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S09E22 – Love’s Deadly Desire

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With a title like that, you know there’s going to be DRAMAH OH SAH DRAMAH.

It’s a dark and stormy night (obviously) JB is back in the Cove (Huzzah!) where fellow author and occasional Cabot Cove visitor Sibella Stone is reading from her latest book while smugglers are smuggling because that is literally what coves are for (see also, every Famous Five book ever).

I think JB is just about done with everything.

Sibella’s husband Derek Hartman turns up late and full of apology to pick up his wife and her assistant, Marian King. Derek has just secured a hot new manuscript from some random housewife in Oklahoma. Sibella insists JB pop round for a cup of tea and to check out ye olde journals Sibella found in the house she’s renting.

After they leave, Jessica finds Sibella’s purse and runs out to return it, only to find Marian and Derek having a pash on at the car.

Inconspicuous A F.

The next day Seth is barrelling down the main street of Cabot Cove when he crashes into Colin Burnham and Valerie Hartman. Colin is a dick and Valerie isn’t that much better to be honest, which of course gets Seth’s back up (although he did just also drop his dry cleaning in a puddle).

Angry Seth is Angry.

Valerie tells Seth to get his dry-cleaning redone and to charge it to her step-mother Sibella’s account. As she and Colin cruise off, leaving Seth huffing to himself, someone called Munro watches them leave before being summoned back inside the cafe where he works by someone called Sue. Facts.

JB takes the Fletchmobile to the lighthouse where Sibella and her crew are staying (YOU GUYS HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH I WANT TO STAY IN A LIGHTHOUSE) and runs into handyman (and wouldn’t you know it, local smuggler) Phil Coyle, who warns JB the step is broken and also Sibella should just leave the house is falling down around them.

Jess smiles politely and flees inside to return Sibella’s purse. Far from packing to leave Sibella has decided to stay until the end of the week to finish her book, and then take a well-earned three week holiday to Montego Bay with Derek. She suggests they take the journals she found outside to peruse.

Preach.

Their reading is interrupted by Valerie storming out, furious that the INS is threatening to deport Colin for crimes against hairstyles. Sibella has a friend in Washington but she has no intention of calling him, telling Valerie if she’s thinking of doing anything more serious with that Picadilly Prima Donna (lol) they will cut her money off. Valerie storms off again and Sibella reminds Jess that she is hosting a dinner on Thursday and Jess must come.

Thursday rolls around and Marian drops some more journals off for JB to read. She is also in the market for some writing advice, she only knows JB and Sibella and Sibella seems miserable. JB tells Marian that if she wants to become a writer she just should get out there and do it.

That night, while Marian and Derek steal more kisses while no one is looking, Colin asks Sibella for help with his visa problem, only for Sibella to tell him she will only help if Colin leaves Valerie alone. Colin says nothing doing, and Sibella tells him she didn’t realise he had a choice. Outside, Sibella runs into Phil the handyman, ‘working late’. He tells her his work is never done and she sashays away down to the beach, while that Munro bloke appears out of nowhere and loiters around. JB and a very reluctant Seth, heading to the party, spotlights flashing in the harbour. Jess thinks it’s some sort of signal but before she can work out what, they stop.

Sibella heads to the boathouse, for reasons unknown, and falls through a rotten floorboard into the water. Her foot gets trapped between two rocks, and her screams for help go unheard, while the water rises. Told you! Drama! Inside, Seth makes his views on being at the party abundantly clear, while Colin does what he does best and talks about Colin. Seth mutters to JB that it’s been 40 minutes and there’s no sign of their host, when Marian appears with a note she found upstairs saying ‘Boathouse 7pm’.  Jess says that was over an hour ago, and they rush to the boathouse to find the water up to Sibella’s neck. Derek dives in and pulls her foot free, and Seth heaves her out of the water with some rope which is a fair effort really.

Sibella takes to her bed to recover, telling them that she was down at the boathouse to get some more journals she’d found for Jess to look at. They ask her about the note, and she tells them she’d left it for herself the previous night to meet with Phil Coyle to discuss the renovations.

