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S10E10 – Murder in White

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London! Home of Dangermouse Emma Macgill, not that that really matters because she’s not in this episode either.

The point is, it’s going to be very hot in Melbourne today, but also there is a play happening in London based on one of Our Heroine’s novels, Murder in White. The play’s star, Glenda Highsmith, is unhappy with the script that Mae Shaughnessy (aka Anna Meara, aka Ben Stiller’s Mum) has put together and is threatening to walk off the stage unless Mae agrees to meet with Jessica. Mae doesn’t do collaborations but agrees to meet with her, conceding Jessica can write. Patricia informs producer and general sleazebag Martin Kramer that she has someone meeting JB at the airport and storms out.

While JB takes the scenic route from Heathrow to her hotel…

Sidenote: I love summer, but this is ridiculous. I am basically hugging my fan.

Martin Kramer decides to demonstrate his douchbaggery prowess by calling the director Peter Drew aside and telling him that everything sucks and he needs to fire one of the actors, specifically the one that Peter chose for the role in the first place, Franklin Smith. Meanwhile, a shady dude skulks around backstage, such is the tradition of the theatre. Martin sidles up to the shady dude, who it transpires is a private detective Martin has hired to look into Glenda’s past and more specifically her relationship with the 17th Earl of Glenhaven. The detective, Malcolm Brooker, tells Martin that as it so happens the Earl’s family are looking into her as well but they don’t know much either, and also Martin owes him three hundred quid or there’ll be trouble. Martin tells him to add another name to his list – JB Fletcher, who went to school with Glenda and might know a thing or two.

Martin also takes himself over to see JB at her hotel, to give her a friendly word but JB ain’t got time for it. She’s here to help Glenda and if that helps him and the production then that’s great but she’s already running late so ta-ta for now.

JB is met by Edward St Cloud, Glenda’s lawyer, who takes her out to Glenda’s estate. I’m not gonna lie, I have more questions about the driver.

MOUSTACHE MAN DOES NOT SLEEP. MOUSTACHE MAN WAITS.

As they drive Edward explains that the production is in a whole lot of trouble but he’s not sure what can legally be done. Jess explains she met Glenda on her first trip to London and they have been friends ever since. Edward wonders if she knows Brett Dillion, the young man who lives with Glenda, but Jess knows nothing.

Jessica arrives at Glenda’s estate and is immediately introduced to Brett. He wanders off to look at the garden and takes Edward with him leaving Glenda and JB to catch up over tea. Jess has seen the script for the play and thinks Mae is out of her depth but Glenda’s putting all the blame on Martin who is only in it for the money. Jess thinks Glenda should just cut and run but Glenda is adamant the play can work. She also wants the money for Brett so he can keep the estate after she goes. Jess says she’ll do whatever she can but she has to get back to London. Before she goes, Brett asks her help getting present for Glenda’s birthday and JB says he should pick it out himself. but defs sapphires.

Back at the theatre, Mae says she will do anything to help save the production but she does not collaborate. Jessica tells her she has no interest in writing a play, but she can help Mae capture what the play is about on account of she wrote it. Jessica thought that the whole production was Martin’s idea, but Mae tells her she was the one who took the book to Glenda.

Later that night, while Franklin drowns his sorrows about his imminent departure from the production and his girlfriend and co-star Sally Briggs tries to console him, Jessica is shutting down her laptop for the night when she gets a call from Malcolm Brooker. He wants to know everything she knows about the Earl of Glenhaven or Brett Dillion, but she tells him she knows nothing and if she did she wouldn’t tell, k thx bai.

Back at the bar Edward reports to Martin that the meeting between Mae and JB was a success and he’s welcome. He also mentions Malcolm Brooker has been lurking around but Martin knows absolutely nothing about that.

Anna Meara’s face though.

JB meets the other star of the show, Lawson Childress (aka Ian Ogilvy, aka Not Quite Rex Manning, seen in many other episodes) who wants her help picking out a murder weapon. Down in the basement Jess gets to work looking for a murder weapon while Lawson quietly takes a glug of his whiskey he has stashed down there. JB is unimpressed, and Lawson asks her if she knows that Glenda only agreed to do the play if he played Harrington. They return upstairs, and someone says something about a boiler but I wasn’t paying attention because my apartment is about 112 degrees.

