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S09E13 – Dead Eye

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We’re in Florida this week Fletcherfans, but not for the Murder She Wrote Golden Girls Crossover Special that I demand someone travel back in time to make. JB is in town to go about her Fletcher-y business and is intrigued by a newspaper headline about the recently discovered skeleton of a private detective that went missing just after the Kennedy assassination in 1963.

JB isn’t the only one interested in this sudden skeletal arrival. In Chicago, private investigator and all-around wise guy Charlie Garrett (aka Trapper John from MASH) is delighted to hear the news – it turns out the dead guy, Bernie Callan, owed him some money and apparently now that Bernie’s corpse has turned up, Charlie can collect. Solid logic. Meanwhile, somewhere else in Florida, Santo Angelini is concerned that photographs the dead guy had might also resurface, while up in Colorado Bernie’s daughter Laura is packing her bags for Florida after hearing the news that her father has shown up.

Charlie heads on down to Florida to see police chief Herman Gillis to claim his money – it turns out that the body was found with 10 grand on it. Herman tells him they also found Charlie’s business card on the body so thanks for making his job easier, and that Charlie should start thinking about where he was at the end of 1963.

That moustache needs to be arrested immediately.

Meanwhile, JB is heading out of her hotel when she hears a woman shouting on the phone. It’s Laura Callan, a bit peeved that someone has broken into her hotel room and ransacked it. She sees JB sticky beaking and slams the door.

Over at Charlie’s less salubrious hotel, the same deal – Charlie wanders into his room to find an old guy in a cowboy hat going through his stuff. Instead of answering Charlie’s questions the man punches him in the face and legs it, leaving the hotel manager to call the police.

Later that day, Laura finds out who JB is and wants to apologise for slamming the door in her face. (Damn straight). JB tells her there’s nothing to apologise for, and asks her if anything was stolen. Laura says no, which surprises JB as she figured it had something to do with Laura’s father’s murder. Laura tells her that if her father was murdered it was just a random killing, there’s no way it could be anything more than that.

Laura and JB head down to see Herman to find out more about Bernie’s case, but Herman just wants to talk about how much he doesn’t like Jessica’s books.

Honestly, why do people do this? Just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean I have to care about it!

Although he does go on to point out that hers are too real-t0-life, and he hates that. I can relate. As we all know I fully reject reality when it doesn’t suit my interests, which is most of the time, to be honest. Charlie Garrett wanders in under police escort, and Herman introduces him to Laura as one of her father’s associates, although not one she’s likely to get any truth out of.

Charlie, Laura and JB adjourn to a diner, where Laura asks Charlie about some photos that she has that belonged to her father – the only real thing she has left that was his, as his office/house burned down not long after he died. Charlie recognises the woman as the wife of some tycoon or another, and figures that Bernie had been hired to catch her out in an affair, but JB thinks it’s about something else. She shows Charlie another photo and they freak out. The photo is of Lee Harvey Oswald and another man.

Well this has taken a turn.

The gang stash the photos in the safe at Charlie’s hotel and go to call the FBI. Agent James Whitman meets them at the hotel and agrees to take a look at the photos but he’s dubious as to their authenticity (despite JB’s insistence) and has no comment on Charlie’s claims that the man with Oswald is renowned mobster Santo Angelini. He has even less comment when they walk into the hotel’s reception to find the poor manager lying on the floor with a whack to the head and the safe empty.

Down at Herman’s office, they explain the situation to Herman. Whitman is called away and tells Laura he hopes the police find out what happened to her father. JB insists that they all saw the photographs and Whitman says he’s sure they believe they did. JB is going all in on this conspiracy business. As Whitman leaves Dr Abner Farrow, professor of modern history, arrives at the request of Herman. Jess lays out her theory – Bernie was in Dallas taking photos of the cheating wife a couple of days before the assassination, and then after Kennedy is shot and Oswald’s face is everywhere he realises what he has.

Back at the hotel, Laura doesn’t understand why her father would have hung on to the photos and not turned them in, and Charlie tells her the ten grand they found on his body makes it pretty clear – he was going to blackmail someone with them. Laura refuses to believe it, but JB says it makes a lot of sense. Although, there’s always the chance that she’s wrong! (There isn’t). Charlie thinks that now the photos have gone, that’s the end of it.

