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S12E01 – Nailed

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Fletcherfans! Welcome to 2019 and welcome to the last season of Murder She Wrote. Who’dve thunk it? Certainly not me, I can barely commit to a hairdresser, but here we are.

SPEAKING OF HAIRDRESSERS! We are back in the Newest of Yorks, where there are cops driving and people abseiling off buildings and running around with bloody knives. You know, the usual. JB is getting her hair and her nails did simultaneously at Antoinette’s on Fifth Avenue, and being treated like the Queen she is. Her hairdresser Jimmy has to rush off to a TV demonstration on Nancy Rayburn’s TV show, leaving the manicurist Diane to deliver the news to JB – Diane and Jimmy are engaged which is all terribly exciting.

My celebratory drink of choice for weddings, engagements, births, making it to the weekend…

Lieutenant Sam Kriley inexplicably wanders into the salon to get a guest list from JB – apparently, all the abseiling and knives and cops was a result of JB’s friend Agnes returning home early from a museum board meeting and surprising a burglar. Kriley is convinced that it’s the work of the same burglar targeting high-end apartments all over Manhattan and that Agnes was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but she will recover.

Jessica bumps into fellow board member Kathy Stafford is also at the salon (clearly they get a group discount) and is a) relieved that Agnes will recover and b) will have the meeting minutes faxed over tomorrow. Jess then runs into fellow mystery writer Steve Burke, who is working in the salon as research for his novel, which JB is loving apparently.

Over at Nancy Rayburn’s TV show, Jimmy runs into Ralph Stafford, who I assume is Kathy’s husband. Jimmy and Ralph are planning to go into business but Jimmy’s getting cold feet and Ralph’s not having a bar of it. Also, Nancy is totally having a fling with Ralph and is ignoring her producer Madelyn Sweetzer’s warnings about how shady he is, even while he’s on the phone being yelled at by business partners.

Back at the salon…

BEHOLD ITS INFINITE MAJESTY

…JB still hasn’t left yet but is giving a big bag of books to the salon owner, the aforementioned Antoinette. Side note, I binged that Marie Kondo show on Netflix and I learned that a) compared to most people I don’t own any clothes at all, and b) KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY BOOKS MARIE. In my defence, I drunkenly counted how many books I owned last year and guys it wasn’t great. But I got rid of like twenty! And bought about forty, look it’s the circle of life whatever it’s fine don’t worry about it.

Anyway, the bag of books is a donation for a school raffle and Antoinette is stoked about it. She’s less stoked about the persistent rumours that Jimmy is leaving her salon, and JB says there’s no proof it’s happening. Antoinette’s still worried though, Jimmy has VIP clients all over the place and if he goes so do they.

Phoebe the receptionist goes on break, leaving Steve to cover the phones and fetch nail polish colours for nail technicians. Nancy swans in for her appointment with Jimmy. She bumps into Kathy Stafford, who tells her that she’s had several discussions with her husband and she’s made it clear that she won’t put up with his fooling around. Nancy says “That’s the hellraiser I knew in college!”

#awkward.

Kathy meets Ralph for lunch at the Cafe Metropole, and he helpfully doesn’t notice her new hairdo. The head waiter at the cafe sends his best wishes to Agnes for a speedy recovery – then gets a phone call from someone in which he says it wasn’t his fault Agnes came home early, they’re just lucky she didn’t see his face. Meanwhile, Ralph gets a prized silver dollar off Kathy to use as collateral to get Jimmy’s hair salon off the ground.

Jess wanders down to the precinct to give Kriley a helpful tip – at least three of the burglary victims were clients at Antoinette’s, there was a good chance that someone there was in on the whole thing. Kriley says thanks, he’s off to chat to Agnes and will drop JB off on the way. Meanwhile, Ralph meets a shady guy off a bus who has made a counterfeit of the silver dollar. He tells Ralph a true collector will spot the fake immediately, and to forget his name.

That night at closing time, Phoebe the receptionist puts Steve in charge of straightening everything up. He checks on Antoinette, who tells him she’ll close up, but needs him to drop a pair of glasses belonging to Nancy Rayburn around to her apartment. Diane warns Jimmy about leaving Antoinette to get involved in Ralph’s shady shenanigans and says he hits on her every time he’s in the salon, to which Jimmy says “Can I blame him?”

