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S09E04 – The Wind Around the Tower

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Welcome to suspiciously sunny Ireland Fletcherfans, where JB is researching for her new book. As it happens, recently retired NYPD detective Sean Culhane (aka the other Demon Barber of Fleet Street, seen previously here) has returned home to Ireland and is happy to chauffeur Our Heroine around, while bitching about the prevalence of Australian soap operas on TV. (Such blasphemy will not stand, although I must confess I’ve never really watched Home and Away but I did watch Neighbours for a time, until that ridiculous storyline with the bomb on the plane on their joyride to Tasmania, because frankly Tasmania did nothing to be dragged into that shambles).

I digress.

JB just wants to hang out with some typical Irish folk, and Sean knows just the place – his friend Neil Gillen heard he was back in the old country and has invited him for a visit, so they head to his village. While the hotel owner sees to their rooms JB and Sean stop for a bite of lunch, and Neil soon joins them for a pint and an invitation – forget staying at the pub, come stay at his his new castle-y big house he’s just bought. It has a library full of old books ready for JB to peruse.

Guys I won’t lie, I am well acquainted with Irish drinking customs. In fact, I have a degree in whisky-tasting from the Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland because I’m awesome.

JB knocks off the rest of her beer and remembers she has some film she wants developing so she cruises on over to the chemist across the street. After she leaves, Sean tells Neil he’s here, what does he need? Neil says he can’t say just yet, but he wants Neil just to look around, and see what’s up. They’ll talk later.

Over at the chemist JB meets the proprietor and long time fan Francis O’Reilly, who had heard JB had been coming. He’d be happy to get the film done for her, and asks her to sign a few of her books so that he can take them round the housebound villagers. Jessica is obviously happy to oblige.

I mean it’s long at the bag and slightly less long on top. Turbo mullet?

Jess and Sean arrive at the fancy-pants house and meet Neil’s assistant Claire Abbot, who is delighted to discover that the guests are so famous (well, one is anyway) and tells them to let her know if there’s anything she can do. Neil then introduces Jess and Sean to his new wife Anne and his cousin Liam (previously also seen here). Anne is delighted to meet them both, and particularly Jessica – she hadn’t known Jess was coming until the day before. Liam politely excuses himself from dinner, saying he has other plans.

At dinner everything goes swimmingly until they hear shrieking coming from outside. Neil assures them that it’s just the wind catching on the facade, but Ann says it might be the Crying Lady. Back in ye olde black and white times, a ship captain built the house for his wife as a wedding present, complete with tower so she could watch the ship come in, but one (dark and stormy) night, she was in the tower and saw her husband’s ship crash against the cliffs and sink. She threw herself off the tower and died, and to this day people say she can be heard roaming the grounds. And guys would it surprise you to learn that she is a harbinger of death?

(Jessica Fletcher is 100% not a harbinger of death though, obviously).

That night Sean is woken by the sound of dogs barking. He looks out his window to see a shadowy figure walking thr grounds with a torch. He rushes to the hallway and bumps into Jessica.

“I was just going for some hot milk.” He says.

“So was I.” Says JB.

This is the weirdest episode of Scooby Doo ever.

They head on out and follow the light to the tower, but when they go inside the figure is missing. They find a plaque that reads “For my beloved Sarah, safe passage through dangerous places.” Then a man appears with a machine gun. He introduces himself as Quint Sankey, caretaker, (I WOULD WATCH THAT SHOW) and orders them back to the house. Neil and Ann quickly sort it out, Quint takes his leave and everyone goes back to bed, while Claire Abbott lurks in the shadows.

The next morning, Jess is up early eating breakfast and raiding Neil’s library. She’s found a goldmine but she wants more info so she’s going to go into town and see what she can find out from the locals. She invites Sean along, but he tells her he’d rather stay and stroll the grounds to get a feel for the place. Jess says that’s what he says when he’s investigating a crime. Sean tries to cover it up and JB says she doesn’t mean to intrude, she is offering her help whenever he needs it.