Over at house Angelini, Santo is simultaneously burning photos and berating his minion for not finishing the job he didn’t finish in 1963. The minion assures Angelini that the negatives don’t exist or else someone would have tried to blackmail him by now, but Angelini isn’t afraid of blackmailers, he’s afraid of the FBI. He wants proof the negatives no longer exist.

Jess and Laura go to Agent Whitman’s office to demand answers and also the current whereabouts of Santo Angelini. He tells them the Warren Commission resolved the assassination ages ago, and if they want to dig it up then they can do it on their own time. JB yells at him about burglaries and responsibility and he caves, telling JB he’ll get back to her.

I call shenanigans. No way would Jessica Fletcher be a conspiracy nut. This just doesn’t make sense to me.

Back at the hotel JB spots a familiar looking man in a Stetson side-eying them – she thinks he’s been tailing them all day. She goes over to confront him (like a boss!) and demands to know who he is or she’ll call hotel security. He turns around and walks away, leaving Laura to wonder what that was all about. JB thinks the person who had the photos stolen isn’t satisfied and wants the negatives. They go upstairs, as Dr Farrow peers over a newspaper.

Upstairs Jess gets on the phone with Whitman, who tells her he’s tracked down Angelini. JB says never mind that, if those photos weren’t real why was her room broken into and ransacked? Also where is Santo Angelini? Meanwhile, Charlie pops in to say goodbye to Laura and to tell her he doesn’t need the money her father owed him anymore – he’s picked up a fancy new client and his financial woes are solved, so he’s heading back to Chicago.

That night, the Stetson wearing bloke meets his new friend in the car to talk about how much money they can get out of Angelini when his friend pulls a gun and shoots him.

Jess and Laura are having breakfast the next morning when news of Stetson’s death comes on. Jess finds the whole thing rather suspicious and calls Agent Whitman to get him to do a background check on this mysterious Frank Hemet.

Jess and Laura head down to Hermans office, where Charlie has already wandered in to confirm that Hemet was the guy who tossed his room but Herman’s not having a bar of it.

A fax comes in for JB:

Helpful labelling is helpful.

Frank Hemet, it turns out, moved to Florida from Dallas a couple of months prior to Kennedy being assassinated, after being booted off the police force for suspected ties to organised crime. Dr Farrow (inexplicably also there) thinks everyone is reading too much into it, but JB thinks they should find out if Hemet owned a .45 – they might solve Bernie’s murder after all.

At House Angelini, Santo is on the phone assuring someone that he is about to get his hands on the negatives and that if anything should happen to him, a trail of breadcrumbs is going to lead to whoever is on the other end of the phone. Whoever it was hangs up, just in time for Jessica to make her entrance. She tells him she just wanted to make sure that what she’d heard was true, that Santo was the person in the photo with Lee Harvey Oswald. Santo tells her that such a claim is dangerous and baseless on account of the photos being stolen, and Jessica agrees, telling him she also doesn’t have the negatives so he can stop tearing her hotel room apart. She’s not giving up though, and he tells her that if such a conspiracy exists, the people involved would not look kindly on her meddling.

Back at the hotel, JB gets an envelope left for her at the front desk, before running into Dr Farrow, who warns her to leave the Kennedy assassination alone – her reputation will be destroyed if she continues down this path. JB is touched by his concern, except doesn’t he have a book coming out that supports the Warren Commission findings, even though after the assassination a reporter by the name of D. A. Farrow had said he’d heard four shots, and isn’t Abner’s first name Desmond?

*doo doo doo doo DOO Dooooooo* #XFiles

Inside her room, she finds Charlie, who wants the envelope she’s just received. They’re the negatives, that Charlie had the whole time. He tells her he’d never looked at them until after Bernie died, and when he printed them he didn’t recognise anyone in them and so filed them away again until Bernie’s body turned up.

The phone rings – it’s Laura. She’s being held at gunpoint and begs Jessica to come alone to the docks and to bring the negatives. Charlie wonders how they knew Jess even had them and Jess quickly finds a bug hidden in the lamp.

Down at the docks, Santo’s minion has Laura tied up at gunpoint. Santo himself emerges from the shadows demanding the negatives but Jessica tells him she doesn’t have them. Santo gives the word to shoot Laura and Charlie appears, gun fixed on Santo. Laura elbows the minion in the chest and he throws her into the water. Charlie dives in to save her, and Jessica sighs as the negatives float away into the murky depths.

