Salutations and Happy Easter Fletcherfans! I hope the Easter Bunny was kind and left you eggs, unlike the sore throat (s)he left me. Although to be fair I think I acquired this throat screaming at my football team on Friday night. So yeah, don’t feel too bad for me, I brought this on myself.
But never mind all that, because we are back in New York again Fletcherfans, where JB is in town to attend a political fundraiser for
BJ Hunnicutt Drew Borden, and making a pit stop at Beaumont Jewellers to get her watch repaired. While she’s there, she sees a wealthy woman, accompanied by her chauffeur, look at a bunch of necklaces and then pinches a diamond and ruby necklace when the shop assistant’s back is turned. She doesn’t escape Our Heroine’s notice though, but when JB reports the theft to the shop assistant, Charles Lockner, he tells her that there was no diamond and ruby necklace, and that there is no other stock missing either. Seems definitive, since he hasn’t actually checked.
The jewel thief, Sheila Finley, is driven home by her chauffeur, who she then drags into the back seat for some quality time, if you know what I mean. Her delayed departure from the car does not go unnoticed by her husband, Porter Finley, or one of the maids.
But never mind all that, because BEHOLD YOUR HEROINE IN ALL HER GLORY
As they leave the hotel and head to the fundraise, JB tells Drew the story of the stolen necklace that wasn’t.
A reaction only topped by Jessica on hearing the names of their hosts for the evening – Mr & Mrs Finley Porter The Third.
At the party, while JB is glad-handed by Porter Finley The Third, the family chauffeur – Rocco Pastolino – is out in the garage smoothing things over with the previously mentioned maid, Margaret Gable. It would appear they are blowing this cake stand in a few days and heading off to somewhere with palm trees, so Rocco begs Margaret to be patient until then.
Inside, JB is staggered when she’s introduced to Sheila, aka Mrs Porter Finley, aka the chick what stole that necklace that time. She tells Drew, but he’s believing her even less now – Sheila is worth about 40 million dollars on her own.
After introductions all round, Sheila leaves her husband and Drew with D.L Beaumont (proprietor of Beaumont’s Jewellers) and escorts JB on a tour of the room, complimenting people on earrings that are apparently one of a kind before excusing herself to disappear with Rocco.
Time out. JB’s earrings are insane.
Sheila reappears to give a short “Give Drew All Your Money So He Can be DA” speech, but is concerned when her husband quietly gets Drew and Jessica out of the room. She finds them again in the garage, looking at the body of Rocco. While they wait for the police, JB takes Sheila upstairs to compose herself, and spots a pin just like one her mother used to have that JB lost a while ago. Sheila tries to give it to her, but JB refuses. She also tells Sheila that if the police ask, she will have to say that she saw Sheila go off with Rocco just before he was murdered.
Downstairs, the lieutenant in charge, Lieutenant Stuyvesant, is fangirling over Drew. He stops long enough to ask Sheila about her disappearing act with Rocco and she tells him they were in the pantry, there was a problem with party supplies (almost definitely code). Stuyvesant is happy with this and defers all questions until such time as he’s thought of them. He wrangles a lunch date with Drew to discuss a possible transfer to the city, away from the boredom and to be where the action is. JB tells him Mort Metzger moved to Cabot Cove for precisely that reason. Ha.
The next day, Jess returns to Beaumont Jewellers to get her watch and to follow up about the stolen necklace. Charles Lockner passes her over to DL Beaumont himself, who assures JB that the necklace wasn’t stolen and he should know, he designed it.
Jess reports back to Drew with DL’s weird statement about the necklace not being stolen, and he tells her some news of his own – he’s found an old police report detailing how Sheila Kowalski (her maiden name) was booked for grand theft in Palm Beach for stealing a necklace. JB worries that the Finley’s might be in trouble but has a plane to catch. As she’s set to leave her hotel room, she finds the clip she admired in her handbag, just as breaking news comes on the TV – Sheila has been arrested for murder.
Jessica goes to the Finley estate to return the pin, and is begged to stay by Porter until Sheila returns. Jessica tells him what she knows about the necklace and Porter produces a receipt – the necklace was bought and paid for the previous day. Jess suspects there is more to the story and Porter comes clean. Porter has an arrangement with Beaumont’s Jewellers wherein they send the bill each time Sheila pinches something from the store, but he doesn’t think it has anything to do with the murder. Jess isn’t sure, but wonders why Sheila was arrested in the first place. Porter tells her the police think she was jealous that Rocco was planning to skip town with Margaret Gable, but Porter refuses to believe Sheila did it.
Sheila appears at that moment, temporarily released. She confesses all to JB on a stroll around the grounds – how she and Rocco dated at school, but then her father struck it rich and packed her off to finishing school in Switzerland and it was just impossible to stay in touch, the money just got in the way. So Sheila married Porter whom she loves and would never leave, but was lacking in the drive department, sex and otherwise. The otherwise part didn’t bother her so much but…
Sheila swears she didn’t know about Rocco planning to skip out with Margaret until the police told her, but even then she would have taken a tyre iron to Margaret, not Rocco. Jessica tells Sheila she needs to come clean about her stealing and Sheila shrugs. It’s a left over from when she was a kid filching candy bars, and that no one gets hurt.
Except Mr Pastalino, says JB. Ouch.
Jess checks in with Stuyverson, who is checking out the car and wondering whether he should follow up on his request for a transfer. He finds a bow that had fallen behind the wheel of the car, and Jess recognises it as coming off Sheila’s. shoe.
While Stuyverson drums up the courage to ask about it, Jessica does ask about it. Sheila tells her she went to confront Rocco in the garage about why he’d been so cold towards her the last few days, and he got angry and shoved her against the car. But he was still alive when she left. She begs Jessica to stay the night, and JB agrees.
JB takes it on herself to have a chat with Margaret the maid, who tells her she and Rocco were running away to Rio Di Janeiro, and were going to buy a little house. JB asks where the money was coming from and Margaret tells her Rocco had some saved and was expecting more – some sort of investment plan he had, with regular payments.
Later that night, a masked figure breaks into the house and chloroforms Sheila. Job done, he accidentally steps on the cat’s tail, knocking over a lamp and waking up Porter and JB. While they knock on the door the thief breaks into Sheila’s jewellery box but leaves empty handed when Porter manages to unlock the bedroom door. Stuyverson is called but is of no help. Fortunately for everyone, JB spots an earring on the ground similar to the one Sheila had been admiring at the party the other night (and honestly, I didn’t pay attention the first time. Who knew the earring would be important??)
JB takes the jewellery to another jeweller who identifies all the pieces as fakes, except the diamond and ruby necklace she pinched in front of JB. Jess has a funny feeling she knows what’s going on now and hatches a plot using Margaret Gable as bait.
It would appear that Charlie-boy had a scam going with Rocco where he would steal Sheila’s jewellery and give it to Charlie, who would give it to his uncle in Boston. His uncle would make an exact replica, which would find its way back to Sheila’s jewellery box while the real one was sold. When Rocco got greedy and asked for money, he received a tyre iron to the head from Charles instead.
Boom. Case closed. Now I’m going back to bed to drink more
Until next time, Fletcherfans!