S02E07 – A Lady in the Lake


When Our Heroine expresses an interest in writing a book called Murder at the Inn, Harry Pierce (who’ll you’ll remember from such episodes as this one, also he’s John Astin) takes her to a charming country inn on Stone Lake. It would appear that Jess is not overly excited about this.

Staying at the Bates Motel wasn't part of the plan/

Staying at the Bates Motel wasn’t part of the plan/

The inn is run by a lady named Grace, who is completely missing a sense of humour and also played Catwoman in the original Batman movie. Which might explain the sense of humour thing. She’s also having problems with the boatman teaching the female guests how to sing “I’m A Little Tea Pot”

The great teapot seduction technique.

The great teapot seduction.

After settling in, Jess goes down to the lobby to meet her potential victims fellow holidaymakers, including Burton Hollis, who I finally realised was Father Mulcahy in MASH after a bitter argument with my brain who kept trying to tell me it was Radar. My brain is an idiot.

As well as Burton, there’s Carolyn and Howard Crane, who have clearly moved on from their honeymoon phase, Kyle Jordan (whose wife Betty can be seen playing I’m A Little Teapot with Jack-o-boatman), and Joanna the hippy who likes to run naked through the woods. Is it me or has nudity gone up like 500% in this season?

It’s clear after about 30 seconds that Burton wouldn’t mind playing I’m A Little Teapot with Our Heroine, and he invites her to go birdwatching with him tomorrow at dawn. JB swiftly upgrades this to 9am.

Damn crazy fool.

Damn crazy fool.

Stupidly early the next morning, Burton and JB go in search of the Norwegian Blue Parrotm birds but so far the closest they’ve come is spotting the hippy on her early morning nude run. Burton decides they need to split up, and sends JB down on the lake path to see if she spot some birds.

Instead, she spots Howard Crane and his wife fighting in a boat. Carolyn goes into the water. JB yells for Burton. There’s been a murder! And when there’s been a murder, there’s only one man to call.

Sheriff Tupper arrives with his posse and his hat and sets to trawling the lake looking for the late Mrs Crane, with no success. Amos is living the high life – there’s been a murder sure, but the eyewitness is unimpeachable, so he can take the rest of the week off and go fishing. Harry Pierce turns up, full of excitement – there’s nothing like a good murder to bring the tourist dollars in. JB is puzzled why Joanna the hippy is so distraught over the death of a woman she didn’t even know. Jordan and Burton both agree that they heard the Cranes fighting in their room the night before, and hearing Carolyn ask Howard for a divorce.

Seems pretty open and shut to Amos, but JB isn’t convinced. There’s something fishy going on at this lake and she’s going to reel it in. (Alas that’s all the bad fish puns I can think of right now). She suggests they go and see if Howard is up to answering a few questions. Amos is delighted – it’s like JB can read his mind.

Howard is in the care of Doc Hazzlit, who informs Amos that if he wants to interrogate the suspect he’s gonna have to do it quick before the sedatives kick in. Howard tells them he didn’t kill his wife – she went nuts and tried to jump overboard, and he tried to stop her but he couldn’t swim but he jumped in anyway and he held on to the boat with one hand and he doesn’t understand it and she’s such a good swimmer and…the sedative kicks in.

Amos doesn’t care. Fastest case closure in Cabot Cove history! Unfortunately for him, Jessica is on team Howard. She’s convinced he didn’t kill his wife, there’s something else going on. She goes to search the boat for clues and finds Jack-o-boatman and Betty Jordan playing “I’m A Little Teapot” in the boathouse. Betty tells her that her husband doesn’t care, Jack tells her that doesn’t mean she needs to tell Jordan, and JB says “Oh I have no intention of telling anyone anything.”

Would this face lie to you?

Would this face lie to you?

JB finds a hook and a piece of string attached to the bottom of the boat, but no fishing equipment. Jack-o-Boatman has no idea what it’s for. I’ll be honest, I don’t think he knows more that the words to I’m A Little Teapot, to be honest.

Amos and Jess argue over the case a bit more, and Jess has a brainwave. What if Carolyn was trying to fake her own death in order to get a divorce from Howard? The gears grind in Amos’s head as he tries to find fault with the theory but is interrupted by a message on the radio from his deputy. Ain’t no fakin – Carolyn is dead.

Doc Hazlitt takes the body back to the Cove for an autopsy, leaving Jess and Amos to fight it out a bit more. Amos is convinced he’s right, but when JB asks him how the body got to the north shore of the lake with no breeze or current he pouts and tells Our Heroine she’s a sore loser. DAMN HER APPLYING LOGIC TO THIS.

