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S08E20 – Angel of Death

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It’s Ghost time!

My singing brings all the boys to the yard

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.

BEES?

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.

Completely unbiased opinion, naturally.

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.

GHOST BEES!

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.

WHEN BEES WORK TOGETHER THEY ARE AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE

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.

To be fair, I don’t think there’s a story about Richard Burton that isn’t true.

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.

(This is also my reaction when I see someone on my Facebook posting support for Pauline Hanson)

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.

Hashtag crackpot.

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 WORST KIND OF BEES

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…

What happens if a bee gets struck by lightening? OMG TURBO ELECTRIC BEES

…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.

Guys I don’t think this is bees.

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.

Busy going to jail, that is.

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.

Happy Easter Fletcherfans!

 

S08E13 – Incident in Lot 7

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We’re in Hollyweird this week Fletcherfans, where JB has just rolled up to Universal City Studios meet the people who want to turn her most recent book into a movie.

Side note, I love it when an actor name is also a subtitle.

AMAZING NAME

AMAZING NAME

Turns out that woman opening the car door to greet Our Heroine is the aforementioned parked Lincoln, today playing Carolyn Price, the secretary of the producer Daryl Heyward. She’s been sent to escort JB through the lot to a meeting.

b2

*violins intensify*

*violins intensify*

At the meeting, JB meets Daryl, his agent Willy Montego, and the writer hired to adapt the screenplay, John Cavershaw.

e2

*intense violin intensifies*

*intense violin intensifies*

JB tells Daryl her publisher was impressed with his persistence, and asks him whether he thinks there will be any creative problems adapting the book. He says that’s John’s purview and John tells her he’s got a few fixes to do…

g2

…fixes meaning, making things more visual for the screen.

Daryl’s watch beeps, he has to be somewhere in 20 minutes. He’s set up a lunch meeting between JB and John to discuss the script, which gives JB just enough time to check into the hotel. Willie tells her she hopes she will enjoy herself – on the lot they are just one big happy family.

Cut to a bottle being thrown at Daryl’s head by the movie’s star, Leonora Holt.

Shiny shirt is shiny.

Shiny shirt is shiny.

Seems fair.

Seems fair.

The reason for the bottle smashing is a report in the paper that says that Leonora’s creepy nemesis Kevin Maxwell is going to be in the movie, but Daryl swears it isn’t true, and that the actor probably planted the story himself to try and get on the cast. Leonora cautiously believes him, and promises to come to the set later that day to meet JB.

Across town, on the set of Baywatch…

No seriously, don't. (Did you guys know the Hoff once played Nick Fury? And I thought we were living in the upside down now...)

No seriously, don’t. (Did you guys know the Hoff once played Nick Fury? And I thought we were living in the Upside Down now…)

…Daryl is on the phone to his secretary to tell Kevin Maxwell’s agent that if his client opens his mouth again there will be trouble, he was only offered the role on the proviso he kept it quiet. Daryl also says he won’t be back in the office for a bit, he has an errand to run.

Over at the lot, JB and John Caversham are having lunch and discussing his plans for the movie, which is based on a true story. Caversham thinks they don’t need to do much, just add a couple of car chases, 2 or 3 more murders and they’ll have to change the ending, audiences won’t pay five dollars to go and see it if they’ve already read the book and know who the killer is.

*aggressively intense violins intensify*

*aggressively intense violins intensify*

FIVE DOLLARS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It costs 25 dollars to go see a movie! Damn I miss 90s prices.

l2

Tonight, on Plots, They Murdered...

Tonight, on Plots They Murdered…

Daryl, meanwhile, is about to do his errand.

Blergh,

Blergh,

Back at the lot though, a little old man is sneaking into a shrubbery in a truck.

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.

Jess has given up on explaining to John what a nonce he is, so he has delivered her to the head of production, Ben Miller for a tour of the lot. As they walk, Ben asks JB if she thinks evil is a real thing. For example, say you spend a lot of money to convince the world that something is evil – does it then become evil?

JB thinks it depends on what it is.

“That,” says Ben, and points.

*aggressively intense violins get all up in your grill*

*aggressively intense violins get all up in your grill*

That, as I’m sure you know, is the Psycho house. Home of the originator of on-screen mummy issues, Norman Bates. Naturally JB wants to get in there and have a poke about, but alas it’s locked up tight. Ben promises to get the key tomorrow so they can go in and take a look around. As they leave JB sees a shadowy figure cross the window, but decides she’s imagining it.

Daryl has finished doing his errand (ERGH), and decides it’s the end of the line. She’s married to one of his biggest investors, she’s got kids, it’s all too complicated. He launches into a speech about Darwin’s theory of evolution and she points out he didn’t think it was complicated when she was convincing her husband to invest in Daryl’s company when it was about to go broke. Daryl tells her he’s grateful, they’ll do lunch.

Back at the lot, Carolyn introduces JB to Leonora Holt, who is thrilled when she discovers that the book is based on a true story and she will be playing JB (how she didn’t work this out until now is in fact a mystery). She can’t wait to spend all her time with JB picking her brain, finding out about her life and her work, how she investigates murders, how she dresses, she wants to make the role as true to life as she can. She’ll have to learn all those words like moxy and hood and how to put someone on ice. She wonders if she will have to learn to type…

Not thrilled about this development I think.

Not thrilled about this development I think.

Faced with the overwhelming omnishambles that this production is turning into, JB goes to Daryl and says she would rather withdraw her book from the deal rather than see it eviscerated. Daryl tells her sure, no problem, they’ll get rid of John Cavershaw, he never wanted him anyway (which is news to Leonora, she always thought Daryl liked him.) Daryl has a brainwave – JB should write the script and he’ll set up a brains trust of people to help her through the learning curve and then that way Leonora can spend more time learning about her character.

“Oh no, I really wouldn’t want to impose.” JB says through gritted teeth.

That night, as Carolyn and Daryl are leaving, Daryl’s errand rolls up. Turns out her name is Monica. She’s not thrilled with the way things ended, and when Daryl tells her right now isn’t the best time or place to be discussing it she suggests they go to his place, to see what his wife thinks about it all. Daryl sees no reason for her to know, but Monica thinks there’s plenty – so she can hurt him the way he hurt her. Daryl says it will happen over his dead body and Monica tells him that suits her down to the ground.

After a clearly bad nights sleep Daryl arrives at work and tells Ben Miller he’s being let go for cost cutting reasons. Ben swears he won’t leave and Daryl tells him he can either leave with dignity and a month’s pay or leave with security. Ben tells him this ain’t over. At lunch Jess runs into Daryl and Willie at the commissary and says she’s looking for Ben so they can finish the tour of the Bates House. Daryl says Ben’s not available just now, but he’d be delighted to finish the tour with her and arranges to meet her at the Bates Hotel at 3 o’clock. As Jess leaves, Roger the Shrubber peers up over a menu.