Party over, Marian pays the caterers and has a run-in with Colin, who threatens to tell Sibella about her little something something with Derek, to which she says be my guest (not the answer he was expecting). Meanwhile, JB and Seth are heading home, Seth furious that JB had left him alone with them. She tells him she went to investigate the boathouse and not only were there no journals down there, the floorboards Sibella had fallen through had been cut, not rotten. They narrowly avoid crashing into Phil Coyle as he jets off into the night in his truck.

Later that night, a cloaked figure stands on the deck, gets clocked around the head and falls down to the beach below. The body is discovered by Munro the Random Guy while he’s out on a morning stroll, and as he explains to Mort as soon as he saw the body he ran for a phone. He doesn’t know who it is, but he’s seen that writer woman wearing a cloak like that one.  Mort freaks out and asks if he means Jessica Fletcher, but Munro says no, he thinks her last name is stone. Deputy Andy rolls the body over and EGAD YOU GUYS it’s not Sibella, it’s Marian the assistant.

Mort goes up to the lighthouse to inform everyone what’s happened, and JB pops in a short time later. She mentions the lights to Mort and Sibella mentions she’s seen them too, when she’s been walking along the bluff before bed. Mort asks if Sibella owns a grey cloack, and when she says yes asks fi Marian had one similar but Sibella says she thinks not. She’s horrified when they explain to her that this probably means that she was the intended victim, not Marian.

Down at the cafe Sue wants to know why Munro was anywhere near the beach to discover the body, and just how he is connected to the family but he’s giving away nothing.

Back at the house, JB wants answers and Mort is trying to catch up. Sibella comes clean about the note, saying that she’s been receiving death threats in the mail over several weeks, and that one was the latest. She thinks they are from her real first husband, not the fictitious count she’s been putting about.

As Jess goes to leave she runs into Derek and passes on her condolences abour Marian. Derek says she knows how to cut to the chase.

Indeed

Derek tells her the affair was only about him being in denial about his age (#cliche) while he thinks it was more serious for Marian.

Down in town Munro is on the phone telling someone it wasn’t supposed to include murder, while Valerie begs her father to help stop Colin’s deportation, whilst at the same time wishing it had been Sibella who got whacked, not Marian. Ouch.

Meanwhile, Mort has taken it upon himself to arrest Phil Coyle, rather aggressively.

Coyle, it turns out, has been smuggling ivory from Canada which seems both elaborate and specific. Mort throws him under arrest and thinks its a matter of time before he adds murder to the list of charges.

Down at the cafe Mort brags about his recent victory to Seth, but is deflated when Jess pops in and tells him he’s probably wrong, definitely wrong when she sees some writing on the whiteboard.

This episode is a whole new level of ridiculous. Let me cut to the chase.

I MEAN COME ON NOW.

To cut an incredibly long story short, Sibella was nailing Munro and instead of divorcing Derek for cheating on her she decided to bump Marian off, and was going to bump off Derek but she got busted. Also JB worked it out because Munro was the writer of the notes and he spells mince MINZE and also Marian was the hot new author Derek signed and for the life of me I have no idea what’s going on, how did Mort know Phil was smuggling?

I don’t. I just don’t. So let us leave Season 9 with Seth dropping an allegedly funny line about Munro needing spelling lessons and go google lighthouses to stay at.

Later Fletcherfans!

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S09E21 – The Survivor

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In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups: the mystery writers who investigate crime; and the everyone else, who do what they’re told. These are their stories.

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long. Surely not.

It’s the middle of a night and a gang of thieves, who are less of a gang and more of a small army, are making off with the contents of a warehouse down by the docks. A call comes into the head burglar and they leg it just before a convoy of NYPD arrive. The convoy, lead by Detective Sergeant Vince Lofton, are furious. Lofton announces that they are being shut down if they don’t catch the gang soon, and as it’s clear there’s a leak in the group, he is getting some outside help.

Lofton leaves his posse to meet another detective, who is supplying the new recruit. Captain Meyers, it turns out, is in Internal Affairs, and has a file all about Lofton’s new recruit, John Bondy.

