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S11E14 – Murder in High C

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Ciao e Benvenuto in Italia Fletcherfans, Genoa to be exact, where an opera singer wanders the foggy streets in a blind panic while having chats with weirdos with high pitched voices and her friend kicks it at the definitely haunted theatre watching rehearsals.

DEMON AUDIENCE

Okay on second watching the guy is reading a newspaper. To be fair I can’t be bothered going to get my glasses.

In any case, JB watches on while Stella Knight rehearses and Maestro Drew Granger waves his baton about (not code). Fun fact – he used to be married to Linda Hamilton way back when thanks IMDB. Someone called Vicki Lawson appears to get Drew’s approval on the album artwork (he hates it) and Stella’s husband appears to offer his opinion on Stella no longer being the star of the show (he hates it, but not as much as Stella).

The star of the show, Andrea Beaumont, is late to rehearsal which sours Drew’s mood and he kicks JB out of the rehearsal. The reason for the lateness is revealed – she was the person wandering the fog having chats with weirdo strangers and being threatened. JB and Drew rush over to the hotel room where Andrea’s husband Jonas Cole watches over while a doctor checks her out. The doctor tells them she is fine but Drew wants to hire more security. Jonas informs him he can take care of his wife and tells Drew to leave. (Drew and Andrea were hot and heavy pre-marriage to Jonas and Drew isn’t coping in this brave new world).

Jonas is worried that it’s a repeat of a year earlier when a crazy fan stalked Andrea but he’s apparently in prison back in New York. JB suggests there is a second possibility – that the stalker is disguising their voice because they are known to Andrea.

I mean I wouldn’t have thought that was the standard reaction to the idea that someone you know is stalking you

Jessica decides to have a little investigation of her own and goes for a wander. She bumps into Inspector Piero Amato aka John Hamm’s Tall Italian Cousin who is also investigating the attack on Andrea.

This is freaking me out a little bit. Yes I meant signor, it’s too late to change it now, sorry Italy and Spain.

Piero knows nothing about opera but is a Jonas Cole fanboy (apparently Jonas is a bit of a daredevil rock climber). He knows about Andrea’s stalker in New York, but thinks this is nothing more than a stunt drummed up by Jonas Cole in order to sell opera tickets.

Jessica does not agree.

Jessica is immune to Italian Don Draper

The next day Drew rolls into the theatre and informs the company director Rudolfo Petrocelli that there’s nothing else for it, he needs to release Drew from his contract for the good of the production. Rudolfo wonders if it has anything to do with Drew being offered a sweet gig back in New York and Drew says how dare you and how did you know about that.

Fun fact Rudolfo is being played by Bob Hoskins in Super Mario Bros.

I WILL DEFEND SUPER MARIO BROS TIL THE END OF TIME DON’T @ ME

Rudolfo is in a bad mood after Drew’s little stunt and it doesn’t improve when the company accountant Carlo Rossoni comes to talk finances. Only when Carlo confirms that the company would get a substantial payout if Andrea pulls out of the show does Rudolfo feel better about life.

Back at the hotel, Andrea is getting ready to go to the theatre and Jonas is fondling his gun (not code) when there is a phone call – it’s the weird-voiced person again telling Andrea all about how they plan to kill her.

Piero summons them to his office, where he assures Jonas that his team will protect Andrea, saying that a policeman in Italy won’t get far if he can’t stop an opera singer from being hurt. He has the situation under control – he’s going to tap their phone, and a preliminary investigation has revealed no suspects.

Jessica informs them all that the stage door manager hasn’t noticed anyone lurking around.

He brought this on himself

Piero has more news – the crazy New York stalker guy is out of jail, but reporting to his parole officer and is not in Italy. Jonas wants to know where this leaves them and Piero says he is an an unsophisticated guy with no knowledge of opera…

No comment

…do Andrea and Jonas have any personal or professional enemies?

Probably, says Jonas. They’ll all be at our house tonight, says Andrea.

And so, later that night, everyone rolls up to Jonas and Andrea’s for a shindig. Rudolfo is outraged that he wasn’t recognised by the police at the front door, Stella and her husband apparently hate Andrea according to Andrea.

Detection on point.

While Rudolfo tries to discuss finances or lack thereof with Jonas, Drew gets Andrea alone and delivers a heartfelt speech that is only ruined by Jonas wandering in and giving him a golf clap. Jonas and Drew get heated before Drew throws himself out.

Oh how I can relate to this.