ZZZZT. WRONG ANSWER, TRY AGAIN DUMBASS. Antoinette overhears everything and watches them go, gulping what I assume is bourbon. In the car park, Phoebe runs into Ralph who wants her help finding out who is talking Jimmy out of signing the contract. He offers Phoebe (who used to date Jimmy back in the day) the manager role at Jimmy’s salon, and she says she doesn’t know much but she knows someone who might.

Across town, Ralph drops in on Nancy and gives her the silver dollar (code, but also not code) as collateral for a cheque for 400K that she’s giving him. They make out in the doorway for a while before he leaves, not noticing his wife hiding in the corridor crying. Brutal.

Even later that night, Steve drops around Nancy’s place to deliver the glasses and interrupts the burglar stealing the silver dollar. He gets whacked on the head, and the burglar legs it.

The next morning Jessica rolls into the precinct office, the recipient of Steve’s one phone call – the NYPD found him on the floor next to an empty silver dollar box and arrested him for burglary. Old mate is not having a good day. Jess vouches for him and tells Kriley that half of Manhattan new Nancy wasn’t going to be home the previous night. Curiously, there is no mention of the silver dollar in the list of stolen things. Funny that.

Ralph the Creep is at Antoinette’s getting his nails done when he finds out about the burglary and calls Nancy. She tells him she didn’t report the silver dollar being stolen so that Kathy wouldn’t find out about it, but since it’s insured no problem right? Also, she needs new collateral or her 400K back.

Ralph decides to change course and has a little word with Diane about how he thinks she will convince Jimmy to sign the contract. Across town, old mate head waiter has just discovered the coin is a fake, while Jimmy delivers the bad news to Antoinette. He’s off to start his own salon with Ralph.

Ralphy boy is summoned to a meeting with the head waiter, whose name is apparently Billy, who wants 50K or he will tell Kathy and Nancy all about Ralph’s double cross. Ralph laughs and says now that he knows who the Uptown Burglar is he’ll be off to the police thank you very much. Unbeknownst to the pair of them, Nancy’s producer Madelyn Sweetzer is sitting at the next table and hears the whole thing. Good lord this episode is exhausting.

Down at the TV station, Madelyn delivers the news to Nancy, who is stunned – even more so when Madelyn informs her that the show has been cancelled and will finish at the end of the month. Kathy appears to confront her but Madelyn says she’ll meet her at a bar around the corner.

Later that night there’s a party to farewell Jimmy from Antoinette’s salon, but no one really seems that celebratory apart from Wreck-it Ralph. Jimmy and Diane seem nervous, JB is sad, and Kathy Stafford is morose. Antoinette makes an appearance, but storms off after Ralph tells her they could have been partners but these days he likes to have younger, prettier faces around him.

Ralph later went on to become president. I mean, wait, what?

Antoinette bumps into Jess and they commiserate – she misplaces her bag but it turns up on the bar. Steve arrives late, after borrowing a suit from his brother. Ralph gets a note from Jimmy asking to meet him at Antoinette’s after the party. Phoebe arrives just as JB is leaving, and wants to hear about Steve’s book progress.

Cut to Antoinette’s salon, where Jimmy walks into a room and Ralph is dead in a chair, a pair of scissors sticking out of his back. Good riddance.

The next day, Kriley is all over the crime scene – Jimmy doesn’t appear to admit to being in the salon the night before but does admit the scissors are his. Apparently, it was Steve who found the body when he came in to open up. The silver dollar was left on the bench, ruling out a burglary. Steve is getting into the detecting business with Jess and swears there’s something missing from the station where Ralph died.

Outside, Diane confesses to Jimmy that Ralph had the dirt on her – specifically how she made a living when she was kicked out of home aged 16. Jimmy tells her he doesn’t care about that, he likes her now. Better answer Jimmy. Down at the Cafe Metropole Billy gets a call from his partner saying that Ralph’s death meant they were off the hook, but Billy is worried about the silver dollar boxes. Turns out he should be more worried about police taps, Kriley has heard the whole thing. He can’t place the voice on the other end of the call, but Jessica can.

They head down to Antoinette’s and despite her protests of innocence, Phoebe is arrested. Antoinette is also taken downtown when it’s discovered her prints are on the scissors. Jessica thinks this is a weak case, but Kriley is convinced.

Preach it sister.

Kriley is convinced he’s got it all sorted but Jess has other ideas. She recruits Steve to help her set the trap et voila!

This I did not see coming.

Instead of being mad that Ralph treated them both terribly, they teamed up and murdered him. Fair play really. Something to do with non-matching nail polish that I missed because I started googling my family tree.

Anyway. Onwards!

