Once upon a time, in a
galaxy land far far away, there was an incredibly successful, award-winning mystery writer called Eudora McVeigh whom shall be known henceforth as Chuckles.
Poor Eudora isn’t having a good run just at the moment. Her husband is an idiot, her stepson is mooching off her and her publisher Lew Bracken has suggested she take a year off to er, recharge. Eudora refuses, and her agent Liza Caspar has an inkling why Lew is recommending some time off – word on the street is that Lew is about to sign JB Fletcher. Lew confesses that they are talking, but nothing is set in stone just yet. But JB’s last six books have been bestsellers and she’s about to get awarded Mystery Writer of the year, and Eudora…isn’t. Outraged, Eudora storms out, leaving Liza to demand answers. Lew tells her he doesn’t deal in subtlety – ever since Eudora married Hank Shipton her work has been mediocre. “Tell me something I don’t know.” Liza says.
Liza catches up to Eudora and tells her that there are plenty more publishers in the sea, but Eudora tells her Lew isn’t her problem. Her problem is she’s being “outflanked – out-written – by an English teacher from Maine.” Eudora’s writing career is in tatters, her marriage is hanging by a thread, and who does she have to thank for this? Dear, sweet, loveable Jessica Fletcher.
“You can’t blame her personally?” Says Liza.
“You’d be surprised what I can do, and will do, to get back on top.” Says Eudora and storms off into a taxi. At home later that night, Eudora picks a fight with her no-good husband Hank, and tells him his son Bobby has charged a VCR to her account – almost $400! (Ahahaha, the 80s). Hank takes off, leaving Eudora home alone with a JB Fletcher novel.
Meanwhile, in Cabot Cove, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and Our Heroine has just out-fished Seth Hazlitt. Surprisingly though,Seth isn’t that beat up about it, he’s just pleased that Jessica left her house. Jess tells him she’s been busy working on her book, and Seth tells her she’s always busy working on a book – in fact he wonders sometimes how she can tell them apart.
Back at Casa Fletcher JB demands to know what Seth meant by that remark, but he refuses to elaborate. He gets a temporary reprieve when the phone rings – Lew Bracken, saying he can be in Cabot Cove in 2 hours with contracts, but JB puts him off, saying she hasn’t made up her mind yet. Seth tries to make a hasty retreat but Jess isn’t letting him go until he explains himself.
Reluctantly he does. He reminds her about the hiking trip she backed out of to write an article, and the fishing trip to Rockford she turned down to have a meeting with her accountant. He thinks at their age they shouldn’t have to “rev the engine” as much as they used to.
“Are you saying I’m working too hard?” says Jess.
“I’m saying it seems that’s all you have time for.” Says Seth. “Have you even looked at your garden lately?” He knows that writing helped her get through the early days after Frank passed away, but Frank is a long time gone, and writing another bestseller isn’t going to bring Frank back, and if Frank were still here JB wouldn’t be spending half as much time chained to the typewriter, she’d be out smelling the salt air at sunrise.
And on that note, Seth departs. WHAT THE HELL SETH.
Later that afternoon, JB takes a subtle hint and gets out in the garden to attack the weeds when she receives a surprise visitor: Eudora McVeigh, and she hasn’t come empty handed.
Back in New York, Hank Shipton arrives home to find Eudora out and Bobby eating a sandwich. He passes and instead goes to take his insulin shot he forgot to have earlier. One can only assume this is important. That taken care of, Hank calls down to the front desk to find out where his wife is. The doorman has no idea, but knows that Eudora was asking for a map of Maine. Well that seems like a bit of a bloody giveaway doesn’t it?
Hank, concerned that Eudora is going to do something stupid, orders Bobby to bring the car around and they take off, closely followed by a man in glasses. SUSPICIOUS.
Meanwhile, Eudora and JB are finishing up dinner when Eudora decides she’d better get moving if she wants to find somewhere to stay for the night. She’s not going back to New York just yet, she tells JB, she wants to soak up some of this down east atmosphere, and since the Hill House is full she’s just going to have to find somewhere else.
Nonsense, says JB. You can stay here with me. Eudora is so grateful that she puts sleeping tablets in JB’s coffee, so that later she can break into Jess’s filing cabinet and read her new novel. Guys, I think Chuckles has a screw loose.