After the party is over and Jonas is trying to suck up, the phone rings with the mystery weirdo again. Jessica isn’t worried – the call is being traced, it’s going to be fine.

At the theatre the next day Stella’s husband Paul is begging Drew to give Stella more songs to sing but Drew isn’t interested in stroking Stella’s ego – she’s yesterday’s news. Drew then bumps into Carlo Rossoni who suggests he might have a way for Drew to get out of his contract (for the right price) but Drew isn’t interested in that either.

Andrea is there ready for her final costume fitting and rugged up due to some dodgy ac (which Stella offers to fix by swapping changerooms so she can get the star changeroom back). Vicki excuses herself for a moment to take a call – the lights go out, the weirdo’s voice is heard and there’s a hand with a knife before the lights flick back on. The stalker runs away and Vicki reappears to comfort Andrea.

Jessica has a chat to Piero about all the shenanigans and tells him she knows the American stalker guy has gone awol but Piero is all over that. Plus he has a suspect in mind – the call from the stalker that JB overheard came from a payphone two streets away from Rudolfo’s house.

Apparently, this guy was in Die Hard, which I will report back on when I do my annual Christmas watching of Die Hard. (DIE HARD IS #1 CHRISTMAS MOVIE DON’T @ ME)

Meanwhile, Vicky has just discovered that Rudolfo has been leaking information about Andrea and the stalker to the press, and is outraged about it. Rudolfo, on the other hand, has discovered who has been messing with Andrea and wants in on the whole thing. He arranges to meet the stalker later that night back at the theatre, and after some frankly terrible dialogue about how cold it is (they are obviously in Andrea’s dressing room) the stalker shoots Rudolfo dead.

The next day Jonas is on the warpath after seeing news articles about Andrea and storms off to find Rudolfo. Vicky arrives just in time to hear two gunshots. They all rush upstairs and find Jonas leaning over the body of Rudolfo, gun in hand. “It’s my gun!” Jonas says, confused, as the security guard draws his weapon and orders Jonas to drop it. “Jessica, I didn’t do this,” Jonas adds.

(At this point let the record show that an auction started next door and as I am fascinated by anyone who can afford real estate in Melbourne I immediately lost interest in everything else, and then I heard the asking price for said auction and immediately gave up on life. And then I started playing the Murder She Wrote theme really loudly because if you are moving near me you may as well be prepared).

Back in Genoa Piero thinks everyone needs to relax – Andrea isn’t in any more danger now that Rudolfo has shuffled off. JB wants to know if his voice matched the voice on the call recording but Piero isn’t sure yet. He explains to Jonas that if he comes clean he will word up the prosecutor but Jonas swears he didn’t do it. Piero sighs and arrests him for being obstinate.

Later, in the theatre, Drew dumps Vicki (apparently they were a thing) and also fires her as the PR rep. Jess drops by the theatre to pick up some of Andrea’s things and runs into Drew, who tells her he’s moving back to New York and he’ll keep in touch with Andrea. Apparently, his contract is void now Rudolfo has gone. Jess then comes across Caro and Paul Fuller arguing about who will pay for the audience to clap and cheer Stella now that she’s taking over Andrea’s role.

Jessica sneaks into Andrea’s room for a bit of sleuthing.

Auction update: no one bought. It was either the loud Murder She Wrote theme or the high cost of living in Melbourne. Or both.

A pen dent in the floor and a broken air conditioner later, and Jess gives Jonas the good news – there’s no way he could have killed Rudolfo, he’d been dead for hours! While Piero reinstates Andrea’s security detail, Jonas calls to give her the good news (after a wrong number false start). Andrea is delighted to hear he is free, goes and locks the door as instructed, and is devastated when the next phone call she gets is from the psycho killer.

Jonas and Andrea make plans to leave for New York, while Stella makes plans to reclaim her rightful dressing room. Piero assures Andrea that she will be well guarded but she doesn’t feel secure. Later that night Jonas gets a call from a furious Carlo who threatens to get an injunction forbidding them from leaving Genoa. Jessica shares a wad of paper she found in Andrea’s dressing room with Piero, and after a wrong number and a reference to mountains, Jessica works out how the killer did it.

EPIPHANY FACE

And luckily for Andrea, she’s worked it out just in time to stop the killer from getting to her.

As far as villainous plots go, this was pretty good.

Jonas hatched a plot to bump off Andrea and get her life insurance money and recruited Vicky as an accomplice. Rudolfo found out what Jonas was up to so he killed him and framed himself so that Jessica could prove he didn’t do it. Except then she proved he did. Suck it, Jonas.