That afternoon Daryl lets himself into the Bates House. JB arrives a little while later and sees a figure move in front of one of the windows. She goes inside and finds Daryl dead on the floor.

*aggressively intense violins start throwing chairs around and swearing profusely*

*aggressively intense violins start throwing chairs around and swearing profusely*

The police rock up and…excuse me I have something in my eye…

He's so young in this!

He’s so young in this!

Lieutenant Hanrahan listens as JB points out a few details in the crime scene, like a weird blood smear, but they are soon interrupted by Carolyn who would like a private word with the lieutenant. JB politely leaves them too it and joins the rest of the staff in the office. Ben comes in with a shaken Willy, who collapses on the couch.

The shoes are a thing, I'll get back to them.

The shoes are a thing, I’ll get back to them.

Lieutenant Hanrahan arrives just in time to hear Ben Miller say he’s not sorry Daryl’s dead, and asks him to go into much greater detail. Afterwards, he goes to see Daryl’s errand Monica to find out more about this fight she and Daryl had that Carolyn overheard,  and Monica says she didn’t kill Daryl and Carolyn was probably making the whole thing up.

Back at the office, Jess is worried that Daryl was killed because of the movie, but Willy says he doesn’t know anything about anything. Leonora thinks this is the perfect time to practice her 1940s noir detective words she’s learnt and starts demanding information.

Leonora is like Daniel Day Lewis when it comes to method acting.

Leonora is like Daniel Day Lewis when it comes to method acting, probably.

Leonora takes her self off to practice more gangster words, and JB asks if Willy knew anyone else who would try and hurt Daryl. Willie says he gave the list of names to Lieutenant Hanrahan who told him to keep it confidential. JB understands, and says at least he got to see Daryl right before. He tells her they were in the commissary finishing the paperwork on his new agent contract, Willy was going to rep Daryl for another 2 years. Meanwhile, Carolyn is fielding calls and barely notices when Roger the Shrubber comes in to ask when Leonora will be in again. She tells him she won’t be back til the afternoon but the phone rings again and Roger says that’s okay, he can wait, and goes into the office.

Jess gets back to her hotel room, a bit tuckered out if I’m honest, and suddenly realises the news is on. She catches the tail end of the report and then starts channel surfing and wouldn’t you know, Psycho is playing on another channel. She watches on with interest as Detective Arbogast (played by Martin Balsam who was in these episodes of Murder She Wrote) gets stabbed by Mrs Bates and go tumbling down the stairs, before a knock at the door brings her back to reality. It’s John Cavershaw, who decided JB was right and has written up some new treatments for the movie. JB asks him if Daryl had said anything to him about the script and John says no. He also reveals that Daryl never wanted Leonora in the role, and so had hired Kevin Maxwell to be in the movie in the hope she would quit.

Back at the studio Leonora denies the rumour that she wasn’t first choice, or that she had any issue with Kevin Maxwell, but then JB is called away to the phone. While Leonora waits, she gets a visitor from Roger the Shrubber, who turns out to be her number 1 fan.

Poor Roger isn't playing with a full deck of cards.

Obvious shrubber.

After some deft work from JB Roger is contained and taken to the police station. The gun turns out to be a prop from Leonora’s first movie that he wanted to give her, possibly in exchange for dinner. But he knew nothing about Daryl’s death – he left his Bates House hideout to go and get food and when he came back there was a body on the floor and the house was talking to him.

Poor Roger

Poor Roger

(For the record Roger’s real name is Oliver, but whatever he’s Roger the Shrubber).

JB has one last question – did Roger notice any papers on the body when he went back? Roger tells her yes, a whole heap of blue pages. Hanrahan says they weren’t there when the police arrived and Jess no. She knows what’s going on now.

Later that Ben Miller goes to see Willie to beg him to tell JB not to go back to the Bates House that night. Willy asks him why she’s going and Ben says she told him she was going to make the house talk to her.

JB arrives at the dark deserted house and heads inside. A quick test of the pipes in the kitchen and the bathroom upstairs reveal all JB needed to know, just as the killer walks in.

Oh dear. (Also, not the first time there's been a willie of death it turns out.)

Oh dear. (Also, not the first time there’s been a willie of death it turns out.)

Turns out Ben Miller wasn’t the only person who got the boot that day. Willie was being let go too, so he bumped off Daryl, slipped in some blood, went all over the Bates House looking for water to clean his shoes and THAT’S WHY HIS SHOES ARE TWO DIFFERENT COLOURS LIKE THAT TIME UP THERE WHEN I SAID I’D GET BACK TO THE SHOES JOB DONE.

Case closed kids. Time for me to have a coffee.

*cue the violins*

*cue the violins*

 

S08E07 – Terminal Connection

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…and so Our Heroine returned to Earth after successfully solving the murder of the captain on the space station and there was much rejoicing.

USS Cabot Cove is about to land.

USS Cabot Cove is about to land.

I kid. That isn’t a space shuttle, or a weird looking sky frog sent to destroy Earth, it is in fact a private jet belonging to Clark Blanchard, who has picked Jess up in LA to take her back to Santa Barbara to help he and his wife, children’s book author Ginny, celebrate their five year anniversary.

They arrive just in time for a polo match, and while Clark struts around on his horse being all manly JB and Ginny chow down on some picnic snacks and chat to Ginny’s son Scott, who when asked why he isn’t out playing polo with his step father declares that competing with Clark Blanchard is like having a deathwish. Wrong show to be making that declaration boy-o.

Clark drops by to wallow in his own crapulence, and request that his vice-president of operations, Greg Franklin, fill in for an injured player on the opposing team, an idea Greg doesn’t look too thrilled with. His wife Alison joins Jess and Ginny, and tells them that being vice president means doing whatever Clark says. Jess says she thinks it’s very noble for Greg to fill in for an injured opposing player and Alison says polo is a gentleman’s game -at least on the surface.

...

We read you loud and clear Alison.

The polo game kicks off and Greg ends up on the ground thanks to some Clark Blanchard mad dog skills. Ugh.

Later that night…

Or as it became known around here, "that thing we couldn't see because of all the damn clouds why isn't it summer already?"

Or as it became known around here, “that thing we couldn’t see because of all the damn clouds why isn’t it summer already?”

…the anniversary party is in full swing. Clark gives Ginny a swanky bracelet and an apology – he has to go back to LA the next day for a business meeting. Jess urges Ginny’s son Scott to dance with all da single ladies, and promptly gets hit on by local policeman Paul Stratton. Jess tells him it’s not the first time she’s been picked up by a policeman (ZING) and he demands more information, over dinner, or breakfast or a something. Meanwhile Clark is informing Dane Kenderson that he has just taken over their company, and is about to make a move on Alison (and says something about fillies liking to be ridden hard EW EW EW EW EW) before her husband Greg wanders in to ask for a dance.

Later that night, JB is kicking back and rubbing her feet when she hears loud voices. Ginny comes rushing in, her dressing gown ripped and her lip bleeding. Jess is horrified, and asks if Clark did this to her, and Ginny says it’s okay, he was drunk and she probably deserved it.

