It’s Ghost time!
The good news is, there is an actual ghost loose in this episode and it’s haunting an old friend of JB’s by the name of Martin Tremaine, and is also a ghostly beekeeper probably.
Faced with the ghostly beekeeper, Martin calls JB in New York and asks her to come down to California to save him from the bees read his newest play. JB is neck deep in proofs for her next novel but Martin tells her to come anyway.
Martin is not short on opinions about his newest play. His friend and long-time director Barney Gunderson thinks it’s just a teeny bit too depressing to succeed, and actress Carol Kendall really thinks her character shouldn’t die in the second act.
Martin tells them this is the last play he will ever write, and so he doesn’t want it fixed just to sell more tickets. Barney tells him audiences need happy or they need hope. He goes over to a painting of Martin’s dead wife Vivian and says if she were here she’d say the same thing.
Martin rushes out of the room and bumps into his step-daughter Courtney, who demands to know why he hadn’t told her Jessica Fletcher was coming to stay, her uncle Alex is also coming and it’s a bit hard managing a house without all the facts (also bees). Martin tells her not to change her plans with Alex, he’s feeling tired and he’s just going to go to bed.
In his room, he discovers his late wife’s music box playing away in the darkness. He slams it shut and heads to the bathroom.
Jessica arrives at Carmel the next day, just in time for lunch and Martin’s favourite story about the time Richard Burton went to a dive bar dressed as a centurion because he’d run out of booze in his dressing room.
Lunch over, everyone adjourns into the next room for port. JB has a chat to Alex (that guy in that screencap), and tells him she’s sorry she couldn’t make it to Vivian’s funeral. He thanks her and says they were close, the only children. Jess says it’s nice he can be around for Courtney, and asks if he’s staying long but he tells her he has to get back to San Francisco the next day. Martin shuffles over and hands her his play to read.
Later that afternoon, JB has finished the script and has some very definite opinions about it. She is soon joined by Lisa Ryder (the chick who was ghosting way back at the start of this episode) and her friend (and local cop, sure this won’t come up at all) Joe Connors. He quickly excuses himself to get back to work, but Lisa sits down for a chat with JB, who is frankly impressed at how well Lisa copes with being blind. Lisa says she struggled for a long time after the car accident that cost her her sight, but Martin was kind enough to let her stay on the property and she spends most of her time sculpting now and tells Jess to stop by the cottage any time to see her work.
Jess sits down with Martin to discuss the play – Jess is worried about Martin, even more so since she can quite clearly tell that the character of Mallory in the play is clearly based on him. Martin tells her he has struggled to cope since Vivian died, but that he knows that that it’s the last play he will ever write – he is going insane. Jess tells him people who are insane are usually the last to know about it, but he says it’s true. Vivian has come back to haunt him, because he killed her. Jess tells him Vivian committed suicide but Martin won’t be moved. He is responsible for her death and now he’s paying the price.
Uncle Alex bids Courtney and JB farewell, he’s heading back up to San Francisco. As he drives away, Jess tells Courtney she’s worried about Martin but Courtney says he’s been normal – older, since her mother died but it’s understandable. JB says Vivian’s death must have been hard on her too and Courtney says more than you could imagine. Jess nods then excuses herself – she has proofs to read.
JB’s quest to find the perfect proof-reading spot is interrupted by the arrival of a Big Dog.
The dog’s owner, General Shark, appears to inform JB that she is trespassing on his property, Martin’s property ends at the tree and to tell Martin not to bother sending infiltrating troops, his property is well defended.
That night, Courtney is in her room with her husband Philip, who is telling her to be nicer to her step-father, he’s leaving them everything in his will. Courtney tells him she’s seen the will and his name isn’t in it. Undeterred, Philip offers to help her relax (ew) and Courtney tells him she has things to do downstairs, and leaves. Meanwhile, JB and Martin are kicking back with a cup of tea and a brandy, and JB tells Martin she really thinks he should see a doctor. Martin tells her he’ll think about it and she bids him good night.
Martin finishes his brandy and adjourns to his room, only to discover the music box playing again. He smashes it against the wall, but then notices the bathroom door handle turning. The door opens and a figure emerges.
The figure crosses the room, points at Martin and then departs, closing the door behind her. That’s one polite beekeeping ghost.
Jess hears Martin yelling and rushes to his aid. Martin starts babbling about seeing Vivian again but Jess tells him she saw noone on the stairs. Courtney comes in and asks if he’s having another bad dream and he tells her yes, it must have been. Jess asks her if she saw anyone on the stairs but she says no. Courtney gives Martin a sleeping pill and says they all just need a good nights sleep.
