Once upon a time in a Chicago far away, a man gets dumped by voicemail. Rather than letting it get to him, he calls a pal and asks him to recommend a guard dog who isn’t too bright and won’t ask a lot of questions.

Cut to…

BRB, googling Martinique

…and JB is being accosted in her hotel room by helicopter mother Melanie Venable who wants Jessica’s opinion on if her son Hilton Augustus Venable has any talent as a writer which also happens if you work in publishing and go online dates just FYI. JB is saved by the owner of the hotel Lauren Delagre, who it turns out is a former resident of Cabot Cove and has her own problems including a belligerent teenage son called Jeff and a gambling addict husband called Maurice. Lauren arranges to meet Jess downstairs and stops to let her son know the sink is blocked in one of the rooms.

Jeff knocks on the door, and the guest lets him in, still talking on the phone.

The coffee hasn’t kicked in yet.

Turns out, guard dog is another word for a private detective, obviously, and everyone’s second favourite detective (HARRY MCGRAW FOREVER) Charlie Garrett is hot on the tail of the Chicago dude Phil Spurling’s missing wife Dorie and her new boyfriend Graham Farrow. While Jeff attends to the pipes, Charlie informs Phil that his wife and Farrow are on a yacht in the bay.

Cut to

Well shit I thought it was Reno

And a woman reading a book in the park gets a call from Phil Spurling, who tells her Martinique.

“Where on the island?” She says.

“L’Hotel des Deux Perroquets”, he says.

She hangs up and leaves the park. And scene.

Back at L’Hotel des Deux Perroquets, Lauren’s husband Maurice is getting his gamble on with a policeman, some rando, and of all people Graham Farrow. Maurice goes all in, including an IOU on a napkin, but it backfires when his four jacks get beat by a straight flush. Graham tells Maurice it was lucky he lost to someone who is so fond of him, then excuses himself to go check on the women. A gendarme pops in to tell the police captain of Charlie Garrett’s presence in Martinique. Looks like poker night finished early.

The ladies Graham is referring to are Dorie Spurling, Lauren Delagre and JB who are kicking it on the yacht. Dorie thought it would be a good idea for her and Lauren to get to know each other since Graham and Maurice are such good friends – “Am I right Jessica?”

It’s wine time, not sorting out your problems time.

Lauren agrees with Dorie though, and they clink glasses. Dorie understands, you see. Dorie thinks Lauren feels threatened by her because she left her husband and Lauren has only thought about it – “Am I right Jessica?”

Jessica is staying the hell out of this.

Maurice and Graham turn up on the boat at exactly that moment to share the news – Maurice has gambled half ownership of the hotel over to Graham. Good one Maurice.

At dinner, the mysterious lady from the park checks in as Norma Willens and bumps into Hilton Augustus Venable, who gives her puppy dog eyes, and Melanie Venable, who gives her the evil eye. Meanwhile, JB has just polished off her dinner when a familiar voice rings out through the restaurant.

THERE IS NOWHERE JB IS SAFE.

Charlie is delighted to see Jessica, obviously, but before he can tell her what he’s doing there the police captain arrives to ask him that very question. “Scuba diving.” He announces. Jessica tells him her room number and the police captain asks Charlie to follow him outside. Meanwhile, Jeff Delagre has a whinge to his girlfriend on the front desk about how everything sucks especially his father.

Back in JB’s hotel room, Jess and Charlie have a nightcap while he explains he is in town to retrieve Dorie Spurling from her kidnappers. Jess is rather surprised to hear Dorie has been kidnapped but Charlie swears the girl in the photo (who is indeed Dorie) doesn’t look like the kind to leave their husband. Something sketchy is definitely going on, maybe Dorie has Stockholm Syndrome and has gone full Patty Hearst. Anyway, absolutely nothing shady about Dorie’s husband, and Charlie will see JB later.

Charlie really is picking up where Harry left off

Over on the yacht, Dorie is doing a bit of her own investigating and has found a suitcase full of cash. DUN DUN.

The next morning, Graham is over at the hotel bemoaning how it has fallen into disrepair. Jeff’s girlfriend tried to defend the Delagres but Lauren pops up and tells her there’s no need. She points Graham to the door. Graham tells her she should be pleased, now there are two people to worry about Maurice’s gambling. Lauren says there’s nothing wrong with her husband and Graham says whatever,  he’s getting papers drawn up to formalise his share in the hotel.

The lady of the hour, Dorie Spurling, rolls up to the hotel and immediately crashes into Charlie, who can’t believe his luck. He offers to buy her a drink and they disappear into the bar, under the watchful eye of Norma Willens who grins to herself. Jess has tea and sympathy with Lauren, who thinks Dorie was right, she is in denial about Maurice. Jeff pops in to report that the roof is basically cactus, but Maurice joins them shortly afterwards to say that it’s all good, Graham has agreed to foot the bill for a new roof and some other repairs. Jeff says great, maybe he can buy them a new hotel. Lauren tells him not to speak to his father like that and Jeff declares it’s liberating and she should try it.

