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S09E04 – The Wind Around the Tower

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Welcome to suspiciously sunny Ireland Fletcherfans, where JB is researching for her new book. As it happens, recently retired NYPD detective Sean Culhane (aka the other Demon Barber of Fleet Street, seen previously here) has returned home to Ireland and is happy to chauffeur Our Heroine around, while bitching about the prevalence of Australian soap operas on TV. (Such blasphemy will not stand, although I must confess I’ve never really watched Home and Away but I did watch Neighbours for a time, until that ridiculous storyline with the bomb on the plane on their joyride to Tasmania, because frankly Tasmania did nothing to be dragged into that shambles).

I digress.

JB just wants to hang out with some typical Irish folk, and Sean knows just the place – his friend Neil Gillen heard he was back in the old country and has invited him for a visit, so they head to his village. While the hotel owner sees to their rooms JB and Sean stop for a bite of lunch, and Neil soon joins them for a pint and an invitation – forget staying at the pub, come stay at his his new castle-y big house he’s just bought. It has a library full of old books ready for JB to peruse.

Guys I won’t lie, I am well acquainted with Irish drinking customs. In fact, I have a degree in whisky-tasting from the Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland because I’m awesome.

JB knocks off the rest of her beer and remembers she has some film she wants developing so she cruises on over to the chemist across the street. After she leaves, Sean tells Neil he’s here, what does he need? Neil says he can’t say just yet, but he wants Neil just to look around, and see what’s up. They’ll talk later.

Over at the chemist JB meets the proprietor and long time fan Francis O’Reilly, who had heard JB had been coming. He’d be happy to get the film done for her, and asks her to sign a few of her books so that he can take them round the housebound villagers. Jessica is obviously happy to oblige.

I mean it’s long at the bag and slightly less long on top. Turbo mullet?

Jess and Sean arrive at the fancy-pants house and meet Neil’s assistant Claire Abbot, who is delighted to discover that the guests are so famous (well, one is anyway) and tells them to let her know if there’s anything she can do. Neil then introduces Jess and Sean to his new wife Anne and his cousin Liam (previously also seen here). Anne is delighted to meet them both, and particularly Jessica – she hadn’t known Jess was coming until the day before. Liam politely excuses himself from dinner, saying he has other plans.

At dinner everything goes swimmingly until they hear shrieking coming from outside. Neil assures them that it’s just the wind catching on the facade, but Ann says it might be the Crying Lady. Back in ye olde black and white times, a ship captain built the house for his wife as a wedding present, complete with tower so she could watch the ship come in, but one (dark and stormy) night, she was in the tower and saw her husband’s ship crash against the cliffs and sink. She threw herself off the tower and died, and to this day people say she can be heard roaming the grounds. And guys would it surprise you to learn that she is a harbinger of death?

(Jessica Fletcher is 100% not a harbinger of death though, obviously).

That night Sean is woken by the sound of dogs barking. He looks out his window to see a shadowy figure walking thr grounds with a torch. He rushes to the hallway and bumps into Jessica.

“I was just going for some hot milk.” He says.

“So was I.” Says JB.

This is the weirdest episode of Scooby Doo ever.

They head on out and follow the light to the tower, but when they go inside the figure is missing. They find a plaque that reads “For my beloved Sarah, safe passage through dangerous places.” Then a man appears with a machine gun. He introduces himself as Quint Sankey, caretaker, (I WOULD WATCH THAT SHOW) and orders them back to the house. Neil and Ann quickly sort it out, Quint takes his leave and everyone goes back to bed, while Claire Abbott lurks in the shadows.

The next morning, Jess is up early eating breakfast and raiding Neil’s library. She’s found a goldmine but she wants more info so she’s going to go into town and see what she can find out from the locals. She invites Sean along, but he tells her he’d rather stay and stroll the grounds to get a feel for the place. Jess says that’s what he says when he’s investigating a crime. Sean tries to cover it up and JB says she doesn’t mean to intrude, she is offering her help whenever he needs it.

In town JB picks up her photos and for extremely subtle plot point reasons also grabs a bottle of the newest fragrance Emerald Sunset. The shopkeeper tells her she’s the first one to buy it and would love to hear what she thinks. Jess then goes back to the pub to hear the story of a battle between five strong men, one woman, a tax collector, a horse, several cases of good Irish whisky, and crossing rights to a bridge.

SPOILER ALERT: The horse won.

I just realised that the person telling this story is inexplicably drinking a pint of milk. But anyway.

