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S10E07 – A Killing In Cork

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Our Heroine is back in leprechaun country and is receiving a concise history of everything that’s going on with her friend Fiona Griffith from local gossip Siobhan Kennedy – Fiona’s husband is dead, her son Sean is running the woollen mill (as seen by a frankly Wonka style opening montage except wool is not delicious and chocolate is), her other son Patrick buggered off to America a long time ago and her husband’s cousin Ambrose is trying to take over the business and move the factory to Sligo, a town I once passed through on a bus. Hashtag fun fact.

I think she might be rethinking this whole trip

Over at said factory, (in a part of Ireland where the accents range from Swedish to Indian), Sean is preparing for battle with factory manager type person Dennis Moylan. The evil Ambrose Griffith is on his way and is currently tailgating Siobhan and JB until they get out of his way.

Preach.

Said car arrives at the woollen mills, and Ambrose orders his wife to wait in the car with the driver.

(And also a person in her own right obviously, but hey fun fact!)

Back on the road, Siobhan stops to pick up local drunk poet Billy Mahaffy who informs JB that Robert Griffith was actually murdered. Siobhan dismisses this as total nonsense and drops Billy at the pub. Later, Fiona explains to JB that Billy drunkenly walked in front of a bus one night and spent a year in the hospital, and hasn’t been the same since.

Over tea, Fiona and JB catch up on all the gossip, such as how Robert got interested in stonemasoning before he died, and how he had finally started to let go of the business. It was a terrible Alannis Morrisette level irony that his interest in stone masonry led to his death when a piece of the church fell off and landed on him.

Down at the pub Ambrose, Mrs Griffith and the driver arrive to check in to their rooms. Ambrose exchanges LOOKS with a guy sitting a the bar with a pint and a book on birdwatching but quickly reveals himself to be a Fake Twitcher when Billy Mahaffy asks him about birds he’s seen.

JB gets a tour of the woollen mill from Sean who leaves her in Dennis’s company to pick out a blanket. Dennis is furious that Sean didn’t show Ambrose financial reports – he seems to be all for moving the factory for some reason. JB’s next stop is the church, where Father Timothy offers up the parish computer records if she can’t find any trace of her Macgill relatives in the graveyard.

I would have laughed SO hard if it was Grady.

The girl leaps up, announces the leprechaun is coming (she calls it something else but I’m tired and editorialising) and runs away. Later that night, after Jess and Father Timothy discuss what poisons are the best for murder, Fiona shows Jess a picture of the leprechaun in question, known for never taking his pipe out of his mouth, and explains that the girl is Una O’Reilly. The conversation is interrupted first by Sean and Ambrose blueing over the business, then by the sudden arrival of Patrick Griffith who pops in to announce he has a thought or two about Ambrose taking over the business. Ambrose tells him he has no say, his father disowned him, he has no shares in the business.

The next day Patrick gives Jessica a lift into town and explains that he left after getting sick of the way his father treated him. He went off to university, received mysterious money orders into his bank account every month from an unknown benefactor, and then once he heard Robert had died decided to come home. He apologises for his behaviour the previous night, saying he could have waited an hour before teeing off on Ambrose.

ALWAYS.

Down by the lake, Ambrose/Pete Sampras’s wife Emily starts making out with the chauffeur while Fake Twitcher Guy takes photos. Gee, I wonder how that’s going to end up. Over at the mills Ambrose, Patrick and Sean yell at each other for awhile, which ends with Ambrose announcing Robert Griffith agreed to the move and producing paperwork showing the board appointing him emperor of the woollen mills. Patrick and Sean storm out. Ambrose tells Dennis if he keeps his mouth shut and does his job he might have a future with the company.

Ambrose is on fire. After properly enraging his entire family, he next drops a stack of incriminating photos on Emily and tells her she’s done and there’s no alimony in her future. He skulks off and she goes straight to the phone – she needs to see whoever is on the other end of the line immediately.

There’s only one way to resolve all of this dramatic tension.

FIRST RULE OF RIVERDANCE FIGHT CLUB IS THAT YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT RIVERDANCE FIGHT CLUB UNLESS IT’S IN A BAD IRISH ACCENT.

