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S07E05 – The Family Jewels

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Salutations and Happy Easter Fletcherfans! I hope the Easter Bunny was kind and left you eggs, unlike the sore throat (s)he left me. Although to be fair I think I acquired this throat screaming at my football team on Friday night. So yeah, don’t feel too bad for me, I brought this on myself.

But never mind all that, because we are back in New York again Fletcherfans, where JB is in town to attend a political fundraiser for BJ Hunnicutt Drew Borden, and making a pit stop at Beaumont Jewellers to get her watch repaired. While she’s there, she sees a wealthy woman, accompanied by her chauffeur, look at a bunch of necklaces and then pinches a diamond and ruby necklace when the shop assistant’s back is turned.  She doesn’t escape Our Heroine’s notice though, but when JB reports the theft to the shop assistant, Charles Lockner, he tells her that there was no diamond and ruby necklace, and that there is no other stock missing either. Seems definitive, since he hasn’t actually checked.

The jewel thief, Sheila Finley, is driven home by her chauffeur, who she then drags into the back seat for some quality time, if you know what I mean. Her delayed departure from the car does not go unnoticed by her husband, Porter Finley, or one of the maids.

But never mind all that, because BEHOLD YOUR HEROINE IN ALL HER GLORY

Lamé for everybody!

Lamé for everybody!

As they leave the hotel and head to the fundraise, JB tells Drew the story of the stolen necklace that wasn’t.

That look is a liitle Crazy Nicholas Cage, if I'm honest.

That look is a liitle Crazy Nicholas Cage, if I’m honest.

A reaction only topped by Jessica on hearing the names of their hosts for the evening – Mr & Mrs Finley Porter The Third.

For real, I got nothing

For real, I got nothing

At the party, while JB is glad-handed by Porter Finley The Third, the family chauffeur – Rocco Pastolino – is out in the garage smoothing things over with the previously mentioned maid, Margaret Gable. It would appear they are blowing this cake stand in a few days and heading off to somewhere with palm trees, so Rocco begs Margaret to be patient until then.

Inside, JB is staggered when she’s introduced to Sheila, aka Mrs Porter Finley, aka the chick what stole that necklace that time. She tells Drew, but he’s believing her even less now – Sheila is worth about 40 million dollars on her own.

After introductions all round, Sheila leaves her husband and Drew with D.L Beaumont (proprietor of Beaumont’s Jewellers) and escorts JB on a tour of the room, complimenting people on earrings that are apparently one of a kind before excusing herself to disappear with Rocco.

Time out. JB’s earrings are insane.

I mean look at them!!!

You can’t really tell from this picture but they are HUGE 

Sheila reappears to give a short “Give Drew All Your Money So He Can be DA” speech, but is concerned when her husband quietly gets Drew and Jessica out of the room. She finds them again in the garage, looking at the body of Rocco. While they wait for the police, JB takes Sheila upstairs to compose herself, and spots a pin just like one her mother used to have that JB lost a while ago. Sheila tries to give it to her, but JB refuses. She also tells Sheila that if the police ask, she will have to say that she saw Sheila go off with Rocco just before he was murdered.

Downstairs, the lieutenant in charge, Lieutenant Stuyvesant, is fangirling over Drew. He stops long enough to ask Sheila about her disappearing act with Rocco and she tells him they were in the pantry, there was a problem with party supplies (almost definitely code). Stuyvesant is happy with this and defers all questions until such time as he’s thought of them. He wrangles a lunch date with Drew to discuss a possible transfer to the city, away from the boredom and to be where the action is. JB tells him Mort Metzger moved to Cabot Cove for precisely that reason. Ha.

The next day, Jess returns to Beaumont Jewellers to get her watch and to follow up about the stolen necklace. Charles Lockner passes her over to DL Beaumont himself, who assures JB that the necklace wasn’t stolen and he should know, he designed it.

Jess reports back to Drew with DL’s weird statement about the necklace not being stolen, and he tells her some news of his own – he’s found an old police report detailing how Sheila Kowalski (her maiden name) was booked for grand theft in Palm Beach for stealing a necklace. JB worries that the Finley’s might be in trouble but has a plane to catch. As she’s set to leave her hotel room, she finds the clip she admired in her handbag, just as breaking news comes on the TV – Sheila has been arrested for murder.

Jessica goes to the Finley estate to return the pin, and is begged to stay by Porter until Sheila returns. Jessica tells him what she knows about the necklace and Porter produces a receipt – the necklace was bought and paid for the previous day. Jess suspects there is more to the story and Porter comes clean. Porter has an arrangement with Beaumont’s Jewellers wherein they send the bill each time Sheila pinches something from the store, but he doesn’t think it has anything to do with the murder. Jess isn’t sure, but wonders why Sheila was arrested in the first place. Porter tells her the police think she was jealous that Rocco was planning to skip town with Margaret Gable, but Porter refuses to believe Sheila did it.

