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.

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