Fun fact: Sean Connery did this interview where he said that sometimes hitting  a woman is justified. So screw you Connery, you are now my least favourite Bond.

Fun fact: Sean Connery did an interview where he said that sometimes hitting a woman is justified. So screw you Connery, you are now my least favourite Bond. (You can find it on Youtube but I’m not going to link to it, because of course the comments section makes me want to set something on fire)

Ginny asks Jess to forget the whole thing, but Jess tells her that’s not going to happen.

The next day, over breakfast, Ginny tells Jess the story of her relationship with Clark, and how he hits her when he’s had too much to drink but that he always feels so bad afterwards. She can’t help feeling that she’s done something wrong.

“It’s not your fault Ginny. It’s a sickness. It’s Clark’s sickness. Your only fault is in allowing it to continue. I’m not going to try and tell you what to do, because I’m not an expert on wife battery and there are people who are trained in these matters, but I’m going to tell you something very plainly. There are only two things you can do – seek professional advice or leave the relationship.”

SHE IS THE BEST.

SHE IS THE BEST.

That evening Ginny and JB have dinner and run into Greg and Alison Franklin. JB thinks everyone has dinner early in Santa Barbara but Greg says he’s had a phone call from Clark and he has to get a flight up to San Francisco. Alison asks Ginny to tell Clark to stop working Greg so hard, but Ginny says Clark doesn’t listen to her on business matters. Later that night, when JB is getting ready for bed, she sees Ginny drive in and come running up the stairs.

The next morning, Scott is at Clark’s beach house(?) (for some reason), and finds the door open, blood everywhere, including on a handbag, and the body of Clark Blanchard sitting in the car. Down at the police station Lieutenant Stratton takes charge of the investigation and calls Scott and Ginny in. He tells them the handbag they found was Ginnys and asks her what happened, since Clark was supposed to be in Los Angeles. Ginny tells them she went round to the beach house to get a book she wanted to read, Clark was there and she only stayed a few minutes. She must have left the purse behind then.

JB takes herself down to the crime scene, and Stratton runs her through it – from what they can tell, someone came up from the beach, whacked Clark with the fireplace poker and left his body in the car. Meanwhile, Ginny tells company lawyer Margo Saunders what she couldn’t tell Lieutenant Stratton – that Clark had been drinking, and that when she arrived he accused her of following him and then hit her when she said she would call the police. Margo says that isn’t enough, they will have a better shot if they plead self-defence (Clark deserved it anyway). Lieutenant Stratton arrives and arrests Ginny on suspicion of murder.  Across town, Dane Kenderson pops into Alison’s house to tell her that unless Greg supports his bid to get control of the Blanchard company, he will tell Greg about Alison’s affair with Clark.

The more I think about this more confused I am. And I’m not even kidding, two famous people have died since I started writing this post. 2016 is out for blood.

JB is determined to proof Ginny didn’t kill Clark and goes down to the precinct to talk to Lieutenant Stratton about it, but he won’t listen unless she agrees to lunch with him at the polo club. Jesus, calm down dude. Jess asks him if he knew about Clark hitting Ginny and he says he didn’t know until Margo told him, and it will definitely help her defense although it would help more if she’d made a complaint against him. The trouble is the evidence suggests that Ginny left Clark to die without calling for help.

Jessica’s next stop is Ginny and Scott. Scott believes Ginny will get off, and when Jess tells him she doesn’t think Ginny killed Clark he is quick to name a whole list of people who hated Clark, including Dane Kenderson. Ginny is apologising for everything, but when Jessica tries to ask her if Ginny is covering for someone else, Margo apperates and orders Ginny not to say another word – in case Jess gets called to testify.

In light of Scott’s theory, Jess goes to see Dane Kenderson, who she finds sneakily rummaging through files in the Blanchard office.

And for once it isn't Grady.

And for once it isn’t Grady.

Kenderson tells her that yes he is in a better position now that Clark is dead, but that he was on the phone to Toyko all night the night of the murder, and that frankly if they want to investigate someone they should look into Greg Franklin in case he found out that Clark was banging his wife (paraphrasing). Jessica says that she thought Greg was in San Francisco, but Dane says that’s not what he heard.

Jess reports her findings to Stratton, but he tells her Margo is down at the DA’s office organising Ginny’s plea deal, so it doesn’t really matter whether Greg Franklin has a motive or Dane Kenderson was really on the phone. Scott Blanchard bursts in and announces that he killed Clark and to let his mother go.

JB and Stratton don’t believe him, and head back to the beach house to look for more clues. JB is beginning to develop a theory regarding what happened – it seems that someone might have come to the beach house after Ginny left, there was a struggle, Clark got hit with a poker, and then the killer took Clark to his car, but Clark died. A quick hit of the redial button on the beachhouse phone confirms JB”s theory.

That old tale.

That old tale.

So it was a case of self defence after all. It was just the mistress, not the wife.

And so Our Heroine returned to Cabot Cove after successfully solving the murder of the pond scum who got drunk and beat women and there was much rejoicing.

Later Fletcherfans

Later Fletcherfans!

S07E21 – Tainted Lady

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Welcome to Dry Wells California Fletcherfans, where people are having heart attacks and Patrick Swayze’s brother is riding around town like he’s Patrick Swaze’s brother.

And he's blaming it on youuuuuuuuu

And he’s blaming it on youuuuuuuuu

Swayze Jr (who’s name in this is Edge Potter, what even is that?) is about to be escorted out of the cafe by owner Ellen Wicker, to try and put a stop to the bickering between Edge and regular patron Ross Corman. Once the Edge has been taken off (heh heh he), talk turns to the death of Jake Gerringer, who died the previous evening of a heart attack. Over at the doctor’s office, however, Ross’s wife Laura is copping a lashing from her boss Dr Logan for ordering tests on Jake Gerringer’s body, but is proven right when the lab calls to tell Dr Logan Gerringer died of arsenic poisoning. Logan puts a call through to the Sheriff, Deloy Hayes, to let him know.

Let the record show that the role of Deloy Hayes is being played by Eric Cartman, who is being played by Gary Lockwood from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Also seen in Murder She Wrote.

Bahaha you can see the lighting rig in his sunglasses I don’t know why that’s so funny.

On hearing news of the arsenic poisoning, Deloy takes it upon himself to head over to Ellen’s cafe to look around. If you’re thinking that’s a bit of a leap, you’d be right, but it turns out that Ellen was once put on trial for murdering her husband but was found not guilty thanks to some detective work by Ellen’s writer friend (whomever could he be referring to?). Deloy tells Ellen she got lucky once, but this ain’t no Boston and it ain’t no country club either.

Seeing the Fletch-signal in the sky, JB hurries down to California, where she is met by Ellen’s lawyer Herb Apple (what is with the character names in this episode?). Their arrival in Dry Wells just happens to coincide with Ross asking his wife out to lunch only to cop the response “the Health Authority have closed Ellen’s restaurant, and the Sheriff has Ellen, so is that why you’re out patrolling main street? ” Or words to that effect.