In town JB picks up her photos and for extremely subtle plot point reasons also grabs a bottle of the newest fragrance Emerald Sunset. The shopkeeper tells her she’s the first one to buy it and would love to hear what she thinks. Jess then goes back to the pub to hear the story of a battle between five strong men, one woman, a tax collector, a horse, several cases of good Irish whisky, and crossing rights to a bridge.

SPOILER ALERT: The horse won.

I just realised that the person telling this story is inexplicably drinking a pint of milk. But anyway.

Jessica and the storyteller (a Mr Foudy) are joined by Neil’s neighbour Jason McNamara who suggests that Jess might be interested in the story of the Crying Lady. Foudy hasn’t got much more to add, just that in life no one ever saw the wife go in or out of the tower, and that Jason McNamara can’t think of a more deserving person to have to deal with a ghost than Neil Gillen. Foudy explains after Jason leaves that Neil bought up Jason’s land when his finances went sideways.

Back at the house, Sean basically learns the same thing from Quint Sankey, caretaker while inside Neil confronts Liam about some money that’s gone missing out of some Swiss bank accounts. The place that they are filming this episode is the house from Clue! I’ve just worked it out. Oh man I love that movie.

After dinner that night, Sean and Neil confur in the library. Sean has had about enough of these mysterious shenanigans and he’s not a big fan of hiding things from Jess. Neil comes out with it – he thinks someone is going to kill him in the next 48 hours. He explains about the missing money, but he thinks there’s something else going on and asks Sean to meet him back there at midnight – he’ll explain it all then.

Sean sits up until 11:45 but he’s too late. The house is woken to the sound of Anne screaming – Neil is in his study, eyes wide open, dead as a post. Sergeant Devon O’Malley is called to the scene, and quickly rules it natural causes on account of there being not a mark on him. At first he rules it a heart attack but JB is quick to point out the lack of blueish tinge to Neil’s lips.

Downstairs Sean has a quiet word with O’Malley about possibly getting a full autopsy done on the down-low, cop to cop. O’Malley says he’ll see what he can do.

And now, a quick word from our sponsors…

And now, back to the show.

Out on a stroll, Sean explains the whole thing to JB, who knew something was up, the whole thing seemed dodge as. She springs into action, sending Sean to find out more about Jason McNamara, while she heads back into town.

Sean finds Jason banging up some no trespassing signs on Neil’s land. Jason says he heard or saw nothing the night before, but that he suspects Anne Gillen will be in a mood to sell the land off cheaply. Sean finds this remarkable, being as Neil’s not been dead a day.

Down in the village Jess is chatting to Brian Mulrain, the publican, who thinks it’s obvious – the killer was the Crying Lady. No one had heard anything from her for 50 years until Neil bought the house and then it all kicked off. Jess thinks there’s something to this and heads on her way, bumping into Francis O’Reilly on the way out.

Back at the house Jess tells Sean they need to talk but are soon joined by Liam Gillen, who wants to offer his apologies that such a dreadful thing should happen during their stay. He’d been out of town on business and had only just returned, and was likely to have to leave again now that he would be running the business. He departs, leaving Jess and Sean more suspicious than ever. Jess tells Sean to go and call O’Malley to find out more about Liam Gillen while Jess goes upstairs to talk more with Anne.

Outside, Liam sends his girlfriend CLAIRE ABBOTT off to stay with her family for a few days while he irons this whole situation out. Anne Gillen watches the whole scene play out from her bedroom window before she gets a knock at the door – Jessica offering condolences in this trying time. Ann tells her she plans to sell the house, she feels uncomfortable staying. Jess says she understands that Liam will take over the business, which is news to Ann – that was the opposite of what Neil would have wanted. Jess asks if anyone would have wanted to hurt Neil and Ann gets upset, insisting that it was natural causes. Jess scurries into the bathroom for a tissue, noticing a bottle of Emerald Sunset on the counter as she does so.

Later that afternoon Sean gets the coroners report back – cause of death is fluid in the lungs, presumably pneumonia. Both Sean and Jessica find this highly odd, as Sean didn’t appear sick in the slightest, but Ann and Sergeant O’Malley appear with some evidence that Ann just found. It’s a video from Sean’s cam-corder showing (among other things) Neil turning on a lamp, Neil constantly relighting his cigar, and Neil passing out and dying. We see Ann coming in to turn off the lamp before discovering Neil’s body, going to the doorway slowly and screaming.