The rehearsal wraps up and everyone heads out into the rainy night. Glenda finds Lawson drinking alone on the stairs and they reminisce about their short relationship ten years earlier. Lawson’s worried about Malcolm Brooker sniffing around again but Glenda tells him not to worry, she can take care of herself.

Mae discovers she’s forgotten her raincoat, and so she and Jess head downstairs to get one from the prop room. Meanwhile Sally Briggs tries to plead Franklin’s case to Martin who suggests she should sleep with him to secure Franklin’s role. HASHTAG DOUCHNOZZLE.

Sally storms out (YOU GO GIRL)

Later, everyone adjourns to the pub to debrief. Franklin tries to get Sally to explain why she’s so upset, but she just rushes out. Brett on the other hand is delighted with how much better Glenda looks. They both leave, along with Mae. Jess stays to finish her coffee and has a quick chat with Peter Drew about how well the play is going, and how Peter thinks Martin is still messing with Glenda somehow when Martin himself appears. Peter quickly excuses himself and Martin sets to work telling Jessica how she’s saved the play when a phone call comes for Martin and he tells Jess he’s terribly sorry but some unexpected business has come up. (He’s delighted whoever is on the phone has changed their mind).

How indeed.

Martin returns to the theatre where he is promptly stabbed. Tough break.

The next morning, Detective Inspector Ellen Jarvis is summoned to the scene and quickly boots JB out, but not before Jessica notices a missing raincoat, a missing wig, and a weird smell. Jess obeys, but goes on her own investigative hunt, where she works out that Glenda had a child out of wedlock with the 17th Earl of Glenhaven, a child called Bret. The Earl is dying, and so his family are sniffing around as they didn’t buy Glenda’s story that she miscarried the child before she married the Earl. I think that’s what happened. My brain is melting.

Jess visits DI Jarvis at work, and learns that the only prints on the murder weapon were hers (awks) and that  Brooker was on Martin’s payroll. Back at the theatre, Jess runs into Brooker who explains he was at the theatre the night of the murder, and saw a blonde woman stab Martin. The police turn up at that point so Brooker legs it, but the police have eyes on another prize – they are convinced Glenda killed Martin.

But never mind all that, because JB knows who the killer is, and a quick trip to the theatre basement with Sally confirms it.

Except what?

WHO????

That’s right kids. The character that I’ve not noticed in two viewings of this episode was the killer because he wanted to save Sally from Martin. Or something. I literally have no idea who he is apart from he’s apparently the stage manager.

I don’t even. I can’t go on. I’m going to go sleep in the bathtub.

Later gang!

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S10E09 – Murder at a Discount

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Back in the Big Apple again, where JB is finishing up some JB business before heading to Maui for a well-deserved vacation. Alas, it is not meant to be, and Jess gets served papers as she is leaving her publishers office. Dave Novaro, local discount store legend, is suing for All The Things. He thinks JB’s newest book is basically a retelling of his first wife’s murder, a murder he was tried for and acquitted.

Spoiler alert: someone does.

Dave’s feeling stressed and he’s taking it out on his school friends /colleagues Neil Fraser and Lillian Conway, while wife number 2 Iris Novaro can’t show her face in the nail salon anymore without people talking about the murder. THE SCANDAL. She tells Dave she’s going to see a divorce lawyer, but Dave talks her down. She says the delay is only temporary but it’s enough for Dave. Iris leaves the store, gets into a truck and starts making out with a hot roofer named Randy (not kidding) who wants to know why she hasn’t told Dave about him yet. Iris hopes Randy isn’t just trying to get at her money.

Jessica and her publisher head straight to their lawyers to suss out what to do.

Sometimes you just have to ask the question.

Her lawyer, Aaron Woodman, tells them that Novaro is after ten million dollars.

Sidenote: fully coordinated outfit with the curtains.

With a deposition scheduled for the morning, Hawaii is off the table for the time being so instead Jess turns to proving her book is not based on the murder of Dave’s first wife. The research team at the publishers send over everything they can find on the murder and JB gets up to speed while watching Dave on TV going ballistic. Wouldn’t you know it, the original detective on the case is Artie Gelber.