Later gang!

 

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S06E19 – Always a Thief

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We're ba-ack!

We’re ba-ack!

Apologies for the break in transmission Fletcherfans but there was shenanigans a-plenty this summer, including the safe arrival of my nephew Harry  James Williamson as you can see by this incredibly Youtube recreation of our meeting.

On second thoughts, not so accurate. My brother doesn’t have that much hair. I am definitely a hornbill though. And my sister-in-law is basically Nala. And I’m almost certain my brother’s puppies bowed.

I should also mention, the blog appears to have accumulated some new followers so if you’ve just wandered onto this omnishambles of a blog I say welcome! And sorry! And I hope you enjoyed Breaking Bad because that comes up way more often than you think.

But never mind all of that, because we have business to attend to and by business I mean bookends. Our Heroine has just received a cassette tape letter from her old pal Dennis The Menace Stanton and while it was adequate, she can’t help but think of an earlier cassette he sent her about a case he’d worked on. Because as it turns out, Dennis The Menace has retired from being a cat burglar and is now a..er…consultant to insurance companies.

Would you like to hear the tale?

That question was purely rhetorical.

That question was purely rhetorical.

Imagine, if you will, a cafe in San Francisco called the Pepper Pot Cafe. Now imagine that the owner, a Mr Langston ‘Lanny’ Douglas has squandered his family fortune including the cafe.

Also, you probably aren’t imagining Lanny properly, so let me help you out a little:

SO GROSS.

SO GROSS.

Now imagine a mysterious stranger called Mahmoud Amini wanders in offering Lanny a lifeline – 10% of 2 million dollars. $200,000 grand easy money, as long as he convinces his mother to sell Amini a priceless Stuart Silver dollar that Lanny’s father bought not that long ago for a whopping five hundred grand.

(Bless the 80s. You can’t buy an apartment for that in Melbourne).

Lanny’s mother, Monica Douglas, is less impressed, mostly because she already has 2 million dollars and a great deal more besides. In fact, Andrea is furious that these foreigners insist on coming over and buying up her heritage. Her husband loved that coin and she won’t be parted from it.

 

**not code

 

Poor, poor Lanny.

 

Possibly not petunias. But definitely Pedro.

Possibly not petunias. But definitely Pedro.

More on Pedro later.

To make Lanny’s day just that little bit better, his wife Andrea saw the whole failed shambles and is toasting him with a 2pm whiskey.

 

*bah-boom tish*

*bah-boom tish*

Andrea’s got bad news for Lanny – she talked to her father about borrowing more money from him and while it amused him no end, the money ain’t coming. Lanny announces he won’t be home that night, he has to “work” in the city to which Andrea retorts that she knows how to play too. As Lanny departs Andrea realises someone has been eavesdropping.

Later that night, Lanny hatches his DIABOLICAL SCHEME.

Classic Lanny.

Classic Lanny.

Lanny sneaks into the study, opens the safe, steals all the jewelry inside, closes the safe, puts gelignite on the safe and blows up the safe closes the door to the patio, smashes the glass in the door for good measure and is promptly busted by Pedro the gardener, whom Lanny promptly stabs to death with a pitchfork.

Guys, Lanny is an arsehole. Who apparently has access to mild explosives. But apparently we shouldn’t dwell on that.

The next morning, the cavalry arrive in the form of Lieutenant Catalano (being played by Ken Swofford, because always). Catalano gets the low down from Mrs Douglas before noticing a familiar figure gazing at a painting in the next room.

Oh Dennis. I actually have missed you.

Oh Dennis. I actually have missed you.

Dennis informs Catalano that his bosses are the insurers of the magical silver dollar, and he’d like a word with Mrs Douglas if he might. Catalano can’t think of any objections so Dennis heads on in to see Mrs Douglas, now joined by her sister Grace Lambert (aka the woman overhearing arguments the previous day). Dennis gently interrogates them about the other occupants of the house, which Grace sees through in about 5 seconds. She asks him why he’s so interested in the fact that Lanny spent the night at a hotel in the city.

Why? Because Dennis smells a rat, that’s why and he says as much to his assistant back in the office. The timeline of the theft is all wrong. If Monica heard the bang and rushed straight downstairs as she claims, there would hardly be time for a thief to ransack the safe, smash the door, kill Pedro and flee the scene. And let’s not forget dear old Lanny’s been harassing his mother to sell the coin.  Dennis gets his assistant to track down the mysterious Mr Amini, while he pays a visit on Lanny.

