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S10E11 – Northern Explosion

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Welcome to Canada, where JB is currently on the most inexplicable cross-country quest to get to a wedding in Vancouver.

Now I might just be a small-time country lawyer (I’m not), but it seems to me that getting from Cabot Cove to Vancouver would be a small matter of flying from Boston. Even if it’s just to Toronto to change planes. Or Chicago.

Apparently not though.

This is what happens when you let Phyllis Grant book your travel. #DeepCut

Inside Fletcher Force One JB is hard at work on her novel, while a random dude insists on talking to her. At length. About how he never did work out computers, but he’s a very smart man.

Spoiler alert: it isn’t Donald Trump

It turns out they are on their way to Dominion, which Google says is a real place in Nova Scotia, and is, in fact, the complete opposite direction to Vancouver. This flight better have been cheap.

When the pilot announces they will be hitting turbulence all the way to Dominion, Mr Chatterbox tells JB that Dominion has been having trouble with some local Indians who are trying to stop a mine from going ahead. This interests the other passenger on the plane, who is a member of the local tribe and wonders whether Mr Chatterbox might benefit from reading what’s underneath the headlines.

JB enjoys that little truth bomb immensely and says so via the magic of her laptop.

Remember when computers were a novelty and weren’t trying to take over our lives?

Down on ground level, things are getting heated between the miners and the local First Nation people. (Also someone nicked some dynamite at the start of this episode, this comes up later). Mine boss Rick Shipley and his sidekick Brian Wade aren’t having a bar of it, while the First Nation people are being led by local hot head George Quill. It’s only when George’s grandfather Joe steps in that the First Nation people back down and let the mine convoy through. The local constabulary rolls in in the form of Sgt Hilda Dupont, but the situation has calmed down. She can’t wait for George’s lawyer to get to town to sort it all out once and for all, and George says maybe, maybe not.

Jess rolls into town with her pilot promising to get her airborne first thing the next morning to make her connection at Dawson Forks. As she walks into the hotel Rick Shipley pulls up to ask the pilot (whose name is, of course, Buzz Berkeley) if there is anything for him. Buzz scowls and hands him a parcel before storming off. Apparently, Rick has started using Buzz’s competition after years of using Buzz or some such situation.

While the lawyer (whose name I should point out is Peter Henderson) is on the phone with his office, Mr Chatterbox is checking in and chatting with the receptionist Marie Comouche while some helpful clues just hang out on the counter.

Won’t lie, the first time I watched this episode I paid 0 attention to any of this, I was probably googling flights from Maine to Vancouver.

Before he departs, Mr Chatterbox, who it turns out is actually called Mr Macpherson and I’ve just realised is Deep Throat from The X Files and now my mind is blown, orders Jess to accept his dinner invitation but heroically Peter steps in to tell him that Jess already has dinner plans with him.

“Just trying to be friendly is all,” grumbles Mr Macpherson. UGH.

I think we’ve all been there though.

Peter asks Jess to dinner for real, but first drops by the mine to slap an injunction on Rick Shipley, preventing any activity on the mine for 7 days until the case gets heard in court. Rick asks him about the missing dynamite but it’s the first Peter has heard about it, and if Peter finds out Rick has been spreading gossip without proof there will be a lawsuit heading his way. Rick asks Peter if he really is helping the local community, after all, he had to move away to get a good job.

Jess takes herself down to the general store for some film and runs into Joe Quill for some of that Native Person Mysticism that this show freaking loves. George is also there hanging out and drawing. Martin storms in wanting to know more about the dynamite, and to beg Joe to keep everyone in line until after the hearing. Joe says welcome back, and George pops up to tell Peter the whole thing is pointless, the law doesn’t care about them and that he should just go back to Toronto. He storms outside and gets into a punchup with Rick and Brian which only ends when JB wanders out to see if there are any murders that need solving.

Later that afternoon Peter goes out for a stroll and runs into Hilda Dupont, who can’t believe Peter is back or how good he looks. They adjourn inside for a cup of coffee to reminisce and flirt outrageously. Down at the general store, Shipley and Joe Quill yell at each other a bit about the future of the town before Shipley returns to the mine. Oddly enough he has a meeting with Hamish Macpherson, who has a tale to tell of a bank robber who went missing after a heist in Ottawa in which a cop was killed and half a million bucks got pinched. There’s a reward out for the missing robber but Macpherson thinks there’s more money in blackmailing the missing thief, as he wasn’t able to spend the money he stole and the bank robber would probably be very interest in keeping his identity quiet.

