Happy Valentines Day Fletcherfans! Fun fact – St Valentine is also the patron saint of bee keepers, plague sufferers and epileptics so go down to your nearest apiary and hug an epileptic beekeeper today!
But before you do, let me tell you a tale. A tale of a sea captain disembarking a ship in New York late one night. Out of the shadows a woman appears, ordering the captain to give something to her. He tells her he doesn’t have it. She says she knows he took it from the Cambodian five weeks earlier, and it’s hers. She pulls a gun. The sea captain whacks her with his shore bag and she is knocked unconscious. The sea captain picks up the gun, throws the bullets into the water and drops the gun back next to her. With a casual salute, he departs.
Back in her hotel room, the woman gets a knock at the door. That creepy guy from Titanic whose been in other things but is mainly the creepy dude from Titanic walks in, demanding the thing. She tells him she doesn’t have it, that the sea captain told her the Cambodian stole it from him five weeks earlier in Singapore. Which would be a lie, for those playing along at home. She also tells him that’s all she can remember.
“Except their next location.” Says the man. His bags are in his limo downstairs, where are they going?
“Maine.” Says the woman. “A place called Cabot Cove.”
Aha! Well, they have no chance pitted against the Dazzling Brilliance that is Our Heroine right guys?
It turns out that Grady and his rather pregnant wife Donna are in town to house-sit for JB while she’s in England to see her cousin Emma’s new show. Donna isn’t pregnant for another couple of months but Grady refuses to let her be out of the car. He asks Seth to take a look at her when he gets the chance, and as he hands over Jess’s keys Seth tells him he would be delighted. As Grady gets into the car, Seth tells Donna he can give her something to calm those nerves. Donna thanks him but tells him her nerves are fine.
“Not yours. His.” Says Seth.
Grady and Donna arrive at House Fletcher and meet Jessica’s neighbour Connie Lewis, who has been watering the plants while Jess is away. While she gives Donna directions for tending the plants, her son Stanley roars up on his motorbike. Connie begs him not to park it where the whole world can see but he just waves and wanders off. Connie tells Donna and Grady that he’s hoping to buy a bigger faster bike but that she’s hoping the bank will reject his loan application. She leaves them to it, and while Donna tries to unpack and Grady decides his wife can’t possibly sleep upstairs (until she points out that’s where the bathroom is, right next to the guest room and MY GOD CALM DOWN GRADY) they are interrupted by a phone call. It’s Jess, checking in. Turns out Emma’s show is predicted to be a smash hit and the Royal Family will be in attendance. And it’s protocol for them to come backstage after the performance.
“You’re going to meet the Queen of England?!?” Says Grady.
Before she hangs up, she tells Grady that the phone number for Emma’s flat where she’s staying is next to the phone, and that there’s a blue envelope with a few hundred dollars in it for the plumber in the drawer in the kitchen.
Meanwhile, down in town, Carla Thyssen and Justin Hunnicut (the previously mentioned man and woman looking for the Thing) are sitting in their car awaiting the arrival of the sea captain off the bus from New York. When the bus arrives, and the sea captain isn’t on it, Justin is furious and thinks Carla has joined with The Cambodian to try and double cross him. She asks him why she would be there if that was the case, and anyway he was the one convinced he could work out who the sea captain was in town to see. Unbeknownst to the pair of them, the sea captain has arrived in town by hitching a ride on a truck and YOU GUYS HE HAS A WOODEN LEG THIS IS AMAZING.
Turns out the pirate is the brother of the mum in Happy Days. I think. I read this fact right before I had a nap so that might not actually be true.
Back at House Fletcher, Grady is trying to unpack but is distracted by Donna inadequately resting. (Another fun fact: having someone shout RELAX MORE at you does not help you relax.) When Donna tries to put an (empty) suitcase away Grady snatches it off her, almost smashing an ornament in the process. The ornament in question, a large ceramic dragon, is deemed hideous and relegated to the top shelf of the closet.
Grady goes off to do some grocery shopping and picks up some seafood down at the dock – coincidentally the same place that Stanley Lewis works. As Grady leaves, a man turns to watch him leave – one can only assume he is The Cambodian.
Later that night, Donna is woken by noises downstairs. She wakes Grady up and finally manages to convince him that there’s someone in the house. She asks him if Jess might have a baseball bat in the house but Grady tells her she took it to London with her. (OK Grady.)