*beats head against desk*

Lofton is convinced a cop is dirty, but Meyers isn’t so sure.

Over at House Fletcher, a misbehaving computer sees JB go into panic mode and call her friendly neighbourhood computer technician to beg her to stop Jess from murdering her computer. Paula the technician promises to be around on Friday.

Bondy, John Bondy, throws himself into his new undercover gig down at the docks and manages to get one of the thieves to promise the name of his contact on the NYPD, but not before Friday. Bondy reports back to Lofton, who surmises this means the thief is going to report in about the new guy at the dock, so when he introduces Bondy to the rest of the strike team, the dirty cop will know and prevent his meeting with the thief. I think. Bondy is worried he’s being made the bait but don’t worry you guys, Lofton’s a man with a plan. Bondy suddenly remembers he has a date on Friday, but Lofton tells him not to worry it will all be fine.

Friday rolls around and Paula pops in to work her magic on JB’s computer before heading out on her date. JB wants to hear more about her quest to find her birth family, but apart from some searches on some internet bulletin boards, Paula has heard nothing new. What a rich back-story. A call from downstairs signals the arrival of Paula’s date and YOU WOULDN’T BELIEVE IT IT’S JOHN BONDY.

The hell name is John Bondy though.

Cut to a barbecue in the suburbs, where the entire strike team has a day off and is enjoying beers while the father-in-law of one of them, whose name may or may not be Jimbo,  handles the meat. John and Paula arrive and get introduced to everyone and GUYS YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO BELIEVE THIS but Paula used to date one of the detectives, Sonny Greene. I mean what were the odds.

Later that night, Jess is chilling out waiting for the Fletch Signal to appear in the sky when she gets a phone call. There’s been an accident. She rushes down to the hospital to discover Paula unconscious, and Detective Sergeant Lofton explaining that the car hit a wall and exploded and all they could read from the things in her purse were Jessica’s name and number. They aren’t sure who the driver was on account of the flames.

Jessica tells them she doesn’t know much about Paula, she has no family but she was on a date with someone called John Bondy.

Guys I’m not sure Lofton is that great at his job

Paula starts to wake up and tells them that John’s dead. The doctor tells her it was instantaneous in the crash but she tells them he was dead before the crash, and more to the point she was never in John’s car. They left the barbecue so that John could meet someone for a business thing, and Paula was to wait for him in the diner but when he didn’t show she went looking for him and found him dead in the driver’s seat of his car. The last thing she remembers before passing out is BLOOD! ALL THE BLOOD.

Lofton wants her woken up for more questions but the doctor quite rightly tells him to get out. Jessica follows, wanting to know why he thinks it’s a murder, after all, why else would he be there? He tells her about Bondy John Bondy being a cop, and his new partner, and thinks he might have been targeted. Jessica asks him what happens if the killer finds out that Paula is still alive and he tells her he will put a detail on her.

While Lofton gets to work finding out what the bloody hell is going on, Jessica naps in the waiting room. She is woken by a passing nurse who informs her that Paula is awake and asking for her. In her room, Paula has remembered more about the party – namely that John didn’t know anyone there except for one guy who turned up later drunk. That guy was Lofton, and he started trying to pick a fight with Bondy, spilling ice cream all over Jimbo’s pants, sending him home to change them before he went to show a property to someone somewhere something something.

Paula catches sight of Lofton and starts freaking out, so the Doctor orders him out of the room. Jessica follows him out, wanting to know what the hell that was about, but Lofton says he hasn’t got time to worry about it and if Jessica still wants to help she should meet him at the car yard so they can go over John’s car together.

The next morning a forensic mechanic ( a job title I totally just made up but it’s probably a thing) discovers the accelerator pedal had been jammed down with a paperclip, thereby proving that MacGuyver was the killer, case closed. Jess still wants to know what Lofton’s scene at the barbecue was about, and Lofton reveals he is actually Internal Affairs and explains the sting down at the docks. He is feeling guilty as hell about Bondy John Bondy’s death, they both knew he was bait and Lofton couldn’t stop him from getting killed. So he’s going to get justice and noone is going to stop him.