Surprise! Hamish Macpherson is a newly retired cop and Shipley is a bank robber.

Shipley arranges to meet Macpherson at his place at 10pm that night, Shipley even gives his car to McPherson when he starts muttering about needing transportation for a meeting that late. Macpherson also tells Shipley that if something should happen to him, his wife has all the information too and if something should happen to her, then provisions have been made.

At dinner that night, Peter and Jess chat about the case, and how Peter is struggling in the city. Apparently, Joe Quill raised him after his mother died on account of his real father is an alcoholic. Being back has kicked up all sorts of things for him. (Meanwhile JB’s plane still hasn’t been fixed and the wedding is at 4pm the next day)

Later that night, Macpherson comes to see Shipley and is blown up after a shadowy figure carelessly on purpose leaves some dynamite under a bridge.

Gilda arrives on the scene and takes charge. Shipley tells her that Macpherson was a mining tool salesman that he had arranged to meet, but he’d gone to check on the equipment at the mine first. He is adamant the explosion was meant for him on account of he leant his truck out of the kindness of his heart, and more than that it was defs George Quill behind it all.

The next day Jess gets the bad news that the plane still isn’t ready, which gives her plenty of time to answer Hilda’s questions about Macpherson, not that JB knows much. She does mention the briefcase, but that has yet to be found. Hilda tells her that it turns out Macpherson was a retired cop, so lord knows what he was doing in Dominion.

Hilda goes to see Peter and Joe, who are wrapping up a tribal council meeting, and asks them where George is, she has questions. Back at the hotel Jess gets the good news that the plane is fixed when a phone call comes in from Hilda requesting her attendance at the police station.

Imagine a TV show where a psychic travel agent purposefully redirects her cop client to solve murders instead of go on holidays. Yeah. Get to work television.

Jess tells Hilda what she knows about the fight between George Quill and Shipley and Brian Wade, which Hilda says matches what they told her. She has no choice but to hold George on suspicion of murdering Hamish Macpherson, killed because George thought it was Shipley. Jess thinks that none of it makes sense, and also where is Hamish’s briefcase? Hilda tells her not to worry about it, she’ll drive Jess to the plane. Jess wonders if they could just pop round the crime scene on the way…

A trip to the crime scene yields nothing more than a fleck of yellow enamel, but a call comes in from one of Hilda’s colleagues to inform her that they have found the missing dynamite stolen from the start of the episode, buried under George’s cabin. And there are three sticks missing.

George tells them that they must have been missing to begin with, he didn’t count the dynamite when he stole it, he just stole it to stop the mine from going ahead. When Hilda tries to get in touch with Shipley to confirm, Brian tells her he can’t return her call on account of he’s just turned up dead.

On a completely unrelated topic, I once had a conversation with my friend Owen about which Hogwarts House Jessica Fletcher would be in, and guys she is 100% Slytherin. She is missing a wedding to make sure everyone knows that a murder doesn’t get solved unless she solves it. BOSS MODE.

(Also I’m 100% Ravenclaw, just in case any of you were wondering).

Hilda, Peter and JB head to Shipley’s office where it appears he has packed a bag before killing himself. Buzz phones in to see if Shipley is still catching the plane to Dawson Forks, making them all suspect that Shipley did not in fact kill himself. Jess thinks they need to find out more about Hamish Macpherson, and quickly.

While Jessica and Peter chat to Joe in the general store, Hilda goes to work and soon finds out that Shipley was the bank robber and that’s why Hamish Macpherson was in town. She tells them she’s stumped, which makes Jess realise who the killer is and I’m sorry guys I’ve watched this twice and I still don’t get it.

If you worked this out then get to work building a warp drive because you are clearly a genius.

So that is Marie the hotel receptionist, who was married to the cop who was killed in the bank robbery. Presumably she killed Macpherson because she thought he was Shipley, and then she killed Shipley because he was Shipley. Jess worked it all out because of a conversation she overheard Marie having about blowing up tree stumps.

I don’t even know. Anyway, I just discovered there’s a teaser trailer for the Han Solo movie, guys I gotta go.

Later gang!

 

S04E20 – Showdown in Saskatchewan

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Greetings and salutations Fletcherfans! I have returned from my American adventure, where many a crime was solved (not true), and many a rollercoaster was ridden (absolutely true and my word I cackled a lot doing it). However, it is time to put such business aside.