Back at Herman’s office, he tells them that the divers and Coast Guard couldn’t find a trace of the negatives, but the good news is Frank Hemet definitely killed Bernie Callan, and he’s sure that they’ll find some trace evidence that Angelini killed Hemet.

No, they won’t, says JB. Laura did it.

Well that escalated quickly.

Turns out that retransmitted plot point I mentioned earlier was retransmitted because Laura received the original, realised that Frank killed her father and so she killed him.

Herman is delighted – two murders neatly wrapped up. Charlie thinks that as soon as Angelini gets arrested they will be able to find out what really happened in Dallas.

Just then, Herman gets a phone call – you guys! Angelini was killed in a car accident not three minutes earlier, and they’re a bit worried that the brake lines were cut. Do you think that maybe it was deliberate…?

Ugh, whatever. Forget the Kennedy assassination, I want to find out who the hell DB Cooper was. Do you really think that many people could keep their mouth shut about a conspiracy to assassinate a president? Half the politicians in Australia don’t even know what country they are a citizen of.  Of course, I could also be a government plant, set about maintaining the status quo as set down by the Illuminati, the Lizard People and the space hamsters.

We’ll never know.

Later gang!

 

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S07E05 – The Family Jewels

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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

Lamé for everybody!

Lamé for everybody!

As they leave the hotel and head to the fundraise, JB tells Drew the story of the stolen necklace that wasn’t.

That look is a liitle Crazy Nicholas Cage, if I'm honest.

That look is a liitle Crazy Nicholas Cage, if I’m honest.

A reaction only topped by Jessica on hearing the names of their hosts for the evening – Mr & Mrs Finley Porter The Third.

For real, I got nothing

For real, I got nothing

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.

I mean look at them!!!

You can’t really tell from this picture but they are HUGE 

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…

*starts singing Sisters Are Doin It For Themselves*

*starts singing Sisters Are Doin It For Themselves*

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.

SUSPICIOUS.

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.

Wait, what?

Wait, what?

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 whisky tea.

Until next time, Fletcherfans!

Later gang!

Later gang!

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!

 

S03E21 – The Days Dwindle Down

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Greetings and salutations Fletcherfans!

JB is California this week, staying in a fabulous hotel paid for by her publisher while she works on promotion for her new book, although her publisher is starting to think that her sideline solving mysteries is a bigger draw than her books (I can’t believe it took them that long).

A woman named Georgia Wilson overhears their conversation and later knocks on JB’s hotel room door begging for help. Her husband Sam has just come home from prison, where he’s spent the last 30 years in prison for a crime he supposedly didn’t commit. The crime…OF MURDER.

*DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNNNN*

Because JB is the Supreme Goddess of Kindness, Benevolence and Being A Boss, she goes with Georgia to talk to Sam about his story. In a stunning coincidence, his story coincides with a movie he was in in 1949 called Strange Bargain, which allows for some helpful and surprisingly accurate flashback sequences.

As she hasn’t seen the movie, Sam tells Jess the story. Back in the day,  when he was a struggling actor assistant bookkeeper, he went to his boss Mr Jarvis for a raise. Instead, Jarvis fired him, saying that the firm couldn’t afford to keep him and he couldn’t afford to put more money into the firm – he had ten thousand dollars to his name.  That night, they met for a drink and Jarvis told Sam his scheme to fix his financial situation. He was going to kill himself but in such a way as to make it seem like murder, so that his family could receive his life insurance payout.

That night, Jarvis called Sam and told him he was going through with it, and sooner than he’d planned. Sam drove over there to talk him out of it but he was too late. So, like anyone would do, Sam took the gun and envelope with the money and hightailed it out of there, only just remembering to fire the gun into the house to make it seem like murder.

I think we can all guess where this is heading.

The next morning when Sam and Georgia go to pay their respects to Mrs Jarvis, Lieutenant Richard Webb tells Sam that they pulled three slugs out of the wall. Unfortunately for Sam his gaze goes straight to the wall in question, a fact noticed by Lieutenant Webb.

Speaking of…

WHO IS THAT?

WHO IS THAT?

In any case that look, coupled with Sam burning the letter from Mr Jarvis, meant that he was put away. Got all that?

(I kind of want to. To Google!)

(I kind of want to. To Google!)

Naturally, JB takes on the case because she is awesome. Sam and Georgia’s son Rod warns her that it’s a wild goose chase, but he has bigger problems. I’ll get to that later.