The next moring, JB wakes up feeling rough but finds Eudora in the kitchen cooking up breakfast. Jess goes to retrieve the morning paper and notices Eudora’s car has been moved. She asks Eudora about it but Eudora tells her she must be mistaken. They are interrupted by a ring at the doorbell – it’s Hank Shipton come to bring Eudora home. Chuckles orders him out. Before he leaves, he asks Jess if she’s okay – Eudora has been under a lot of pressure and has been acting a little crazy, but Jess tells him she’s fine, and Eudora’s fine. Hank tells her he and Bobby are staying at the Hill House, which surprises Jess. Apparently a practical joker rang and made phony bookings to book the place out, but when Hank and Bobby arrived there was plenty of room.
Jess and Eudora go on a walking tour of Cabot Cove. Eudora is unconvinced but Jess tells her the public library is good, the townspeople are friendly once they get to know you, and most of all the streets are safe.
Cue the arrival of Boy Scout Johnny, who has been sent by the scout leader to get the sheriff. They’ve found a dead body at the bottom of the cliffs. Jess and Eudora go to investigate – they have no idea who the dead person is, but we do. It’s the guy who followed Hank and Bobby out of New York.
DUN DUN DUN.
While the press have a field day taking photos of two famous mystery writers hanging out on a cliff, Sheriff Metzger and Seth deal with the newly retrieved body. Neither of them recognise him either, but Seth has worse news for Mort – the man was murdered somewhere else.
Mort drags JB away for a quiet word. He’s had enough. He’s been here a year, and this is his fifth murder – is Cabot Cove the death capital of Maine?
(Yes. Yes it is).
More to the point, they have no way of identifying the dead guy. On the contrary, says Eudora, popping up out of nowhere. Clearly the suit is an expensive one, and the watch is worth two grand, and that stain on his shirt is gun oil so he obviously carries his weapon in a shoulder holster.
JB leaves Eudora to Marple Sheriff Metzger, and has a word with Seth. She’s thought about what he said and she does kind of agree with some…she supposes most of the things he said.
“You suppose right. Just because I’m an opinionated, self-righteous Yankee chauvinist doesn’t mean I’m wrong.” Says Seth.
Jess invites him around for dinner that night. She’ll make pot roast and he’ll bring around rhubarb pie.
Down in New York, Eudora’s agent Liza is still trying to find her client. Her husband Victor wanders in to ask her where she’d been the previous night, and she says out. She asks him the same question and he tells her he got home to find the house empty so went out to seek alternative companionship.
“Terrific. Was it a cash transaction?” Asks Liza. BURN.
Liza gets a phone call to turn on the TV. Eudora’s on the news – well a picture of her. In Maine. Hanging out with JB Fletcher. Liza takes off, leaving Victor alone to hear the description of the deceased. Not for nothing, I think he might know a little something something.
In the Cove, Eudora is getting ready to leave JB’s for a stint in the newly unbooked-up Hill House, and is carefully deflecting any questions about her car’s movements, what she put in JB’s coffee or what she’s got in her briefcase. Mort arrives just as she’s loading the car up, asking her if she’s leaving town. She tells him she’s planning to stay for a few days to solve – that is help solve – the murder. Mort appreciates that, being as they’ve just identified the victim as being a private detective from New York, who’s car had been abandoned up on the bluff with a piece of paper with Eudora’s name, address and phone number in it.
JB cares not for this development.
Mort escorts her down to the sheriff’s office to answer some questions. Eudora tells him that she’s sure that his position required rigid qualifications, but clearly intelligence isn’t one of them.
Mort couldn’t care less. He wants to know just how she knew so much about a dead body she claims to never have seen before, and how long the PI had been working for Eudora. She tells him he wasn’t working for her.
“You know Sheriff, Ms Mcveigh didn’t spot any clues that weren’t fairly obvious.” Says JB sweetly.
“Well thank you Jessica. How sweet of you to make that observation.” Says Eudora.
Eudora informs the sheriff she can’t possibly be a suspect in the murder, since she was staying with JB at the time, and leaves. JB confronts her about the car, the sleeping pill and the copied manuscript but Eudora just screeches off in her car. Mort comes out to watch her depart and tells JB his theory – the murder, the body being dumped and the car being dumped happened at seperate locations. JB is sure he’ll solve the case, but for now she has shopping to do.
Over at Hill House, Liza has just arrived to see Eudora. Instead she finds Hank, and promptly makes out with him. Huh. That old chestnut. They agree that Eudora is out of control and Hank tries to call JB’s house to arrange to meet with her away from Eudora.
At Casa Fletcher, Seth has just let himself in but he phone stops ringing just as he picks it up. He takes JB’s pie dish, leaves a note and spots the apples sitting on the counter. He takes one and starts chowing down.
A short time later JB arrives home from the supermarket, and sees Seth’s car out the front. She goes inside, and finds Seth lying unresponsive on the floor.
Wait, Seth Hazlitt is Snow White?