At a fancy shindig in New York this week, Fletcherfans, where Our Heroine is being begged by some bloke named Griswold to become JB’s agent.
Attention is diverted when Jane Dawson, author of the scandalous tell-all biography of Senator Edward Crawford, wanders into the room and is swamped by fans.
Griswold rushes over to greet Jane but she sashays past him to meet JB. She’d heard Jessica had moved to New York, it was a smart move, that’s where the action happens. New Hampshire’s loss is NYC’s gain!
“I’m just here temporarily.” Says JB. “And it’s Maine.”
Jane barrells on. She wants to have lunch with JB, she hasn’t got time to talk now but she hears JB is friends with Arthur Brent. With that she departs, leaving JB’s companion to ask “Who’s Arthur Brent?”
The next day (probably), Jane is hard at work on her next target/arguing with her lawyers on the phone when her assistant comes in with good news – they bribed someone at a sanitarium and managed to get the target’s medical records. Jane sends her off to try and find someone who hated the target and get more dirt but then Jane’s sister Beth comes in. She’s worried because she heard Jane fighting with her husband the previous evening, but Jane tells her not to worry about Steve – unless he lays a finger on Beth in which case she should tell Jane and she will rip his liver out. Beth says that’s unlikely, she doesn’t even like Steve and she doesn’t know why Beth married him. Beth tells her it’s simple enough – he’s tall, looks good in a tuxedo and is great in bed.
I do love Jessica Walter, I’m not going to lie.
Jane tells Beth she had a little fight with Steve, he went off to the Hamptons to cool off, but no big deal. She sends her off with some money to go buy something nice and then demands to know from her assistant why JB hasn’t returned her call yet.
Later, JB is waiting for her publisher to arrive for their lunch date when Jane sits herself down, saying she moved her publisher back an hour so they could talk. She cuts to the chase – Jessica is friends with Arthur Dent and his wife Ellen Lombard, and Jane wants to know why Ellen doesn’t make movies any more, what happened with her nervous breakdown/suicide attempt and whether it’s true that Ellen is now addicted to booze, tranquilizers and whatever else is kicking around.
JB tells Jane that she doesn’t gossip about her friends, especially not to people who will twist the facts to titillate her readers, and if she proceeds with the book Jess hopes Jane is ready for a lawsuit.
Jane informs her she’s never lost a lawsuit but decides to appeal to Jessica’s practical side – JB being linked to the book will sell more copies, which will generate publicity for her. If she doesn’t, well some of the dirt thrown at Ellen could stick to Jessica.
Jessica requests that Jane leaves while Jess is still in control of her temper.
Jess calls Arthur to tell him about the impending shit-storm that is rumbling. Arthur is devastated, Ellen is still in a fragile state after her suicide attempt and he will not let her come to harm. Jess feels awful that she hasn’t seen them that much in the last couple of years but Arthur tells her that Ellen won’t see anyone, not even Jess. She had a stroke a year ago and she doesn’t want anyone to see her in her current state.
Later that night, Jane’s husband Steve picks Beth up from class so she can help him convince Jane they should stay together. As they sit in the car out the front of the house, they notice someone go inside. Steve shrugs it off but Beth is worried and they go in after him. They go inside but there’s no sign of Jane. Suddenly the lights go out and a figure rushes past them on the way out – it’s Arthur Brent. They go upstairs and find Jane dead in the bathtub with the television.
You never see that any more. There’s never the toaster in the bath, or the hair dryer in the bath. Ah, the olden days.
The next morning, JB goes down to pick up her newspaper from Ahmed the doorman, who is all of us in this picture.
JB tells him she’s not happy with the local supermarket and wonders if he can suggest another one, but then gets distracted by the headline about Jane Dawson’s murder. She goes upstairs and calls Ellen but Ellen tells her Arthur has gone out and he was up late all night the previous night reading to Ellen. She tells JB that they will catch up again soon, when Ellen is feeling a bit better.
Jessica heads over to Jane’s house where she meets Lieutenant Gerard, who is also delighted to see her – so much so that he invites her to come up to view the crime scene. JB notices a phone message left by Jane’s assistant Kristy at 9:45, as she goes up the stairs. Presumably relevant. Upstairs, Gerard explains that all the clocks stopped when the place shorted at 11:03pm, when the television went into the tub. He resumes his interview of Jane’s sister Beth, who explains that the man (Arthur Brent, and you guys have no idea how much I keep wanting to write Arthur Dent) rushed down the stairs. She describes him and JB says it could be almost anyone oh is that time I must dash. Gerard asks her to pop by the precinct later, he still has something he wants to talk to her about.