On arriving at the Pepper Pot, Dennis nearly crashes into a hastily departing vehicle being driven by someone who isn’t Lanny. Dennis receives some resistance from Lanny’s associate on the desk, but after displaying the fact that HIS UMBRELLA HAS A SWORD IN IT (WTF?) Dennis convinces the man to stand aside, leaving the doorway clear. Inside, the office is empty but Dennis notices a small pool of blood, and a photo of Lanny and his wife posed in the office next to a ridiculously over-sized golf trophy, now missing. Dennis bids Lanny’s minion good day and returns to his office to fill Lieutenant Catalano in. Catalano is surprised to hear that Lanny Douglas is almost certainly deceased, and probably at the hand of the mysterious driver of the car. When pressed for more information, Dennis simply says “I’ve given you my pearls, don’t ask me to string them for you too”.

Almost definitely code.

Dennis’s next visit is to Mr Amini, who is Mr Affable until Dennis confronts him about the coin. He denies all knowledge of anything ever in the history of time, but after being informed the likely sentence for murder he comes clean. He did receive a coin from Lanny, paid for in 2 mill in cash, but it was a fake. Amini was outraged, but not as outraged as Lanny was when Amini got him on the phone. They had made plans to meet later that day to sort the matter out, so to hear Dennis’s theory that Lanny is now dead is worrying for Amini.

Later that night, the old guy in the car pulls up beside a ditch, pulls Lanny’s body out of the trunk of the car and throws him in it.

Conclusive.

The next day, Dennis’s expert confirms that the coin is a fake and demands her payment be dinner with Dennis that Friday. Dennis looks unhappy at the prospect.

Dennis is about to out-Hegarty Hegarty.

Dennis is about to out-Hegarty Hegarty.

Dennis’s boss is curious though. Who has the coin? Lanny? Dennis thinks not, and here’s another thing – where’s the 2 million dollars?

Dennis returns to the scene of all the crimes, and on the way in passes the mysterious car driver leaving the Douglas family driveway. Inside, Grace Lambert informs Dennis that Monica is too worried about her son to see him right now. It’s clear that Grace doesn’t like Dennis very much. (Possibly wise.) Dennis asks about the mysterious man in the car, and Grace tells him that that was Lanny’s father -in-law, Ray Bascomb.

THIS PLOT IS THICK FLETCHERFANS.

As Dennis departs he runs into Lieutenant Catalano, who tells him Lanny Douglas’s body has just been discovered. Back at the office Dennis is filled in by his assistant about the body, and that Lanny still had his wallet, cash and ring on him, so it probably wasn’t robbery. Except the silver dollar and the 2 mill are missing so it almost definitely was. Dennis tells his assistant to find out all she can about Grace Lambert while he pays a visit on Ray Bascomb.

Ray is hard at work overseeing a photoshoot involving a model and some pigeons but takes time to inform Dennis he was shocked by the news of his son-in-law’s death.

“Was that before or after you killed him?” Dennis inquires.

Bascomb doesn’t take very kindly to this, and refuses to say another word. Not when Dennis explains that he knows Ray went to see Lanny. Not when Dennis informs him that it’s impossible to remove all evidence of a dead body from a car. Not when Dennis tells him that the police are at the site where the body was dumped taking plaster casts of the car treads. Not even when Dennis takes that back, as the sirens grow louder, and he tells Ray he thinks they’ve finished.

At the police station, Ray tells Dennis and Catalano that he went to see his son-in-law to not give him money to his face, but that he didn’t kill him. Catalano gets called away, but Dennis isn’t done yet. He asks Ray if it’s true that he only went to see Lanny after a hysterical phone call his secretary remembers he got at work. Dennis thinks Andrea killed Lanny and got her father to cover it up but Ray ain’t talkin.

Dennis returns to House Douglas but is refused entry by a super-apologetic housekeeper who tells him Monica is out and Andrea is not to be seen by anyone. Dennis gallantly responds to this news by jumping into the nearest hedge.

I can relate. I have a sneaking suspicion I too have jumped into a hedge yelling FOR SPARTAAAAA at some point. #dejavu

I can relate. I have a sneaking suspicion I too have jumped into a hedge yelling FOR SPARTAAAAA at some point. #dejavu

Dennis might not have quite achieved high level ninja status but he has achieved boss level cat burglar status and so climbs the nearest drainpipe to see Andrea for himself. Inside, Andrea comes clean.

Well, Dennis said it was so, and lo so it was. Or something. Honestly, I'm still wondering whose bush I jumped into.