JB is about to do her best Nic Cage from Gone in 60 Seconds impression (#ThingsThatAreOnlyTrueInsideMyHead)

A quick jaunt to the chemist confirms that while noone else has bought a bottle of the perfume, there is indeed one extra missing from the stand. The sale assistant thinks O’Reilly must have bought it for one of his lady friends, as he is wont to do.

Sean is confused as to how this will help but Jessica tells him they will just have to see the Crying Lady for more information. They sneak into the tower before being rumbled by Quint Sankey, Caretaker. Unfortunately for Quint, JB makes her getaway down a helpfully lit secret passage. (Forget Scooby Doo this is some Famous Five business up in here). She discovers nitrogen tanks, some pipes that were arguably screaming, and eureka!

Jess returns to the study to lay a trap. Anne wanders in to see what she’s doing and Jess explains that she’s convinced Neil was murdered, and she’s looking for evidence. Jess turns the lamp on, and Ann declares she’s not waiting around all night trying to find something that isn’t there. When she discovers she’s locked in though she loses it, until Jess announces it’s alright, they disconnected the nitrogen tanks already.

If I had a dollar for every wife/husband of death I’d be a rich woman.

Ahh yes. Anne was having a little something something going on with Francis O’Reilly, mainly so she could get hold of some nitrogen, bump off Neil and get hold of his money. That old chestnut.

But never mind all of that. It just so happens to be my birthday today, and this week has been a terrible horrible no good very bad week, so my birthday gift to myself, and to all of you, is the entirety of Angela Lansbury’s health and fitness video.

Watch and learn, Fletcherfans. Watch, and learn.

 

Later gang.

S03E19 – No Accounting For Murder

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UGH.

The derp is strong in this one.

The derp is strong in this one.

Once again, Grady is failing at everything. He works as an accountant for a company called Paul Carlisle and Associates in a building which is supposedly haunted, and someone just stole his sandwich. In fact, when JB arrives to see her nephew, the security guard has him in a head lock after he mistakes Grady for the ghost the secretary claims is chasing her.

(Or the security guard just wanted to arrest Grady for being SO LAME)

(Or the security guard just wanted to arrest Grady for being SO LAME)

While the security guard goes to sort the actual ghost out, Grady’s boss Ralph Whitman takes JB to meet the big boss Paul Carlisle, who tells her that he can see where Grady gets his sharp intellect from…

WTF is right

WTF is right

…and that he’s been a big fan of JB’s for twenty years…

JB keeps her composure well

JB keeps her composure well

…and that he always says there’s nothing better than a good romance novel.

Man, this guy makes Grady look intelligent. I don't like it.

Man, this guy makes Grady look intelligent. I don’t like it.

Having been overwhelmed by Paul Carlisle’s stupidity graciousness, JB takes her leave, saying she and Grady have reservations for an early dinner. As Whitman shows them out he tells Carlisle that the Hammond account files are in his office, but Carlisle is going home and is all “Yolo, bro.” (Paraphrasing).

Whitman is waylaid in the foyer by Lester Grimshaw, IRS agent, so Whitman returns to his office leaving Grady and JB to go off to dinner. Grady whinges about how the ghost stole his lunch, which Jessica completely empathises with.

Classic Grady.

Classic Grady.

After dinner Grady goes back to the office. As he gets out of the cab a woman tries to get in but JB is unmoved.

This might actually be my favourite screenshot yet,

This might actually be my favourite screenshot yet

When Grady goes up to his office he sees his boss Ralph Whitman’s office light on and goes to investigate. El Whitman is in fact dead and on the wall someone has helpfully scrawled LEAVE ME ALONE OR I WILL KILL AGAIN in big red letters.