JB is at home, solving the case of the dirty oven when she gets a phone call from her cousin Louise. Her daughter Jill has run off to the magical kingdom of Canada to follow a rodeo around and has taken up with one of the cowboys and would Jess go and bring her home?

There are no words in the English language to accurately describe how much this outfit pleases me

There are no words in the English language to accurately describe how much this outfit pleases me

Needless to say, JB is up to the challenge. Especially once she meets said cowboy.

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Challenge accepted.

Challenge accepted.

That afternoon they all meet for beers and dancing at the bar but the entertainment is cut short by the arrival of the rodeo doctor, Doc Shaeffer, who is drunk out of his gourd and wanting to make the rodeo interesting – $500 bucks to either Jill’s man Marty or his rival Boone if they can stay on the Doc’s bull. A closer inspection of the bull reveals his disposition to be sunny (by which I mean bull sent from Hell), at which point Marty’s strapper Luke fractures his leg trying to get away from it. Luke is kept in the Doc’s trailer overnight for observation, while the Doc also informs Marty that he will be set down for the next day’s showdown due to concussion.

Later that night, Boone is trying to hypnotize the bull (probably not true) when he spots smoke coming out of the Doc’s trailer. Being a good cowboy he kicks the door down and retrieves Luke and the Doc. Alas for the Doc it was too late. The show must go on though, and while the rodeo gets under way the next morning Boone gets a visit from Inspector Roger McCabe, also known as Canadian Tom Selleck.

(Sorry Canada)

(Sorry Canada)

Jess finds Jill, who informs her of the Doc’s demise and the arrival of the Saskatchewan 5-0 who think it was murder. Jill is worried, she can’t find Marty and she’s worried he’s going to get accused of something. Like being foxy.

On the case, JB goes to the Doc’s trailer to investigate and finds Inspector McCabe, who is delighted to meet her. Well that never happens. See how nice Canadians are? He tells her that the fire marshal has confirmed that the fire was deliberately lit, and considering that everyone knew how much the doc suffered with emphysema, it was definitely murder.

Down at the rodeo the bull riding is about to commence and it’s all getting real.

Just chill.

Just chill.

Boone Talbot is up first and doesn’t deliver his usual blistering…ride? Attempt? I’m not going to lie I am a bit out of my area here. He and his wife Carla both look stressed.

JB goes to the hospital to see Luke and bumps into the Doc’s wife Consuela, who admits to being relieved that the Doc is dead. He was a mean man, and Consuela thought that when he worked his previous job as a prison doctor he was on the wrong side of the bars. Meanwhile Luke has recovered from his ordeal and is refusing to get his leg x-rayed again, saying he had better things to do, like help Marty win the title. Inspector McCabe arrives and offers to drive him to the rodeo. On the way, he and JB ask Luke if he remembered anything and he tells them he thinks he heard footsteps and the sound of fancy spurs.  At the rodeo Jill is giving Marty a rubdown (not a metaphor) and begging him to let her go home with him after the season when Luke arrives. He orders her to go and make him a coffee to which she says “Make it yourself” and flounces off. You tell him sister.

JB has a chat to Carla and learns that the rodeo clown, Wally Bryce, had once been a rider under Luke’s management until a rowdy bull and a broken leg set by a drunk Doc Shaeffer put an end to his career. Jess informs the Inspector of this before Jill comes over looking for a friendly ear. Jess tells her to talk to Marty and not to accept an answer she doesn’t like, but it all becomes somewhat irrelevant with the arrival of Marty’s wife and son.

THAT BASTARD.

Sensing tension, Marty takes his wife and son to prepare for the bull riding, which is up next and a tutorial in how to splice together footage of rodeo riding with footage of Hollywood actors riding mechanical bulls. *cough* It all goes pear-shaped when Marty’s bull goes crazy, throws Marty and then attacks Boone when he tries to step in. Jill and JB are called and arrive to see Luke losing it at Marty for pulling out of the competition so that Boone would remain in front and win the prize money.

Still a bastard.

Someone hollers that a long distance phone call for the Doc is on the line, so JB decides to take it. It’s the warden from the prison that the Doc used to work at, returning the call the Doc made to him the previous evening. This gives JB an idea, which is a relief because I’m still coming to terms with the mechanical bull montage.