Sheila appears at that moment, temporarily released. She confesses all to JB on a stroll around the grounds – how she and Rocco dated at school, but then her father struck it rich and packed her off to finishing school in Switzerland and it was just impossible to stay in touch, the money just got in the way. So Sheila married Porter whom she loves and would never leave, but was lacking in the drive department, sex and otherwise. The otherwise part didn’t bother her so much but…

*starts singing Sisters Are Doin It For Themselves*

*starts singing Sisters Are Doin It For Themselves*

Sheila swears she didn’t know about Rocco planning to skip out with Margaret until the police told her, but even then she would have taken a tyre iron to Margaret, not Rocco. Jessica tells Sheila she needs to come clean about her stealing and Sheila shrugs. It’s a left over from when she was a kid filching candy bars, and that no one gets hurt.

Except Mr Pastalino, says JB. Ouch.

Jess checks in with Stuyverson, who is checking out the car and wondering whether he should follow up on his request for a transfer. He finds a bow that had fallen behind the wheel of the car, and Jess recognises it as coming off Sheila’s. shoe.

While Stuyverson drums up the courage to ask about it, Jessica does ask about it. Sheila tells her she went to confront Rocco in the garage about why he’d been so cold towards her the last few days, and he got angry and shoved her against the car. But he was still alive when she left. She begs Jessica to stay the night, and JB agrees.

JB takes it on herself to have a chat with Margaret the maid, who tells her she and Rocco were running away to Rio Di Janeiro, and were going to buy a little house. JB asks where the money was coming from and Margaret tells her Rocco had some saved and was expecting more – some sort of investment plan he had, with regular payments.

SUSPICIOUS.

Later that night, a masked figure breaks into the house and chloroforms Sheila. Job done, he accidentally steps on the cat’s tail, knocking over a lamp and waking up Porter and JB. While they knock on the door the thief breaks into Sheila’s jewellery box but leaves empty handed when Porter manages to unlock the bedroom door. Stuyverson is called but is of no help. Fortunately for everyone, JB spots an earring on the ground similar to the one Sheila had been admiring at the party the other night (and honestly, I didn’t pay attention the first time. Who knew the earring would be important??)

JB takes the jewellery to another jeweller who identifies all the pieces as fakes, except the diamond and ruby necklace she pinched in front of JB. Jess has a funny feeling she knows what’s going on now and hatches a plot using Margaret Gable as bait.

Wait, what?

Wait, what?

It would appear that Charlie-boy had a scam going with Rocco where he would steal Sheila’s jewellery and give it to Charlie, who would give it to his uncle in Boston. His uncle would make an exact replica, which would find its way back to Sheila’s jewellery box while the real one was sold. When  Rocco got greedy and asked for money, he received a tyre iron to the head from Charles instead.

Boom. Case closed. Now I’m going back to bed to drink more whisky tea.

Until next time, Fletcherfans!

Later gang!

Later gang!

S07E04 – Hannigan’s Wake

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First of all, thank you to everyone who played along watching ‘A Story To Die For’ last Monday. If you haven’t seen it, I completely recommend it for some boss level sass from JB, and the chick from Cold Case with Meg Ryan’s hair among other things. I will storify it and put the link on Facebook soon.

But now, to business. Our heroine has just returned from her morning constitutional when her phone rings. It’s a lady by the name of Phyllis Thurlow, who has some bad news – her husband, Daniel Hannigan has passed away. Jess is saddened by the news and asks if there is anything she can do. Phyllis says just being there will help and promises to call back with the arrangements. Before she hangs up she asks JB if she’s read any of Daniel’s research – most of it, JB tells her. Phyllis says they will talk about it when JB arrives.

Phyllis hangs up and JB looks at the folder on her desk.

BOOM FLASHBACK.

JB travels back in time to when she first met Daniel Hannigan, not long before he died. He tells her he’s writing a murder mystery “not one of those frothy confections you whip up…”

Sometimes there is no need for silly captions.

Sometimes there is no need for silly captions.

It’s a true crime, in fact, with a true miscarriage of justice. Phyllis’s brother Martin is in prison for a crime he did not commit – the murder of his wife.