Jess gets a visit from Dave’s former father in law, who is convinced Dave killed his daughter. He is surprised to hear that JB’s book isn’t based on the case, as all the main details match, but offers to do whatever he can to help Jessica’s case if it will cause Dave to squirm. His wife died not long after Janet, so he’s kind of got an axe to grind.

JB’s next stop is to visit Artie to see the original case file, and he doesn’t have good news either. Apart from some minor details, like the murder weapon and how the killer broke in using the garage opener instead of breaking in through a window, her book is almost exactly the same as the case. JB tells him she was in Cabot Cove when she wrote the book, she had not even heard of the case. Artie finds that hard to believe, but he has bigger problems that he needs help with – specifically, getting JB to write an ad for his car that he is trying to sell.

Such a Szbornak move.

The next morning Aaron takes Jess to the offices of Dave’s attorney, who just so happens to be his daughter and also Juliana Margulies.

She’s pretty great really.

Dave loses it when he sees Jessica and tells her she’s going to pay for what she’s done to his life.

So innocent.

Jessica asks him if he’s even read the book and he says of course he hasn’t. Jess suggests he give it a crack, it might help him realise the book isn’t about him.

Deposing all the things, Rachel Novaro tells JB that the value of the stamps in her book is equal to the value of her mother’s necklace that was stolen. JB spots a photo of the said necklace around the neck of the said woman. Guys full disclosure I’m writing this at 6:00am because I’m going to the tennis today so this episode might make less sense than usual.

Jess goes out to lunch for a debrief with her publisher Ted Hartley, where they are confronted by Iris Novarro, who tells Jessica she was Dave’s assistant at the time of the murder but they weren’t fooling around and she hopes Dave takes JB to the cleaners. Ted asks the maitre d to escort Iris out of the restaurant and wonders if JB has considered an out of court settlement – thanks to all the publicity the book is flying off the shelves so with all the extra money they could afford the hit. Jess refuses, it’s a matter of principle naturally. Alas for Ted Rachel Novaro has also thought about this and serves Aaron with a notice preventing all sales and publicity of the book.

Meanwhile, Dave finds Iris (who has apparently moved out of their house) in another restaurant and begs her to come home. He gives her a teddy bear she forgot to take with her and reminds her of their secret signal during the trial that meant I love you. Huh, so much for not having a fling at the time of the murder. Across town, Rachel’s grandfather is struggling with the idea that she is defending her mother’s killer, aka her Dad.

Night happens. While Randy the Randy sits in his truck outside Dave’s store and watches hobos walk past, Neil tells Dave they need to find ways to save money and Lillian reminds him of when they were in high school and Dave asked her to the prom and she thought the would get married.

The struggle is real.

Dave throws everyone out and continues reading. Something in the book strikes him and he calls JB to tell her he thinks he will drop the lawsuit, but something in the book has made him realise who the killer is. Jess doesn’t want to hear it but eventually agrees and gives him her address. Dave says he’ll be there in 20 minutes. On his way out the door, he meets Hilda the Hobo and gives her ten bucks.

Time passes and when Dave doesn’t show up Jess calls the store but gets an engaged signal. She calls the operator who tells her there’s no one on the line. Jess calls Artie, worried that something has happened. Artie agrees to meet her at the store – he’s in a good mood after selling his car to Detective Henderson. They all cruise down to the store and find it unlocked, Dave’s body lying dead on the floor. Neil and Lillian both arrive later expressing their shock. Rachel also turns up but when JB expresses her condolences Rachel tells her it changes nothing about the lawsuit.

The next morning JB calls Artie for an update and learns that Dave’s fingerprints show he was up to the top of page 247 when he died, and also that Detective Henderson loves the new car. This is news to Detective Henderson, who has just walked in with the car door handle in his hand.

Jess goes to see Rachel Navarro and explains to her that Dave was up to the section of her book in which the killer sent his secretary off on a long list of errands in which time he would drive over to his wife’s house, kill her and return to work. Something about that set an alarm off in Dave’s head but Rachel has no idea why and she has a lot of work to do. JB spots what looks like the missing necklace in Rachel’s drawer but Rachel tells her it’s a copy Dave had made one time when he had to pawn the original. He gave her the copy of it when he got the original back.