JB’s first stop in Dry Wells is to see Ellen in the lock-up, who is overjoyed to see Our Heroine. She tells JB that she should never have come back to Dry Wells, it’s not the same as when she grew up there – the tannery closed after the earthquake, everyone lost their jobs and it’s becoming a ghost town. Also, she didn’t poison Jake Gerringer. She tells Jess not to expect any help from the sheriff just as he appears to inform JB visiting hours are over, Ellen has to go over to the courthouse to be arraigned. Excellent, says JB. I’ll come too and post Ellen’s bail.

Bail posted, Jess, Ellen and Herb try to leave but run into the local angry mob.

CRAZY SWAYZE EYES

CRAZY SWAYZE EYES

They make it to the car, which the angry mob starts shaking because THEY ARE ANGRY THEY ARE MOB. Across the street one of the sheriff’s deputies suggests they should go and do something before someone gets hurt but Deloy The Douchebag thinks they are just letting their feelings be known, it’s the American way.

Deloy the Douchebag would later have his own reality TV show, start wearing an albino squirrel on his head and  try to become president of the United States. #metaphorical

Deloy the Douchebag would later have his own reality TV show, start wearing a dead albino squirrel on his head and try to become president of the United States. I mean, what?

JB and Ellen arrive home, where the abuse starts up again, this time via phone. Fortunately for Ellen, JB knows how to take care of business.

“Look if you’re trying to shock us, you’re only betraying your ignorance. We’ve all heard words like this and usually with a good deal more originality.”

*mic drop*

*mic drop*

Alright time out. Have I ever told you guys about the three greatest things I’ve done in my life so far? They are

3) Kicked a netball to score a goal from the centre of the court at the end of a PE lesson in year 10 (noone saw this, remain devastated about it)

2)  Won 3o grand on Deal or No Deal in 2005 despite having a hangover that could only be described as biblical.

1). The year was 2007. I was home alone one afternoon. The landline rings. I assume it’s my mother, so I pick up the phone and say “Hello?” without really listening. Then I realised it was a man’s voice I didn’t recognise and say “I’m sorry, what?”

The man on the end of the phone says “Hi, I was wondering if you’d like to come round and play with my 12 inch cock.”

WITHOUT EVEN TAKING A BREATH I say “Well surely if it’s 12 inches then you can go fuck yourself.”

I hang up the phone. I do several laps of my house singing We Are The Champions while declaring myself to be the greatest human being that ever lived. 

The end.

JB gives Ellen a pep talk and tells her that she will stick around to straighten the whole thing out, and Ellen has nothing to be scared or sorry about. She asks Ellen about Jake Gerringer’s daughter Doris. Ellen tells her she doesn’t really know Doris all that well, but that she’s kind of mousy and plain although apparently she’s been dressing kind of oddly lately.

Nah though.

Sweetie sweetie sweetie sweetie

Sweetie sweetie sweetie sweetie

Mmkay mmkay.

Mmkay mmkay.

Apparently Doris is practicing for the life she’s going to live in Hollywood once she gets her father’s insurance money by having champagne and caviar at 10am. Doris tells JB that Ellen was her best friend in high school and they both worked for Jake until Ellen was fired for stealing money from the til, and she shouldn’t have killed her father, but she already got away with it once in Boston, and Doris will have to buy something good to wear for the trial she’d make an excellent witness.

(That was the look on my face after I kicked the netball through the hoop in PE.)

(That was the look on my face after I kicked the netball through the hoop in PE.)

Sheriff Douchebag, who had apparently tailed JB to the Gerringer house and is sitting in his car surveilling the place, gets a call over the radio to say that Katie Emhardt has come in to say she thinks her husband was also poisoned. He heads back to the station to get the whole story – apparently the original cause of death was declared to be a heart condition, but Katie says there were no heart tablets in the bathroom and that before he died he was clutching his stomach in agony.

Deloy the Douchebag heads over to the doctor’s office to suss it out and gets Laura to look at Walter Emhardt’s medical file. It turns out there was no mention of a heart condition, and when Deloy notices how much the time of death on Walter’s certificate cuts into Doc Logan’s gambling in Laughlin time, he suspects the Doc might not have been super thorough. He gets on the radio to arrange to get the body dug up.

Back at Ellen’s house JB asks about Ellen getting fired and she says she was never caught, someone told Jake that she was taking money and he reported it to the police. (Someone like Doris maybe, says JB). While she was in holding, then-deputy Deloy the Douchebag offered to make it all go away, how much of it would go away would depend on how friendly Ellen was. It was only when Herb Apple arrived to say Jake was dropping the charges that Deloy backed off. The next day Ellen left town, but Deloy the Douchebag hasn’t changed a single solitary jot.

The body of Walter Emhardt is dug up and sent over to the pathology lab. Deloy tells Herb Apple to pass on a message to JB – get out of his way or get out of his town. Edge Potter takes it upon himself to deliver the message by menacing JB while she’s out and about and suggesting JB might get hurt. Just as he declares he will take JB to the bus station himself sirens start blaring – Deputy Ray Gomez had been sent by Deloy to checkup on Jessica but is in time to stop the Edge from going too far.

That night, Ross Corman invites himself over to Ellen’s, allegedly for a glass of wine and to tell her about Walter Emhardt, but when he starts forcing himself on her Ellen starts to scream. Fortunately JB is there to save the day and Ross scurries away into the night. A rock flies through the window, and when Jess goes to investigate she finds the words KILLER spray-painted across the house.

Herb Apple arrives soon after to help clean up and to warn them that Walter Emhardt did die from arsenic poisoning. He also puts himself in charge of fielding prank calls, to questionable effect.

Although I'm seeing the method in his madness.

Although I’m seeing the method in his madness.

Later that night, Ross Corman dies in a method of acting that could only be described as over.

(Full disclosure: I love William Shatner)

(Full disclosure: I love William Shatner)

Ross calls for his wife, who calls the sheriff’s office hysterical. The police and the doc both arrive but Ross is 100% dead. Laura tells them that Ross had been out at a business meeting, came home sloshed, and then started howling in agony. The Sheriff gets a call about a hot tip they received at the sheriff’s office – Ross Corman had been at Ellen’s house. He heads on over to arrest Ellen and confiscate the wine bottle and orders JB to stay out of his business.

Someone is about to get Fletchered.

Someone is about to get Fletchered.

Jess goes to tell Herb about the latest developments, and stares longingly at the coffee machine.

 

JB LOOKS AT COFFEE THE SAME WAY I DO

JB LOOKS AT COFFEE THE SAME WAY I DO

While she stares at the coffee pot, she has an idea about what’s behind all the death in Dry Wells, and it’s not a psychopath.

Life Lesson #62: Coffee will answer your questions.