BOOM FLASHBACK FLASHBACK (FLASHCEPTION)

They all travel back in time to watch Martin go into his house, well drunkard. He fights with his wife (as observed by a nosy neighbour) then a short time later we see a light flicker, then glass break. 10 minutes later, the police arrive to find Lydia the wife lying dead on the floor next to a shattered breakfront. (Yeah I had to google it too, mostly because I thought they kept saying breadfront but it’s some type of cabinet #themoreyouknow).

BOOM UNFLASHBACK

Daniel tells JB that there were no other suspects investigated in the murder, mostly because all the doors were locked. But, Martin passed a polygraph test, hangover and all (fair effort) but the results were ‘conveniently’ lost and a second test was never done. Daniel asks JB to take his notes and see if she comes to the same conclusion he did – that Lydia was killed by her brother Eric, and the whole thing was covered up by their father, Richard Thompson Grant.

And now the kicker – Daniel tells JB that he won’t live long enough to write the book and asks JB to write it for him.

BOOM UNFLASHBACK

We all confused now? Good.

We all confused now? Good.

Jess travels down to Philidelphia and meets Phyllis at the funeral home but is soon joined by Bradley Folkes, Deputy Police Commissioner, who just so happened to be in the area and in a miraculous coincidence was one of the investigating officers of Lydia’s murder back in the day. He offers to take JB to lunch, which Phyllis does not seem pleased with but Jess assures Phyllis that a chat with one of the detectives in charge of the case would be most helpful.

Over lunch, JB drills Folkes for information, and in particular wants to hear his thoughts on Daniel’s theory that Lydia caught her brother Eric breaking into her house to steal money and he killed her. He tells her that he heard the theory, and if there was any truth to the rumor he would have arrested Eric on the spot – he has no time for drug addicts, he says with a scowl on his face. To conclude, Daniel Hannigan was a brilliant writer but he was ill and as far as Folkes is concerned, the illness clouded his judgement in regards to the case.

“Or, he didn’t bow down to those who wanted the case forgotten”, says JB.

“Like Richard Thompson Grant? Ask him yourself, here he comes now.” Says Folkes.

Seriously though, what were the odds???

Seriously though, what were the odds???

Richard Thompson Grant sits himself down for a chat, and tells JB that if Daniel had published his book, Grant would have sued the pants off him. Jess thinks that sounds like a threat, Folkes assures her that it wasn’t but Grant says damn straight it was. He wants the little lady to know what she’s getting herself into if she decides to go ahead with the book.

THAT FACE THOUGH

THAT FACE THOUGH

Folkes apologises, and JB understands. She suspects that when Richard Thompson Grant makes a request, he is very hard to refuse.

Meanwhile, the man himself has gone to meet his son who has just flown in on the private jet from Atlantic City with his thing on the side, whose name is apparently Madeline. Madeline is quickly shoved back on the plane despite her protests that she wants to see the Liberty Bell, and RTG fills his son (who is being played by Not Quite Will Arnett, or in more factual terms, Luke Spencer from General Hospital according to IMDB) on the news –  Hannigan’s death has not killed off the book. Eric swears that he didn’t kill his sister, and his father tells him he believes him. He’s had to.

Sounds conclusive.

Over at the funeral home the wake has kicked off and the whisky is flowing, which it should be at all good wakes. Jess finds Phyllis talking to her nephew Stephen (played by Jiminy Cricket from Once Upon A Time, which I haven’t seen) who is furious that his aunt is still trying to dig this all up, and storms off. JB needs to talk to Phyllis urgently – an article has appeared in the paper that day all about how JB is going to finish Daniel’s book, and she knows Phyllis is responsible for it. As a rousing rendition of Danny Boy strikes up amongst the whisky crowd, JB and Phyllis go into the next room to talk. JB has a problem – she’s read all the notes and while she agrees that the case against Martin is circumstantial, there’s no real proof that Eric did it either. She just doesn’t think she can continue. Phyllis begs her to look at the evidence again, she’s sure JB missed something.

The next day JB is going over old newspaper reports when Stephen Thurlow comes to see her to beg her to leave the case alone.  She curiously asks him what he remembers of the night but since he was 3, obviously the answer is not much. She asks him if his uncle could have killed his mother in a drug induced haze and he says “I’m not a psychiatrist, I’m a college student.”

Jeez, JB. I love you, but cool your jets.

Armed with more questions than answers, JB goes to see Folkes at the police station. Her main question is who is this mysterious drug pusher known as JR that rumour had it was the person Eric Grant owed money to. Folkes tells her that since he took over the case a couple of weeks in, that line might have been dismissed by the previous detective, Detective Kravitz, who was transferred to South Philidelphia and left the force 8 years ago.