The next morning, after a raging night of reading through Rod’s case notes, JB kicks off her investigation with tacos and tequila for everyone a trip to the scene of the crime. Mr Jarvis’s son Sydney still lives in the house, and while he didn’t think Sam killed his father, he is suspicious of the new interest in the case. JB asks him about him telling Sam about seeing Mr Jarvis’s business partner Mr Hearne at his house that night, but all Sydney says is that there might have been other suspects but Sam was the one convicted.

Sidenote: Sydney is being played by Richard Beymer, and that sound you just heard was my mind exploding with the realisation that Tony from West Side Story and Benjamin Horne are the same person.

Seriously though, mind = blown.

Seriously though, mind = blown.

Sydney bows to JB’s persuasive powers of persuasion and agrees to let them “snoop” around the house. Jess asks him if she could speak to his mother, but he tells her that she passed away. Clearly noone told the postman, judging by the letter on the desk.

JB’s next port of call is the offices of Jarvis & Hearne, now run by Hearne’s granddaughter Dorothy. Dorothy tells her that the reason why her grandfather was at the house was to arrange for the transfer of Mr Jarvis’s share of the company to him. JB tells her that Mrs Jarvis told police that the sale happened after Mr Jarvis’s death but Dorothy tells her that isn’t true.

Next on JB’s hitlist is Thelma Vantay, Mr Jarvis’s former secretary. JB is eager to talk about the case but Thelma is more interested in other things. Like her ex-husband who never worked a day in his life but who had many other excellent qualities.

LIKE. A. BOSS.

THAT FACE. MY HERO.

When JB finally gets her onto the subject of Mr and Mrs Jarvis, Thelma is dismissive. Even though Edna Jarvis came home early from a weekend away to find her husband dead, Thelma is convinced she had nothing to do with his death – she simply didn’t have the guts. After JB drives off in her taxi-chariot Thelma gets on the phone to alert A Mystery Person that someone has an interest in their “problem”.

Anyway, remember when I said Sam and Georgia’s son Rod had bigger issues? Well his wife, it turns out, will make several future appearances on Murder She Wrote. As Grady’s wife.

Ugh. He's not even in this episode and he's annoying me.

Ugh. He’s not even in this episode and he’s annoying me.

Rod comes home to inform JB and his parents that Edna Jarvis is still alive, and JB decides to pay a call on her first thing in the morning.

That night, someone tries to shoot JB in the head but misses. The police roll in and pull a .38 bullet out of the chair, similar to the ones found in Mr Jarvis’s home. JB is convinced they came from the same gun but Rod’s boss is unconvinced. He agrees to compare them.

The next morning Georgia and JB pay a visit on Edna Jarvis, who has recovered nicely from being dead but is suffering from dementia. JB tries to question her about her husband but gets nowhere, and is soon interrupted by Sydney who angrily throws them out of the nursing home. JB asks him about Dorothy Hearne’s claims about the night of his father’s death but he tells her that Mr Hearne got control of the business way after Mr Jarvis’s death, and to question Dorothy about why she’s lying. JB informs him that Dorothy isn’t the only one misrepresenting the truth and storms off, taking his advice and going to see Dorothy who continues to denies her grandfather had anything to do with Mr Jarvis’s death.

Back at the hotel JB gets a mysterious call about the case, with orders to come alone. It turns out to be from the mysterious Lieutenant Webb who may seem familiar…

Am guessing he's going to be the first MASH cast member to not kill someone in this show.

Am guessing he’s going to be the first MASH cast member to not kill someone in this show.

He tells JB that he never really thought Sam killed his boss, and gives her the original police report, complete with ballistics report on the bullet retrieved from JB’s hotel room. Despite the fact that Sam threw the gun in the water off Santa Monica pier as per his instructions, it was used again 30 years later. JB asks him about Mr Jarvis’s insurance policy and he agrees that he found it suspicious but he couldn’t do anything more. He tells JB he considered the possibility that someone else knew about the life insurance policy and expected to get money out of it but the only other person they found who knew about it was Themla Vantay but despite Webb’s suspicions Thelma wasn’t having an affair with her boss.

Jess and Rod go to confront Thelma about what she knew about the death of her boss. She is reluctant to talk but when JB tells her the statute of limitations has expired on blackmail she comes clean. Thelma put two and two together about her boss’s death and the insurance policy and blackmailed his family to keep her mouth closed about it. Sydney eventually cut her off, and even when she called him a few days earlier to tell him about JB’s questions about the case he still refused to give her money, saying he was broke. “Can you believe the nerve of that guy?” Says Thelma.