Jessica and the storyteller (a Mr Foudy) are joined by Neil’s neighbour Jason McNamara who suggests that Jess might be interested in the story of the Crying Lady. Foudy hasn’t got much more to add, just that in life no one ever saw the wife go in or out of the tower, and that Jason McNamara can’t think of a more deserving person to have to deal with a ghost than Neil Gillen. Foudy explains after Jason leaves that Neil bought up Jason’s land when his finances went sideways.

Back at the house, Sean basically learns the same thing from Quint Sankey, caretaker while inside Neil confronts Liam about some money that’s gone missing out of some Swiss bank accounts. The place that they are filming this episode is the house from Clue! I’ve just worked it out. Oh man I love that movie.

After dinner that night, Sean and Neil confur in the library. Sean has had about enough of these mysterious shenanigans and he’s not a big fan of hiding things from Jess. Neil comes out with it – he thinks someone is going to kill him in the next 48 hours. He explains about the missing money, but he thinks there’s something else going on and asks Sean to meet him back there at midnight – he’ll explain it all then.

Sean sits up until 11:45 but he’s too late. The house is woken to the sound of Anne screaming – Neil is in his study, eyes wide open, dead as a post. Sergeant Devon O’Malley is called to the scene, and quickly rules it natural causes on account of there being not a mark on him. At first he rules it a heart attack but JB is quick to point out the lack of blueish tinge to Neil’s lips.

Downstairs Sean has a quiet word with O’Malley about possibly getting a full autopsy done on the down-low, cop to cop. O’Malley says he’ll see what he can do.

And now, a quick word from our sponsors…

And now, back to the show.

Out on a stroll, Sean explains the whole thing to JB, who knew something was up, the whole thing seemed dodge as. She springs into action, sending Sean to find out more about Jason McNamara, while she heads back into town.

Sean finds Jason banging up some no trespassing signs on Neil’s land. Jason says he heard or saw nothing the night before, but that he suspects Anne Gillen will be in a mood to sell the land off cheaply. Sean finds this remarkable, being as Neil’s not been dead a day.

Down in the village Jess is chatting to Brian Mulrain, the publican, who thinks it’s obvious – the killer was the Crying Lady. No one had heard anything from her for 50 years until Neil bought the house and then it all kicked off. Jess thinks there’s something to this and heads on her way, bumping into Francis O’Reilly on the way out.

Back at the house Jess tells Sean they need to talk but are soon joined by Liam Gillen, who wants to offer his apologies that such a dreadful thing should happen during their stay. He’d been out of town on business and had only just returned, and was likely to have to leave again now that he would be running the business. He departs, leaving Jess and Sean more suspicious than ever. Jess tells Sean to go and call O’Malley to find out more about Liam Gillen while Jess goes upstairs to talk more with Anne.

Outside, Liam sends his girlfriend CLAIRE ABBOTT off to stay with her family for a few days while he irons this whole situation out. Anne Gillen watches the whole scene play out from her bedroom window before she gets a knock at the door – Jessica offering condolences in this trying time. Ann tells her she plans to sell the house, she feels uncomfortable staying. Jess says she understands that Liam will take over the business, which is news to Ann – that was the opposite of what Neil would have wanted. Jess asks if anyone would have wanted to hurt Neil and Ann gets upset, insisting that it was natural causes. Jess scurries into the bathroom for a tissue, noticing a bottle of Emerald Sunset on the counter as she does so.

Later that afternoon Sean gets the coroners report back – cause of death is fluid in the lungs, presumably pneumonia. Both Sean and Jessica find this highly odd, as Sean didn’t appear sick in the slightest, but Ann and Sergeant O’Malley appear with some evidence that Ann just found. It’s a video from Sean’s cam-corder showing (among other things) Neil turning on a lamp, Neil constantly relighting his cigar, and Neil passing out and dying. We see Ann coming in to turn off the lamp before discovering Neil’s body, going to the doorway slowly and screaming.

JB is about to do her best Nic Cage from Gone in 60 Seconds impression (#ThingsThatAreOnlyTrueInsideMyHead)

A quick jaunt to the chemist confirms that while noone else has bought a bottle of the perfume, there is indeed one extra missing from the stand. The sale assistant thinks O’Reilly must have bought it for one of his lady friends, as he is wont to do.

Sean is confused as to how this will help but Jessica tells him they will just have to see the Crying Lady for more information. They sneak into the tower before being rumbled by Quint Sankey, Caretaker. Unfortunately for Quint, JB makes her getaway down a helpfully lit secret passage. (Forget Scooby Doo this is some Famous Five business up in here). She discovers nitrogen tanks, some pipes that were arguably screaming, and eureka!