I see, says Jess and then has an epiphany about garage doors. She calls Artie who agrees to pull the old case file but then gets called away by Detective Henderson (who is still not terribly pleased with the car) to the forensics lab.

Across town, Iris Novaro comes home from the supermarket to find Randy loading their stuff into a truck, all set to move into Dave’s house. Randy isn’t terribly happy to hear that Iris signed a prenup and Rachel gets the lot. Iris walks away.

Jess goes down to the precinct to look at the file, but Artie hadn’t gotten around to pulling it on account of he’s just arrested Rachel’s grandfather for the murder. Jess isn’t buying it for a minute though and insists on seeing the case file anyway.

A short sting operation at Dave’s funeral later…

Let’s be honest, not a shock.

It’s the classic story of a mistress bumping off the competition, and then bumping off the husband when he works it out five years later.

So while Artie is paying to get Detective Henderson’s car fixed, and Rachel Novarro and Aaron Woodman decide to go into business together, I’ll leave you with a deleted scene from The Shining.

Later gang!

 

 

 

S10E08 – Love and Hate in Cabot Cove

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Welcome to 2018 and welcome back to the Cove Fletcherfans!

Mort is burning the midnight oil down at the Sheriff’s office trying to solve the case of Why Can’t He Access His Files On His Computer.

Noone likes a smartarse, Andy.

Giving up on computers and the prospect of the 21st century in general, Mort goes to retrieve his paper files from the storage room and is shot at by a shadowy figure outside. A car screeches away as Andy comes running in gun drawn. Mort didn’t see the shooter but he has a good idea who it was.

Meanwhile, at the home of Sam Bennett Public Accountant (I would not watch that show), Sam has just returned home to his anxious wife Laura, who wants to know why celebrity client Jessica Fletcher keeps calling. She calls back just as Sam walks in the door but Sam makes faces like he’s not home. Laura tells him she will get dinner ready but he says not to bother, he has another client. After she leaves he grabs a bundle of money out of the safe and puts JB’s file inside.

Over at the new hotspot in town, Jess is treating Seth to dinner while puzzling over the fact that she’s just been swamped with late notices and missing payments that Sam Bennett is supposed to have handled. Seth tells her to calm down, they’ve known Sam for 25 years there’s nothing to worry about. Frank Fletcher was one of Sam’s first clients, it turns out, and Jess is struggling to work out what’s going on. Seth is a client of Sam’s too, but before Jess can find out if Seth knows anything Lou Karamides, the new owner of the hotspot, pops past their table to offer a bottle of champagne for Cabot Cove’s unofficial monarch and his gold cufflinks for the upcoming rummage sale fundraiser.

(Fun fact, Lou Karamides is being played by Richard Beymer so this is basically the Great Northern Hotel)

If it’s true that there are infinite universes in the multiverse, there is a universe where Angela Lansbury was in Twin Peaks and holy crap that makes me happy.

Lou is called away upstairs, where it turns out he has the Star Wars Cantina a hidden casino full of hapless punters including a rather jolly Sam Bennett (aka Wings Hauser from all those other episodes, you guys know). I can’t even begin to wonder where this plot line is going. Lou checks in on Sam’s winnings (none) and Sam asks for some more credit. Lou gives him a grand, because what the hell he’s going to lose it anyway.

(Spoiler alert – I’m not a fan of casinos. Crown Casino in Melbourne is a depressing windowless hellhole filled with loud pinging noises and zombies. And shitty nightclubs. But does have a very good Christmas decorations).

Back at the Sheriff’s office, Mort is putting a call in for a warrant to go on a raid after getting an anonymous tip (and shot at), while new deputy Ethan Loomis gets on the phone to his new girlfriend Candace Bennett aka Sam’s daughter. Apparently, Sam doesn’t like Ethan all that much but Ethan can’t imagine why. Mort gets off the phone and orders Ethan to wrap it up and get the raid gear. Andy does it instead, but Ethan gets off the phone, quickly dials another number and says “Guess who’s coming to dinner?” Andy appears with an armload of guns and Ethan quickly says he was talking to Candace.