Later gang!

S11E13 – Death ‘N Denial

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Salaam-Alaikum!  Welcome to Agrabah, city of mystery, of enchantment. AndthefinestmerchandisethissideoftheriverJordanonsaletoday! Come on down!

Guys I haven’t had a lot of sleep. Fair warning.

Jessica is rolling on into Cairo (something I’m very jealous about – I’ve never been to Egypt but I’ve spent most of my life living in denial about something, boom tish), theoretically to help coordinate the cultural exchange between the Cairo Museum and her museum in New York that she helped found/is overlord of. In actual fact, her travel is being used as a cover for Egyptologist Sally Otterburn to smuggle what turns out to be a real artefact back into Cairo at the request of Museum Director Sherif Faris. He’s not the only person interested in its arrival though – a man named Rudy Grimes bugs Sally’s conversation and then calls his employer Bradford Thorpe know that the artefact has turned up. Bradford quickly covers up his excitement when his wife Vanessa walks in and claims that someone has lined up a racehorse for him and it’s a bargain.

Speaking of racehorses there is a horse called Jon Snow AND a horse called Nights Watch running in the Caulfield Cup today, if they don’t come first and second I’m going to start a riot

Jess steps off the plane and immediately starts her charm offensive, greeting her driver with a “As-Salaam-Alaikum”

She’s charming in every language

 

I know this was funny in 1994, but enough.

Jess nails her Arabic so well that the driver starts speaking in Arabic and she asks Sally to explain she ain’t that good (she is though) but guys it’s okay, the driver (whose name is Naser Muhammad Hasan) used to be a cab driver in Manhattan.

I like this episode already.

Just as Jessica spots their luggage Frank Rick Rudy Grimes snatches a bag off Sally’s shoulder and legs it. Unfortunately for him, he grabbed Jessica’s bag, not Sally’s. While they wait for security Sally calls the museum to find out why Sherif wasn’t there to meet them at the airport but he carefully tells her there was an unexpected visit from the minister of culture. Sally explains what happened and says she will bring the statuette around straight away and he tells her no, he’ll call her later.

Inspector Omar Halim is summoned to take a report on the theft, and immediately refers to JB as PD James.

I wonder if PD James ever did versions of Dave Chapelle’s ‘I’m Rick James bitch!’ bit, but with her name. I choose to believe yes.

Omar has just flown in from Luxor and is curious about the theft. Sally explains the purpose of the trip and Omar is not thrilled about the “cultural exchange”, but promises to make sure the report of the theft does not get lost.

Frank Rick Rudy Grimes breaks the bad news to Bradford that he swiped the wrong bag from the airport. Bradford is furious but Rudy says he can still get it. Vanessa comes home and they quickly turn the conversation to racehorses. Vanessa is seeing through the bullshit though and tells Bradford he should find a less dodgy business partner.

Jess checks into the Hotel Osiris at Sally’s suggestion and heads to her room to make calls while Sally flirts away with the hotel owner Boyd Venton.  Naser asks JB for her help getting his American visa approved so that he can get back to his fiance. Meanwhile, Bradford has a meeting with his loan shark Trevor Han, who tells him if he doesn’t deliver the statue by tomorrow, he will foreclose Bradford’s wife. Unable to get hold of Sherif, Sally stashes the statuette in the closet.

Cut to panoramic footage of Egypt, which is all rather lovely of course. Bradford goes to meet his mistress Seven of Nine, who doesn’t seem to be that enthused with his gift of plane tickets to Rome. Frank Rick Rudy Grimes has another crack at the statue while Sally is in the shower. She busts him just as he’s leaving her hotel room but he gets away. Jessica is flummoxed that the same man who stole her bag would return, and Sally explains what was in the bag.

It has become clear to JB that she was used as an excuse to smuggle the real artefact into Cairo to replace the fake one (which apparently was in the museum to cover up the real one’s theft two years earlier). Also, JB is pissed.

This will not stand

Sherif arrives and immediately puts all the blame on Sally, but refuses to go to the police and threatens to pin the whole thing on Sally if they do. What a top bloke.

At a gala at the museum that night, Jessica wanders the exhibition and gets to Fletchsplain a bit of Egyptian history to Vanessa Thorpe, who it turns out was competing for the old department store that JB got turned into a museum. Jess and Sally are introduced to Trevor Han, who Jess later sees fighting with Bradford Thorpe.

