceremony and conveniently introduces the rest of Trevor’s offspring – his daughters Maria and Olivia, and his son Andrew who did the painting that the stamp is based on. One notable absentee is Barney’s wife and Trevor’s granddaugher Cat the movie star, who sends her regrets that she couldn’t attend the ceremony on account of auditioning to replace Jeremy Clarkson as host of Top Gear.
Cat’s pasttimes include speeding and picking up men left lying about on roads, much to the chagrin of her husband, who is a bit miffed that his wife missed out on some quality network coverage by skipping the ceremony. His mother-in-law Maria doesn’t care – what she’s more concerned with is the fact that Bob Jarrett has reneged on a deal that could bring them down. CRYPTIC.
Meanwhile JB is upstairs unpacking (God she’s amazing, I hate unpacking when I move house let alone go on holiday), and chats to Dorothy about the book Bob has edited. Dorothy tells her it’s amazing, touching and sensitive which surprises Jess as Trevor Hudson’s last book was referred to as having “the cutting edge of a diamond with none of the warmth”.
Dorothy excuses herself to continue Match Search ’89, while Jess is drawn outside by the sound of gunfire. She finds Olivia shooting clay pigeons with town sheriff Hank Masters. They haven’t seen Bob but Olivia tells Jess to ask Maria, who knows where everyone is at all times. Before she finds Maria Jess sees Bob waving at her from the doorway to the study – he has something to show her. The scandalous truth that is set to bring down House Hudson is that his posthumous novel that Bob was sent to edit was based on 10 pages of notes and some scribbled, lines dictated to his daughter Maria. Basically, Bob wrote the whole thing and now has to decide whether or not to expose the whole business as a literary fraud.
JB is aghast, mostly at the idea that Bob thought she was in on it.
Jessica asks the obvious question, why didn’t he just walk away? Bob confesses he was seduced by the Trevor Hudson legend, and wanted desperately to be a part of it. Plus there was Cat.
“Surely Cat didn’t help you write the book.” Jess says.
“In her own way.” Bob says.
Cat herself has returned from her tour of the countryside. Her husband finds her in the shower and demands to know why she missed the ceremony. She gives him the brush off and he hits her but then tells her all about the movie deal he’s got for her – he just has to fly up to Cheyenne and seal the deal. Cat tells him to take his time and slams the door in his face.
As the sun goes down Jess counsels Bob on his next move, saying that not everyone will believe him, and they will argue that he is trying to further his career at the expense of a literary giant who can’t fight back.
“But that’s not true.” Says Bob.
“Well I know it’s not true, but when it comes to selling newspapers the truth is not always an issue.” Says Jess. (Life Lesson #58 right there.)
They are soon joined by Maria Hudson, who has questions about the galley proofs. Bob tells her that JB knows about the lack of manuscript but she shrugs it off, saying there were tonnes of notes she committed to memory when her father grew too ill to write. Jess asks her why she didn’t record anything and Maria says her father didn’t want tape recorders in the house (there is only one phone in the house, installed in the kitchen when Trevor got sick. I can’t remember if that’s important, but there it is).
Bob begs to differ, and leads them to Trevor’s office and pulls a tape recorder out of the desk drawer. Maria insists that it isn’t her fathers, so he presses play and asks Jess if she recognises Trevor’s voice. She does, naturally. Maria insists she didn’t know about it, but Bob thinks she’s just trying to ensure that the book will become a bestseller with her father’s name on it. She is outraged and tells him he’s not going to get away with stealing her father’s work and taking credit for it.
After dinner, the gang convene in the drawing room for tea and biscuits with the notable exception of Bob Jarratt. Maria has managed to get Dorothy on board the Bob Jarratt Hate Machine, but Jess thinks they should hear all sides of the story. That gets a frosty response from everyone, so Hank decides to toast the painting while Cat demands to know what they’re going to do if Bob goes public.
Guys, these people kind of suck.