If you guessed Ethan was alerting the Great Northern, then give yourself a gold star and an elephant stamp as my grandfather would say. Lou oversees the casino’s return to its regular job as a function room and sends all the gamblers down to the bar for a drink, including Sam who was apparently on to a good run. Sam heads downstairs and spots Jessica and Seth just as they spot him. He goes over and says hi, and Jessica tells him they need to talk. Sam tells her he has to get home but he’ll check his calendar for tomorrow and give her a call, and Seth tells him he’d like a word too.

In the background, Mort and co come barreling in demanding to go upstairs but one of Lou’s minions steps in to stall them. Lou appears, and tells them it’s fine, go on up, we’re just a humble restaurant etc. Upstairs, there is no evidence of any gamblification except a solitary chip lying on the ground. Lou asks Mort why he insists on wasting everyone’s time and Mort tells him to watch himself. Basically.

Over at the Cabot Cove Gazette, apparent new editor Irene Macinoy is finishing up for the night and listening to a classical concert from Berlin when her pouty son Chad bursts in, turns the radio off and demands to know if she’s finished. Irene tells him she saw Candace at the post office, she said to say hi. Irene thinks she misses Chad. Chad thinks Candace doesn’t care if he’s alive or dead and storms out.

#NotAllMen.

Over at House Bennett, Ethan and Candace are making out in the cop car when Sam comes outside to see what’s going on. He orders Candace back in the house, and tells Ethan there’s no way he’d allow Ethan to marry his daughter, especially after seeing Ethan in Lou Karamides’s office earlier in the week. Ethan says he will marry Candace, and Sam orders him off his property.

Laura is not impressed by any of it. YOU DESERVE BETTER LAURA.

It’s like that age-old thing about fathers welcoming their son’s hot girlfriends over for dinner, but greeting their daughter’s hot boyfriends at the door with a shotgun. I mean put it back in your pants, your daughter’s not an idiot. Sorry. That’s a rant for another day.

The next day Mort pops round to see JB. JB wants to talk about her accounting predicament but Mort has fan mail to discuss and a coffee craving that needs dealing with.

(Accurate representation of my feelings towards coffee)

Jess is horrified by Mort’s fan mail and the idea that someone shot at him. Mort tells her it was Lou Karamedis, the owner of the Timber Lane Inn (oh, not the Great Northern. Whatever).  Mort can’t prove Lou fired the gun but he certainly knows who did. Mort asks what JB’s predicament is, but she’s running late for an appointment, so Mort offers to drive her over. Unfortunately, Mort’s car is falling apart so Jess gets a lift with Seth while Mort gets his car towed. Seth happens to drive past – on his way to see Sam, who has some explaining to do, and offers to drive JB to the Gazette office so she can place the ad for the rummage sale.

As it happens, pouty mcPoutface Chad is back in his mother’s office yelling at her to give him a job delivering newspapers, but she tells him he’s far too successful to be doing that. He was such a success in Philidelphia (I WAS FIRED IN PHILIDELPHIA says Chad). Irene thinks he’s just a bit stressed, what he needs is a wife to take care of him.

(At this point I paused the show, beat my head against the desk five times, then resumed)

Irene agrees to get him the job, and offers to give him some money to tide him over. Chad storms out.

Seth leaves JB at the Gazette office, where she runs into Chad, who very politely tells her he loves her books. They chat about things for a bit, before Jess goes into the office, walking straight past Laura Bennett, who is looking worried. Which is fair, her husband is embezzling money and her daughter’s dating an idiot.

Irene takes JB’s ad and starts prepping it for print. Jess says she ran into Chad on the way in, and Irene tells her he’s doing great, he is working for a big company in Philly, and if it weren’t for the fact Cabot Cove was part of his territory she wouldn’t ever see him. Jess thinks the last time she saw him was when he got his football scholarship to college, and Irene says oh yes, he gave it up, no future in it.

I don’t think Irene is okay. Later, when Seth gives JB a lift home from the supermarket, he tells her that Chad got booted from college for drinking all the time, and returned back to the Cove to be near his high school girlfriend Candace Bennett. Because that’s healthy.

Later that afternoon Laura is waiting for Sam when he gets home. She plays Sam the message Jessica has left on the answering machine, in which she tells him her financials are a mess, he didn’t call her, she has to assume he’s avoiding her, and so on and so forth.