Sidebar:

That shirt is tremendous.

In the bar, Charlie and Dorie are having a lovely time reminiscing about Chicago when a thug wanders past to cut the chat short. Dorie wishes Charlie a nice day and leaves. Huh. Maybe Charlie wasn’t insane about the kidnapping theory.

Jess is at the front desk getting a fax from her editor when Norma Willens wanders past to buy some stamps. Colette tries to introduce her to JB but she politely rushes off. She then bumps into Hilton Augustus Venable and tells him she hasn’t responded to his messages because she’s not interested. He suggests later, as his mother appears to growl at him. Jessica returns his story and tells him she enjoyed it, but Melanie Venable hasn’t got time to be pleased about that, she wants Hilton to back off Norma until the family lawyer can work out if she’s an appropriate woman for him to date. Ay ay ay. PS. Hilton looks about 35.

Jess and Charlie go for a stroll, and Jess warns Charlie even if he is right about the situation with Dorie, he shouldn’t let his feelings get involved. He spots Dorie with Graham and the thug and goes over to greet her. Graham nods at the thug who beats the crap out of Charlie before walking away.

Sidebar this might be the best screencap I’ve yoinked since the last time I said that.

I CAN’T EVEN.

Later that night Charlie’s recovering in his room when he gets a call from Dorie. She tells him Graham knows who he is and why he’s here. She knows he’s here to return the money Graham stole from Phil and Charlie says uh, yeah, sure. Dorie wants out of everything – she can get her hands on the money, but she doesn’t want to lead Charlie on. Charlie’s on the case and enlists Jessica’s help while he gets over to the yacht, whacks the thug on the head and gets Dorie out of there.

Meanwhile back at the bar…

This episode represents a golden shirt era.

…Jessica distracts Graham with quality shirts and also questions about boats “for her next book”. Graham has had enough at this point and excuses himself.

Charlie and Dorie make to land, but a hidden figure shoots Dorie and then scarpers when Charlie starts firing back. Dorie has enough time to say Charlie’s name before she dies, and he looks miserable.

The next day Jessica is dragged down to the police station to tell police what she knows about the affair and where Charlie is now. Before she can answer a gendarme frog marches Charlie into the office, with his recently fired gun. Jess asks if it matches the bullet used to kill Dorrie and the police captain says they couldn’t find it but he hardly thinks that matters.

Back at the hotel, Jeff bumps into his father coming out of Charlie’s room. Maurice tells him the pipes weren’t fixed correctly the first time and storms off. Jeff tells JB his father is fuming because Graham Farrow has pulled out of plans to fund the roof repair. I bet he has.

Jess goes for a walk with Lauren to hunt for clues. Lauren is suspicious of Charlie, but JB says he’s got a good heart underneath it all and immediately finds the bullet that Charlie fired off the previous night because at this stage JB has achieved god-level status in all forms of criminology.

Things kick up a notch. Graham gets on the phone to Spurling and accuses him of arranging the hit on Dorrie. Phil says well yeah duh, now return the money to continue being alive. Graham tells him he doesn’t have it and to ask Charlie where it is. Melanie Venables watches Norma Willens walk through the library and gets a call from her lawyer. Charlie gets a call from Spurling asking where the money is, and Charlie tells him he knows nothing. Graham and the thug arrive and Charlie’s room looking for the money and he tells them the same thing. The thug starts beating the crap out of Charlie, interrupting Jessica’s phone call in her room. She goes to investigate and pushes past Graham telling her that Charlie is unavailable. She scolds the thug and goes to Charlie’s aid while Graham and the thug depart. Jess scolds Charlie for not telling her the truth and says Phil Spurling is in deep money trouble ever since Dorie ran off. Charlie swears Dorie had nothing to do with the missing six million bucks.

Six mil is a lot of early 90s dollars you guys.

Charlie takes JB to where he hid the money after Dorie died, but someone’s grabbed it. Charlie panics, but Jess notices some distinctive footprints in the dirt.

Back at the hotel Norma packs up her gun and suitcase for the money and is almost out the door when she runs into Hilton. He apologises, but his mother arranged for her lawyer to look into Norma’s background and she’s completely clean except the teacher’s registration office think she’s been dead for two years. Norma swears she will look into it, and Hilton asks if he can call her. JB and Charlie appear and tell him she’ll enjoy hearing from him IN JAIL. Norma pulls a gun but Charlie has no time for that.

Norma confirms JB’s suspicions at the police station – she was hired to bump off Dorie, but someone beat her to it. After the murder she followed Charlie and grabbed the money and would have gotten away with it, etc etc. Jess sees the captain cleaning a metal pipe and suddenly realises Norma is telling the truth. JB knows who the killer is, she just needs to stop in the village for a prop.

For you see…

Well, this took a dark turn.

…Maurice overheard Dorie and Charlie’s phone conversation and took matters into his own hands. He wanted that money for himself.

Let’s not dwell on that depressing twist.

Later gang!

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