Jess returns to the study to lay a trap. Anne wanders in to see what she’s doing and Jess explains that she’s convinced Neil was murdered, and she’s looking for evidence. Jess turns the lamp on, and Ann declares she’s not waiting around all night trying to find something that isn’t there. When she discovers she’s locked in though she loses it, until Jess announces it’s alright, they disconnected the nitrogen tanks already.

If I had a dollar for every wife/husband of death I’d be a rich woman.

Ahh yes. Anne was having a little something something going on with Francis O’Reilly, mainly so she could get hold of some nitrogen, bump off Neil and get hold of his money. That old chestnut.

But never mind all of that. It just so happens to be my birthday today, and this week has been a terrible horrible no good very bad week, so my birthday gift to myself, and to all of you, is the entirety of Angela Lansbury’s health and fitness video.

Watch and learn, Fletcherfans. Watch, and learn.

 

Later gang.

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S09E03 – The Mole

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Guys, I tell you what – I’m loving the next level high tech computer hacking that has been going on in Murder She Wrote recently.

Fun fact I learned from watching QI – nostalgia was once considered a medical disease that was cured by leeches, bullying and all sorts of top level medical skills. I’d be in so much trouble if that was still a thing.

More on Ms Hackity Hack, who has just narrowly avoided capture with her floppy disk file about someone called Max Hagen  later.

JB is out to dinner with her old journalist friend, and when I heard his name I thought I was hearing things.

WHAT IS HAPPENING WHAT WHAT WHAT

Jess’s sidekick in this episode has the same name as me. Putting aside the fact that this is the first time I’ve seen my name attached to a dude, and the spelling looks like it’s been dreamed up by someone at Starbucks, ERMAHGHERD. Guys, this is a big deal. Up until now the only Briony I’ve seen in fiction is the whiny little cow from Atonement, and I effing hated that book (I haven’t seen the movie on account of I REALLY HATED THAT BOOK.)

But there you go guys – if you’ve seen this episode you now know how to pronounce my name, which puts you ahead of most call centre operators, baristas and people I work with. Happy early birthday to me!

Anyway, Jess is chatting to me Brynie about his career as a journalist as inspiration for her new book, while he contends with a managing editor who has issues with his new column and the terrible line it (Brynie points out the line is by F Scott Fitzgerald and the editor looks panicked).

Jess cacks herself laughing as the editor departs and says “I’m sorry Briony Brynie, I know it isn’t funny to you.”

(My response to Angela Lansbury saying my name:

I AM DEAD.
I wonder if I can make this my text message notification or something.

me Brynie rages on about the quality of journalism these days, (oh God, it really is me) and points at the TV as an example – a young reporter is interviewing the coach of the New York Eagles basketball team and is avoiding all the difficult questions like what’s up with his penchant for nose candy and gambling, and just what does he have on his boss, team owner/philanthropist Max Hagen. He rages on a bit more and then says to Jess “Are you sure you want to use me?”

“Briony Brynie, you’re it, and that’s final. Nobody can do what you do, nobody.” Says JB.

I CAN’T GO ON THIS IS THE GREATEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED.

me Brynie tells JB he won’t be able to meet her now that he has to make these idiot changes as requested by his idiot editor,  but Jess tells him it’s fine – she has a million things to do before she flies to San Francisco so she will just meet him for a late lunch.

On the other side of town, the aforementioned Max Hagen is busy making himself look good by distributing checks and menacing his employees. The coach of the Eagles basketball team pops round just as another of Hagen’s henchmen swears he has a line on “her” and Hagen says he hopes so. Hagen flicks on the TV to watch the interview of the coach, and grins when the reporter declares the world things that Hagen is too nice a guy to fire the coach.

“At least you know that isn’t true” Hagen tells the coach.

Whatever dude, Angela Lansbury said nobody can do what I do.

The next day Jess is queuing in her hotel lobby awaiting her plane tickets (was that a thing? I barely remember paper tickets, what a time the 90s were) when a very harried desk clerk accidentally puts JB’s ticket in the folder for Liz Foster. Spoiler alert, Liz Foster is Ms Hackity Hack.

JB doesn’t realise the mistake and blissfully goes on her way, while the desk clerk quickly realises her mistake and starts bellowing for Ms Foster. This attracts the attention of a couple of goons, who follow Jess outside, pull a gun on her and muscle her into a car. Despite JB hollering for help, noone does a damn thing – including Liz Foster, who watches it all go down from the other side of the road.

The goons take JB to a deserted warehouse where Max Hagen is just as surprised to see JB as she is to see him.