Sidenote: the storylines may have been up and down this season but FARSHUN IS FOREVA

Outfit 10/10

Bradford gets a phone call from Rudy telling him the jig is up, and that he couldn’t find the statue. Bradford wants him to break into the museum to retrieve it if it’s true that Sherif has already got it, but Rudy says soz mate and hangs up. It turns out Vanessa has put him up to it and pays him 50K to not give the statuette to her husband.

Boyd Venton goes to see Rudy at home/break into his apartment, but Rudy pulls a gun on him first. Turns out they are both ex-CIA because of course they are. Boyd wants to know where the statuette is but Rudy tells him to jog on.

The next day Jess is down looking at mugshots to see if she can identify the bag thief.  She sees Rudy’s mug shot and pretends not to recognise him but Omar is not fooled. Meanwhile, Sally and Boyd rekindle whatever thing they had going on before she went back to New York and he explains the whole CIA thing.

Rudy meets Seven of Nine (or Maura if you want to get technical about it) and we discover that her relationship with Bradford was bankrolled by Rudy. Maura wants more money but Rudy isn’t having a bar of it. She storms out and he gets a phone call from someone wanting to meet him.

Apparently, the meeting is to take place at the Hotel Osiris, and so Rudy wanders into the lobby and over to the elevator. Naser the driver recognises him and sets off in pursuit. Upstairs, Jessica calls an elevator and is rather startled when one arrives with Rudy’s corpse in it. Inspector Omar is called to the scene and calls everyone on their bullshit (honestly, this is the first cop who has his business sorted in a while). Jessica, Sally and Sherif explain the situation and Omar decides the killer had to have shot Rudy as he went into the elevator, or came out on the third floor.

“Unless the elevator stopped on the second!” Jess says helpfully. Omar decides he wants to talk to Naser the driver again.

Over at House Thorpe Bradford discovers Vanessa has her bags packed. She’s not leaving him though, they are both leaving Cairo and she has a few rules going forward, particularly about young women called Maura and getting loans from loan sharks like Trevor Han.

Back at the Hotel Osiris Jess tells Naser that her friend is looking into his immigration case, and then get Sally to help test her theory that it was possible someone could have beaten the elevator to the second floor and shot Rudy. Boyd wanders past and confesses to Jessica that he did know Rudy – Boyd wasn’t CIA after all but used to work for Rudy back in the day doing shady stuff. Boyd went to see him because he figured if there was money involved so would Rudy be. Jess sees merit in this and thinks she knows where the money was coming from, but a visit to Vanessa and Bradford doesn’t provide much information. Or does it?

Jess heads down to Rudy’s local cafe haunt, where he would have his mail sent to. She tells Naser to tell the owner she’s Rudy’s mother – and ends up with a plate of Egyptian stew to eat, along with Rudy’s mail. According to the local custom, Jess can’t leave the table until the plate is clean.

Life Lesson #74: NEVER TURN DOWN AN EATING CHALLENGE

Following the clue she found at the cafe, Jess retrieves the bag with the statuette at the hotel, just as Omar appears. He takes it off her, confirms the statue is inside and promptly arrests Naser Hasan.

Jess doesn’t believe Naser is involved for a second, and a chance discovery of a missing cufflink at the police station gives her an idea about who the killer might be. She plants a trap and waits for it to spring shut.

Or something like that.

She’s no Salome Otterbourne.

It turns out the statuette wasn’t her main goal – she was so upset about Rudy holding Boyd’s past over him that she took matters into her own hands, bless her.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Naser got his green card and will soon be on his way to America, and as a result, Jessica will never have to wait for a cab again.

Worth it.

Later gang!

S11E12 – The Scent of Murder

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Welcome to South Carolina, aka the only Carolina I haven’t been to if you count my hungover stop in Charlotte Airport on my way to New Orleans, which you probably shouldn’t, to be honest.

Jess and Seth are road-tripping to Orlando (almost definitely to ride Space Mountain until Seth pukes) and making a stop in South Carolina (with some reluctance on Seth’s part) to see Seth’s cousin. South Carolina happens to be the home of Riverton plantation owner and gardener Buford Hazlitt, of the Curmudgeon Hazlitts. This particular Hazlitt is working on a hybrid magnolia, the scent of which is going to make you pass out on a fainting couch or something like that.  Unfortunately for Buford, that means certain nefarious types are trying to get their hands on his magnolias which requires shooting at them with shotguns. Buford’s assistant Kendall Ames is keen to harvest the tree and send the scent off to the perfumier so they can get to work on their other contracts, but Buford is drunk on success and sweet sweet magnolia goodness and thinks they can get more money.