Folkes gets a phone call from the front desk, saying that a note arrived about Daniel Hannigan’s death. It’s brought up to his office, and he reads it to JB – apparently, Daniel Hannigan was poisoned to shut him up.

Word filters through to RTG about the note and he is less than impressed. Even less impressed is Stephen, who has recently come to the conclusion that people are keeping things from him. He demands to know if his grandfather knows who JR is, and RTG tells him that he doesn’t. He checked it out, after he put Eric in an overseas rehab place, but JR disappeared. The fact that Eric went to Lydia on the day she died begging for money was a complete coincidence.

Later that night JB goes to see Detective Kravitz, hard at work at his new job at a pub. Now, are you all imagining Lenny Kravitz as a cop? Because yes.

For a tiny second I thought it might have been Brian Blessed based solely on epic beardness but alas no.

For a tiny second I thought it might have been Brian Blessed based solely on epic beardness but alas no.

Over a cup of coffee, Kravitz tells JB that he got transferred after a couple of days on the case, at which time Folkes volunteered to take over. JB wonders if the transfer was a coincidence, but Kravitz tells her he had the same theory Folkes did. If Eric had been involved, Folkes would have been all over it. It turns out Folkes’s son Eddie was an undercover drug cop, straight out of the academy (seems unlikely but alright) and was killed in a raid.

As they go to leave, shots are fired at the bar. Word gets back to Commissioner Folkes who rushes to the scene, but everyone is fine, (Kravitz) and suspicious (JB). Considering how badly the shooter missed JB, if the shooter was in fact aiming at JB, has made her wonder and she asks Folkes if the report has come back on the digitalis levels in Hannigan’s blood. He tells her it hasn’t come back, but she says it doesn’t matter. Hannigan wasn’t poisoned, and whats more she thinks she knows who is responsible for the note and and the gunshots.

It doesn’t take long for Phyllis to cave in. She was so desperate to keep JB on the case that she sent the note and shot out the window. She apologises but swears that her brother is still innocent.

The next day the memorial service is held for Daniel, but JB phones ahead and leaves a message for Phyllis that something has come up and to proceed without her. Jess is in fact over at the home of RTG, where Eric is telling JB that he is innocent. Jess is about at the end of her tether and starts concocting a scene where Stephen comes downstairs to see his mother, trips over the lamp and then when Lydia tries to stop him falling over she slips into the breakfront. RTG tells her that’s ridiculous, and more ridiculous the idea that he would a)interfere with a police investigation and b)allow an innocent man to rot in prison.

JB asks Eric about the mysterious JR but Eric has nothing for her. That was all he knew him as, he bought drugs off him and he owed him money. He drove a blue Porsche and wore a bullet around his neck on a chain, a souvenir of a time when a cop shot at him in Chicago in 1967. JB pounces on this tidbit and goes to see Folkes, but gets his wife instead. While she tries to get Folkes on the phone, JB looks at some family photos on the mantle, including one of his son Eddie. Or as he’s formally known, Edward Bradley Folkes Jr. Who likes to wear a bullet on a chain around his neck.

That noise you hear is a penny hitting the floor.

That noise you hear is a penny hitting the floor.

At the cemetary, JB finds Folkes and confronts him. No wonder he volunteered to take the case.

Well this is unexpected.

Well this is unexpected.

It would appear that Eddie Folkes had gone bad while being undercover, had gone to the house to get money, and accidentally killed Lydia. He went to his father the next day who got himself onto the case and threw Martin Thurlow under the bus.

To conclude, DEPRESSING. So to end on a lighter note, please enjoy this video of a baby wombat named Derrick running along a beach on Flinders Island in Tasmania.

Later gang

Later gang

S07E03 – See You In Court, Baby

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It’s a dark dark night in San Francisco (probably) and a man is breaking into a large expensive house to steal a very expensive car from his (presumably) soon to be ex-wife.

Why does this matter, I hear you ask? Because Our Heroine would like to take some time out of her busy day to talk to you about the sanctity of marriage, to wit: young people just don’t take it seriously any more.

*coughs* Elizabeth Taylor but *coughs*

This whole pep talk, is Jess’s way of saying STORYTIME KIDS, I’M TAKING A WEEK OFF. It’s time to talk about Truman Calloway, aka this guy:

IMDB says this is Roebt Reed, aka Mike Brady. I say it's lying.

IMDB says this is Robert Reed, aka Mike Brady. I say it’s lying.