Needless to say, Grady isn’t coping with this new development. JB comes to check up on him and meets the investigating detective Lieutenant Hanratty, played by Jerry’s Dad in Seinfeld with an inexplicable Irish accent. JB takes charge straight away and tells him that the message on the wall is obviously a red herring, that the fact that Whitman was killed in his chair suggests that Whitman knew the killer. Handratty points out Whitman wasn’t alone in the office, that Grady was also in the building, to which Jess replies with “Yes, he told me he’d reported the crime…so obviously he didn’t kill him.”

“Well, it’s unlikely.” Says Hanratty.

“UNLIKELY!” Jess exclaims.

“Now now. Mrs Fletcher. Let’s not be giving ourselves a bellyache until after we’ve tasted the stew.” Says Hanratty.

Mmmkay.

Despite the death of his “close personal friend”, Carlisle and Associates is open for business the next day. Apparently off the hook, Grady is telling the secretary how he nearly lost his lunch seeing Whitman like that when Grimshaw calls Grady into his office to talk about a dodgy tax deal with Grady’s name on it. Grady asks Carlisle about it and Carlisle is surprised to learn that Grady doesn’t know anything about it.

Grady is in the middle of moaning to Jess about it all when there are raised voices outside his office. Mrs Whitman, the newly widowed wife of Ralph, is trying to get into her husband’s sealed office. JB comes out to investigate the hubbub and recognises Mrs Whitman as the woman who tried to commandeer her taxi the previous night. She tries to deny it but relents and agrees to go talk to Lieutenant Hanratty with JB. As they leave the office, Carlisle tells Grady the Hammond file he needs for the meeting is in his office. UGH FILES AND GRADY AND EW.

Mrs Whitman tells the Lieutenant and JB that she went to see her husband but he didn’t answer her knock. Hanratty asks her why it was so difficult to get in touch with her to tell her about her husbands death and she admits she spent the night *cough* in someone else’s apartment *cough*. The interview is interrupted when another policeman comes in to tell them that there’s been an incident at the office. The ghost has left another message and frightened the janitor.

This is turning into an episode of Scooby Doo. WAIT. Obviously in this scenario JB is Velma…is Grady a combination of Shaggy and Scooby? Or is he Scrappy Doo because he’s so damn annoying? This wants thinking about.

ANYWAY.

The janitor tells Lieutenant Hanratty that she can hear the ghosts in the walls. He tells her there’s no such thing as ghosts – banshees maybe and of course The Little People, but no ghosts. JB asks the janitor where she hears the spirits the most and the janitor directs her to the janitor’s closet. Upon closer inspection JB finds a secret door in the wall, leading into a passage. SERIOUSLY THIS IS SCOOBY DOO, SOMEONE GIVE GRADY A SCOOBY SNACK. JB goes in to investigate, and is followed by an Ominous Shadow that turns into Thing from Addams Family.

*clicks fingers*

*clicks fingers*

The disembodied hand is attached to a random hobo who has taken up residence in the walls of the building. He tells her that he had nothing to do with the killing and to please leave him alone while he plays the organ in the basement.

On a stroll through the park JB fills Henretty in and he decides that if the killer isn’t the ghost it must be Scrappy Doo Grady. JB won’t have a bar of it, and reminds him that Lana Whitman stood to gain a bit by her husband ceasing to be. Meanwhile, Whitman’s office is unsealed and Grady sets to finding the files about this mysterious Neptune Ventures he’s said to be involved with. He can’t find anything in the office (SO MUCH FAIL) but JB notices an appointment with a Marty Giles in Whitman’s planner with the notation NV next to it. NV = NEPTUNE VENTURES! I GET IT! (For some reason this reminds me of when I was a kid and my Mum was reading me a story about Barbie solving a mystery of the case of the missing wedding dress or something and Mum raged because the clues were ridiculous. Heh heh. My Mum is awesome).

JB decides to pay a visit to said Marty Giles, whom you may remember from this episode (or from the future).

k2

He will. Promise.

Marty isn’t inclined to be of assistance to JB, and even less so when he hears the name Neptune Ventures. JB then escorts Grady to see Grimshaw at the IRS office, where Grimshaw declares that Grady is the mastermind behind a scheme to defraud the government out of millions of tax dollars.

Seriously though...