Back at home JB gets a visit from Captain Meyers who begs her to leave the investigating to the police, but when the doctor at the hospital calls to tell JB that someone had just broken into Paula’s room and tried to kill her JB tells the cop to go jump and rushes down to see Paula. Lofton is also there, and decides to come clean to both of them about the extent of his and Bondy James Bondy’s investigation (SO MANY FLASHBACKS). To cut a long story short, Lofton’s plan was to tail whoever left the party after Bondy John Bondy but it all went pearshaped when Sonny left first but wasn’t heading to the pub where the meeting was supposed to take place, and by the time Lofton realised and hotfooted it over to the pub Bondy was already dead. Hence, guilt.

While Lofton cops a bollocking from Meyer about the entire business Doctor Call-Me-Ramon and Jessica get Paula settled back in her apartment but not long after the Doc leaves the strike team arrives, ostensibly  to check-in on Paula but mostly to suss out what she knows about the whole business.  She tells them she is Jon Snow about the whole thing***, and they ask her to give one of them a call if she hears anything. Sonny tells her he’s still on the same number. After they leave, Jess finds a pair of sunglasses and recognises them as belonging to one of the detectives, Alex Machio (son-in-law of Jimbo the barbecuer for those playing along at home) and decides to return them.

Over at the Machio’s Mrs Machio is confused when Jess drops off the sunglasses and then outraged when Jess wonders how an NYPD detective can afford $200 sunnies. When Jess explains she is a friend of Paula’s Jill explains they get a lot of financial help from her father, who just this minute is walking in the room with his grandson who drew a picture of his grandad’s car in art class.

I don’t want to alarm anyone but there appears to be some sort of sorcery involved with this car I’m suspicious.

Down at the docks Lofton is on the hunt for Bondy John Bondy’s contact and finally finds him. Vinnie doesn’t want to talk, but having a loaded gun pointed in his face soon jogs his memory.

JB delivers some icecream to Paula, who returns the favour by giving Jess a written account of everything she remembers, although none of it really make sense. It makes sense to JB though, who gets straight on the phone to Captain Meyers.  Meanwhile, Vinnie takes Lofton to Chinatown, and points out the car belonging to the cop. It’s a car. A big red car. Toot toot chugga chugga.

Lofton takes matters into his own hands and breaks into the warehouse, where he finds what he was looking for a guilty man.

Not touching that one.

Fortunately JB and Captain Meyers arrive just in time to stop Lofton for cocking up another investigation.

To be honest I would have been more impressed if Mrs Machio had done it but whatever.

Poor Alex. He’s just found out his father in law is a stolen goods kingpin, and a murderer, and Alex has accidentally been helping. #awkward.

But it’s not all bad news. Paula is off to meet her birth father, and Lofton promises not to get in the way, which is apparently the funniest thing anyone has said all week. Seriously, rich back story.

Later Fletcherfans!

 

 

 

 

***Yesterday there was a horse running in the Caulfield Cup called Jon Snow. I put a bet on it. It lost. You can take it from here.

 

 

S09E20 – Ship of Thieves

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Yo Fletcherfans! I know, I said I would be back last week, but a surprise road trip came up and so yes, but YOU GUYS RICHMOND WON THE PREMIERSHIP FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1980 which is the dark ages before I was born and here is a picture of me after I’d stopped crying about how freaking great everything is.

But I’m back, the blog is back, no one has dropped any nukes or started any wars which apparently is something we should celebrate these days, so let’s get back to business.

Down by the docks one dark night, a woman called Amber shoots another woman called Agnes Lowry and steals her cruise ticket. And guys, wouldn’t you know it, as a reward for finishing hew new manuscript early, JB’s editor has decided to reward with a bit of a cruise around the Carribean which frankly sounds wonderful right about now. This can only be coincidental.

Even more coincidentally over breakfast and the newspaper the next morning (full of news of a drug kingpin’s murder and the escape of their accomplice), Jess bumps into an old friend from school by the name of Leslie Hunter (aka Lee Merriweather, the original Catwoman. Or was Eartha Kitt?) Leslie just so happens to be dating the captain of the cruise ship, Rory O’Neill and invites JB to an exclusive soiree he’s hosting that night.