She’s waiting Max…

Max tries to smooth things over by saying it was a joke on a friend that went terribly wrong, and he’s so sorry. His friends clearly grabbed the wrong woman.

Called it like she saw it.

Max has more explanations where that one came from but JB gets while the getting is good and jumps in the nearest taxi. One of Hagen’s minions offers to bump JB off but Hagen says that might not be the smartest idea, and calls his PR lady instead.

Meanwhile JB goes straight to the NYPD and gets absolutely nowhere thanks to Lieutenant Artie Gelber.

Well it’s no wonder.

JB is furious and threatens to go to his superior Dorothy, but Art tells her he’s eleven days from retirement (WHO SAYS THAT HAVE YOU NEVER WATCHED A TV SHOW BEFORE) and is she sure she wasn’t nabbed by someone who had at least racked up some parking tickets or something?

Art and JB choof on over to Max’s place, where he is delighted to meet JB – for the very first time apparently. He swears he’s never met JB before and is horrified to think someone who looks like him is going around snatching women off the street. It couldn’t possibly have been him, he only just returned from Boston, which air traffic control, his pilot and associated lackeys will of course swear to.

Seems legit, says Art.

Darn right she is. Guys do we need to talk about just how great The Golden Girls is? Nah, I figured we’d all agree on that.

Art drops her back at her apartment with the fervent hope that if JB has any more accusations to fling, she flings them in any direction but his. Jess says he can count on that – and is immediately accosted by some feds.

(Me, everytime I wake up and read the news headlines)

The feds are minions of Louis Paloma, who is investigating Max Hagen. When Jess is brought to his office he is very eager to find out why Hagen’s men abducted Jess and is annoyed when Jess is demanding answers from him. He tells her he knows it was a case of mistaken identity and if she works out why it happened to give him a call.

Back at home JB gets a visit from Max’s publicist Sara Lloyd who has exciting news – as compensation for the trauma of being kidnapped by fake Max Hagen, the 100% real Max Hagen would like to donate money to Jessica’s favourite charity – 25 thousand!

Insufficient zeroes, sunshine.

Jessica tells her nothing doing (obviously) and wonders if Sara knows why Hagen is being investigated. Sara is sure it’s all a mistake and leaves just as I Brynie arrives with good news – he’s wrangled an invitation for them to go to the New York Eagles party Max is hosting that night.

While JB gets ready I Brynie tries to put the Hagen/Paloma puzzle together. It’s only when JB reaches into her handbag and finds her plane ticket with Liz Foster’s on it that she puts it all together. She calls the Grand Palace Hotel, where she picked up her ticket, but there is noone staying there in the name of Liz Foster. Jess and me Brynie agree that this is worth looking into and so head on over to the hotel. When they arrive it’s crawling with Art and his minions and a body being carted away in a body bag.

Art is too busy to talk to JB now but stops when she and me Brynie tell him the Jane Doe body they found in the elevator is actually Liz Foster. He still doesn’t believe there is any connection to JB getting nabbed until they tell him about Louis Paloma’s investigation and suggest they should probably get together for a chat. They leave Art to it and move on to Max’s party. He is horrified to learn of someone’s murder, and says the name Liz Foster rings a very faint bell and asks his assistant to look into it.

JB and me Brynie bail on the party and go to see Louis Palermo who refuses to admit that he is investigating Max, but concedes the dead woman is in fact Liz Foster. me Brynie has a theory that Louis is going after Max in order to drum up support for an election run, but Palermo isn’t buying it, and refuses to agree with Jess’s theory that Liz was working for Louis Palermo. me Brynie offers to sit on the story as long as they get the full exclusive once it’s all over.

Guys for real, this is a really complicated episode. And I don’t think it’s because I cheer loudly every time Angela Lansbury says Brynie.

But it might be.

Louis, me Brynie and JB adjourn to the nearest bar to get up to speed. Turns out Louis has a mole in Max’s organisation, who recruited Liz Foster to get the dirt on Max. Louis was supposed to meet her that morning at the UN but she didn’t show. After Louis heard about JB’s kidnapping he managed to get in touch with Liz again, they met in Central Park and swapped 200 grand for disks containing all the goss on Max. Unfortunately for Louis, the info on the disks was completely irrelevant and Liz ended up dead.

You got all that?

#ImWithHer

Louis departs, but he’s gotten JB thinking. What if Liz wasn’t killed by one of Max’s goons? What if, in fact, she was killed by someone else who knew that she had the disks and the cash and helped themselves?