Jess goes to see Katie Emhardt for a peek into her husbands files – Walter worked at the tannery before it closed down after the earthquake flattened it. Katie tells her she looked in the files when JB called her and there’s no mention of Ellen in there – just a whole bunch of records and memos about closing the plant.

“Including what to do with the toxic waste?” Asks JB.

BOOM.

Over at the sheriff’s office Deloy the Douchebag comes into the cells. His staff have orders not to disturb them. He and Ellen need to come to an understanding.

ARGH HE IS CREEPY I JUST WANT TO PUNCH MY TELEVISION.

ARGH HE IS CREEPY I JUST WANT TO PUNCH MY TELEVISION.

Fortunately for Ellen and my television, one of Douchebag’s deputies comes in – there’s something on the TV the sheriff needs to see – Captain Planet and the Planeteers JB and some Save the Planet volunteers are digging up at the old tannery. The sheriff slams his hat on his head and goes over there to arrest them all…

q2

 

It doesn’t go well…

r2

JB explains that they’re there to find toxic waste that might have leaked into the water after the earthquake. He doesn’t believe it, but the planeteers are on the case and voila!

t2

s2

Case closed? Hell no! JB says there’s no doubt that one of the victims was murdered, and she wants to know just what Deloy is willing to do to prove it.

Herb and JB head over to the doctor’s office – Doc Logan tells them that Walter and Jake had preexisting conditions that would have made them much more susceptible to the poison while people like Doris were fine. Ross Corman on the other hand wasn’t even drinking contaminated water.

Or was he?

(He was).

Whomp there it is.

Whomp there it is.

That would explain why she called the sheriff and not the doctor. She was sick of being treated like a ATM.

Stay tuned for the season 7 finale next week! Only *gulp* 5 more seasons to go! Remind me why I thought this was a good idea again?

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

 

S06E04 – The Error Of Her Ways

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Welcome to sunny Palm Springs Fletcherfans, where JB has travelled to meet with her accountant and solve the murder of Clark Randall – his wife Marian bumped him off and has just been arrested by Lieutenant JT Hanna, aka Elliot Gould who when he was young looked like Eric Bogosian and I am still confused about who is who and when is when but anyway the point is Marian’s sister Linda Dixon declares it’s ridiculous to arrest Marian based on the farfetched hypothesis of some meddling mystery writer.

Shots fired.

Shots fired.

Clark Randall, so it was thought, had been killed by an intruder after speaking to his wife on the phone earlier to invite everyone around for steaks. His watch had been stolen, but JB noticed the blinking light on the answering machine, indicating a message. By the time JB goes to the kitchen and brings a glass of water back for Marian the light has stopped blinking.

Marian denies everything, but has no explanation for how Clark could have answered her call when JB’s accountant called almost immediately after and got no answer on the phone. To top it all off, JT tells her the bullet in her husband matches a bullet retrieved from a man who’d been shot after trying to break into Clark and Marian’s about a year earlier – both bullets were fired from the same gun.

Case closed, JT tells JB that he’s impressed with her call about the blinking answering machine light and tells her to stop by his office the next day to take a deposition about the case. JB tells him she and her accountant were not planning to fly out for several days.

The next day over at the town bank a meeting of the minds is taking place – it’s just been discovered that all the money about to be invested in a new housing development being overseen by Clark Randall has disappeared, and they now have a little over 300 dollars with which to build a golf course and houses.

Awkward.

Over in the police station Marian is freaking the hell out, a situation not helped when Linda informs Marian that there’s no money in the account to bail her out. Linda tries to get Marian to think about what assets she can use as bond, but Marian says Clark was her only asset (ew). Linda tells her they need to find the money or else she’ll remain in jail until the trial but Marian says she’ll die first.

The following day, JB is in an investors meeting finding out what has happened to the money. Home-buyer Pauline Byrne is disgusted to learn that the suppliers get their money back before the home-owners do, while one of the older ladies who’d invested her late husband’s life insurance is convinced that dear old Clarksey couldn’t have stolen the money, prompting JT to inform her that she wasn’t the only one of Randall’s female clients who called him Clarksey.

JB’s mind is somewhere else. In fact, I couldn’t decide where it was, so at this point you may choose.

Oh captain my captain.

Oh captain my captain.

Haha I can't believe I got this into an episode, you're welcome Krystle.

Haha I can’t believe I got this into an episode, you’re welcome Krystle.

With JB’s accountant Ward Silloway apologising profusely for the omnishambles, JT offers JB a lift home. On the way he informs her that Marian made bail, courtesy of her sister who put up her house as collateral. The DA offered Marian murder 2 but she refused it.

Can you think of a single reason why not? Damn straight you can't.

Can you think of a single reason why not? Damn straight you can’t.

It must have been a big week for you, JT says to JB. “I bet you’ve never seen a corpse before.”

e1

JT gets a call on his car phone – Marian Clarke locked herself in her garage, turned her car on and committed suicide. The J’s head on over to Marian’s house, where Linda is hysterical with rage saying that Marian was determined to fight the charge, and had hired a private detective to try and find Clark’s missing watch but that Marian wasn’t brave and was terrified she would go to jail for a crime she didn’t commit. The Palm Springs version of Seth Hazlitt declares Marian’s death a suicide, and finds anabarbitol in the house which seems to seal the deal.

Later, Linda gets a phonecall from the private detective hired by Marian. He’s found the watch in a pawnshop – the guy who hocked it was some random generic hobo. Fired up, Linda goes down to the police station and informs JT and JB that she’s suing them all for wrongful death. JT freaks out, but Our Heroine is convinced that it changes nothing.

JT heads over to see bank manager Kay Weber to reconfirm the events leading up to Clark’s death and finds the investor Pauline just leaving, after having requested help from Kay tracking down the money only to discover Kay had just been fired. Kay confirms everything he already knows – that they were at a function for the investors, Marian called Clark and then told everyone to come round for steaks and 20 minutes later when they got to the Randall house Clark was dead. She couldn’t remember if Marian went near the answering machine,

JB on the other hand is already at the Randall house, looking at some flowers when she suddenly wonders where the steaks are. JT finds her going through the contents of the fridge but there are no steaks to be found. Deputy Kruger appears to tell JT that the doc needs to speak to him – it turns out that Marian was full of Nardane, a powerful tranquilizer, confirming what the doc had said earlier when he found the bottle.

But, as JB points out, it wasn’t Nardane they found it was anabarbitol. They go to see the doc in person, who has just discovered via Marian’s GP that Marian was allergic to Nardane and so wouldn’t have had any in the house. JT orders Jessica off the case and goes to see the realtor in charge of the new development, Sterling Bose (previously seen as the boss cop in Die Hard) who it turns out has just lost his job too. He gives JT the list of homeowners and investors and tells him about his new job selling an estate up the road. As JT departs, Sterling gets a phone call from Pauline Byrne, seemingly asking him out to dinner but actually at the request of Linda Dixon who is still determined to clear her sister’s name. Conveniently their dinner takes place in the same restaurant Jessica is dining with her accountant and worrying that she was wrong about Marian. Sterling tells Gill and Jess that he thinks Pauline is hunting for information about the money. Jess points out that he was the last person to see Clark alive, to which Sterling agrees, saying that he drove Clark home – Clark’s car was being repaired and Marian had the other one.