As it so happens Truman is on the phone to the woman I mentioned earlier whose ex-husband made off with her car and (as it turns out) pushed it off a cliff. Oh, rich people problems. Truman advises her not to go to the police, instead contact her insurance company directly. He’s actually in the middle of a very important meeting with a new client, a man who wants to divorce his wife (a Greenleaf of the Wisconsin Greenleafs for those playing along) but only wants a lump sum of about 3-5 million, of which he’d give Truman about 10%. Truman tells him he mispronouncing a third, and says he’s not sure he wants to take the case. It’s a lot easier to put neglected wives on the stand than fortune-hunting beach bums.

Meanwhile, the woman, Amy Sue, has taken Truman’s advice and gone straight to her insurance company, where she sits in the office of the claims investigator and bawls her eyes out, much to the claims investigator’s confusion.

Oh Dennis.

Oh Dennis.

Dennis promises to take a look at the case, mainly to get the crying woman (who has confessed to only taking the car in the divorce settlement to try and make her ex husband Ed not want the divorce any more) out of his office. He goes to have a chat with Ed the car thief, who has a lot to say on the subject of divorce lawyers but agrees to write a cheque covering the cost of the car for his ex-wife. Job done.

Back at Truman’s office, Truman is just ducking out for a lunch meeting when he bumps into his newest fiancee, Joyce, back from an acting audition and demanding to talk. He tells her he is late for his lunch meeting so she hops into his limo while from up in the office, Truman’s secretary Karen watches it all unfold. In the car, Joyce is unhappy about signing a pre-nup, but Truman tells her it’s the same pre-nup all his ex-wives get – 10 grand a month and a million dollar insurance policy. All his ex-wives except his first one, Charmaine, who only got 250 grand but Truman was poor then. Joyce thinks Truman doesn’t love anything except his money, but Truman tells her he was in love, once, though he didn’t know it at the time.

Cold.

At lunch, Truman goes over the divorce settlement of a couple of actors with the lawyer for the husband, former cop Joe Briscoe. It’s Joe’s first big settlement and he’s concerned that Truman is trying to screw him out of a big payday. He tells Truman that if the settlement doesn’t go through, he’s coming for Truman. Truman is unconcerned, he’s heard it all before.

“Not from me,” says Joe, who storms off.

Before Truman can call for the cheque, a woman sits down in Joe’s seat. It’s his first ex-wife, Charmaine.

Still refuse to believe that's Mike Brady though

Still refuse to believe that’s Mike Brady though

Charmaine tells him she’s been going to phone for some time, but it was too important. She needs to talk to Truman about Jason.

Later that night, a security guard patrolling Truman’s law office sees an open door, goes to investigate and finds Truman on the floor stabbed to death.

There’s a shock.

The next morning, Dennis the menace is on his way to work when he hears news of the murder on the radio. At his office, his secretary Rhoda tells him Amy Sue is waiting for him in his office. Amy Sue is worried – Ed turned up drunk at the house the previous night, telling her he still loved her and that they only weren’t together because of Truman Calloway and declares he is going to find Truman Calloway and kill him. Amy Sue called Ed at work that morning but the police had already been and arrested him and Dennis did say if there was anything he could do…

“Yes I did say that.” Says Dennis, thoughtfully. “In an offhand sort of way.”

Down at the police station, Lieutenant Catalano (previously seen here) is outlining the case to a claims investigator from New York, Marcia McPhee (aka Kira from Star Trek Deep Space Nine). As Marcia leaves, Dennis’ presence is announced to Catalano, who informs the desk sergeant that he doesn’t have time for insurance investigators and to tell Dennis to write him a letter.

Downstairs, Marcia bumps into Dennis who is delighted to see her – Marcia assumes Dennis is there to hand himself in for a theft and is flabbergasted when he informs her that he’s a claims investigator now (as part of his probation). He’s keen to drill Marcia for information but she’s not having a bar of it – though she does tell him that she doesn’t think Ed killed Truman, her money is on the first ex-wife Charmaine.

Dennis sees Ed, who tells him he did go and see Truman to punch his lights out but when he got there Truman was already dead, face down on the floor. He turned him over, which must have been when he got blood on his hand but he didn’t kill him. He offers to sign the release form for the car, but Dennis tells him that can wait, and that Dennis is there at the request of Amy Sue who firmly believes in Ed’s innocence and that it’s a pity the way their marriage worked out.

Naww.

Dennis’s next stop is Truman’s law office, where he runs into Joe Briscoe coming out. Inside, Truman’s secretary Karen is confused by Dennis’s questions as she’s just given all the information to Marcia McPhee. Dennis concocts a story about Marcia’s purse being stolen and requiring a duplicate copy, and Karen sighs and starts compiling.

The old Stanton charm.

The old Stanton charm.