Of course that was never going to happen. JB hasn’t even gotten her pjs on when there’s more screaming, this time outside. She races downstairs and bumps into Barney before opening the front door to find Lisa standing there, beside herself. She’s too traumatised to give them much so Barney and JB go to investigate her cottage and find Philip, Courtney’s husband, dead on the floor with a knife wound in his back.
Carmel’s finest roll in to start investigating, but Lisa doesn’t have much to tell them. She woke to hear a noise in her cottage, then heard a thud and a gasp, before she managed to get out of the cottage (not before tripping over something on the way). She also thinks her clay cutting knife is missing, but JB didn’t see it when she came in later and Joe Connor was unable to find it either. Joe’s boss, Sheriff McAlister wants to know why Philip was in the cottage to begin with but Lisa has no idea – he had come a couple of times during the day to say hi but that was it. Courtney also has no idea what her husband was doing there – she only realised when she woke up when the screaming started that he hadn’t come to bed. Martin staggers into the room bellowing that Vivian is trying to kill Lisa and collapses into a chair.
Later, JB pops in to the Sheriff’s office to get the latest and to find out more about Vivian’s suicide. The Sheriff tells her they don’t really know why she did it, but they did know Martin had a wandering eye, and the suicide itself was nasty – Vivian slit her own throat with a razor blade in Martin’s bathroom. JB mentions that Martin had been taking sleeping pills and asks the Sheriff if he could analyse them and he says sure thing. Joe Connors drives her back to the house and tells her he thinks Courtney did it – from what he’d seen Philip had his eyes on Lisa, but Lisa told Joe she wasn’t interested in dating anyone. Joe thinks she’s still getting over losing her sight.
As Joe drops Jess back at the house Uncle Alex rolls up. He asks if it’s true and Jess says she’s afraid so. Alex asks her if they know who killed Martin and she asks him just what he’s been told. He tells her that he had a message that there was a murder, but that’s it. Jess tells him Philip was murdered, not Martin and Alex rushes into the house. JB follows him in to ask some more questions. It turns out Alex isn’t Martin’s biggest fan on account of Vivian caught him in bed with Lisa on the day she committed suicide. Oh d-d-d-dear.
That night was both dark and stormy…
…so Jess goes to check on Lisa at the cottage to check out her sculpture/interrogate her. Jess’s theory is confirmed when Lisa tells her that Martin was driving the car in the crash that cost her her sight. They had been having an affair but it ended when Vivian committed suicide. In a suspicious move, JB moves the kettle to a different burner to see if Lisa notices and she does – she tells JB it’s because she could feel the heat. Awkward. The rain starts bucketing down and JB decides to close the window, noticing a footprint and traces of terracotta on the window sill. She asks Lisa if her sculpture was damaged and she says it was cracked but is easily repaired. She keeps it wet to stop it from drying out.
The lights go out and then Jessica notices someone trying to get in the front door. They smash the panes of glass and JB activates her battle plan.
Jess and Lisa are saved by the arrival of Joe Connors, who came to check on Lisa when the power went out and saw someone running away as he pulled up. Good old Joe.
The next day Jess pops in for a chat with Sheriff McAlister and learns that a) Joe was on night shift the night of Philips murder, b) the pills that Courtney said were to help Martin sleep were in fact a powerful anti-depressant and c) Courtney is in line to score it all if Martin dies. JB thinks they should search Martin’s property to see what’s up. JB has a theory that Philip wasn’t the intended victim, and that the killer came back to the cottage the previous night to retrieve something he had left behind. At the cottage they find nothing until JB asks Lisa if her sculpture is hollow – it is, Lisa says, to allow the terracotta to dry evenly.
Back at the main house they’ve made a discovery in Courtney’s wardrobe – a ghostly beekeeping outfit. Courtney says it’s just a keepsake, but when they also mention they found her sedatives in Martin’s medicine container she comes clean. She wanted Martin to suffer for what he did to her mother, but when they accuse her of killing Philip by mistake she just shakes her head and says she won’t speak without legal advice from Uncle Alex.
Unfortunately for Courtney, Uncle Alex is just a little busy at the moment.
They bust him trying to extract the knife from the sculpture, but they’d beaten him to it.
The important thing is, the bees were innocent. And I for one welcome our bee overlords, may they be eternally benevolent and not the kind that shoot electricity at people after being hit by lightening which is totally a thing.