(Buford is being played by the Headmaster from Gilmore Girls, which is making me very happy).

Meanwhile, the Riverton intruder reports back to the perfume designer Nina Larson, who tells him not to contact her again, she told him who to speak to if there were any problems. Nina’s boss, Edward Delaney, is furious with Nina already for all the money she’s spent on promos and packaging for the perfume, which will be called Forever Scarlett. (Whatever, everyone knows that the greatest perfume name that has ever existed is Troy Maclure’s perfume ‘Smellin’ of Troy).

Nina’s day does not get any better when Buford calls her, announces that he won’t deliver on the magnolia unless she promises not to use any artificial additives to the perfume. Edward is furious but Nina says she can fix it and takes herself off to Riverton to find the tree herself.

Back at Riverton, Buford’s ladyfriend Evelyn Colby is preparing for a dinner party when Sergeant John Lindley comes by to whinge because the date he thought he was having with her turned out to be entirely inside his own head, and refuses to take no for an answer when Evelyn points out they have been over for two years. It’s only when Buford arrives and tells him not to come back unless he has a warrant, that John departs.

Seth and Jess finally arrive at Riverton and give Kendall’s son Billy a lift up to the house. Inside, Buford takes great delight in taking pot shots at Seth while Jess gets down to business.

I understand the concept of a mint julep, but I think I’ll stick to a mojito.

Jess would very much like them to change the channel away from the bickering and childhood one-upmanship and Buford tells her he doesn’t mean anything by it and neither does Seth. Seth agrees, saying he couldn’t wait to get to Riverton, just ask Jess.

NOTHING CAN BEAT THAT FACE.

Julep-time is interrupted first by the arrival of Buford’s playwright step-daughter Margaret Barkley who is excited to meet Jessica but less excited to meet Evelyn. No sooner does Evelyn start telling JB about her most recent off-Broadway play than Buford’s lawyer Dan Wilkes appears to have a quiet word with his boss. Buford doesn’t care if Nina is threatening to sue for breach of contract, and orders Dan to go out and earn his money.

Dan pays a visit on Nina at her office, and there’s a whole lot of bourbon and flirting and it’s all frankly a bit gross, to be honest, so I started googling where I could get a mint julep in Melbourne.

Over in the Riverton greenhouse, Billy begs his father to let him drop out of school and come work for him, but Kendall has bigger ambitions for his son. Meanwhile, Margaret hits up her step-father for a loan – her much-touted off-Broadway show that she’d worked on for two years closed after 3 performances and she couldn’t pay the rent. Buford tells her she can stay at Riverton for as long as she likes but she’s not getting any money. He could forgive her coming after him in her play, but not her late mother.

That night Riverton hosts the Botanical Society Gala Dinner, and Evelyn has just enough time to check Buford’s will to see if she’s in it before rejoining the guests downstairs. Dan tells Kendall Ames that Nina would like to help him get funding for his work creating drought-resistant grains and suggests he discuss the details with Nina directly. Seth bumps into the local doctor, Dr Travis, who has seen better days but not better canapes.

Another Hazlitt cousin surfaces in the form of Rob Hazlitt, who has been doing some contracting work for Buford and has been sober for a year. Seth congratulates him, and Rob snarls that he doesn’t give a damn what Seth thinks, before storming off. Buford says never mind, they are the last of the Hazlitt line, they have to stick together.

Let’s not dwell on that time it was discovered Seth and his brother were all the Hazlitt’s that were left in the world.

That night, Buford is smothered by a ninja, while JB is woken by a loud bang. She goes to the window and sees Billy Ames head off into the night.

Won’t lie, haven’t stopped googling mint juleps. I think I’ve found a bar near my flat that serves them. Will report back.

The next morning Sergeant Lindley is called to the scene after Evelyn discovers Buford’s body. Jessica tried to call Dr Travis but couldn’t get through, fortunately, Seth is in the house and is quick to diagnose this a solid case of murder. Jessica has a quiet word with the Sergeant and informs him of the loud noise she heard the previous night, like someone had fallen trying to climb down the drain pipe, but doesn’t mention seeing Billy.

Nina Larsen, in a move that can only be described as impeccably timed, meets with Kendall and puts forward her pitch for his future after he gives her the magnolia tree. He tells her if she’d met him the previous day something might have come of it but he is too upset to make any decisions regarding his friend’s livelihood now. Meanwhile, Jessica and Seth confront Billy about what he was up to the previous night, and he tells them he got dropped home and his Dad was right behind him in his truck.