(Me watching the voting at Eurovision last week)

Over at Casa de Max, the Man himself is assuring Sara that he had nothing to do with any of it, he couldn’t possibly have, does he have the face of someone who could do that etc etc. Mollified, Sara leaves and some other minions come in to assure Max that the police can’t tie him to the murder but that they haven’t found the missing disks. Max goes bananas and wants the disks and the leak found.

Jess goes to see Art Gelber, who has recovered Liz’s suitcase from a dumpster. In it is a wig and a suit jacket but not the matching skirt. Jess appears to think this is important and rushes off. Meanwhile, me Brynie meets Sara the PR lady for a drink to see what she knows, but the answer is not much. She’s starting to freak out about everything and me Brynie assures her he will look out for her – if he gets the exclusive story.

Bahaha go me.

JB heads to the Grand Palace hotel, where she finds the missing skirt in the unclaimed dry cleaning, complete with room number. She goes up to the room, convinced that that is where Liz was killed. Inside, her attention is drawn to a broken curtain runner when the door opens and Art Gelber appears, holding the missing piece in his hands, freshly found by one of his associates. They test it and it’s a match. Housekeeping has already been through, but Art calls the forensic team anyway to see if they can find anything.

Later that afternoon Jess is pacing her apartment like she’s watching Richmond play football. me Brynie tells her to relax, but she’s worried the killer is going to get away. Art finally calls in to tell her they got nothing, but JB is already way ahead – the killer doesn’t know they didn’t find anything. It’s time to flush the mole out.

JB has a quiet word with Louis Palermo that the police have found some forensic evidence that will identify the killer and sits back to wait. Sure enough, the mole returns to try and set fire to the hotel room that could identify him. Which is ironic, because I’d forgotten he existed.

I didn’t even know this character had a name to be honest.

That is Fred Chandler, lackey #1 in Max’s organisation, and also the mole. He took the money and the disks to make his exit from being a mole much easier.

Who cares. Angela Lansbury said nobody can do what I do, and I’m going to have a nap to celebrate. Nobody naps like I do, I take the best naps. Oh God, I sound like Donald Trump, I take it all back.

Oooh icecream! Now there’s a thought.

S09E02 – Family Secrets

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Reader beware: I’ve been up since 5am watching the Eurovision final. There will be spoilers. Also I am in desperate need of coffee but my grocery delivery hasn’t arrived yet. Read on at your own peril.

JB is hard at work at the Cabot Cove library researching poisons/watching the Eurovision vote on her newfangled contraption people are calling a laptop.

I am happy Portugal won, it’s a lovely song. But Europe, we really need to talk.

Jess decides a lock-in at the library is in order, and so librarian Arnold Lumis leaves her to find which poison will do the trick in her next book. Soon after he leaves, Jessica notices a shadowy figure lurking in the shadows.

It’s JB’s former student, Randall Sloane, taking time out from being a reporter and back in town researching a book. JB is eager to hear more so they arrange to meet for breakfast the next morning. Randall is first to the diner, and takes the opportunity to arrange an afterwork meeting with Sally the waitress but she’s not interested.

OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. The actress playing Sally just offered JB some coffee and my doorbell rang and now my groceries are here which means I get coffee oh GOD I’m so tired.

Randall tries again to arrange a meeting with Sally but she shoots him down like Europe did to my hopes of a Montenegran victory in Eurovision. JB is eager to hear more about the book and Randall tells her it’s about Margaret Babbington – the biggest scandal that ever happened in Cabot Cove. And let’s face it guys, there’s been some scandals. Jess tells him that story must have been done to death but Randall has an angle that’s going to tear a hole in Cabot Cove.

Except I was drinking lemon tea on account of destroying my voice trying to yodel rap a-la Romania (who should have gotten more points)

Later on, JB is kicking back in House Fletcher testing poisons out on Seth (not literally) when the Sheriff arrives looking stressed out. Some journalist is harassing him for access to the Margaret Babbington case files.

“Ah, Randall Sloane.” JB smiles.

“Yeah how did you know?” Says Mort.

Amos would be proud Seth.

Seth and JB explain the case to Mort. Back in ye olde times, specifically the 50s, Margaret Babbington, Owen Abbott, Emily Weymouth and George Latimer were out gallivanting around Cabot Cove when the two couples got separated, there was an accident with the gun and Owen ended up dead, while Margaret ended up in a sanitarium and died a short time later. Mort thinks that’s pretty open and shut, and wonders what Randall is getting at.