Without a baseball bat, Donna is forced to improvise.
Downstairs they find the source of all the commotion. It’s the
pirate sea-captain, dead on the floor with a smashed lamp and a key next to him. Fortunately, Cabot Cove’s finest are on the case.
Grady is concerned that a) the broken lamp was Jess’s favourite and b)the whole sorry business is having a dreadful effect on Donna, but as usual Grady is wrong. Donna is having a lovely time reassembling a letter in a foreign language found in the sea-captain’s pocket and pouring coffee for the sheriff who has worked out a basic theory – it’s a burglary gone wrong so all they need to work out is who the dead guy is, who the dead guy’s partner is how any of them got a spare key to Hosue Fletcher, since according to Seth not even he has a key to Jessica’s house.
As they mull things over, the phone rings. It’s JB checking up on them all. Grady freaks but in a remarkably clever move tells his aunt that an old sea-captain looking dude “dropped in” but Jess doesn’t recognise the description. She tells Grady she’s sure he’ll pop in again if it’s important.
“No I don’t think so.” Says Grady.
Jess hangs up, leaving Seth to rant about how Jess never locks her doors when she’s home but as soon as she does, complete strangers turn up in her living room. We get it Seth, you want a key cut, calm your llama.
Over at the Hill House the next morning, Carla awakes to find Justin Hunnicut being A Creepy Dude.
He’s learned about the murder of the sea-captain on the radio, and tells Carla he popped by the previous night, but that Carla was out. He went down the beach looking for her but she wasn’t there either. Carla denies seeing the sea-captain or The Cambodian and what’s more she doesn’t have It.
“Not in this room.” Says Hunnicutt. ARGH SO CREEPY EW EW EW EW. He leaves, not before commenting on Carla’s taste in lingerie (EW EW EW EW). As the door closes, Carla picks up the phone and calls The Cambodian to ask where he went after their meeting. He tells her she has insulted him and asks if Hunnicut was responsible. Carla says to leave Justin to her.
Over at the Sheriff’s office Seth has just delivered his preliminary findings re: the sea-captain: death by whack on head with lamp by someone right handed. Mort is less than impressed with this news, as it doesn’t give him much more than he already had. Luckily Deputy Floyd is on the case – he has taken a look at the letter and recognised that it was in Greek, thanks to his days in the frat house at university. Both Seth and Mort are rather taken aback at this Floyd development.
Conveniently for everyone but mainly the audience, the shop-keeper where Grady bought his seafood happens to be Greek and he’s delighted to have a crack at translating the message, after a brief interruption from Stanley on his new motorbike with a delivery. Unfortunately for Mort, the letter appears to be nothing more than a holiday letter.
Over at House Fletcher Donna goes next door to borrow some shampoo from Connie when Grady gets a knock at the door. A phone repair guy has come to fix the phone. BUT IT’S NOT A PHONE REPAIR GUY IT’S THE CAMBODIAN! (Why doesn’t he get an actual name?)
While Grady babbles, The Cambodian stalks the house for the Th-can we all just agree it’s the damn dragon? Excellent. Anyway while he looks Grady says since The Cambodian has been in town for so long he must know his aunt Jess and read her books. The Cambodian agrees, says that JB is a fine woman and that her books are very instructive.
“Instructive?” Grady is horrified. “On how to kill people?”
The Cambodian neatly covers his mistake by going on a kung-fu rampage both glorious and destructive.
Before the house gets reduced to toothpicks they hear sirens. The Cambodian leaves (sadly by opening the door and not by flying kick) and escapes. Seth and Floyd give chase but they return empty handed. Donna rushes in, saying she got worried when the phone repair guy didn’t have a van. Grady says he wishes he’d thought of that.
Later that afternoon, The Cambodian is on the beach (meditating? Thinking about cheese?) when he opens his eyes. Hunnicut is standing behind him. “Were you followed?” The Cambodian asks.
“No.” Says Hunnicutt. “Dear Carla doesn’t suspect a thing.”
Fast forward to the next day, when the plumber has come to check the plumbing and Seth has come to check pulses. Everything is working fine except Grady’s heart rate which is going at a million miles an hour. Once the plumber finishes, they discover that the envelope JB left them with the money has disappeared from the drawer. The killer!