That night, Ethan meets Lou for the traditional Paying of the Bribes. Lou wants to know who is firing at Mort, and Ethan says if Lou’s going to tell him who to arrest, that will cost him extra. Lou doesn’t like that idea or ambitious people. Over at House Bennett, a drunk Chad turns up to force himself on Candace, and is escorted out by the cops after Sam barges in with a shotgun. The next day Sam demands Chad be locked up but Mort tells him Candace declined to press charges so Chad is free to go. Sam is furious, but when Mort gets on the phone to tell Ethan to go pick up his car Sam gives up and walks out. Ethan tells Mort he has an idea about Chad but he’ll tell Mort when he brings the car in.

Except nope, because someone just shot him while he was driving the car back.

Fast forward to the funeral where Sam is very condescendingly comforting his daughter, while Irene tells Chad now isn’t the right time to chat up Candace.

#TeamLaura

JB and Seth try to console Mort as best they can but he tells them to go, he’ll be fine. Secretly though he thinks he was supposed to be the target, the killer saw his car and fired.

Poor Mort is devo.

Jess and Seth go and have a look at the crime scene but there’s not much to discover. Seth waves at a passing car and Jessica realises there was no way that the killer mistook Ethan for Mort, Ethan was the intended target. Jess thinks this will reassure Mort, but he still thinks he was the target – what with all the hate mail he was getting after all. Lou Karamedis definitely hired a hitman if he didn’t do it himself. Jess tells him a hit man would be more professional, and Mort tells her everyone makes mistakes. Jess says sure, Mort doesn’t even know for sure that there is a gambling casino in the Timber Lane!

Ouch, that was a bit harsh.

Jess decides to take matters into her own hands and enlists Seth as a sidekick. They head down to the Timberlane that night and watch a steady stream of punters head up the stairs. Jess tells Seth to keep an eye out and follows one group up the stairs. They enter the banquet hall and Jess sweet talks her way past the guard. She bumps into Lou Karamedis who says all she had to do was ask, and offers her champagne in his office.

JB has no time for your bullshit Ben Thorne

While Seth continues on his chowder downstairs, Lou and JB drink to her new novel, which she explains is about a hapless small-town accountant that gets caught up in illicit gambling, a local deputy gets shot and the casino owner is suspected. Lou thinks the casino owner wouldn’t bother, it would be easier to just pack up and leave town rather than get caught up in local shenanigans. Jess casually mentions that the local deputy is being paid by the casino owner to tip him off to any raids. Lou gets more and more creepy til a phone call from Seth, in which Seth announces he has Mort on the other line and Jess needs to be back in the dining room in one minute.

Down at the Sheriff’s office, Jess and Seth ask Andy about whether it was possible Ethan was on Lou’s payroll and he tells them about the weird phone call the night of the last raid. Mort wanders in with Sam and announces Sam is under arrest for the murder of Ethan. Mort tells them that Ethan remembered seeing Sam with a shotgun the night they arrested Chad, and when Mort went to investigate the gun looked like it could have been the one that killed Ethan, though he couldn’t be certain. Sam admits he hated Ethan but it wasn’t about him not having enough money to marry Candace, which is apparently what Ethan claimed. Sam admits to his gambling addiction and tells them about seeing Ethan at the casino with his free drink being happy as. Mort loses it but Andy tells him that Ethan was bent. Mort then loses it at Andy but Jess explains he only just worked it out.

Mort doesn’t care.  Sam was in the office when Mort told Ethan to pick up his car, he knew where to be to shoot Ethan. Jess tells him anyone with a police scanner could have heard it but Mort is not backing down. When Jess tells him Lou Karamedis has a police scanner he asks her if he has an over and under shotgun too?

This gives Jess an idea, and she tells Andy she needs to speak to Chad.

PLOT TWIST.

I really did not see this coming.

Ah yes. Irene’s classical music concerts were right next to the police band on the radio, so she heard where Ethan would be. Her husband had an old over-under shotgun, so she thought she’d eliminate Ethan’s rival for Candace. I told you Irene wasn’t okay.

Before we all get too depressed, let us leave with the good news that Sam is going to Gamblers Anonymous, Laura is taking care of him (after being the one calling the tips in to Mort) and the tie she donated to the rummage sale has been bought – as a present to Sam from Candace.

Hooray for the Cove!

Later gang!