Back at Sterling’s house, Sterling is keen to bust some funky moves on Pauline but she’s more conscious of the fact that Linda is in Sterling’s house looking for clues to the location of the money. Pauline sounds the horn as she pulls up with Sterling, the signal for Linda to get out of the house, and then takes off leaving Sterling in the driveway looking very forlorn.

In JT’s office the next morning, Jessica disguises herself as a newspaper.

MAD SKILLZ YO

MAD SKILLZ YO

While JT tries to throw her out (and yells at Deputy Kruger for coffee) JB explains why she’s there. She couldn’t sleep, and she suddenly remembered JT taking something out of Clark’s pockets after he searched the body.

“You mean his passport?” Asks JT.

Deputy Kruger appears with the news that the coffee machine is broken. JB, naturally, shares her coffee with JT.

Well, I say coffee.

Shoutout to all the bartenders who don't measure their shots #heroes

Shoutout to all the bartenders who don’t measure their shots #heroes

Booze dispensed, JB goes on. She didn’t think anything of Clark Randall having his passport on him at the time, but at the time they didn’t know that 3 million dollars had wandered off. JT sees where she’s going with this, and tells her to get on the phone they have airlines to call.

Finally, a breakthrough – tickets were purchased for the night of the murder for a flight from LAX to Buenos Aires… in the names of Mr and Mrs Randall.

Jess looks confused. Marian Randall had no idea her husband was leaving the country. Mrs Randall wasn’t the droid they were looking for. The airline calls JT back and asks if it’s okay to reverse the transaction back to the credit card used to make payment on the booking. JB thinks that’s hardly a priority for Clark Randall, but JT tells he didn’t book the tickets – former bank vice-president Kaye Webber did.

The Js find Kay at the tennis club, and it doesn’t take long for her to break down. She was having an affair with Clark and was going to go to Buenos Aires with him but they were going to come back as far as she knew, despite the one way plane tickets. She had no idea where the money was, but does admit to being at Clark and Marian’s house on the day of the murder. She tells the Js that she always thought Marian knew about the affair but didn’t do anything about it. She casually mentions the hire car Clark had out the front of his house, which makes no sense to Jess as Sterling had told her he’d given Clark a lift because his car was in the shop. And why leave the car out on the street when the garage was empty.

Now here’s when it gets tricky Fletcherfans.

JT discovers the name on the car rental is Pauline Byrne. They pick her up for questioning and before long Deputy Kruger appears with a briefcase with 3 million dollars in it.

Pauline comes clean. She had gone round to the Randall house to meet Clark but was surprised to find Marian home, arguing with Clark. Clark told her he was leaving her, she made a grab for the bag to see if the identity of the other woman was in it, he grabs it back, she shoots him, he falls down, money falls out of the bag and Marian faints.

Seizing the opportunity, Pauline goes in to grab the money but finds Clark still alive. He tells her to call a doctor, but instead she smothers him with a pillow, takes the money and runs.

“But not the watch and the money in his wallet?” Asks JT. “Then who did that?”

JB’s theory: Marian, in order to cover up the fact that she thought she killed her husband. She left it out for a hobo to find, and then make a point to hire the detective to find it again later.

As for Marian, when the news of the embezzlement was about to break, Pauline killed Marian to stop her telling everyone who took the money.

So, to sum up:

My head hurts.

My head hurts.

But I think we’ve learned a valuable lesson here. Not exactly a Life Lesson, but a lesson nonetheless:

Jessica Fletcher is Never Wrong
(Even when she is technically wrong.)

And on that note,

Later gang!

Later gang!

S05E16 – Truck Stop

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JB is on the road this week Fletcherfans, and has holed up at a truck stop in California. The reasons for this will become clear (hopefully – I fell asleep watching this episode during the week so today will be an adventure for everyone).  Right now, someone called Walter Murray has just been shot and gone back to his hotel room to make a noir audiobook about his imminent demise. Which is what most people do, clearly.

A short time later, Sheriff Tugman appears, fondles the front wheel of Walter’s car and hollers for Walter to open up. This brings Jessica out of her slumber and she arrives to find out just what’s the deal. The sheriff tells her that Walter is a dangerous criminal.

“Dangerous? He’s a writer, you can reason with writers!” (Life Lesson #57).

JB convinces the sheriff not to crash in all guns blazing and just open the door, and find Walter’s body slumped in the chair. JB is perplexed as to why Walter chose to make a book-on-tape instead of seeking help, but nevertheless she and the sheriff settle in to listen to the audiobook.

Right off the bat, the motive for Walter’s murder becomes clear – he thinks he is living in a film noir movie, and narrates everything accordingly. In any case, the story begins with he and JB driving from Vegas to Los Angeles (despite JB’s request that they fly), and as they detour off the interstate he outlines the opening scene for the movie.

“A guy plants a smacker on a girl. She slaps him. He kisses her again, she likes it. But as their lips are suctioned together, she pulls a gun out of her purse. He grabs her hand. The gun goes off.”

I AM GOING TO MAKE AN OCTOPUS FILM NOIR CALLED THE BIG INK AND I WILL WIN ALL THE OSCARS AND MORTALS WILL KNEEL BEFORE MY GREATNESS

I AM GOING TO MAKE AN OCTOPUS FILM NOIR CALLED THE BIG INK AND I WILL WIN ALL THE OSCARS AND MORTALS WILL KNEEL BEFORE MY GREATNESS

Jessica points out that octopuses making out and pulling guns on each other is not a scene from her book and Walter tells her he’s there to adapt the essence of her book. I’m almost positive Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick had this exact conversation when making The Shining, a film that remains the scariest film ever conceived by humans (closely followed by The Babadook – anyone who makes Babadook noises near me for the next ever is going to feel my wrath).

Wait, I’m getting off track. Anyway, they pull up at a truck stop, and Walter decides he’s starving and goes into the diner. “There she was – a little the worse for wear but still a hot cup of coffee to a thirsty guy like me.”

I don't think JB is enjoying being in a film noir

I don’t think JB is enjoying being in a film noir

The cup of coffee in question is  Vera Gerakakis, waitress and co-owner of the diner along with her husband Peter, who is basically fed up with everything. Down the other end of the bar a random hobo is kicking back and wondering if Vera was from the south, she seems so familiar. A bike pulls up outside, on which rides Vera’s daughter and her boyfriend Desmond. Flora comes in to get some money out of the till, to which Peter offers to give her a swift kick in the backside and she takes off on the back of the bike again.

Walter watches her drive off into the sunset then realises he left his wallet in the car. On his return to the diner Sheriff Tugman is receiving his dinner order from Vera. “You sure know how to make a man happy baby,” says the Sheriff.

