Welcome to sunny Los Angeles Fletcherfans, where Victoria Griffin, local real estate agent and niece to Our Heroine, is hard at work trying to sell the home of Deborah Tarkington. She almost does it too, until Deborah finds out the person with the generous bid is her ex-husband Alec Burton. She throws the deliverer of the bid, Arnold Hastings (aka the man with the golden name, Dack Rambo) out of the house and forbids Vicky to sell the house to him or any one else connected to Alec. To make matters worse Deborah’s son Kevin thinks it’s a good time to do the creepy lech thing and come onto Vicky.
D-rama. Fortunately, there is someone who can put an end to this madness.
Vicky meets her aunt for lunch to tell her about just how difficult it all is – Vicky’s husband Howard is back on the audition trail after being killed off his old job on a TV show and she’s trying to sell the Tarkington house for 4.9 million.
Vicky has no time to eat though – her pager goes off (naw, pagers!) and away she goes again, leaving JB to prepare for an afternoon of meetings with booksellers.
Meanwhile across town Alec Burton is more than a little displeased with Arnold’s inability to seal the deal, and tells Arnold’s wife Claire to get it done. Claire tells him there’s nothing to worry about since there’s been no deal done yet, and pops some diet pills recommended to her by Deborah Tarkington.
Back at work and Vicky’s run of bad luck continues when a prospective buyer calls her to tell her he’s decided to go and live on a boat instead. Her boss, Didi Blair, tells her it’s ridiculous to have an open house on the last day of an exclusive arrangement, half the people there were brokers telling their clients to wait a day. Vicky tells her about the offer from Alec Burton and doesn’t understand why Deborah turned it down so flatly.
Didi fills her in. It’s the same old story: boy meets girl, girl is daughter of Hollywood studio boss, boy gets cast in picture, movie becomes a blockbuster, boy gets too famous for girl and dumps her. That old chestnut. A call comes in for Vicky – it’s Seymour Densch (runner up to Dack Rambo for best name), #1 car dealer in Orange County. He was at the open house, he liked what he saw and if Vicky could knock off a million from the asking price then she had herself a deal. He even promises to pay the binders cheque in cash. Vicky agrees to take the offer to Deborah Tarkington and arranges to meet him at 11pm that night, which isn’t at all weird.
Everything’s coming up Vicky.
Later that night, before seeing Howard perform in a play, Jess is at dinner with Howard waiting for Vicky to arrive and listening to him moan about how he doesn’t like the insecurity of Vicky’s real estate career.
They are soon joined by Vicky, but only for a moment.
Vicky makes her apologies but she has to type up the agreement so that the sale of the Tarkington residence can go through. Howard is less than excited considering how much money his wife is about to make, but he valiantly puts his hurt feelings aside. JB is still keen to go to the play which cheers Howard up – he tells her it’s an allegory.
Later that night JB and Howard return home from the play, having mostly avoided the catestrophic special effects failure that didn’t so much “regenerate the corn” on stage so much as it soaked the first three rows of the audience. Jess notices that the light is blinking on the answering machine – it’s a message from Deborah Tarkington declaring Seymour Densch to be a phoney. Clearly Vicky didn’t get the message and went over to the house anyway. Howard has had about enough and decides to go over there and drag Vicky away. Jess announces she’s coming too – “I wouldn’t want to miss what may turn out to be the best play of the night!”
Heh heh heh.
Over at the
Frankenstein Tarkington place, Vicky has just found Deborah lying dead on the floor, a pile of those mysterious pills next to her. Told you it was a plot point. Vicky hears a noise and grabs the fire poker as a weapon, bnt it’s only JB and Howard, closely followed 2 cops who would be later joined by some Serious Hair.
The serious hair questions Vicky, while minions gather evidence. The verdict appears to be that Deborah overdosed on pills and whiskey, and whacked her head when she fell. Jessica wonders about this, as there is a half empty bottle of scotch and another opened bottle of scotch with another glass which makes no sense. The hair (aka Detective Lieutenant Redick but who cares, he’s The Serious Hair) tells her that drunks don’t often makes sense. Fair call that.
After a good night’s sleep JB finds Vicky up early the next morning trying to deal with the bills. Ugh, bills. Jess feels for her niece and offers to help but Vicky says no, saying Howard’s ego can barely handle the fact that Vicky is earning the money.
GET A GRIP HOWARD.