Well, Dennis said it was so, and lo so it was. Or something. Honestly, I’m still wondering whose bush I jumped into.

She went to see him and they fought. He told her he didn’t need her any more so she lashed out. She doesn’t want her father to go to prison for her crime, and asks Dennis to take her to the police station. Dennis agrees, but has one last question – does she remember seeing a brown briefcase in the office when she was there with Lanny?

Andrea does, but wants to know why that’s important. Dennis tells her it’s terribly important – the briefcase was gone by the time her father went round to move the body.

Oh yeah, that whole burglary business.

Back at the Pepperpot Cafe, Lanny’s minion (whose name, it turns out, is Joey Freeman) has just closed up for the night and is set to kick back in the freezer room with his briefcase full of money when Dennis sneaks up on him. Joey pulls a gun and warns Dennis not to come any closer, he knows about Dennis’s magical umbrella/sword. Dennis informs him is umbrella isn’t also a sword, aims the umbrella AND SHOOTS A TRANQUILIZER DART INTO JOEY’S NECK DENNIS STANTON WHAT EVEN ARE YOU??

Dennis delicately steps over a now comatose Joey, retrieves the money and departs. The next day, Dennis goes to explain the whole story to Monica Douglas who is naturally devastated by the whole situation. Dennis isn’t done though – he thinks he’s worked out why Grace doesn’t like him. He thinks he reminds her of someone she once loved – Jerome Woodward.

Monica is surprised – that was ten years ago, who told him about that? Dennis makes it his business to know who he’s dealing with. Monica says it was a difficult time in their lives, but Grace returns and says it wasn’t for her. It was, for awhile, a wonderful time. She offers to show the grounds to Dennis who cheerfully accepts.

As they stroll, the story comes out. The story about how Grace was wooed by a rogue who went after her money, and how he convinced her to swap the original Stuart silver dollar for a fake, and who ran off with it.

Dennis is outraged and promptly invites himself to lunch to cheer Grace up immediately.

And so ends the Case of the Silver Coin.

Keith Michell passed away just before Christmas so in honour of everyone’s favourite reformed cat burglar:

And if I jumped into your bush yelling FOR SPARTAAA then I apologise.

And if I jumped into your bush yelling FOR SPARTAAA then I apologise.

 

S05E02 – A Little Night Work

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Back in NYC Fletcherfans, where Our Heroine is attending a political fundraiser on the invitation of Theo Wexler, who is introducing her to all the attending bigwigs as her new literary agent.

a2

Classic Klinger

Classic Klinger

Turns out that’s a bit of an overstatement – what’s actually happening is that her agent retired and he’s taken over the business, and is desperate to keep her at the agency (and isn’t doing a great job of it so far).

Among the other guests at the party are Axel Weingard and his wife Marta, who don’t seem to be enjoying each other’s company, Miles Hatcher, a real estate broker, and this guy.

THIS GUY. I'll get to him later.

Dennis Stanton. I’ll get to him later.

Meanwhile I don’t think JB is having such a great night.

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE

JB is saved by the Andy the waiter from South Carolina, who brings coffee and lots of admiration.  Turns out Andy is a budding writer himself, and if she had a second, he could really use her advice. Alas his boss spots him chatting and he scurries off again just as JB gets a visit from the mysterious Dennis Stanton requesting the pleasure of the next dance.  JB accepts, but not before confirming that he’s not another literary agent.

“Not at all. My motives are highly personal and only moderately selfish.” Says Dennis.

Uh oh.

After a brief but dominating waltz…

At least these people know when to get out of the way

At least these people know when to get out of the way

…JB retires for the evening, but her night ain’t over yet.

g1

h2

i2

WHAT THE HELL.

WHAT THE HELL. (Although it turns out the actor who plays Dennis Stanton is Australian, so it actually makes more sense now)

“Hello again Jessica, I was in the neighbourhood so I thought I’d sort of drop in.” Says Dennis. He thanks her from saving him from no end of embarrassment and departs – only to return a second later saying “on the other hand, there’s no sense in rushing off, care to offer me a nightcap?”

JB demands an explanation but Dennis says he has to be discrete and would JB do him a favour and tell anyone who knocks at the door that he’d been in her room for the last half an hour?

You don't just come in off the balcony expecting booze and alibis Dennis. (Unless you're me. Then I expect those things)

You don’t just come in off the balcony expecting booze and alibis Dennis. (Unless you’re me. Then I expect those things)

“Then you’d rather see me shredded like a cabbage by an irate husband?” Says Dennis.