After having a chat to Grace, the manager of the hotel, JB checks out the reservations book and discovers two completely separate guests have the same contact number for their bookings – Howard Crane and Joanne the hippy. What are the odds that Joanne was Howard’s secretary who’d come on the holiday to try to resume their affair?

Quite good, it turns out. Jess pays Joanne a visit and not only does this conversation about nude running happen:



“Offended? Oh heavens no, I used to spend many summers skinny dipping in the lake at the back of our house”. USED TO? USED TO?

…but Joanne admits that yes, she was Howard’s secretary, they had an affair, he broke it off, she came up to the lake to see if she could get him back but it didn’t work. She also says the lake holiday was Carolyn’s idea.

Out and about later in the day JB runs into Burton again, taking pigeons of doves (and Jack-o-Boatman waiting for another round of “I’m A Little Teapot” with Betty) but before she can do anything with this news Amos carts Howard Crane off to the clink. “He won’t like that,” Burton proclaims. “He can’t stand to be cooped up.”

This is certainly the case on the ride back to Cabot Cove. After he finds out Our Heroine knows about his claustrophobia he goes to town. JB takes his mind off it by asking him who inherits his many millions and he tells her noone: the only relative he had was a cousin and as far as Howard knew he was dead. Amos tells her off for talking to his suspect, so she changes the subject and asks Amos to search the records for the Jack-o-Boatman.

Doc Hazlitt has more bad news for Amos – Carolyn Crane had mud in her lungs, a knock on the head and was wearing a bathing suit under her clothes. Amos completely loses his mind, but somewhere in all the ranting and rambling Jess has an epiphany. She was right all along. There’s no time to gloat though – one of Amos’s minions has just delivered the results of the search on Jack-the-Boatman and it turns out he’s been a very busy boy blackmailing women he’s slept with.

Not so busy, it turns out. While he admits to the blackmail, (after Jordan tries to shoot him) and Grace the manager admits he’s her brother, Jack-o-Boatman claims not to have killed Carolyn Crane. And lucky for him Jess agrees. Carolyn Crane was a lady with a plan. She had scuba gear under the boat to aid her in her escape from Howard and into the waiting arms of her new boyfriend.

On a COMPLETELY COINCIDENTAL NOTE, it turns out Howard Crane’s cousin isn’t dead, he’s just dead boring…


Oh, but you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw scuba gear at you…..THERE. I GOT A HOLY GRAIL REFERENCE INTO THIS POST. I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE.

I could explain motives and things at this point, but really I think you and I both know there’s nowhere to go after that, so here’s this week’s out of context freeze frame.

Later gang!

Later gang!

S01E11 – Capitol Offence

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I tell you what gang, I’m pretty excited about this episode. Hold on to your bicycles guys!

After the local congressman for Cabot Cove (and the rest of Maine too, probably) turns up dead with a heart attack, the politicians are flummoxed. Who can they get to be acting congresswoman until the vote is sorted out in six weeks time?

When there’s someone dead in your neighbourhood, who ya gonna call?

Mrs Fletcher Goes to Washington

And with a blast of patriotic pipe music, our JB is off to Washington, so beginning possibly the greatest television mash-up I’ve ever invented…


JB is met at the station by CJ Joe-the-media-advisor, who is sassy (like CJ!) and likes to wear driving gloves (like CJ, probably). At first Joe treats his new boss with epic amounts of condescension, but Our Heroine puts him firmly back in his place. He introduces her to Congressman Dan Keppner, a friend of her predecessor, as well as her assistant Donna Dianna, who promptly tries to resign but Jess isn’t having a bar of it.

Before she can even sit down Gary Parmell, a lobbyist, waltzes into the room with a big bouquet of roses to welcome her to the neighbourhood/get her vote/get in her pants. Dianna very gently gets Jess out of an awkward situation, and Jess decides she’s going to need a “fast education,” which I’m guessing is code for a double Jameson’s on the rocks, but is actually a nice cup of tea.

Jess checks into her hotel and settles into bed with her “fast education” (not a euphemism, stop sniggering), but is interrupted by a phone call from Congressman Keppner. He wants to meet her to talk about his pal Wendell’s heart attack, but Jess is plumb tuckered out, and begs off until the morning. He hangs up and runs into a girl named Marta, who tells him she was also there the night Wendell had his heart attack, and that she helped him move the body.

The plot! It is thick!

After a good night’s rest, Jess is up and ready to filibuster the hell out of something. (I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure what a filibuster is, but I like to say it, and I’m sure it’s possible to filibuster the hell out of something if you properly commit, and anyway…) As she leaves the hotel, a mysterious stranger follows her. SUSPICIOUS…but no, it turns out he’s just the local fuzz.