Seriously though…

Despite Grimshaw’s exhaustive interrogative techniques, Scrappy Doo Grady insists he knows nothing about Neptune Ventures.

Meanwhile, back at the office Lana Whitman informs Paul Carlisle that she wants to sell off her late husbands share in the business so she can move to Spain with her lover ZOLTAN. Carlisle tries to give her the brush off but she tells him that if he doesn’t agree to her terms she’ll take him to court and force him to open his books.

JB and Grady return to the office just in time to catch Lieutenant Henretty, who promptly takes Grady in for questioning. He asks Grady about his trips to the Cayman Islands and his nefarious deeds for the company (LOL) but Grady continues to swear that he knows nothing. (I think we can all agree that this is true). JB asks Henretty if they can go through the files one more time to try and find more information about Neptune Ventures.

Before that though, JB goes to see Marty Giles and comes down on him with a world of pain. He cracks, and tells her that he was being blackmailed into investing in Neptune Ventures or else he would be ratted out to the IRS for some of his more shady business dealings.

That night, Grady and JB are going through the files and getting nowhere. Grady, being the interminable failure we all know gives up halfway through, goes to splash water on his face and gets distracted walking the secretary to her subway station, leaving JB to stumble on to the file on her own. The Hammond File. Remember that time everyone in the episode was talking about the Hammond file?

As she’s realised what she’s discovered, the killer helpfully walks in to explain how he cocked up.

Surprised? Nah, me neither.

Surprised? Nah, me neither.

Ah yes. That shifty Carlisle stuffed up when he admitted to Grady the day after the killing that the Hammond file was in his office, when the previous day it had been in Whitman’s office and should have remained there since he was at the office alone. EXCEPT FOR WHEN CARLISLE CAME BACK AND KILLED HIM AND STOLE THE FILE.

Just as Whitman is about to strangle JB with the lamp cord, the friendly neighbourhood hobo ghost bursts out of the wall, hogties Whitman and then disappears. I’m not gonna lie, I like his style.

And there you have it. Grady remains the most useless human being on Earth and JB lives to write another day courtesy of a hobo ghost with a heart of gold.

On that note…

Later gang!

Later gang!

S02E11 – Murder Digs Deep

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After last weeks depressing episode I’m quite keen for something a little more upbeat, how about you Fletcherfans?  How does JESSICA FLETCHER AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM sound? If you answered “Unlikely” then you’re mostly right and clearly have a firmer grip on reality than I do.

Our Heroine is New Mexico, volunteering on an archaeological dig with her purely platonic friend Doc Hazzlitt (seriously, does anyone actually believe that?) being overseen by Gideon Armstrong, or as he’s better known, this guy:

You might know Robert Vaughn from The Man From U.N.C.L.E or his recent work on Coronation Street. Or, you’re like me and you know him from BASEketball and now you’re saying “I hear your Mom is going out with Squeak” and giggling to yourself.

Jess is there to help out, and to research a book. Although I think she may be having second thoughts…

EW.

Seth and JB aren’t the only schmucks out digging up bones in the desert. There’s Karen Parkes and Steve Gamble, two postgrad interns looking for extra credit (we’ve all been there, amirite?), their supervisor Doctor Steve Garfield who thinks they’re digging for a lost city of gold, fame-seeker Doctor Aubrey Benton who thinks he can make the most money if they find the lost city of gold, Raymond Twocrows, the expert on Native American stereotypes tribes, and Gideon’s newest model wife Cynthia.

Later that night when they are all sitting around eating dinner they are rudely interrupted by a Native American standing on the hill above them, dancing and chanting. Karen informs JB that he appears at the same time every night, trying to scare them away from the dig, but by the time the guards get up to him he is gone. Forget Indiana Jones, this episode is a Great Dane away from becoming an episode of Scooby Doo.

The next morning Seth decides to get the jump on JB (heh heh) and does a little detecting of his own by asking Raymond what Anasasi means and where he was when the Ghostly Spectre of Doom. Raymond responds with “The Great Builders”  and with skulking off, which are both incorrect answers. JB has no time to scold Seth for stepping on her sleuthing territory, she’s just uncovered a – thing. Honestly, I’m not sure what it is, lets call it the Panflute of Destiny, based on the music when she finds it. Oh, it’s not a pan flute, its a prayer stick. Anyway, Doctor Garfield and Doctor Benton are beside themselves, Gideon is more concerned with how much he can make from it.