Huh. I see how this is.

Dennis decides the coast is clear and bids JB good night, saying that meeting her was a delight he will cherish forever.

Jess NO

Jess NO

o2

What is this episode?

What is this episode?

As JB dwells on this, Dennis the Menace departs the hotel, carefully avoiding the crowd out the front and the swarm of police cars that just arrived. SHADY STANTON.

The next morning JB gets a visit from Andy the waiter who bribed his way up with her breakfast so he could continue the conversation they were having the previous evening. Unfortunately for Andy Jess has just noticed an article in the paper about a jewellery theft that happened the previous evening. Someone stole Marta Weingard’s necklace between 12 and 12:30am – the same time Dennis the Menace was acting all shady in Jess’s room. Apparently Mrs Weingard was very upset – but noone knows what Axel thinks about it all, as he’s disappeared. Jess asks Andy if it’s possible that the Weingard penthouse could be above her hotel room, and it turns out that it is. JB has an inkling she knows who the burglad is, and departs, telling Andy she’ll talk to him later about his book.

Downstairs JB finds Lieutenant Alffano studying the newly discovered body of Axel Weingard, who had been dumped in a maid’s laundry basket and taken down to the basement. Alffano listens to JB’s description of Dennis Stanton the previous evening while across town Theo Wexler is telling Miles Hatcher that he’s not investing in his condo development, as he heard Axel Weingard was about to pull out of the project. Miles concedes he’s having a problem with Axel but points out that Theo hates Axel just as much as Miles does. Their meeting ends with the arrival of JB, who is set to tell Theo that she’s going to find another agent. Theo begs her to stay, saying they’re in a bit of  a mess financially, and Weingard’s publishing company dropped four of Theo’s clients for no reason. JB informs Theo that Weingard has ceased to be, and Theo gets on the phone to his broker immediately to dump his stock in Axel’s company.

Leaving Theo’s office (and presumably on the hunt for a new agent), JB bumps in to Dennis the Menace loitering outside. He remembered she had an appointment at Theo’s office and to show there were no hard feelings about her sicking the police on to him he’s decided to take her to lunch at a Burmese restaurant. JB is not swayed and demands answers, like what’s this she hears about an alibi for the theft/murder? Dennis tells her that as far as the police know he was playing gin rummy with councilman Wellington Kendall until the wee hours, and yes that was techincally a lie but the lady he was visiting was married.

“Don’t you mean was?” Says JB.

“What an opinion you must have of me.” Says Dennis, scandalised. He’s already moved on to bigger and better ideas though, like having JB for dinner that night. She tells him she’s going back to Boston on the 5pm flight, but that next time she’s in town they’ll have a date.

Back in her hotel room JB is packing up ready to go when she gets another unexpected visitor on her balcony – this time it’s Shannon McBride, special claims investigator for Sasquahana Fire and Casualty insurance company. Her company holds the paper on the missing necklace, and she has some questions for JB after learning that Dennis Stanton was in her room the previous evening. JB confirms that he was but says she’s having trouble getting people to believe her. Shannon does, saying  that Councilman Wellington Kendall is Dennis’s brother in law, and that he’s been alibiing Dennis for years. She can’t prove it, but she thinks Dennis the Menace is a cat burglar, and tells JB to tell Dennis there’s a hundred grand reward for the return of the necklace, and fifty for JB if she talks Dennis into returning it.

As Shannon deprats JB gets a call from Lieutenant Alffano. They’ve arrested a suspect – but it’s Andy the waiter and he’s not asking for a lawyer he’s asking for JB.

Naturally.

It turns out Andy sent his book to Axel’s publishing company the previous year, and while they didn’t publish it they did rip it off and put out a similar book. JB is perplexed as Andy explains the plot and wonders how he can be so angry Weingard stole his idea when Andy stole it from Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Andy tells her he didn’t steal it, he adapted it, and it was his idea first.

JB has some followup questions for Lieutenant Alffano, namely how did the thief get the necklace off the neck of Marta Weingard. Alffano explains that she took it off following a fight with her husband and threw it at her husband before going off to get some air/sober up. JB tells him it makes absolutely no sense that Andy would steal the necklace if he wanted revenge for the book situation. She’s convinced Dennis is involved, and has an idea for proving it. She calls him and says her plans have changed, and he is delighted to hear she’ll be coming for dinner. Off the phone, Lieutenant Alffano is impressed with her nerve, but JB has more important things on her mind like getting her hands on the case report.