Later that night, Donna is in bed looking at one of Jess’s photo albums when she makes a discovery – Jess’s Aunt Harriet is in a picture with the sea-captain! Grady gets on the phone to a sleepy JB who tells him that the man’s name was Herbert Malachi, an ex-boyfriend of her aunt who no-one had heard from in years. Jess gets suspicious when Grady starts innocently inquiring whether Jess owned any rare antiques or coins but tells her he broke the lamp. Happily for him the lamp was an old eyesore according to JB. Donna gets on the phone for a two second hello before Grady announces to JB they have to go.
I now present to you possibly The Best Screencap I’ve ever grabbed, that I feel sums up the JB/Grady relationship completely.
Grady can’t sleep though and goes down to get a glass of milk. Instead he rings Mort and tells him what Jess told Grady about the dead man’s identity. As Grady is about to go back upstairs, there’s a knock at the door. It’s Carla – her “car” has “broken down” and could she use his phone? As soon as she’s inside, the story gets better. Carla tells Grady that Captain Malachi was her father and her only family, that he died trying to retrieve his possession and would Grady help her?
Grady says of course. Well he tries to. Which is when Donna comes downstairs.
They hear a car scream to a halt outside. Carla thinks it’s Hunnicutt and begs them not to do business with him. She flees via the back door. Grady hides Donna behind a chair and arms himself with a poker but it’s only Mort and Floyd. Mort is interested in Carla’s story since he’s managed to discover that Herbert Malachi wasn’t a captain – just a disgraced former seaman who got busted smuggling art out of Burma. Moreover, the same World War 2 incident that cost him his leg also cost him his chance of making babies (Mort’s words, not mine).
Grady can’t believe he fell for Carla’s story.
Mort has decided the risk is too high, and appoints Floyd to stay at the house for the rest of the night, much to Floyd’s surprise.
The next morning, Donna wakes to find the house torn apart and Floyd tied to a chair with tape around his neck. Guys I think Jess really needs to reconsider her housesitters.
Mort takes Floyd to see Seth and get checked out but Seth pronounces him fine. The phone rings – it’s Jess. She’s worried about Grady and Donna but Seth assures her that they, the baby and her house are all fine. She asks him about Captain Malachi but Seth plays dumb on that point. It’s only when Jess starts telling him the story of her Aunt Helen, and the hideous dragon she left Jess in her will that Seth starts freaking out, tells Jess he has an emergency call and calls Mort. Mort, Floyd, Seth, Donna and Grady go to retrieve the dragon from the wardrobe but it’s gone.
Mort decides to get a second opinion on that letter he found. His hunch is correct – the letter isn’t about a cruise, it’s all about how much the dragon is worth. It would appear that Mort’s former translator, Nick, was less than accurate with his translating, and when they pick him up they find the dragon on him. Unfortunately though his alibi for the murder checks out, leaving them back at square one. Seth has been to the library and has found out the long exciting history of the Szechuan Dragon, including the fact that it’s currently worth eight figures. The phone rings again – Jess in a panic. She can’t get hold of Grady, Donna or Seth. Mort tells her it’s fine, it’s just a murder. She demands information and Mort tells her he hopes she’s not at a pay phone.
Over at the coffee shop Donna is about to settle into an icecream sundae when she sees Carla sitting with the Cambodian and Justin Hunnicutt across the room. She marches over there and places the whole lot of them under citizens arrest, and when the Cambodian starts to grab her arm she screams the place down, sending a horde of teenage footballers to her aid.
Learnt that from her aunt. No question.
Down at the police station chaos erupts, but Mort shuts them all up. He returns to the phone and asks JB who he should arrest for the murder, but is surprised to hear the answer is none of them.
Life Lesson #59: When in doubt, phone a friend.
Oh Stanley. He who got rejected for a bank loan and got busted nicking JB’s plumbing money by a pirate. That old story.
But for now, I think it’s best we celebrate the fact that Our Heroine can solve cases via phone, and reflect on the fact that Grady is only in one more episode. Next week marks the end of season six, and the halfway point in Murder She Blogged, so to celebrate I think it’s time I tweeted another movie.
So! By the power vested in me, by me, I pronounce Murder She Blogged Epic Tweetathon Part The Third will take place on Monday, 14 March at 12pm Melbourne time. The film shall be Murder She Wrote: A Story To Die For.
Set your twitters to EPIC TWEET.
Until next time!