It’s a very subdued dinner that evening, despite JB showing everyone how to find things in the ground like a boss. The Ghostly Spectre of Doom appears right on time for his nightly performance, which a drunk Cynthia Armstrong takes exception to, and so decides to bring the curtains down on the whole thing by shooting at him. Much to everyone’s surprise, she actually hits and he falls out of view. They run to the scene and find the body of Raymond Twocrows. Awkward. Seth helpfully points out that Raymond wasn’t shot, but  presumably died after falling from the top of the hill.

Gideon calls an emergency dig meeting, to try and put aside any vicious nasty rumours about his wife killing Raymond accidentally or otherwise. To get them on-side he offers them all a share in any profits made from the treasure they dig up. SMOOTH MOVE GIDEON! When Doctor Benton goes to radio for the police, however, Gideon gently removes the plug. He doesn’t want reporters crawling over the site until they have something to show them that isn’t a corpse.

The following morning JB and Seth team up for a little sededuction which I will reenact with some helpful screenshots:

f2

g2

j2

h1

After that little reenactment (that amused me way more than it ought to), JB sends Seth off to look at the body again, since clearly he didn’t die from falling three feet, while Our Heroine has breakfast with Doctor Benton to suss out some information on Raymond. She has little luck – it turns out Gideon hired him, not Benton, who has an indecent proposal of his own – he would like JB to ghost write his memoirs.

Direct quote: “I’m speechless”

JB runs into Seth back at the dig, and he has news: Raymond didn’t die from falling , he died from drowning. Which, in a desert, makes him either very unlucky or an extra in an episode of CSI I remember.

Jess reacts well to this news:

You’re welcome!

Jess bets Seth that the police haven’t been called, and decide to drive into town themselves but are thwarted by Armstrong’s minions who tell them that Armstrong has ordered that no one is to leave the site.  When they go to confront him about it he brushes them off, but is surprised to hear that Raymond drowned and that the fall was staged. He tells them he was with Doctor Benton at the time, but is interrupted by Doctor Garfield rushing in to announce they’ve found more gold.

JB has a quiet word with Doctor Benton and he finally admits that he wasn’t with Armstrong. A search of Raymond’s belongings reveals books on Native Americans borrowed by Raymond DeMarco – “One of those Indians from Naples!’ says Seth – from the same university where Karen and Steve study and Doctor Garfield teaches. They also find Raymond’s boots covered in mud, giving Jess an idea. She hightails it out of the tent, followed by a very confused Seth, and heads out into the desert. While Seth pontificates on the existence of tumbleweeds, JB disappears. Seth finds a cave entrance and goes in, hesitantly calling Jess’s name. Suddenly he hears Native American chanting.

m2n2

o2

So…the Ghostly Spectre of Doom was really a tape player, eh? Not only have they found where Raymond was murdered, but they also find crates of Native American artefacts from the university. Say what? Don’t panic, Our Heroine is starting to figure it out…

Back at camp JB overhears Karen and Steve fighting. It turns out Karen was trying to get away from Armstrong at the same time his wife was taking potshots at the “ghost”. JB goes to see Armstrong and brings him to the dig site to prove her point. He’s been “flim-flammed”. (Life Lesson #41 – People aren’t conned, they’re flim-flammed). The artefacts were put there to be found, to jack up the price of the land that Armstrong was hoping to buy before anyone else could find out what he’d found.

But by who?

To be fair, the hair was a bit suspicious...

To be fair, the hair was a bit suspicious…

Turns out Cynthia killed Raymond after he threatened to expose her little plan to bleed her husband dry. Fortunately for her she had Doctor Garfield to help her drag the body up the cliff, dress up as the Ghoulish Ghost of Doom and then throw Raymond off the cliff. And they would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for them meddling kids.

And by meddling kids…

Later gang!

Later gang!