That night, Alffano drives her to Stanton’s apartment and gives her a transmitter so they can listen in on their conversation. JB asks him about a couple of points in the case report, namely a red carnation petal with a drop of blood on it, which wasn’t the victims, and the scratches on the victims hand. Alffano confirms they think the carnation belonged to the killer but that they aren’t sure what caused the scratches on Axel’s hand.

Upstairs, Dennis asks what caused JB’s change of plans and she tells him she has a message for him from Shannon McBride. He correctly assumes it’s about the reward and tells JB that Shannon has been after him for years, convinced of his guilt. JB charms him into playing a ‘what if’ and the truth comes out – Dennis is a cat burglar, but only steals high end items from people who can afford it, and are insured with Sasquahana Fire and Casualty – the company that wouldn’t pay his late wife’s medical bills and left him in debt a quarter of a million dollars in debt. He exacted revenge by stealing items insured by the company – he made his money back years ago, now he’s just sticking it to the man. But he didn’t kill Axel Weingard, and he regrets to tell her that he didn’t even steal the necklace. When he went up to steal it he heard Axel Weingard arguing with someone and retreated to the bedroom. He went back for a second look after about 20 minutes and found the room (and the safe) empty. The arrival of Mrs Weingard saw him retreat to the balcony and drop in on JB.

JB asks him if he didn’t go into the lounge room like he claims then how did a red petal get in there as it says in the police report. Dennis asks her if she’s in the habit of reading police reports, finds the transmitter and legs it off the fire escape before the NYPD burst through the door.

Back at the precinct Shannon McBride is convinced of his guilt and tells them her report will be the same way. JB convinces Lieutenant Alffano that Andy is innocent and Alffano releases him. Later, he calls her to tell her that Dennis is almost certainly guilty, and that he’s just called his brother in law to say he’s leaving town but that once he’s sold the merchandise he’ll send him a piece of the action.

JB and a red carnation say differently.

Foiled by a red carnation

Foiled by a red carnation

Miles admits to everything, strangling Axel when he refused to stay a partner in the business deal, dumping the body and stealing the necklace in order to make it look like a robbery.

And what of Dennis? Thanks to some slick lawyering, a suspended sentence and some probation. But his thieving days are over. So he says. I think this isn’t the last we’re going to hear of Dennis the Menace.

And on that note

 

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

 

S02E22 – If The Frame Fits

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This week JB is paying a visit to her friend Lloyd Marcus, a retired advertising executive who is desperate for Jess to read a murder mystery manuscript written by “a friend” who conveniently lives in Tibet. A LIKELY STORY. Fortunately, Jess is saved by the bell, and by bell I mean discovering that the town cat burglar has come and stolen a painting.  Jess is stumped, as the painting was in its frame when she went to retrieve her copy of The Mystery Novel Of Mystery, but a minute later it was gone and the window open.  Police Chief Wiggum Cooper is on the case though, and tells Jess that she wasn’t in any danger as the Cat Burglar never hurts anyone. Lloyd’s house man Forbes arrives home from his night off and is quickly under suspicion (presumably for having the job title house man) but JB is inclined to this he is innocent (presumably because she wouldn’t mind a house man, if you know what I mean)

(Side note: there is only one true Cat Burglar and it’s this guy)

 

The next day Lloyd takes JB down to the Club to show her off to his fancy rich friends, including Frank Tiller, the Mayor/insurer of the stolen paintings, and his wife Mildred. He introduces JB as the mystery writer, but Frank is busy worrying about the stolen paintings and Mildred just says “…You’re the mystery writer!”

I think it's going to be one of those days for Our Heroine

I think it’s going to be one of those days for Our Heroine

They are soon joined by Lloyd’s daughter Julia (who also happens to be the Mum from Alf, and seriously why isn’t Alf on TV no wonder society is doomed) who Lloyd refers to as a snob. In this instance, snob is code for Massive Bitch. Apparently the Lloydster doesn’t approve of Julia’s taste in husbands.

Julia takes Our Heroine on a tour “to see how the leisure class live”, whatever that means, and is soon introduced to Ellen Davis (who works at the club)  and Binky Holborn.

You may recognise him. I did, the minute he opened his mouth.

Q!

Q!

When I tell you that Binky Holborn is possibly the greatest thing to ever happen to television, you’d better believe it. It turns out he was the first victim of the Cedar Heights Cat Burglar, and is keen to thrown a dinner party to discuss his theories with JB. Lloyd isn’t keen, he wants to work on his ‘friends’ manuscript, Ellen has paperwork to do and Julia is being a bitch spending time with her husband.