Across the road from the diner, Neal Latimer is watching Sally through a window, which isn’t creepy at all especially since they aren’t going out any more. Neal’s father George takes time out from business deals to wish that his son would date someone more appropriate like Janet Weymouth, but Neal says he was never a fan of frostbite.

(Meanwhile, Australia is having a meltdown about the streaker. 50% are furious that people keep calling him Australian when he was actually Ukranian, and 50% are furious that a Ukranian stole their idea. What a time to be alive).

Jess and Seth hit the docks for poison inspiration when they bump into Janet Weymouth herself. They ask after her mother and she tells them Emily rarely leaves the house or sees anyone. She was asking after JB though so Jess promises to pop round for a cup of tea. Pushing her luck, Janet reminds Jess about the community centre fundraiser happening that afternoon, and Jess says she’ll be there. Seth wants no bar of it, he’ll spend money and he doesn’t like spending money.

So I was really gunning for Moldova this year. This is how much of a nerd I am, I recognised them from the 2010 contest. And epic sax man deserves all the awards. But Portugal was adorable.

Janet goes to see her mother, who is the architect for the fundraiser, but she won’t be attending. Emily is on the phone trying to find out what Randall is up to but won’t tell her daughter why she cares so much.

Later at the fundraiser, while Seth moans about the cost, Neal corners Sally in the kitchen. He wants her to be patient but she’s done – it’s not about them any more as much as it’s about Neal and his father. Janet barrels along and is pleased to announce that the fundraiser is a success, and George Latimer is pleased to announce that they will name the centre after Emily Weymouth. Randall spots Sally and tries to talk to her but is pounced on by Janet Weymouth who wants to know what his book is about. He tells her Margaret Babbington and the room goes quiet. He excuses himself and goes after Sally but she’s already driving away. George Latimer, who overheard the whole conversation comes up to Randall and wonders what it would take for Randall to not write the book but Randall’s not backing off, not even for a thinly disguised threat.

That afternoon Seth drives JB up to see Emily Weymouth and wants a full report of the inside of the house – not many people get invited in. As Jessica goes up the stairs she sees George Latimer drive away. Inside, Jess and Emily chat over tea. Emily knows Jess was Randall’s teacher, maybe she could have a word to him about not writing the book? Jess says no chance, and maybe sitting down with Randall might do Emily some good?

Over at the library Randall is doing more research but stops when Arnold starts lurking around. Turns out they went to school together, and Arnold has literary aspirations too, but none of them have worked out.

Yes I know Australia isn’t part of Europe, but exactly how European is Israel and besides we are like the 4th biggest Eurovision audience so you know, we’re here now.

Jess pops in to the library to continue to research new ways to kill people and asks Randall how it’s all going. Randall tells her half the town won’t talk to him and the other half is furious that he’s even writing the book and Arnold is sad he can’t co-write the book (literally didn’t say that at all, but whatever). Jess tells him to keep going, but to be careful. Later that night, Randall gets a visit from Neal Latimer, wanting to smooth things over post fight between George and Randall, and also to suggest Randall should leave the book alone. Randall says nothing doing.

The next morning, Arnold arrives to open the library with Sally and finds Randall dead on the floor. That shock is up there with Cyprus and Greece giving each other 12 points.

Mort, Seth and JB arrive in that order (for a change), and JB gets to work. Arnold tells her he was there to open up the library and Sally was there early to meet with Randall as per his request. She assumes it was another pick-up attempt but Jessica thinks the library at that hour is a weird time to make romantic overtures. I don’t think Jess has seen some of the people who frequent the library. Shady. They find a key under Randall’s body but not his briefcase or his book notes.  Mort and Jess go up to the Hill House to test the key but it doesn’t fit Randall’s room. They hear glass break and so Mort kicks the door open to find Neal going through Randall’s things.

That afternoon Sally pops round to House Fletcher looking for help – the Sheriff is convinced Neal Latimer killed Randall but Sally can’t believe it. Jess asks her what Randall wanted to talk to her about, and Sally tells her it was mostly to do with her upbringing in the orphange – looking at old photos and paperwork, that sort of thing. Jess asks Sally to bring it all over so she can have a little look at it.

Released for now, Neal goes to see his father, who has a pretty good idea about why Neal was snooping. He tells his son the true story of Margaret Babbington – there was an argument, but the shotgun didn’t go off by accident. Margaret killed Owen deliberately.

Jess has come to this conclusion on her own, and wonders why Margaret reacted the way she did. Suddenly she has a thought and calls the sanitarium in Portland to ask about her cause of death. They call her back a short time later with confirmation  – Margaret died in childbirth.

Yeah you know where this is going. Just like Seth knows where that apple pie is going.