Later that night, JB has retired to be to read this mysterious book of doom when a breeze kicks up. She goes to close the window and sees AN OMINOUS SHADOW creeping round the side of the house. Because that always bodes well. Downstairs, Cat is pantsless and pouring champagne for a gentleman caller who is very much not Barney.
Later a window breaks, startling Jess out of a nap (the book can’t be that good then). She gets out of bed to investigate and finds Bob lying dead in the study. Well that was a shock.
Sheriff Hank is on the scene with the doctor who proclaims that Bob died around 11:30pm. Noone saw or heard nothing, except for Olivia who heard a noise down by the barn where she was caring for a sick filly. She investigated but saw nothing and assumed it was a coyote. Hank decides it was a burglary gone wrong, since an award and an old gun are missing. JB opens the desk drawer and discovers the notes for the book are also missing. How convenient. Jess gets a private word with Hank and insists that it wasn’t a burglary, but Hank isn’t so sure – plus he’s on the Trevor Hudson Wrote Every Word Of The Book bandwagon so he’s not inclined to hear theories that suggest otherwise.
The next day Jess takes a stroll with Andrew who offers his condolences about Bob. In light of his death, Andrew has a confession to make – his father was so ill that in his last days he couldn’t have signed his own name, let alone written a novel. As he delivers this bombshell Barney pulls up in his car having just ‘returned from Cheyenne’. Cat is beside herself with worry about the thought of a killer roaming around and Barney takes her into the house.
Jess decides to investigate the study but is interrupted by Maria who is full of sorrow about Bob’s death but thinks that the book situation has been resolved. Jessica disagrees, saying that she’s more convinced than ever that Hank is looking in the wrong place for the killer.
“Once of us?” says Maria. “I hardly think so. Murder is a solution to a problem found only in cheap thrillers – like the ones you write.”
“If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, a person is capable of anything if the motive is strong enough. Excuse me.” Jess says, drops the mic and departs.
Outside, Jess finds Olivia washing a car and asks her about the business between Bob and Cat, or as it shall be known henceforth, BOBCAT, as the ominous shadow and the noise down by the barn occurred at the same time. Olivia tells her she’s wrong, there was no BOBCAT action the previous night, Barney was home. She saw his car down by an outbuilding.They are then summoned by one of Hank’s minions to come into the house. Hank has made an arrest and wants confirmation that the suspect – Adam Perry – was the man Olivia saw.
Neither JB nor Olivia can confirm it, but Hank doesn’t mind. The missing trophy and gun were found in Perry’s truck, with blood on the butt of the gun. He’s confidant he has caught the killer. As Perry gets escorted into the sheriff’s car JB has followup questions, like where the notes are for the manuscript. Hank tells her Perry probably tossed them – but in the background Dorothy is quietly slipping back inside. SHENANIGANS!
Jess goes inside to find Dorothy and Maria. Maria is displeased that Jess is continuing to investigate the fraud and tells her to leave. Jess promises to pack her things as soon as she’s spoken to someone. Specifically, Barney.
Barney admits to not having been in Cheyenne, and to spying on his wife. He also admits that he knows that Perry was with Cat but refuses to testify to it in court. JB rushes off to find Cat but instead runs into Andrew who tells her Hank just called, and Adam Perry has confessed to the murder. Jess and Andrew rush to the sheriff’s office, Hank is forging a confession and Perry has just been informed he has a visitor. Cat tells Hank that Adam was with her until after the commotion, and so reluctantly Hank lets him go. As he leaves, Cat says to Hank “hurry up so he doesn’t get away.”
What’s that now?
Hank goes outside and fires at Adam, hitting him in the shoulder. Before he can fire again, Andrew and Jess pull up and Andrew pulls a shotgun out, because apparently everyone in this episode is packing except JB.
Well that seems definitive.
Hank recruited Cat to help him find a fall guy for the murder he committed to protect his buddy Trevor’s legacy and it all went wrong. Imagine that.
Until next time.