HOLY CRAP IT'S BARRY GIBB

HOLY CRAP IT’S BARRY GIBB

Apparently when he wasn’t in a Bee Gees tribute band Luke was an escaped prisoner from the jail the Doc used to work at, and in order to prevent the Doc from blabbing, he set the fire. You know, like a normal person.

And with that, Jess and Jill leave Scumbag Marty to it and jet off into the wild blue yonder.

Until next time.

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S04E03 – Witness for the Defence

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Fletcherfans, once upon a time, there was a far away magical kingdom called CANADA to which Our Heroine travelled to visit her friend Jim Harlan, his mother Judith, his wife Patricia, and her friend Monica Blane. Those were the halcyon days when talk was confined to new novels and family heirloom brooches.

That night, they adjourned from the Harlan country house to the Harlan townhouse, after Jim dropped Monica at the airport and Patricia went to get her hair done. Or so they thought. Instead, a wandering butler steps in to inform Jim’s mother Judith that there was a fire at the country house and Patricia’s body had been discovered.

Fast forward six months, Jim has been arrested for the murder of his wife and JB has been summoned to return to Quebec, in the magical kingdom of Canada to act as a witness for the defence led by Oliver Quayle, Attorney At Law who is everything you could ever want in a defence attorney.

For some reason Quebec lawyers are more British than I had expected.

For some reason Quebec lawyers are more British than I had expected.

 

JB is a bit concerned about Quayle, particularly his insistence that she wear a straw hat with violets in it.

This look has been previously reserved for when Grady says something stupid, i.e everything.

This look has been previously reserved for when Grady says something stupid, i.e everything.

Fortunately Quayle is distracted first by a phone call from his ex-wife Deidre then a reminder from his assistant Barnaby Friar that he is late for an appointment.

Speaking of Barnaby…

It's been a million years since I've watched the original Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

It’s been a million years since I’ve watched the original Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

That night JB goes to see Jim and Judith at home, to get more answers than she got from the Quaylemeister. Jim tells her that the fire was suspected to have been deliberately lit, which is how he has ended up on trial for murder. His mother orders him off to bed in preparation for the trial in the morning, and confides to JB that they didn’t really know much about Patricia before Jim married her.

Fun fact: Judith Harlan is being played by Julie Andrews, who is being played by Claire Trevor from Key Largo, which is a Bogart movie I haven’t seen yet.

(I really thought at least one person in this episode would be speaking French).

(I really thought at least one person in this episode would be speaking French).

Incidentally that is what she wore to Jim’s trial so if you have jury duty coming up I seriously suggest reconsidering your entire wardrobe.

The first witness for the defence is one of the policemen called to testify about the circumstances of the fire, and is torn to shreds by Quayle. The second witness, the gardener Clay McCloud testifies that he heard Jim arguing with Patricia the weekend before she died – she wanted a divorce but he said “I’ll see you dead.” Under examination from the Quayle it is revealed that McCloud had spent time in jail and was sacked the same day as the fire for allegedly stealing things. To conclude: McCloud is a bit of shady customer.

Next on the stand is the coroner, who testifies that the body was almost completely destroyed by the fire, and that identification was made only through the jewellery recovered from the scene. Also that the victim died from a massive whack to the head, and not the fire. DRAMA.

Back at the Quayle nest JB is not entirely convinced that the lawyer has got things under control. It is clear to her that Patricia died before the fire started, meaning that Jim had better get his alibi sorted. He tells her that he was with Monica Blayne, but that no one has been able to find her since the fire. JB has the audacity to ask the Quayle whether he’s tried to find Monica Blayne and he curly informs Our Heroine that her services will no longer be needed.

Jim has a private word to JB, and tells her that Patricia had been burning through money without accounting for it, and some harsh things were said as a result but that he didn’t threaten her. JB wonders why the gardener lied and pays him a visit in the guise of a reporter from the Cabot Cove Gazette. He tells her that he knows for a fact that Patricia was dead before the fire started, because when he went back to the country house to collect some backpay he saw Patricia lying on the floor.

Back in the courtroom Quayle has managed to get the coroner to say that the blow to Patricia’s head may have been caused by a falling beam. The next witness, the owner of a hotel near the airport, testifies that Monica Blayne booked a hotel room for a couple of hours for herself and Jim Harlan. Quayle wisely decides not to cross-examine this witness.

The next witness, the prosecutor announces, will be Jessica Fletcher.