Thelma's a teeny bit cray-cray

Thelma’s a teeny bit cray-cray

Rod is eager to go and tell his father that they can prove it was suicide but JB is unconvinced. There had to be a reason why someone fired her, and to cover up a 30 year old suicide just didn’t make sense. Rod points out that also seemed kind of dumb to use a 30 year old gun that can be traced back to the original case and this gives Jess a brainwave.

Eureka!

Eureka!

The trouble is, everyone assumed that Mr Jarvis killed himself or someone killed him. The truth was not quite so clearcut. The gun was retrieved from the water by Sydney, to remove fingerprints. Not from the handle, but from the barrel.

Wait. It's Murder She Wrote and noone has been murdered? I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO

Wait. It’s Murder She Wrote and noone has been murdered? I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO

Mr Jarvis had the perfect plan, but he didn’t count on his wife coming home and trying to stop him. She tried to take the gun off him, it went off, and that was that. Everything that happened since, including Sydney firing at Jess, was done to protect Edna.

But lets not focus on the depressing. I’m giving massive points to the Murder She Wrote writers for this episode, it was pretty clever the way they used the original movie as flashbacks. And never let us forget: OUR HEROINE IS A BOSS.

Stay tuned for the season 3 finale next week!

Later gang!

Later gang!

 

 

S03E05 – Corned Beef and Carnage

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Fletcherfans! Remember these guys?

What do you even call that style?

Last time we saw Vicky and Kernickie they were in LA being stiffed by Martin Landau. Now they’re in New York, where Kernickie is a struggling actor and Vicky is working for a high-falutin’ advertising agency with Charles Winchester from MASH that looks nothing like Mad Men and is clearly a front for a meth lab. And I’m not just saying that because I’ve watched 3.5 seasons of Breaking Bad in two weeks.

Vicky is a teeny bit stressed out. Her boss Larry Kincaid is trying to pimp her out to Grover Bart (proprietor of Corned Beef Castle and previously seen as a foreman here), whose signature he is eager to get. He insists that Vicky blow off her lunch with her aunt and Howard. Howard is not terribly impressed with this news, but JB doesn’t mind a bit. Unfortunately it gets worse over lunch, and the sleazy baron of the corned beef empire gets all Indecent Proposal-ish.

Back at the office Larry K is being harassed by his brother Myron who is concerned about the lack of money, and Charles Winchester Aubrey Thornton who is concerned about the fact that he wasn’t invited to the Corned Beef Castles presentation. After he tells Vicky that she’s having dinner with Grover Bart and he’d better come in the next morning with a big smile on his face or else, she quits. GO VICKY!

Kincaid’s mood improves with the arrival of his 4 o’clock appointment, a rival ad exceutive.

There's some 80s power dressing right there...

That’s some 80s power dressing right there…

d2

Of course, Christine Clifford isn’t just there to demonstrate the power of a pastel suit – she’s on a mission to steal the Corned Beef Castle account away from the Kincaids and hand it to her boss, in exchange for All The Things. She cleverly “forgets her purse” and returns to retrieve it and a folder of potential pitches that Vicky has put together for the campaign.

After returning home to find a load of bills and an answering machine message with another audition rejection for Kernickie, Vicky decides to go back to the office to suck up to Kincaid, so that she might get her job back. But alas, when she walks in to the office, Larry K is suffering a terminal case of being dead, bashed to death with his own award.

Lieutenant Spoletti is called to the scene, takes one look at the murder weapon, and says “For excellence in the field of advertising: Larry Kincaid. Well, like they say – this one had his name on it.”

We won't get fooled again! Won't get fooled again! (Sorry)

We won’t get fooled again! Won’t get fooled again! (Sorry)

Spoletti proceeds to interrogate Vicky but is soon interrupted by Kernickie 9who is concerned for his wife) and JB (who has just spotted a corned beef sandwich that’s been left unsupervised on Kincaid’s desk)

*not pictured: sandwich

*not pictured: sandwich

JB subtly hints to Spoletti that the presence of the corned beef sandwich might establish time of death. They ask the security guard (previously seen as the Coach in this episode)  for a list of people who visited the office after hours, and apart from a visit from Grover Bart and an interior designer named Mary Jo, there is no record of anyone coming to the building, let alone delivering a sandwich.