The role of Det. Lt. Avery Mendelsohn will be played by Toby Ziegler, who will be played by Herschel Bernardi

Sidenote: here’s a completely irrelevant quote from Herschel:

There are five stages to an actor’s career: who is Herschel Bernardi? get me Herschel Bernardi; get me a Herschel Bernardi type; get me a young Herschel Bernardi; and who is Herschel Bernardi?

But I digress. The Det-Lieu  wants JB’s help – it turns out that the death of the former congressman for Cabot Cove (and the rest of Maine, probably) wasn’t as straight forward as they all thought. The autopsy shows that someone moved the body, and since his stomach hurts it means that “there’s a fox loose in the china shop” (Life Lesson #24, brought to you by Confucius).

Jess is naturally taken aback by this news…

I know how she feels…

…and while she (and we all) ponder exactly who let the fox into the china shop in the first place, her new friend Congressmne Keppner has turned up passed out in the gutter and being felt up by a random hobo. Ahh, Victoria Park station, what memories we’ve had…anyway, while the congressman attempts to retrieve his wallet from the aforementioned hobo, he stumbles into a police car. Which is convenient for them, because he’s wanted for questioning for the murder of Marta Craig.

Unaware of this juicy new development, JB is kicking it in her office, reading up on a proposed cannery that developers want to build about a mile from Cabot Cove. (I’m pretty sure all of Maine is a mile from Cabot Cove, but that’s neither here nor there). Jess is all over that, but she has more pressing issues, like her predecessor getting into bed dead. She asks Donna Diana what her thoughts are, and Diana reveals the late Wendell had been invited to a party with Gary Parmell, who JB refers to as the “unctuous gentlemen with the roses”. There’s no time to dwell on that though, JB is late to a committee meeting, and after being briefly waylaid by another lobbyist named THOR DANZIGER (NOT MAKING THIS UP), JB settles in for some hardcore governing.

On a break from all that law making and speechifying, (or as I like to call it, half-time), Jess goes back to her office. CJ Joe is trying to talk Jess into having lunch with Kaye Sheppard, the local gossip columnist, which Jess doesn’t want a bar of. In her office, Avery is troubled. Keppner is under arrest, but his stomach hurts and to make matters worse his feet do to, and that means that something isn’t kosher. At the police station Keppner reveals all – that Wendell had a heart attack and that they panicked and moved the body. Marta took photos in order to blackmail him but he didn’t kill her Mrs Fletcher you’ve got to believe me! etc etc.

Avery takes her down to the morgue to look at the body.

And with that, the congressman was proven innocent. Any questions?

Avery is well pleased with this, understandably, and tells Jess she should have been a cop.

“I am a cop,” she replies. “When I’m at the typewriter.”

As I said, LIKE A BOSS. Back at the Jess Wing, JB is trying to get the skinny on the congressmen, Marta Craig, Gary Parmell, and Ray Dixon, the boss of the company who wants in on Cabot Cove. She sends CJ Joe out for information. Meanwhile, Dianna has gone home to see her boyfriend THOR DANZINGER. To be honest, I’m not sure that has anything to do with anything, but I just wanted to say his name again. It turns out he was being blackmailed by Marta too and has been helpfully sent the photos to prove it, along with a note ordering him to stay away from Mrs Fletcher.

Unlikely. The lady in question has gone off to have lunch with Kaye Sheppard after all.

Face it, that’s a Bond villan right there… the lady in the hat could be too, I guess.

The divine Ms K has information about Marta Craig, but she ain’t just giving it up for nobody, not even JB Fletcher. After a bit of wheeling and dealing, she comes clean – she saw Marta coming out of the Watergate building, looking upset and being chased by Ray Dixon. JB has a vague whiff of a scent, and she’s hot on it.

The scent takes her to Donna Diana’s home, where she and THOR DANZIGER come clean on their relationship, as well as their former friendship with Marta. Joe the press agent tells her all the goss he can garner on Marta. The scent is now a full-blown olfactory tirade. JB has worked out the killer’s identity, and now it’s all she can do to trap him and vote on the cannery bill at the same time.

First thing’s first. JB rocks the vote like a boss. Words can’t do her speech justice, so here’s a video recreation.

Oh remember when Mel Gibson wasn’t an anti-Semitic lunatic? I’d forgotten too. Anyway, one victory down, one to go. Jess goes to check on the trap she laid for Marta’s killer and happily, the killer took the bait.

Life Lesson #25 – Never trust a man who wears driving gloves.

To celebrate, Avery invites JB out for lox and cream cheese, something Jess has barely heard of but is intrigued by, natch.

And so another chapter closes on Murder, She Blogged. See you next week, Fletcherfans!