“From the appearance of your girth, one can only surmise that you must be ecstatic.” Says the hobo.

Tugman is not amused.

Tugman is not amused.

Tugman gets all up in the hobo’s grill when the hobo says Tugman had put on weight since the last time they met, and he goes to flee, but passes out. Vera thinks he must be hungry. “I was hungry too – a different kind of hungry,” narrates Walter.

Ugh, Walter needs to calm down.

Ugh, Walter needs to calm down.

Jess has a quiet word with Walter and demands they hit the road. Walter points out it will be dark soon but JB is done. Alas, when they get to the car, it is mysteriously not working. Roscoe the mechanic sticks his head in and offers to take a look at it.

The audiobook skips ahead to the return of Flora on the motorbike but JB calls timeout because she’s just remembered something. She was going to talk to Walter, having second thoughts about the octopus-centric nature of his script, when she spies Roscoe lurking outside Walter’s door. He tells her he’s out for a walk. JB asks him about the car, since she’d hoped he’d be able to fix it that night.

“So do I.” He muttered and wandered off.

When JB went in to see Walter, he was with Vera. Vera was crying and Walter looked distracted, like he’d been told something surprising. WHAT ON EARTH COULD IT POSSIBLY BE I WONDER.

Flora and her boyfriend Grange reappear on the bike. Pete goes nuts and slaps his daughter for being a tramp like her mother, Grange punches Pete a couple of times, everyone wins. Later that night, Walter was out narrating to himself when he heard banging from the garage. He checks it out and finds Pete smashing up his car. Pete goes after him with a tyre iron, drops it and goes for the wrench. Walter grabs the tire iron and clocks Pete with it, killing him. This is the worst game of Cluedo ever.

JB and Tugman continue the tape (although if you watch carefully, when Tugman presses play you can’t see the tape winding. Yes I know all about tapes).  “So there I was, a still on my hands, and a damned heavy one too,” says Walter.

I'M NOT LAUGHING SHUSH

I’M NOT LAUGHING SHUSH

Walter decides to make Pete’s death look like an accident, by lowering the car lift onto his body. “And it would have worked too, if that busybody Fletcher dame hadn’t stuck her nose in it…”

Damn straight.

Damn straight.

Tugman endorses this development.

Tugman endorses this development.

“…that lard-bottomed lawman would have bought the whole scheme.”

Poor Tugman.

Poor Tugman.

JB is on the case and straight away sees it’s murder. Tugman immediately jumps to conclusions and decides it’s Grange, Flora’s bikie boyfriend. This gives Walter an idea and when he sees Grange drop one of his bike gloves on his way in to get Flora, he pounces. He grabs the glove and leaves it in the garage, knowing that it won’t be hard to get Tugman to go back to search the garage again. Tugman plays his part and arrests Grange, while being beat up by Flora.

Later that night Flora goes to pay Walter a visit to apologise for suggesting Walter and Vera were getting it on, and to ask for a ride to LA. Walter refuses, saying she’s better off staying with her mother. Flora tells him her bags are packed, and if he won’t help her she’ll find another way. Vera comes rushing out of the next room to stop her – Flora tells her she hates her and isn’t going to get stuck in this crappy town like her mother.

After being harangued by JB Walter goes to find out how long til the car is fixed. He finds out that Roscoe and Pete were in the service together, and that Pete wasn’t too pleased that Roscoe liked Vera. Roscoe informs Walter that someone disconnected the fuel line on his car, which seems like someone wanted to stay in town and get something done. He also knows that gloves don’t just walk int garages – they need a hand. OH THE LOLZ.

Since it was clear Roscoe wanted Walter to pay him off and get out of town, Walter hatches a plan to solve all his problems. He decides to plant the murder weapon at Roscoes, kill him and make it look like self defence. Alas, it didn’t go according to plan, and Roscoe and Walter end up shooting each other.

And there, the audiobook ends. Tugman and JB confirm that Roscoe is dead, but JB is not convinced by Walter’s confession. She cannot understand why he didn’t come to her after he’d been shot. Tugman grudgingly agrees to get caliber and fingerprint tests, but as far as he’s concerned they’ve got his favourite kind of killer – a dead one.

JB investigates Walter’s room but the police have taken everything. Vera appears to tidy up, and she’s devastated that after all these years he’s gone. JB tells her she thinks it’s not a coincidence that she and Walter came to the trucksop. Flora turns up and is shocked to learn a) that Walter is dead and b) that he confessed to killing Pete and Roscoe. She goes off to find out from Tugman when he’s releasing Grange but he tells her that he already has and Grange has gotten the hell out of Dodge. The hobo reappears and says the sheriff would know all about it, and Tugman goes nuts again. JB asks him if he found the envelope Walter was consulting on their drive over but it’s nowhere to be found. Jessica is convinced Walter lied, but Tugman won’t have a bar of it – besides the gun shot residue on Walter’s hands confirms that at he killed Roscoe.

Jess finds the hobo (it turns out his name is Desmond) in the diner and asks him how he knows so much about Tugman. Before she can get a straight answer a man comes in and introduces himself as Terence Locke, life insurance. He asks for Vera who comes out of the kitchen and tells him it’s not a good time to be selling life insurance to her. He tells her he’s here to settle up Pete’s life insurance – $250,000, as per her phone call the previous day, an hour after Pete had been found dead.

JB shows him the crime scene and shows him the report of Pete’s injuries – they don’t match the way Walter said it went down on the tape. Terence agrees that it was murder, and that it would appear someone hit him from behind but with not enough force to kill him. Terence comes clean about a fact he’s been withholding – Vera isn’t the beneficiary of Pete’s policy, Flora is.

As they drive over to the hotel where Flora lives with her mother, JB explains that she’s almost certain that Flora is Walter’s daughter, not Pete’s, and she thinks she has a way to prove whether or not Flora killed Pete to stop him changing his life insurance policy away from her.

JB pays a visit to Flora, who is preparing to get the hell out, and passes on her condolences about the death of her father…and also the death of Pete. Flora tells her she only found out a half hour earlier from her mother. She asks JB how she’s getting back to LA and whether she can get a lift. JB says she’ll see what she can do. Meanwhile, Terence is giving Vera papers to sign. She’s surprised to learn that Flora is the beneficiary of the policy, but says she’s glad Pete thought of her. Terence (clearly under instruction from JB) tells Vera she made a mistake, that she forgot to destroy the letter she sent Walter. She tells him if he doesn’t leave she will call his company and threaten law suits until he is fired. She leaves, rushes back to her room to find the letter and burn it.

Well there it is.

Surprise!

Surprise!

Vera killed Pete, got Walter to cover it up and kill Roscoe. And in the end the insurance money wasn’t even hers. What I’m trying to say is that this episode absolutely needed more octopuses.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a movie to make.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a movie to make.

S04E17 – A Very Good Year For Murder

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Before everything else, I just want to point out JB’s outfit at the start of this episode.