Back in her office, Nina has a meeting with Dan the Man, who tells her he still has some obligations to the Hazlitt estate but there will soon be no conflict of interest. Nina gives him a cheque and tells him it’s a thank you for the tour of the jazz clubs the previous night and for breakfast that morning. Ew ew ew. More importantly, she wants to know if Dan’s read the will and if Rob or Seth Hazlitt know anything about the tree. Dan thinks not, but knows Seth and Rob don’t really get on and that Rob has a Big Thing for Evelyn.

Speaking of, over at Riverton Rob is making plans to get the hell out of town but Evelyn begs him to stay, saying she’s going to need a friend before this is all over. Jessica and Seth find Sergeant Lindley out in the garden and confirms that someone definitely dropped out of a tree at the time Jessica heard the noise. Dan the Man pops up to announce the will is going to be read that night and Seth and JB should stick around for it.

Sidenote:

I MEAN JUST LOOK AT THEM

Out in the gardens the original magnolia hunter, whose name I think is Cory Davis, tries to recruit Billy into helping him locate the magnolia tree.

That night, the will is read. There’s money for the servants, half of all royalties of the Forever Scarlett magnolia for Kendall, five grand for Rob, a cutting of the 200 year old Queen Ann rose bush for JB…

As if JB wasn’t going to help herself on the way out I mean come on. 

…a lifetime pass to Riverton Gardens for Margaret (awkward), and last but not least to Seth and to Evelyn – joint custody of Riverton.

Reactions are mixed. Seth immediately wants to know if he has to accept it (awkward), while Margaret is furious and accuses Evelyn of worming her way into the will even though when she asked Buford to marry her he said no. Evelyn says that’s not true and Margaret says oh yes it is, Buford told her. She storms out with a pout.

Meanwhile, my inheritance is fast asleep in her bed which always makes me a little suspicious, usually she’s trying to make changes on the blog by now.

Seth is in a funk, and not even JB’s positivity can draw him out of it. Dan the Man runs into them on his way out and casually slides into the conversation that time is running out on the Forever Scarlett situation and he really thinks they should honour the contract and…

Never come between Seth and his rant.

Margaret heads to the police station to complain about life and Evelyn but also to suggest to Sergeant Lindley that she might be able to get her hands on the Forever Scarlett tree if he can help her get out from underneath Evelyn and Seth. John tells her he won’t break any laws, but they’ll talk.

Jess and Seth head over to the greenhouse, where they spot a fleeing Cory Davis. Inside, Nina is upgrading her offer to Kendall but quickly changes the topic to the murder when she sees Seth and Jessica. Nina is very keen to sit down with Seth and Evelyn to discuss things but Seth couldn’t be less interested.

THE SHADE OF IT ALL.

Nina sashays away, and Jess and Seth get to business. Kendall knows someone is keeping an eye on the greenhouse, from their description he thinks it might be Cory Davis, since he had already offered ten grand to Billy for his help in locating the tree. All Kendall knows is the minute he gives up the location of the tree he’s in trouble so, for now, he will keep his mouth shut thank you.

Jess and Seth return to the main house just in time to see John Lindley arrest Evelyn for Buford’s murder. He tells Jess her statement is ready for signature and departs.  Seth and Jess get ready to follow him down to the police station and run into Rob, who begs JB to help Evelyn.

Once she arrives, Jess is quick to correct her written statement, and she spots Cory Davis being shown into John Findlay’s office. Evelyn is brought up from the cells and Jessica confronts her about seeing her sneak out of Buford’s bedroom the night of the dinner (I may have been googling mint juleps at that bit). Evelyn tells JB she’d done it to see if Buford had changed his feelings about her after they’d had a quarrel about not announcing their engagement (which is apparently what Margaret overheard).

Jess has an idea and goes back to the greenhouse with Seth. Jessica thinks the greenhouse is much bigger on the outside than on the inside #NotATardis. They find the secret room with the magnolia tree in it, and also find some cuttings. Seth thinks the tree is very pretty, but Jess thinks she knows now how to trap the killer, and gets Billy’s help to do it.

Not a shock

Jess correctly suspected he was the one coordinating the surveillance on Buford to find the tree and killed Buford because reasons.

Mystery solved. And I solved the mystery of where to get a Mint Julep in Melbourne. Everyone’s a winner!

Later gang!

S11E11 – An Egg To Die For

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Spoiler alert: the egg is Faberge, but whatever. This week the peregrine falcons that nested on top of 367 Collins in the city had babies and there’s a webcam and frankly, I’m never getting anything done ever again.