This makes Binky a sad panda.

Poor Binky. Seriously though, the hell name is Binky?

Poor Binky. Seriously though, the hell name is Binky?

Later that night JB and Lloyd go  to dinner with Binky, leaving Julia at home with her husband, and Lloyd’s other daughter Sabrina home with a headache. After some excited prodding from Binky Lloyd returns home to get Jess’s forgotten copy of The Mystery Book of Mystery and returns for a night of Amateur Workshopping.

On the way home, Lloyd notices Julia’s front door has been left wide open. Inside, Julia is completely dead. (Unsurprised)

Chief Wiggum Cooper is on the case, under the subtle gaze and gentle encouragement of JB, who is the first to point out the broken clock on the mantlepiece,the cuts on Julia’s neck and a button with the letters DG on it clenched in Julia’s hand.

Case closed – it’s clear that Julia’s husband Donald Granger is the killer. HUSBAND OF DEATH!

Since there's still half an hour left in this episode I'm assuming a lengthy explanation will be forthcoming

Since there’s still half an hour left in this episode I’m assuming a lengthy explanation will be forthcoming

A quick inspection of his wardrobe reveals a blazer with a button missing. Ho-hum. He is charged the next morning, despite his insistence that he was at the Seafood Shanty with a female friend at the time of the murder. Julia’s sister Sabrina is convinced he didn’t do it. More ho-hum.

JB decides to do some sleuthing down at the club and runs into Mildred. She tells Our Heroine that Donald had a thing with Sabrina before he met Julia – they met at a ski resort “and you know what that means!”

Mildred fails at the concept of the double entendre.

Mildred fails at the concept of the double entendre.

Jess returns to the scene of the crime with Chief Wiggum Cooper who has bad news – Donald Granger’s alibi checks out. The staff at the Seafood Shanty remember seeing him there with a woman, but a brunette so it couldn’t have been Sabrina. JB is starting to think that the crime scene was staged. In the middle of explaining her theory JB has a brainwave and scurries off to see Lloyd who confesses to setting up Donald Granger for the murder. But he swears he didn’t kill her. Oh well, then it’s fine.

As Lloyd explains how he tried to set up Donald as the killer it soon becomes clear that the Cat Burglar had paid Julia’s house a visit. JB decides that unmasking the Cat Burglar will probably help catch the killer, and starts nosing around the Club looking for clues. She tells Ellen that Donald is no longer under suspicion, guessing (correctly) that she must have been his late night dinner companion. Jess finds  Binky outside failing at putting and asks him about the Cat Burglar’s other victims. Binky tells her that after his painting was taken the Tilley’s had a “perfectly maudlin” little thing taken off their hands. Oh Binky.  JB catches up with the Tilley’s again and discovers that it was widely known when the two victims were away from home, so really anyone could have stolen the paintings. HELPFUL.

JB goes to visit Ellen again and finds her hard at work.

(Definitely better than my old computer!)

(Definitely better than my old computer!)

Ellen finally admits to having an affair with Donald, and says her relationship with Binky is just a ruse. Lady, I don’t think your relationship with Binky is fooling anyone. JB asks if any of the Club members are having financial problems and Ellen says there are few but Binky isn’t one of them – since he still somehow has the money to jet off to the UK every three months or so.

Apparently, this is a clue. JB knows who the cat burglar is, but is he the killer too?

This brings the total number of awesome cat burglars to 2.

This brings the total number of awesome cat burglars to 2.

Binky is quite delighted to reveal himself as the cat burglar, but he couldn’t possibly have killed Julia, since he was having dinner with Jessica. It would appear they are back to square one again. But no! Because Jess has had another brainwave.

DAMMIT I WANT MY HALF AN HOUR BACK

DAMMIT I WANT MY HALF AN HOUR BACK

So, if I’ve got this right, Donald killed Julia and made it look like the Cat Burglar had done it, then Lloyd came in and made it look like Donald had done it, which then made it look like Lloyd had done it even though Donald had done it to begin with.

Ow my brain.

And so ends another season. But not to fear, Fletcherfans, because Season 3 is starting next week! And Season 3 contains lots of amazing things. LIKE A MAGNUM PI MURDER SHE WROTE CROSSOVER SPECIAL O YES YES O YAY.

Just think about that one, for a minute.

Later gang!

Later gang!