You can't ride a horse without a neckerchief, that's just common sense

You can’t ride a horse without a neckerchief, that’s just common sense

That man giving JB side-eye is Marco Gambini, son of Salvatore Gambini and heir to the Gambini wine empire that he and Jess have been surveying. Jess is in town to celebrate Sal’s 75th birthday, who she appears to know after tutoring his grandson Paul in English so he could pass and get a football scholarship but never mind that because someone’s just pulled up in a fancy car…

Listen to your friend Billy Zane

Listen to your friend Billy Zane

Jess is unmoved.

JB and I made exactly the same face. I'm so happy!

JB and I made exactly the same face. I’m so happy!

Billy Zane is the younger brother of Paul Gambini, and a compulsive gambler (and heartbreaker). His aunt informs him that he’s had a phone call from Johnny in Tahoe and he excuses himself while JB goes in to see Salvatore.

The day I watched this episode was the day he passed away. What an amazing career he had though!

The day I watched this episode was the day he passed away. What an amazing career he had though!

Salvatore has been selecting wine for dinner, and asks JB her opinion.

This is also my reaction to most wines.

This is also my reaction to most wines.

Sal is feeling a bit maudlin in the face of his 75th birthday. He tells JB that soon Marco and his kids will inherit the vineyards but he worries that they won’t appreciate them the same way Sal and his late wife did. JB asks Stella, Sal’s daughter, what’s going on and she tells JB he’s stressed out because a company from back east is trying to buy the vineyard but Sal doesn’t want to sell, and while Marco loves the vineyards, his wife would prefer to live the fancy life in San Francisco. At that moment, Marco’s daughter Michele turns up with her latest man candy, a bloke from work called Ben Skylar who is as dumb as he looks.

After a night of feasting and toasting, Sal is a little bit weary the next morning when Your Friend Billy Zane Tony wakes him up to tell him that he has to go to Tahoe on business but will try to get back for the party. Sal agrees and asks Tony to go down to the wine cellar and decant the 68 Bordeaux. Unfortunately, on the way down one of the stairs snaps and Tony goes tumbling.

It’s okay though, he’s fine. While his aunt tries to dress the cut on his head and he fights with his father about going to Tahoe, Jess goes to investigate the Step of Death, which Paul is replacing. Jess thinks it’s been sawn through. Before JB  can elaborate Tony and Marco argue their way to the front of the house, where Tony is getting in his car and heading to the airport on his way to Tahoe.

That night Sal’s party is in full swing, despite the absence of Tony. While his girlfriend dances up a storm, Ben Skylar tells JB all about his childhood on a farm in Illinois, and how he used to write stories to escape the boredom. He’s been in California writing a thing about lost gold mines, and asks JB for advice on writing a novel and she tells him to “Read, read and read some more.” (Life Lesson #55). Jess mentions that she’s reading a great new novel from PD James and Ben says that he loves his work. JB explains that PD is a woman, P is for Phyllis. Ben shamfacedly goes to find his girlfriend.

While loading up at the buffet table, JB bumps into Thaddeus Kyle, Police Chief and friend of the family (an awesome name if ever I heard one). He’s heard about JB’s theory about the step being tampered with, and asks her if she has any suspects. JB’s got nothing, but is given food for thought when Thaddeus asks her to consider the possibility that someone in the family got annoyed at Sal’s rejection of the sale offer from back East. He excuses himself and goes on his way, leaving JB to watch Michele argue with Ben and flounce out.

The next morning Sal takes JB down to the wine cellar but finds the body of Ben Skylar on the floor. Literally the last person I expected to die in this episode to be honest.

While Thaddeus orders his men to stay on the property, at least for the time being, JB gives Michele her condolences, but Michele says she’d only known Ben for a couple of months. Thaddeus draws JB aside for a quick word and tells her the theory is Ben was poisoned. JB suggests going through Ben’s belongings and finds a receipt for a petrol station in Long Island City, New York which kind of contradicts the whole being in California for the last few months thing although Thaddeus points out that it’s not proof of anything. I hate to say it, but I kind of agree with the Thad to be honest. Thad is sticking to his theory that someone inside the house had something to do with it all, and despite JB’s attempts to prove otherwise, she has to agree.

While she’s investigating outside, Jess runs into Sal and tells him her suspicions about Ben – he wants to be a writer but has never heard of PD James? Inconceivable!

“Sure,” says Sal. “But there are even some people who’ve never heard of you.”

Precisely.

Precisely.

JB is also suspicious of the fact that Ben said he had no money, and yet drove a high-falutin sports car and wore expensive clothes. Sal thinks maybe he had a wealthy family, but JB remembers him saying he grew up on a farm in Illinois, so no. All further theorising is cut short by the arrival of Tony back from Tahoe. While father and son resume their argument, JB gets a call from Thaddeus (seriously, I love that name) to let her know that it was definitely poison, but that Ben Skylar wasn’t Ben Skylar – he was actually Benito Soriano a mob hitman.

Well this has taken a unexpected turn.

Thaddeus invites Michele down to the precinct and she tells him how she only met Ben at work 8 weeks ago when he came in looking for a job and one thing led to another. JB asks her if Ben quizzed her about any of her family but she claims no more so than usual. Marco, fed up with the questioning takes his daughter home and leaves JB and Thad to mull over the situation. Thad is convinced it’s one of the family and has started looking into Your Friend Billy Zane Tony’s interests in Tahoe but JB is starting to think that Ben(ito) was sent by the company trying to buy the Gambini vineyard.

Back at Casa Gambini Paul has received a visit from “investment advisor” Stephen Ridgely and has whisked him off for a chat while inside Sal and Marco are giving Your Friend Billy Zane Tony the third degree – seems someone has been writing cheques his bank account can’t cash. Marco is furious but Sal shoos him out and writes Tony a cheque, telling him he’s the one who should be running the vineyard. As Tony leaves Sal calls Jess in for a chat and yells at her for meddling in Gambini business, and to get the next plane home. Rude.

Upstairs, Jess spots Stephen Ridgely pawing through things and Paul tells her the truth – Stephen Ridgely is a special investigator hired by the football commissioner to investigate match fixing in Paul’s team. When news got out about the mob hitman’s death they panicked that it was related, although it made no sense to target Paul at his grandfather’s house. He was a sitting duck.

Exactly, Jess exclaims. And so is Tony. So they can’t be the target.

Oh dear.

Oh dear.

Salvatore found out his granddaughter was bringing a hitman to his birthday and was going to let Ben kill him, but when Tony was injured instead Sal decides the only way is out. Before Jess can stop him he drinks more of the poisoned wine that he gave Ben(ito) and collapses.  He’s rushed to hospital where the doctor says he’ll pull through, the family commits to keeping the winery and JB informs Thaddeus that if Salvatore confessed to killing anyone she certainly can’t remember it.

The bad guys lose, the good guys win. I think that seems fair enough. Listen to your friend JB Fletcher, she knows what’s up.

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

 

 

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