Side note: THE BIKINIS ARE CUT SO HIGH JESUS CHRIST HOW WAS THIS EVER A THING.

While a woman and a man conspire to fleece an old guy out of his money playing cards inside, Jess watches a ship steward break the land speed record for falling in love with a random woman while spilling champagne over her boyfriend.

JUDGEMENT JESSICA IS ON DECK.

That night, the shady dude that was helping to fleece the old guy spots Fake Agnes and says “Janet! Remember me? Roland Deveraux! Buffalo three years ago?”

Fake Agnes/Janet tells him to shove off and wanders off. Over at the Captain’s shindig Jess and Leslie blame each other for the hot water running out at school, while Captain Rory tells them all about the ship’s hi-tech features like a mainframe, and a fax machine, and a modem. Bless.

Leslie and Rory wander off, leaving JB alone for a minute before a familiar voice says that JB is represented in the ship’s library by two books, both of which he’s already read.

It can only be one person…

YOU KNOW I DID.

Dennis the Menace is back, for one last hurrah. Recently retired from the insurance game, he has decided to take himself on a cruise to enjoy his new-found freedom but is having some trouble adjusting to civilian life, what with all the potential criminals on the boat. He thinks Jess should think about putting the mother and son duo the Sobel’s into her next book

Jess wanders off to powder her nose, and is interrupted first by a couple of old ducks looking for the captain’s reception, and then by Leslie who wants Jess’s opinion on Rory (which seems odd since they haven’t seen each other since school but what would I know?) Leslie is worried that Rory’s retirement plans – a B&B, roses and breeding Weimaraner dogs- don’t seem to include her.

The steward takes everyone’s guesses for what time they will cross the 25th parallel. Alma Sobel entertains everyone with a story about a guy who died on her cruise after guessing the correct time, pinches Jessica’s pen, denies it, and leaves.

God, this is a new low for me. I’m sorry.

Jess heads back to her room for some shut-eye and is slammed into the wall by a shadowy figure running out of her cabin. Back in the bar, Fake Agnes/Janet is hit on by the guy the steward spilt champagne on who is a) weirded out that Fake Agnes/Janet knows his name and b) delighted when she gives him her room number. The whole thing is overheard by Dennis the Menace who frankly has bigger issues.

Ah the whiskey sponsored existential crisis. I know it well.

JB is less than excited to see the steward turn up at her cabin to take down information about the break-in, especially when he calls her missing earrings (given to her by Frank) ‘not the crown jewels’. He tells her the ship’s detective is in the infirmary so the captain gave him the special assignment and he really is on the case.  As he departs Alma Sobel’s son Marvin arrives to return JB’s pen, apologising for his mother’s kleptomania.

In another part of the ship Roland’s sidekick is showing off her newly pinched earrings, but Roland is furious. He’s on to something big, and now she’s gone and got JB Fletcher on their case. Fortunately, Roland’s gig on the boat is as a magician, so he conveniently psychometrically reads JB  and plonks her earrings in a glass of champagne to great effect.

JB declines Dennis’s offer of a dance and instead goes for a promenade around the decks. She gets him to confess that he is the head of security for the Duchess Cruise Line, and he’s on board this particular ship to catch a cat burglar, specifically Fake Agnes/Janet’s new friend whose name it turns out is Lance Brinegar. Dennis suspects Fake Agnes won’t be wearing her splendid diamond pendant for too much longer.

Speaking of Fake Agnes/Janet, she is surprised to find Roland stretched out on her bed when she returns from a morning swim.  Roland apologises for the intrusion, but as she wasn’t answering his calls or texts he had to take matters into his own hands. Whatever scam Fake Agnes is running, he wants in or else he’ll tell the captain all about how Fake Agnes/Janet scammed an old guy in Buffalo three years earlier. Fake Agnes/Janet notes that he will neglect to mention that he was running the same scam on the old duck, but as she’s in a good mood she will let him in on her action.