Dennis puts Rhoda to work on trying to find out who Truman had seen in the 48 hours prior to his death and returns to the restaurant where Truman had lunch with Joe Briscoe. For the price of 2 Andrew Jacksons, Dennis finds out from a waiter that Joe threatened Truman and that Charmaine had sat down to talk to Truman after Joe left. In an amazing coincidence, Charmaine is just leaving the restaurant at that second, so Dennis turns the charm on again helped by a pair of ladies gloves that he borrows from a passing table. The subterfuge doesn’t work but Charmaine does agree to have a coffee with Dennis, much to the annoyance of Marcia who is scoping them out from a phone box nearby.

Later that night, Dennis arrives home to find flashlights moving around in his office. He sneaks inside and catches the culprit.

e1 e2

CRYING. BEST LINE EVER.

CRYING. BEST LINE EVER.

In the true spirit of generosity, Dennis tells Marcia what Charmaine’s conversation with Truman was about – her son, Jason, who needs money to go to medical school. Predictably, Truman shot that down, and Charmaine claims that was the last time she ever saw him. In the spirit of team work Dennis offers to team up with Marcia, since they both have the same goal of proving Ed innocent but Marcia want’s no part of that.

The next morning Dennis is sitting down to breakfast when he gets a visit from Joe Briscoe, who is less than pleased that Dennis has been asking questions about him. He tries to stand up to Dennis who promptly takes his gun off him and wants to know why Joe went to see Truman’s secretary Karen. It would seem that it was to try and poach clients, but as it turns out that Karen was Truman’s between-wives girlfriend.

At work, Rhoda fills Dennis in on her investigations from the list. She’s managed to track everyone down except a ‘Johnny Trixler’ from Wisconsin, who met Truman to divorce his wife, the Greenleaf. Except there is no such person as Johnny Trixler or a family called Greenleaf.

I think we all know where this is going. Cut to Charmaine’s hotel room, where she gets an unexpected visit from her son Jason, aka Johnny Trixler who tells her they didn’t need Truman then and they don’t need him now. He just flew in from O’Hara an hour ago.

Armed with a copy of Jason’s photo, Dennis pays Jason and Charmaine a visit at the hotel and confirms that Karen identified Jason as Johnny Trixler. Jason confesses to going to see Truman but swears he didn’t kill him. The police turn up and take both mother and son away for questioning, thanks to a tip-off from Marcia who considers the case closed.

A chance spotting of a newspaper article at work sends Dennis on the right track. He goes to see Karen the secretary, and tells her he can prove she was at work at the time of the murder. In response, she reaches for her bag but Dennis steps in.

There's nothing that umbrella can't do

There’s nothing that umbrella can’t do

Oh dear.

Oh dear.

The classic tale. Karen got sick of being Truman’s thing on the side, and when he chose Joyce over her she took matters into her own hands.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Murder She Blogged Epic Tweetathon Part The Third: A Story To Die For. Follow the hashtag #MSBStory on Twitter and see what fresh nonsense I can come up with!

But I'll see you tomorrow first!

But I’ll see you tomorrow first!

 

S07E02 – Deadly Misunderstanding

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Back in the Cove this week Fletcherfans where Our Heroine is banged up after coming off her Fletchermobile and breaking her arm. A looming deadline means that she’s had to enlist some help to type up her manuscript in the form of local Melissa Maddox (last seen in bed with Bryan Cranston in Goodbye Charlie).

I’m not sure how well it’s going though. JB appears to be sneaking into the kitchen to get a refill on her whiskey tea when Melissa says she’s ready for a break – her mother says she has to be careful not to overwork as she thinks she has a weak constitution but Melissa thinks it just comes from being sensitive and creative.

My life motto.

My life motto.

Melissa asks our heroine if she’s told her that she is doing a creative writing class. JB says yes,she’s mentioned it several times. Melissa, it turns out, has written a short story and since she and JB are practically collaborators now, would she cast an eye over it and see what she thinks? She can’t show it to her husband, he has no time for creative things.

JB would love to but it will have to wait until after her manuscript is shipped on Friday.

Yes, says Melissa. Have you any idea what it’s like being married to a guy whose lips move when he reads traffic signs?

We've all been there.

We’ve all been there.

Melissa suddenly realises the time and goes home to make dinner for her husband. She promises to be back early the next day to continue typing.

At home, Melissa’s husband Ralph comes home demanding dinner, and can’t see anything in the fridge. Melissa informs him that there’s a quiche florentine on the top shelf. “Oh, is that what that is?” Says Ralph. They fight and Ralph storms off.

Later that night, Melissa attends her aforementioned creative writing course, as taught by a Drew Garrison.