While the Riverdancers fight to the death, Fiona wonders where Patrick has disappeared to and Emily arrives with Dennis Moylan. Ambrose gets a message from the friendly bartender and leaves under the eagle eye of his now-sacked chauffeur, and Siobhan waits in a dark wood, for Patrick as it turns out. Patrick ain’t got time to chat though and is off to do a thing. The chauffeur guy turns up there and watches Patrick and Siobhan wander off in different directions.

Father Timothy offers jetlagged JB a lift home while down at the church Ambrose is waiting for his mysterious note-writer to turn up. He gets freaked out when he sees Una O’Reilly singing at him through a window, then she runs away. He turns around and finds the bell rope swinging. He calls out, cops a garrotte around the neck and starts frantically pulling on the bell rope.

Back at the pub JB hears the church bells and asks if they always ring at ten o’clock. Father Timothy panics, as the church should be locked tight and there’s money in the safe so he grabs Jess and they jet over to the church to find Ambrose dead on the ground, the bell rope still swaying.

The next day the 5-0 roll in.

It’s the token Irish guy who isn’t Irish!

Sergeant Boyle, much to Jessica’s apparent irritation, seems to have the matter in hand. He is not terribly moved by Jessica’s knowledge that the death occurred at 10:04pm, or that she saw Ambrose receive a message from the bartender, or that the fact that the window was smashed suggests that the killer broke into the church and let Ambrose in. After he leaves, Jessica spots a shard of glass outside on the ground and some black ash that someone tried to sweep up. She asks Father Timothy if someone had swept in there that day but he thinks not. He gives her a list of people who have keys to the church and it’s basically everyone.

Speaking of everyone, they all gather at Fiona’s house to pay their respects to the newly widowed Mrs Griffith. Dennis is extra polite, and Billy Mahaffy wonders if that means the woollen mills are going to move to some land Dennis owns, and Dennis tells him to lay off the booze.

Down at the mill, Patrick is delighted to inform Sean that the directors have voted to keep Sean in charge and to move in whatever direction he sees fit. Sean is delighted but worried about Sergeant Boyle. He wants to know if Patrick killed Ambrose so Sean can help cover it up. Patrick is furious and storms out.

Jess is off picking flowers, seemingly not needed in this investigation.

If there was a murder, yo she’ll solve it…check out the hook while Doc Hazlitt revolves it (guys it’s five thirty in the morning I might have broken myself)

Dennis Moylan drops past to tell her that her brand new rug will be ready in the morning and departs. Siobhan rushes up to tell Jessica that Sergeant Boyle is convinced Patrick murdered Ambrose. She admits to JB she’d known Patrick for a while, he had come back to town for a day to meet someone and she had met him in the pub that night and they were casually hooking up. The night of the murder he was supposed to meet her but didn’t and he was always asking questions about the mill, but he totes didn’t kill Ambrose.

After some digging around in the parish records, Jess wanders the graveyard and finds Una communing with the fairies. Jess tries to find out more about the leprechaun but Una runs away. Jess heads back to Fiona’s just in time to see Patrick being hauled off in cuffs by Sergeant Boyle.

Jess takes Fiona for a walk to get the truth out of her. It turns out Patrick isn’t Robert’s son, he’s Billy Mahaffey’s. He went to Belfast and disappeared/got hit by a bus and so Fiona married Robert. He knew Patrick wasn’t his so he treated him badly. Fiona’s terrified Sergeant Boyle will find out and think Patrick killed both of them but JB thinks she’s on to something.

(Spoiler alert: I only just now realised this is basically the cast of the Celtic Riddle telemovie).

JB goes to see Patrick in jail, and he admits he came back to town to find out who’d been sending money orders. Billy told him he was his real father the day Robert died. He thought Billy had killed Ambrose Griffith and tried to make it look like a robbery. Sergeant Boyle pops in to call time on visiting hours and starts fiddling with a button. This seals the deal for Jessica and that night she lays a trap for the killer.

*May not actually be a leprechaun

Won’t lie, nailed this one about ten minutes in. Dennis wanted the factory moved to his land and killed anyone who said no, basically. There was a lost button, Jess had it all worked out, it was fine.

And that’s all she wrote, for a couple of weeks. Santa Claus is coming to town, you guys! But I’ll be back in a couple of weeks.

Merry Festivus Fletcherfans!

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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.