A phone call comes in from The Hair requesting Vicky come down to the station to answer a few questions. The Hair has found out about the phone call from Deborah declaring the buyer to be a phoney (although how he found out is a mystery for another time) and tells Vicky it’s obvious she went round and killed Deborah as vengeance. Vicky swears she never heard the message, and therefore had no motive to kill her. The Hair also suspects Howard, despite the fact that he was on stage at the time of the murder.
Meanwhile, Vicky’s boss Didi is paying a visit on Arnold Hastings, Alec Burton’s broker to talk turkey. With Vicky on suspicion of murder the exclusive listing is up for grabs, and since Didi has an in with Kevin Tarkington she has dibs – dibs she could share with Arnold since he has a very interested Alec Burton wanting to buy. She asks him if he wants to check with his wife first but Arnold is on board.
JB, on the other hand, is getting down to the business of clearing Vicky and so goes back to House Tarkington to investigate. She is met by the maid, who wasn’t there the night before but says was in charge of refilling Deborah’s amphetamine prescription – and in fact was supposed to refill it the day before but forgot until that morning. She hated her boss, but without her she was out of a job thanks to her son who chooses that moment to appear. JB grills him on where he was the night before but he was away up the coast. Jess is surprised to learn that he is showing the house one day after his mother’s death but he wants a beach house in Malibu and so there it is. He grows suspicious and demands to know why Jess is there, but she tells him she was looking for her glasses which she has now found (spoiler – she never lost them to begin with. Genius).
Outside she finds Vicky setting up for the open house. She’s been unable to find the buyer Seymour Densch to corroborate her story, but she’s out for now. At that moment The Hair pulls up. The autopsy results are in on Deborah Tarkington (that was quick). No pills in her system but plenty of scotch and a whack on the head that they believe was delivered by the fireplace poker and guess whose prints are on the poker?
Down at the police station Howard is going nuts until JB very cleverly sends him on a mission to find Vicky a lawyer. The Hair is convinced that Vicky is guilty despite the rather odd fact that her prints were on the murder weapon but she remembered to wipe them off the scotch bottle. They are soon joined by the enigmatic Seymour Densch who drops in to tell them that he was actually acting as a front man for Alec Burton who was bankrolling the deal. He was to give the money to the broker Arnold Hastings who would give the money to Seymour to conclude the transaction. The only reason Seymour signed up was to meet Deborah Tarkington.
Back at Casa Tarkington Vicky is taking down the for sale sign when Kevin appears to tell her to leave it up as he thinks she knows how to move some prime….real estate (ew ew ew ew) and also to ask her to have dinner with him that night. When she tells him she busy seeing Howard in his play, he tells her he thought she was serious about selling the house.
At home, Vicky tells JB what happened and JB wonders whether Vicky misunderstood his intention.
Howard then returns home after running an errand for Jess to the tax assessors office to follow up on a hunch she has.
After the standard Howard and Vicky greeting:
…Howard fills them in. It turns out that all the houses surrounding Deborah Tarkington’s residence have all recently been bought by Alec Burton. It would appear that someone is planning a McMansion. Ugh.
When confronted with this news, Alec Burton denies nothing. He used intermediaries to buy all the houses so that the owners wouldn’t jack the prices up, and then purchased the properties outright from the intermediaries. Having said that, he’s never heard of Seymour Dentsch. When asked about his alibi Burton tells them he was at a party, hanging out (definitely code) in the servants quarters with the lady of the house while her husband was downstairs entertaining the guests. Fortunately Alec had taken some of Claire Hastings’s red and yellow diet pills so he could stay awake.
This gives JB an idea and the next day she visits the office of Arnold Hastings, appropriately dressed for someone looking to buy a house in Beverly Hills.
Jess declares she’s simply enchanted by the Tarkington estate and wants it. Arnold is on board, but his wife is suspicious given that JB is the aunt of the prime suspect in the murder. Bored, Jess departs telling them that she will pay 10% over the asking price, as long as the deal won’t conflict with any arrangement they have with Alec Burton, but it would appears the Hastings have already forgotten Alec Burton.
They go straight to see Kevin Tarkington and give him the good news – they want to put in a bid for 3.9 million for themselves. They love the house and they want it.
This is news to JB, who wanders in, saying that she’d just offered a bid of over 5 million. It would appear these real estate agents are a bit shonky and were busted by Deborah Tarkington. One more so than the other.
Unhappy with dealing with all these rich people and having no money herself, and about to be busted for fraud, Claire Hastings took matters (and the fire poker) into her own hands.
But for now, with Vicky finally selling a house and Howard getting an acting job as a talking pineapple, I bid you farewell.