Sidenote: NCIS has been going for 298 episodes??

Sidenote: NCIS has been going for 298 episodes??

Ducky Drew is reading a story written by Jeff Ogden, a man who for whatever reason has a massive crush on Melissa. Drew likes the story but some of the class are confused by it. After class, Melissa tries to find out when Drew will read her story but he tells her he hasn’t had time yet and shoots off in his convertible because that’s how Ducky rolls. Jeff catches up to Melissa, seemingly to ask about Our Heroine but actually to tell her the story read out in class was his. She is impressed, and he works up the courage to ask her for a cup of coffee.

The next day, JB is out on a mission, but still takes the time to greet Drew (whose sinuses hurt, which means rain) and his wife Rita on the way. She’s on her way to the newspaper office (where it just so happens that Jeff Ogden also works) to register a complaint with the new editor, Ben Devlin, about why there is a big writeup of her bike accident in the paper, complete with the fact that she ripped her favourite slacks. She demands she has a right to privacy, and Ben tells her the public have a right to know about such a prominent local citizen, and this debate could only be settled over dinner say tonight? JB tells him no, but it’s a soft no – she’s not making any plans until after her book is done.

Over at the diner, Ralph Maddox is sweet talking Trudy the waitress much to the chagrin of the Hank the cook, who has recently had his house foreclosed thanks to Ralph. The situation gets heated and is only calmed down by Sheriff Metzger bellowing “Now why don’t you two chill out before I have to book you for disturbing my piece of pie?”

Oh man I want pie...

Oh man I want pie…

Later that night (because apparently this creative writing class is nightly?) the predicted rain has arrived. Jeff is the first person to arrive to class, and sees a note on the board saying class is cancelled. Melissa arrives next, and is bummed that she will have to waste her night while her husband is working late at the lumberyard. Seizing the opportunity, Jeff suggests they study together – at his house. He reads her the latest of his story, which makes her sad because it reminds her of how miserable and trapped she feels. Jeff kisses her, she jumps up and says she has to go.

Poor Jeff.

Across town, JB is hard at work on her novel when she gets a phone call from Ben Devlin – he’s bored, he wants conversation. Jess relents and promises to have breakfast with him the next day.

Excellent, says Ben. And if they get into an argument, he promises to let Jessica win.

You wish, Ben.

You wish, Ben.

Meanwhile, Jeff is hard at work composing a poem to Melissa, when she calls him and asks him to come over. There’s been an accident, The sort that ends up with your husband dead on the floor with a pair of sewing scisssors sticking out of him.

By the time Jeff arrives Melissa has it all worked out – Ralph can’t be found at home, or else everyone will think she did it, and they can’t tell the truth or everyone will think they were in it together, but if they move the body to the lumberyard it should all be golden.

Someone has put a lot of thought into this.

Jeff puts the body in the trunk of Ralph’s car, while Melissa dumps the dirty towels she used to clean up in Jeff’s. She tells Jeff they shouldn’t be seen together, so she stays home while Jeff takes Ralph’s body to the lumberyard – where funnily enough Hank-the-cook- is in the process of burning the lumberyard down. Jeff dumps the body and drives off. HONESTLY WHAT WERE THE ODDS?

The next morning, while Ben and JB have a lovely breakfast at the diner, Mort and Deputy Floyd are at the crime scene.  Floyd has a theory that Ralph was cleaning his hands with gasoline, but Mort explains since the gas was splashed everywhere it was more likely that Ralph caught someone trying to torch the yard. He goes to break the news to Melissa, who is hard at work typing up JB’s next masterpiece/telling JB all about how her husband didn’t come home the previous night. She does a pretty stellar job of over-acting her grief, while managing to get out that yes, her husband did have enemies and yes, Hank Cranshaw did threaten to burn down the lumberyard.

Over Drew and Rita’s Drew is still trying to get over his cold when Rita delivers the news that Ralph Maddox has been stabbed to death. Drew doesn’t think he knows him but Rita helpfully points out that Melissa is in Drew’s writing class. Drew seems quite taken with the notion that Ralph was stabbed, and when Rita goes back into the house, Drew sets fire to a manuscript – Dagger of Love, by Melissa Maddox.

I bet it’s got sparkly vampires in it.

Mort, hot on Hank’s trail, goes to see him at the diner. He swears he was home watching TV but when it starts to become clear that Mort is going to charge him with the murder he tells him that he saw Ralph’s car pull up and someone dump Ralph’s body out. And he got a good look at him – Jeff Ogden from down the newspaper.