JB goes to see Arthur, who fills her in on his side of the story. He was at the house at Jane’s request, but when he arrived at 11pm there was no answer. The door was unlocked so he went in – he heard the hot tub going so he figured she hadn’t heard him knock but when he went upstairs to check she was already dead. He was about to call the police when he heard Steve and Beth downstairs so he fled. Jessica tells him he needs to talk to the police, and that the lead detective seems very friendly but she isn’t sure why.
Jessica finds Gerard interviewing Jane’s assistant Kristy, who says she left Jane’s house at about 8 o’clock, which sounds fishy to JB on account of that phone message from earlier. Apparently Jane was in the habit of watching the news and returning phone calls from the hot tub which is a level of multi-tasking I frankly do not want. She excuses herself, and after she’s gone Jessica tells Gerard about the phone message. He’s not bothered though, because there’s something he wants to show Jessica….his manuscript.
Gerard’s offer to split the profits 50-50 is thankfully interrupted by Arthur’s arrival to admit to being the mysterious person in the house. Gerard is delighted – JB lives up to her reputation and gets the killer to surrender!
While Kristy goes to the publisher to try and get a book deal for the Ellen Lombard book now that Jane isn’t around to finish it, Jess and Gerard are chowing down on hotdogs and debating the murder. Gerard is convinced that it’s all over now that Arthur has come in, and is going back to Jane’s hosue to try and find more clues to prove it. He invites JB to tag along, that way they can discuss his book.
At the house, Gerard launches into a long explanation of how televisions can kill, until Jessica interrupts to say she’s seen it before. (Damn right she has). Kristy appears with a folder full of papers under her arm and a half-arsed excuse about clearing out her desk but Jessica has no time for these shenanigans and suggests to the lieutenant that nothing should be taken from the crime scene until it’s been checked. Kristy sighs and hands it over before leaving. Jessica shamelessly volunteers to read them for the lieutenant and he’s grateful – hopefully Arthur Brent’s motive might be in there somewhere.
Jane’s husband Steve pipes up and says Arthur has a hell of a motive considering his wife was the target of Jane’s next book. Gerard asks JB if she knew about this and she stalls him long enough for the phone to ring. She flees before she has to answer the question.
Jess goes home to investigate the papers and finds the birth certificate of Elizabeth Prewett, along with a baby photo and a lock of hair. She’s interrupted by a phone call from Gerard saying that he’s tracked down the mysterious phone message – it was Jane’s lawyer who had called and he’s coming in for a chat.
At first Jane’s lawyer is reluctant to disclose what the call was about, but eventually reveals that Jane was planning to divorce her husband Steve and wanted to confirm the details of their pre-nuptial agreement. He says she called him back at about 10 o’clock but that she had another call coming in and said she would get back to him the next day.
Jess excuses herself and goes to see Beth at the funeral home, who confirms what JB suspected – Jane wasn’t Beth’s sister, she was her mother. Beth tells her the whole story of how Jane had her at fifteen, danced in a club in New Orleans, fought her way to the top etc etc etc. She thought it possible that Kristy was blackmailing Jane about Beth’s identity, but didn’t know anything about Jane’s plans for divorce. She just regrets that she sat talking to Steve in the car for so long, and then going in and the lights going out. JB asks her if all the lights went out, and she says they did.
JB convinces Ellen and Arthur to pop round for tea and a chat and to confirm with Arthur a couple of things. He tells her the lights were definitely on when he got there, and the TV wasn’t plugged in. This is all JB needs and she goes to call Gerrard to meet her at Jane’s house. Steve lets them in and leaves them to it. Gerard launches into a detailed explanation of how circuit breakers work.
JB tells him that there’s no way the TV going into the tub would have shorted the whole house, and she believes Arthur when he says the lights were on and the TV unplugged when he got there. She thinks Jane had been dead for an hour before she was found, and what’s more she thinks she knows who killed her.
Steve arrived back early from the Hamptons, just in time to eavesdrop on Jane’s conversations, and had an adverse reaction to the news he was on his way out as number 1 toyboy.
Job done, Jessica neatly ties up loose ends by setting fire to Jane’s file on Ellen Lombard and telling Lieutenant Gerard to give Kristy the assistant a call – she’s looking for a project.
Shout out to the electrical workers who came and fixed the power to my building when the transformer blew, and to Melbourne weather for refusing to believe it’s nearly summer by hailing, snowing, blowing up transformer boxes with wind and generally making a general fool of itself. Classic Melbourne.