Oh man I’m hungry

Jess goes to see Margaret’s cousin, Emily Weymouth, who confirms that Margaret had a baby. She covered it up so that the child wouldn’t have to suffer the stigma of the mother’s crime. The night Randall died he came round to talk about it, she tried to buy him off but he wouldn’t accept the payment. She didn’t kill him.

Jess happens to believe her. Because she’s just worked out who the actual killer is.

So I was kind of hazy on why too.

Janet overheard a conversation between her mother and Randy where Randy refused to take a buyoff from Emily. She followed Randy to the library to talk him out of the book, if the true Babbington heir came forward they would be left without a cent. And it turns out that key belonged to her.

I need a nap. Lisbon 2018 you guys.

Later Fletcherfans.

S09E01 – Murder in Milan

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Welcome to season nine, (welcome to a new version of the theme song I think) and welcome to Milan Fletcherfans!

The Milan Film Festival is on, and anyone who is anyone and some people who aren’t are in town to congratulate themselves on a marvellous bit of film-making. One film in particular, All the Murderers, is garnering a bit of attention, as it’s based on a book by a certain mystery author we all know and worship.

Also, Caesar Romero is in town working it with the ladies under the name of Marcello Abruzzi.

“Whoever voted for Nick Nolte as sexiest man alive clearly hasn’t seen Marcello Abruzzi” says the Countess. 

Nick Nolte was hot #ThingsNotSaidSinceThe90s. I’ve conducted a thorough analysis of Nick Nolte, for science, and have concluded however that the Countess is in fact correct. Myth confirmed.

Anyway, the director of All The Murderers, Jim Randall, is drifting through the festival with his girlfriend/leading actress Louise Thayer, before excusing himself to go and meet his rival for the top gong, Steve Morrison, who produced competing film Day of Heroes. Steve wants Jim to direct his next picture, but Jim is under contract for two more years to Catherine Wayne productions and from the sound of things she’s not likely to loan him out. Jim says he is on his way to speak to her and Steve tells him to do what he has to – throw her off the roof if necessary.

Hashtag foreshadowing.

Our Heroine rolls up at that moment, much to the delight of the gathered paparazzi. Wouldn’t you know it, Jim’s father lives in Cabot Cove and Jim used to make short films up there during the summer so Jessica was delighted that he ended up directing the film of her book. WHAT WERE THE ODDS.

Tired of the surging pack of reporters and paparazzi, Jessica squints across the foyer of the hotel and says “Is that Mel Gibson?”

The pack disperses.

#ThingsNotSaidSinceThe90s

Jim takes Jess to meet Paul Crenshaw, a man who wanted to produce All The Murderers but was beaten out by Catherine Wayne. Paul has just got off the phone with some bad news and so they leave him to it. I think. To be honest at this point I was watching the background extras – specifically a group of photographers taking photos of what I thought was each other, while a Sikh family looked on.

Both times I have watched this episode and I can’t not watch these guys.

Jess flees to the safety of her non-smoking suite, while Jim goes to see Catherine Wayne. She’s heard the rumours about Arc of Steel, the film Steve Morrison is putting together, and there’s no way she’s letting Jim out of her contract with him. They argue and Jim storms out.

Turns out Catherine has a bit on just at the moment – she’s just found out that All The Murderers is a million dollars over budget, and there are payments to accounts she doesn’t recognise. She tells her accountant, Tom Hillier, and he promises to look into it.

At lunch, Jim introduces Jess to Steve Morrison, and JB is delighted to see her old friend Andrew Thayer, who it turns out is Louise’s father. They sit down to lunch and Tom Hillier passes by. He stops to say hello but gets a phone call on his fancy cellular phone from Katherine and has to rush off. Word has got out about the dodgy accounting but Tom tells them he is going to get to the bottom of it. After he leaves Jim tells JB that Tom was and probably is still in love with Katherine.

That night is the black tie gala screening of All the Murderers and it’s a resounding success, naturally. Jess congratulates Katherine on the film and then hides behind a program while Katherine and Paul Crenshaw get into an argument.

THIS IS THE FACE OF INFORMATION ACQUISITION

After the screening everyone heads to the Countess’s palazzo for the party. Steve confronts Katherine but she says noone steals from Katherine Wayne. The Countess demands only smiles at her party.

Meanwhile…

Cesar is tearing up Milan.