JB is on the phone explaining to her publisher that unfortunately her manuscript won’t be done on time, someone has been murdered (I think they are probably used to this by now to be honest) when Ben Devlin arrives looking for the inside word on Melissa Maddox. He tells her about Ralph’s murder but she tells him that Eve Simpson already called – the local grapevine beats the local newspaper every time.

Ben has managed to find out that Melissa’s was a marriage made in hell, but Jess tells him Loretta’s Beauty Parlour has had that info for quite some time. Ben asks JB for more details on Melissa, to see if she was close to breaking point, but Jess refuses to divulge gossip to newspapers. The phone rings but it’s for Ben – Jeff Ogden is under arrest at the Sheriff’s office.

Ben barges in demanding to see his client, whom he is representing in loco parentis.

“Ben, that means in the place of a parent.” Jessica helpfully points out.

“Same thing.” Says Ben.

Ben had JB on the hook and then he broke his rod. In a manner of speaking. #fishing

Ben had JB on the hook and then he broke his rod. In a manner of speaking. #fishing

 

The evidence against Jeff is pretty conclusive. Fingerprints all over Ralph’s car, an eyewitness who saw Jeff dump the body, and a plastic bag full of bloody towels and a pair of scissors found in the trunk of Jeff’s car.

Ben confers with his client to tell him that if the Cabot Cove gazette gets exclusive rights to his story then Ben will hire the best lawyer in the county but Jeff has nothing to say. Ben leaves, but not before issuing instructions to not speak to Ralph unless he is present, and there is to be no reporters.

“I know it’s none of my business-” Says JB.

“Oh yeah? When did that start?” Says Mort.

-but Jess thinks Mort should question Melissa again. Mort says he’s not questioning hysterical widows without backup.

Melissa is up to her usual high drama when Mort asks about her marriage, but is surprised to learn that Jeff has been arrested for the murder and asks if he has confessed. Mort says no. Jess chooses that moment to ask for some herbal tea. Mort is confused, until Melissa leaves the room and Jessica points out that the pattern on the desk set looks like it matches the murder weapon. They take Melissa down to the sheriff’s office and under relentless grilling from Mort about pie Melissa finally comes clean and tells them that she found Ralph dead when she got home, panicked and called Ben.

After Ben is taken back to the cells the story comes out about how class was cancelled so she went to Ben’s place and read the story and then she left and drove around for a bit before going home because she knew Ralph worked late on her class nights, but then she found Ralph and possibly Ben could have done it. Jess reminds her that she said she called Ben as soon as she found the body but Mort steamrolls on to his point that Jeff and Melissa were sneaking around behind Ralph’s back.

“No! Okay, Jeff is in love with me and I never encouraged him at all but he begged me to leave Ralph and said that he was desperate to have me.”  Says Melissa.

MY QUEEN.

MY QUEEN.

Jess goes to see Ben, who has written a front page article that crucifies Jeff and Melissa. While she’s there Ben gets an anonymous tip that Ralph was seen leaving a bar with Trudy-the-waitress the night of the murder, and that they had a screaming argument in the car park.

Mort, Ben and JB pay Trudy a visit. She confirms that she had been on a date with Ralph, who had been full of a sob story about his last girlfriend dumping him, but says that she hadn’t slept with him and demanded that he take her home. They got a flat tyre on the way, he tried it on again when he dropped her off so she slapped him and he slapped her. End of story.

Later that night, JB has given up on finding a typist and is typing up her manuscript one handed when she finds Melissa’s story. She begins to read and the next day takes it to show Mort. It’s the story of a sensitive woman, in love with her English teacher but married to a goon. They bring Melissa in for questioning and she tells them that Drew Garrison is madly in love with her and that she found Drew’s umbrella next to the body and his car pulling out when she got home and she never said that Jeff killed Ralph.

Ugh. She is the worst.

Over at the Garrison’s Drew denies the whole thing as the fantasies of an immature child (agreed) and says he was in bed laid up with a cold – fortunately Rita was kind enough to go out in the rain in his car and get some asprin.

Ah.

WE WERE SO CLOSE TO DUCKY OF DEATH AW MAN

WE WERE SO CLOSE TO DUCKY OF DEATH AW MAN

After Ralph dropped Trudy off he called Rita to try and get back together and it escalated and yada yada, You know the drill. Honestly, all I can think about right now is pie. Damnit Mort.

In case you’d forgotten (or like me panicked that it was tomorrow because you don’t really understand time), Murder She Blogged Epic Tweetathon Part The Third – A Story To Die For, will take place on Monday, 14 March at 12pm Melbourne time. If you’re on twitter use the hashtag #MSWStory to follow along while I decipher another JB telemovie.

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!