Clearly this was all part of JB's plan.

Clearly this was all part of JB’s plan.

The questions from the prosecutor are all straight forward, and summarise the events of the night Patricia died. Quayle, on the other hand, chooses different line, suggesting that she stole her next novel idea from Jim, that she was insane and spent time in a sanatorium, and that three of her relatives have been arrested for murder, twice in the case of her nephew Grady Fletcher. Ugh.

Character sufficiently assassinated, Quayle has no further questions and JB steps down from the witness stand. Having lunch in the cafeteria she spots the prosecutor, Annette Pirage, who sort of apologises for putting her on the stand. JB asks her if she really believes Jim killed his wife, and Annette tells her she intends to prove that Jim and Monica Blayne were in it together, despite the fact that Monica is still MIA.

In the car, JB demands some answers from Jim. He tells her that his marriage to Patricia was sinking fast, she was burning through money and even withdrew twenty thousand on the day she died that was never recovered.  He confirms that he was with Monica in the hotel at the time his wife was murdered, but without Monica to back him up it’s not a great alibi.

That night JB is getting ready for bed when she gets a knock on her hotel room door. It’s Judith, apologising for the Quayle’s behaviour in the courtroom that day and to say goodbye before JB returns to Cabot Cove. JB thanks her but tells her she’s not leaving yet, even though Judith thinks it would be better. Judith tells JB that she would do anything for her son, including hire a private investigator to check up on her new daughter-in-law, who it turns out spent a year in jail in Arizona. JB correctly guesses that Monica Blayne also spent time in the Arizona jail as well.

In the morning, JB sneaks in to the Quayle nest to see if she can take a peek at the police report. Barnaby is happy to prove how influential he is in the office and shows her the report, confirming that the only way they could identify the body was through the engraved engagement and wedding rings. JB asks about the brooch she saw Patricia wearing the night of the fire but Barnaby doesn’t know anything about it. They are interrupted by the arrival of a private investigator to see the Quayle and despite Barnaby’s offer to assist the man simply tells them to tell the Quayle “Monica Blayne”, that he’ll be down the street and to bring five large.

And a cunning plan was hatched

And a cunning plan was hatched

Armed with an envelope she liberated from the Quayle nest JB pays a visit to the private investigator who has taken up residence at a bar down the street. He asks her who she is and she tells him “The name I go by in Quebec is Fletcher.” This turned into a spy movie very quickly… JB correctly guesses that this is the same private investigator Judith hired to investigate Patricia but before she can get any information out of the man the Quayle appears and the Quayle is displeased.

The next morning Barnaby informs JB that they found Monica Blayne and flew her up from NYC to testify. Unfortunately for the defence Annette Pirage gets in first and calls Monica to the stand, where she informs the jury that they were together the night of Patricia’s death but that Jim left early, saying he had something to sort out at the country house. Back at the Quayle nest Jim swears she’s lying but is interrupted by Quayle walking in, losing his mind at JB and ordering Jim and  Judith into his office. While Barnaby is on the phone to Quayle’s second ex-wife, JB helps the secretary find a missing earring which turns out to a) have a lot of sentimental value and b) give JB an idea.

You'd think I'd be better at drawing light bulbs by now...

You’d think I’d be better at drawing light bulbs by now…

And now a disclaimer: for almost this entire episode I was convinced that the body they found burned was Monica Blayne and that Patricia had taken money and left to start a new life with the gardener, and that the reason that the brooch wasn’t found was because she took it, to pawn later or some such. Even when Monica Blayne turned up I thought that. Turns out I was overthinking it, and that the reason the brooch wasn’t found was because the killer took it back. For sentimental family heirloom reasons.

To be fair to her, she did say she'd do anything for her son.

To be fair to her, she did say she’d do anything for her son.

For his role in helping to acquit Jim Harlan (by doing what JB told him to do) Barnaby was made First Assistant to the Quayle, and the Quayle got to take on a new high-profile case defending Judith Harlan. He’s delighted to inform JB that he intends to call her as a witness in a few months time.

Stay tuned next week for the Epic Murder She Blogged Tweetathon Part The First, where I will be live-tweeting The Celtic Riddle. If you would like to tweet along, just use the hashtag #celticriddle so I can see you all fall down the rabbit hole with me. I may even put the highlights up here once I’ve sufficiently recovered.

But until then!

Later gang!

Later gang!