Anyway, once upon a time in a far away galaxy called St Petersburg, a man shows another man a Faberge egg and gets shot for his trouble.

A year later…

Starsky and Hutch, except it’s Bea Arthur and Angela Lansbury. Build me a time machine and put me in charge of television.

Jessica is in town for some sort of book convention being hosted by old friends Marcie and James Devon, who are having a bit of a financial crisis and are looking at closing one of their bookstores currently being managed by Marcie’s brother Leo. Leo quickly excuses himself, shortly followed by James who disappears to go set up JB’s booth. Jessica is nostalgic about her first book signing at Marcie’s first bookstore, and Marcie tells her the minute she read The Corpse Danced Alone she knew it would be a hit.

Except JB’s first book was called The Corpse Danced At Midnight so I call shenanigans on this whole business.

Leo wanders off to meet a business colleague who informs him that the payment Leo gave him was in fake roubles and there’s going to be hell to pay, mostly if Leo doesn’t return his commission in 48 hours. A hired goon is about to get to work beating the crap out of Leo when a bearded Russian appears, pulls a gun and orders everyone to leave. He tells Leo he’s here for the egg, and he’d better get it or else. Leo tries to bluster his way out of it by saying the police would want to know about a foreigner with a concealed weapon but the man just says he’ll see Leo that night and skulks away.

Jess wanders into the book fair to get a name badge (like her face wouldn’t work) and runs into Valerie Harris and Ben Peterson. Ben is waiting on a scholarship approval, Valerie is…his girlfriend? The bearded Russian appears to try and get into the book fair but is stopped by security. He is Sergei Nemiroff, and tells Valerie he left his badge in his room and asks for another one but when Valerie can’t find it he quickly says he’ll go back and get it. He’s delighted to meet JB, he’s a big fan.

Who to this day I keep accidentally calling Frank Burns but don’t mind me

While Marcie and Charles continue to argue about Leo, Valerie tries to reassure Ben that his application will be accepted. Valerie’s father and apparent book publisher James Harris turns up to order Leo to set up more booths and to order Valerie to find more space for more booths and to forget Ben. Charmer.

Jessica overhears Sergei on the phone speaking Russian and sees him drop an invoice for a late payment on the hotel room. Meanwhile, at the arranging of hotel owner Victor Roscoe, Marcie and Charles meet with James Harris to request an extension on their loan and to propose a new business arrangement. James shoots it down, and tells them the money is due on Thursday or else he owns their bookstore chain.

As Marcie and Charles leave the meeting in a panic, Jessica watches Sergei filch a security badge from one of the other attendees before following Marcie and Charles outside. They get into a taxi and drive away and Sergei is set to follow when JB stops him and demands to know why a Russian policeman is following her friends.

Sidebar:

I’m very much enjoying that whole necklace situation.

Sergei has no idea what she is talking about but she harangues him into admitting that he is a Russian cop investigating Leo Stone. She’s not done with him yet, and so Sergei gives up on following Marcie and Charles and goes to lunch with Jessica instead. He tells her about a missing Faberge egg and tiara that were stolen from St Petersberg – the tiara turned up in Miami but without the jewels. Leo Stone was known to be in St Petersberg at the time of the theft, and given that the tiara turned up in Miami it seems like a natural conclusion that he was involved in the theft. Jess thinks there is more to the story, and Sergei reluctantly admits that his brother has been sentenced to death for killing the thief and will be executed in the next 48 hours unless Sergei can retrieve the egg and prove his brother’s innocence.

Over at James Harris’s house, James wanders through the rooms alone. He comes to a wall. He presses a hidden button. A door opens. It’s James’s Room Of Hidden Treasures. He walks in and begins stroking the Faberge Egg lovingly.

True fact, James Harris is a Bond Villain.

Over at the hotel, Leo is putting a business idea to Victor but he’s not having a bar of it. He tells Leo to stick with the job Charles gave him, he’s a lucky man. Leo gives up and asks to borrow two grand but Victor sadly tells him no, he’s not a bank.

Meanwhile, Jessica runs into Valerie and a despondent Ben who has just found out his college application has been rejected after the college found out about his chequered past (apparently something to do with a high school football team and a prank). This has apparently torpedoed any chance of him getting into med school.