MYSTERIOUS SANDWICH IS MYSTERIOUS.

The next morning Vicky is clearing out her things when she gets a visit from Aubrey and Myron. They tell her they looked over her ideas for the Corned Beef Castle account and they want her to stay. Yay Vicky! She goes to celebrate her good fortune with JB, but is soon interrupted by Christine Clifford with a job offer and Spoletti with an arrest warrant.

Is anyone else feeling a bit dejavu-y?

Is anyone else feeling a bit deja vu-y?

Down at the precinct JB and Spoletti have a raging argument (largely about sandwiches), and Spoletti gives her 24 hours to prove her point that the time of death was much earlier than he thinks. Not wasting time, she goes straight to the Kincaid office to ask Myron and Aubrey about the interior designer but they know nothing about it, saying that the office had only been redecorated a year before, JB also asks about the sercurity guard, who had apparently been fired. Aubrey says that was him,  that since he let the boss get killed he probably needed to be replaced. That’s logic I guess.

After a brief stop at a Corned Beef Castle opening to ask Grover Bart about his after hours visit to Larry Kincaid (he knew nothing, especially about any proposals of the indecent variety), JB then goes to see the newly unemployed security guard to ask about the interior designer. He tells her that that he didn’t think that she was an employee, she was tall, blonde, and kinda liked him.

h2

JB confirms that the mystery interior designer is in fact Mary Clifford, and to celebrate goes home for lunch where Kernickie is full of beans – he has an audition for a TV commercial…organised by Mary Clifford. HOW CONVENIENT. JB tags along, smelling a pastel wearing rat, and she’s right – Kernickie only gets to be the face of Slumberland Funeral Homes (!?!?)  when Vicky joins the agency and brings the Corned Beef Castles account with her. BASTARDS.

Jess pipes up, and asks Christine about her second visit to Larry Kincaid, disguised as an interior decorator. She tries to bluff her way out of it but admits to stealing the file earlier in the day and replacing it before Larry K knew it was missing. She swears up and down that Larry was already dead when she returned the file. On JB’s advice she goes to the police station and tells Spoletti the same information. Spoletti is disinclined to believe her.

Spoletti: Why is it I always figure gorgeous blondes are lying to me?

JB: Adolescent trauma, lieutenant.

Christine Clifford’s boss, Leland Biddle, arrives to check on his employee. He tells JB and Spoletti that they are no longer interested in the Corned Beef Castle account  after he learned that the Barts were filing for bankruptcy. JB asks him if he knew about that before Kincaid was killed and he gets uppity, but he has an alibi – he was dining with Aubrey the night of the murder, although conveniently at the restaurant at the foot of the Kincaid office building but he swears that he never left the restaurant.

Jess goes home to tell Vicky and Kernickie about it, but they’re a little busy right now.

Ugh, JB I know how you feel...

Ugh, JB I know how you feel…

JB decides against the floor show, and goes hunting for the origin of the Mysterious Corned Beef Sandwich Of Mystery. She finally tracks it down to a deli near the Kincaid offfice, but the owner tells her that the order was cancelled the night of the murder.

Spoletti orders the security guard in for questioning, but he can’t figure it out either. JB asks him what the delivery man was wearing – gloves, a beanie, a moustache, and sunglasses, according to the guard. JB correctly points out that it would be weird for a delivery man to be wearing sunglasses at night.

But it wouldn’t be weird, if he was trying to disguise himself so that the security guard wouldn’t recognise him .

Not for nothing, but that's two for two MASH actors that have gone on to kill people on Murder, She Wrote. Think I'll be keeping an eye on them...

Not for nothing, but that’s two for two MASH actors that have gone on to kill people on Murder, She Wrote. Worth keeping an eye on *ominous music*

Poor Charles. All he and his bowtie wanted to do was work in advertising, but since Kincaid was such a dick he just couldn’t get ahead, So, through the cunning use of disguises

CUNNING.

CUNNING.

And he would’ve gotten away with it, if it hadn’t been for the Mysterious Sandwich of Mystery – and JB Fletcher, of course. But the sandwich helped. God I’m so hungry now.

...

Can’t talk, eating.

 

ETA: Thanks to Kell for pointing out that it’s CHARLES Winchester, not Frank. The moral here kids, is don’t write things when all you can think about is the buttermilk pancakes you’re going to eat when you’ve finished.

For the record, they were tasty as and I regret nothing. (Thanks Kell!)