A new day dawns on the ship and they arrive at their first port, Oldtown. Leslie tells Jess she’s just going to check on Rory but she’ll meet her later and they can head in together. Jess spots Lance fighting with his actual girlfriend, whose name is Molly, and asks her if she’s okay. Molly asks her if she believes in kismet and JB says no, “for my money relationships don’t just happen.” (Life Lesson #72).

Molly explains that she was paying for this cruise and Lance was going to pay for their honeymoon cruise, but he’s changed and yada yada, fortunately, the cruise was cheap, it’s an old boat etc etc.

Everyone’s favourite steward pops up to apologise for the state of the boat and promptly pours coffee everywhere.

The shade JB has thrown at that steward this episode has been a delight.

Jess runs into Rory finalising his last shipment of antiques and Leslie soon joins them with the suggestion that Rory takes them both to lunch in Old Town. Molly runs into the steward again (whose name is Philip) and accepts his invitation to go to Old Town too.

That night everyone settles in for some frankly appalling comedy in the bar. Marvin Sobel excuses himself to take his medication and promises his mother to return with an eclair for her. Fake Agnes/Janet gets a phone call and promises the caller she will meet them. Lance also excuses himself.

Fake Agnes/Janet is prowling around the sup when she cops a whack on the head. A gunshot is heard, and then Roland runs out of the darkness.

Frankly, none of this is surprising.

Dennis appears and sits down next to JB while the world’s worst comedian announces the winners of the parallel time guessing competition or whatever it was. Back in the captain’s cabin, Leslie decides she’s not hungry, a fact I’m sure will be relevant at some point.

Fake Agnes/Janet’s body doesn’t turn up until the next morning, but a few people saw Roland at the scene so he’s hauled in front of the captain and Dennis for questioning. He tells them they were doing business, he followed her to see what the business was but left when he heard the gunshot. Dennis tells him to get out, and the captain mentions that JB was sitting near the victim the night before so she might have seen something.

JB isn’t sure how she can help, but she tells Dennis about the phone call. Dennis tells her that Fake Agnes’s diamond pendant is now missing and they can only guess who had that, Lance Brinegar. After a report comes in showing his fingerprints were all over Fake Agnes’s room and the murder weapon, Dennis thinks it’s open and shut.

Jess and Molly go to talk to Lance, now in the brig, and he swears he didn’t kill Fake Agnes, he stole the pendant because he needed the money to pay for his and Molly’s honeymoon cruise so really it was her fault.

A guy shifting blame onto a woman, I mean really.

Wandering the halls Jess bumps into Marvin Sobel, who has been looking for her. One of his mother’s new treasures is a cigarette lighter with J F on it, but Jessica tells him it’s not hers. He continues on his quest and Dennis appears with news – the body of an undercover agent by the name of Agnes Lowry has just turned up in Miami and wouldn’t you know it, the same gun was used to kill her.

Dennis wonders whether Fake Agnes/Janet/Amber are the same person, but Jessica thinks its unlikely for reasons I can’t quite remember. The only thing Dennis knows for certain is that Fake Agnes’s real name actually was Janet. Janet Fiske.

This sets off the old mindbox and Jess goes to see Agnes Sopol but she can’t find her. Instead, she finds Marvin, who is also looking for his mother. He tells JB that Agnes pinched the lighter from the captain’s cabin before they went to Old Town. This seals it for JB and so she leaves a message for Dennis and goes investigating below decks, while Philp stands guard.

 

Ah yes.

So I’m a little hazy on this still, but I think Captain Rory was smuggling drugs and skimming money or something, and then Fake Agnes found out about it so Leslie killed her because she really wanted those Weimaramas, you guys.

So she was Amber? Wait Rory was Amber? What just happened?

While I sit here and try to work this out, please rest assured that Molly and Philip are now totes in love and Agnes is still pinching things wherever she can. More to the point, it’s bon voyage to Dennis Stanton, who is off to cruise the world as a ships detective, never to grace another episode of Murder, She Wrote. I’m a little bit bummed you guys.

Until next week.

Oh Dennis. You were the gift that kept on giving.