*mumbles something about the college having higher standards than the US Supreme Court*

MOVING ON

Incorrect. A kangaroo can disembowel you with its eyes and will warn you beforehand with some Tibetan throat singing #AussieFacts

Sergei is solidly minding his own business when Leo confronts him – apparently, someone has ransacked his house. Sergei thinks this is a weird way to thank him for stopping the beating but then warns Leo he knows Leo either has the egg or knows where it is and furthermore, he knows who killed the thief. Leo tells him he’s crazy and walks away. Sergei follows.

Jess is helping Marcie set up her booth at the book convention when Charles returns with bad news – the bank is not going to speed up their refinancing, and in fact are pulling out of the whole thing after receiving some not inconsiderable pressure from James. Marcie thinks maybe they can try talking to him again but Charles thinks there’s no point. Jess quietly asks Marcie if all of this is happening because Marcie chucked James to be with Charles and she is starting to think maybe.

That night a reception is held at House Harris and the shenanigans are aplenty. Leo confronts James about their recent business and James drags him into another room to discuss it in private. Ben tells Valerie he shouldn’t be there, James clearly doesn’t want him there, but Valerie thinks he’s being paranoid. Jess arrives with her date Sergei and if that’s a jacket I WANTS IT.

I need it. I want it.

Sergei’s had a big afternoon following Leo around, and he’s not going to let up until he finds the egg. Jess points out Leo wasn’t the only one in St Petersburg the previous year but Sergei’s convinced.

James reappears from his meeting with Leo, decants some white wine (the hell?) and Marcie takes the opportunity to beg him to reconsider the loan extension. Needless to say, it doesn’t go well. Sergei sees the conversation and decides to investigate James’s study. Unfortunately, James notices him sneak in and is all set to have him thrown out when JB sashays in to ask if Sergei’s found her glasses yet. James tells them dinner is ready but JB has just noticed he is a former student of the college Ben was trying to get into. Wouldn’t you know it, he was the one who torpedoed the application.

Ben says the college was unaware of his police record, and so should not be considered for the medical school. (Still doesn’t mumble anything about the college being stricter than the US Supreme Court). JB is disgusted and produces some documents to prove it but James doesn’t care and storms out. Jessica leaves the papers on his desk and follows.

A short time later, as the party is winding down, there is a scream. Valerie has just found her father lying dead in a fountain in his Hidden Room of Treasures. Sergei and Jess rush to investigate, and it is quickly made apparent that the egg is missing. Lieutenant Perez is on the case and doesn’t like the idea of Russian involvement but Jessica assures him that Sergei is just attending the book fair.

(Intense not-mumbling about Russian involvement in things).

The murder weapon is located behind one of the pedestals (and I feel terrible but the actor who delivered his one line did it so earnestly that I sprayed tea everywhere).

The next day Jess tells Sergei she can’t cover up for him forever, and that there is no sign of the egg, or of Leo Stone. Jess suddenly remembers the papers she left on the desk were missing and rushes away. Back at the hotel Marcie and Charles have just discovered James’s death hasn’t changed their problems one jot, and to make things worse Leo’s on the phone begging to meet Marcie. She finds him down at the marina where he begs her for two grand to flee the country (he swears he didn’t kill James though). Marcie promises to get him the money.

Jess goes looking for Ben Peterson at Victor Roscoe’s office and finds Victor working the phones trying to find the money for Marcie and Charles. They mull over the events of the previous night, and Victor says he understands complicated father-son relationships. (Apparently, his Dad was a violin playing genius).

Over at House Harris, Jessica explains about the missing papers to Ben and Valerie but before she can start looking Lieutenant Perez arrives and has questions for everyone about everything ever. Ben confesses to the murder, but then Valerie says no I am Spartacus. Jess wanders into the Hidden Room of Treasure and notices a chain in the fountain. Perez fishes it out and notices it’s inscribed BP. Case closed, says Perez, when Ben says the chain is his. Jess calls shenanigans and later has just enough time to fill Sergei in before Perez pops up and decides to detain him too. Sergei is devastated and yells “Jessica, my brother!” before being shoved into the car.

Back at the hotel, while Marcie weeps over the loss of her last 5 grand being used to get Leo out of the country, Jess suddenly gets an idea about how to free Ben and tracks down Leo for his help.

Long story short (too late!)

Sure, why not.

Victor was apparently procuring the treasure for James’s Hidden Room of Treasure and… I guess he’d had enough? Wait, Leo was working for Victor? I swear I’ve watched this episode twice now and I’m still hazy on why anyone did anything. But I was considering photoshopping Jeff Goldblum into every screenshot of this episode, so that might have had something to do with it.

Until next time!

Onwards and upwards!