Jess takes a break from Marcello’s wily charms and has a chat to Andrew Thayer, who is delighted to see Louise and Jim so happy. He tells Jess Jim has been a great support to them both, especially since Andrew hasn’t really worked in a while, and has offered Andrew to collaborate on the script for Arc of Steel. Across the room Tom tells Jim about the dodgy accounting and asks him to stop by his office in the morning to talk about it.

The next morning, Louise runs into Katherine at the cafe in the hotel. Katherine has a business proposition for Louise – a starring role in Katherine’s next picture and a screenwriting job for Andrew if Louise convinces Jim to abandon Arc of Steel. Louise tells Katherine to go to hell. YOU GO GIRL.

Jess pops by Katherine’s office later on. Katherine is in the middle of something but tells JB that Jim is in with Tom Hillier and would like a word. She sticks her head in and Jim asks her to lunch with himself and Louise. Tom waves but is busy on the phone and waving for Jim to bring him the giant marble ashtray sitting on the desk.

In her office, Katherine explains about the stand-off between herself and Jim but Jessica isn’t getting involved. Katherine also has a list of undecided prize jurors who she thinks Jess might be able to glad-handle into giving the top gong to All the Murderers but Jess says that’s not her style. If All The Murderers is the best film it will win, if not some other fine film will. Katherine hands over Jess’s itinerary for while she’s in Milan.

If you throw that much shade at JB you’d better accept the consequences. Which is presumably being murdered.

Down by the pool later that afternoon Jim and Louise announce their engagement. While the champagne flows and the toasts are declared, a phone on the table rings – it’s Katherine. She wants to meet Jim in her suite in an hour. When Jim arrives there he’s steeled for a fight but Katherine wants to talk about the dodgy accounting. Before she can explain there’s a call from Tom Hillier looking for Jim. When Jim gets off the phone he tells Katherine he has to make a personal call and goes into the next room.

Later, JB leaves a press conference and heads back to her room, while Louise goes in search of Jim at Katherine’s suite. As JB arrives on the floor, there’s screams from a maid. JB rushes in and finds Louise standing in Katherine’s room while Jim hovers over Katherine’s dead body. He’d been in the next room, he tells JB, and when he came out she was dead on the floor, an ashtray next to her head.

(Now if you’re thinking what I’m thinking, you know who the killer is at this point. But let’s all play along because the writers had 15 more minutes so let’s pretend we have no idea who could have possibly killed Katherine Wayne).

Inspector Lombardo is called to the scene, and quickly succumbs to JB’s charms. He allows her to stick around and watch him work. He asks Jim about the phone call with Tom Hillier and he says that Tom told him to call back from the phone in the bedroom on Tom’s private line so Katherine couldn’t hear their conversation, but that when he tried the line there was no answer. He tried two or three times, but couldn’t get through so went back into the main room and found Katherine’s body. Louise tells Lombardo she’d come to give Jim his notebook that he’d left on the terrace, he never went anywhere without it. Lombardo tells Jim to go down to the precinct for more questions. They are interrupted by paparazzo and long-time JB fan Giorgio on the balcony taking photos. The police escort him out and JB goes to take a look outside, inadvertently locking herself out in the process. Lombardo comes to her aid, and delightedly tells her that she’s just proven that the only way into the room is through the hallway.

Jess sees Steve Morrison down by the pool, already working hard to get the ball rolling on Arc of Steel. He tells Jess he was in a screening at the time of the murder, so he’s off the hook. JB’s next visit is to Tom Hillier, who says that he sat waiting for Jim to call back but that the phone never rang. Inspector Lombardo calls up to tell JB that they found Jim’s fingerprints all over the murder weapon – the ashtray.

Jessica goes to see Jim in the cells and he tells her he never touched the ashtray. Jess is suspicious of this business with the dodgy accounting, and Jim tells her that’s what Katherine wanted to see him about – there were account numbers she didn’t recognise but that she never got to tell him more than that.

Hot on the trail, JB sneaks into Katherine’s office to get some more info.

Pretty sure this is what Julian Assange looked like creating Wikileaks.

Jess tracks the accounts to company names and then calls her lawyer Jonathan in London to get him to find out more information. After, as she’s leaving the hotel, she notices a conveniently disguised ladder leading up to the balcony of Katherine’s room.

That night, Jessica is about to go to dinner with Marcello Abruzzi when a) he lights up and b) a lightbulb goes off.

Alright, enough of these shenanigans, you know what the deal is.

THE SHOCK!

IT’S ALWAYS THE ACCOUNTANT.

But for real though – tracking phone accounts, getting cellular phone records, calling them cellular phones, being thankful for Mel Gibson – this ticked all the 90s boxes. All that was missing was a Rachel haircut.

Later gang!