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S02E16 – Murder in the Electric Cathedral

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JB is on the road again, this time to Oklahoma where she’s catching up with her old English teacher Carrie McKitterick. Unfortunately, all catching up is somewhat curtailed by a Wagner blaring car-horn, signalling the arrival of Carrie’s step-son Harvey and her step- grandson Sam.

(Seriously though. I think I need a car horn that blares out Ride of the Valkyries. I’d get to work in ten minutes with that).

Harvey and Sam are less than pleased with Carrie. It turns out she’s changed her will to leave her millions to televangelist Reverend Willie John Fargo.

There is a special circle of Hell reserved for people who interrupt Our Heroine.

There is a special circle of Hell reserved for people who interrupt Our Heroine.

Carrie throws them out of the house, but has a heart attack in the process. She’s admitted to hospital, and as she recovers in the ward makes JB swear that if anything should happen, to make sure they don’t change her will. Because that’s not tempting fate at all.

Carrie soon has a visit from Willie John, who says he’d been “labouring in the Lord’s vineyard” when he’d heard Carrie had been taken ill, and that he was needed immediately.

Seriously though, surely he doesn't need a vineyard? Can't he just wave his arms about and turn water into wine?

Seriously though, surely He doesn’t need a vineyard? Can’t He just wave His arms about and turn water into wine? Or is that where sacremental wine comes from? I HAVE QUESTIONS, DAMMIT

JB leaves Willie John and Carrie to pray for more wine and steps out. She runs into Willie John’s wife Sister Ruth (previously known as the charity worker who’s name I’ve forgotten in this episode), and shortly after by Harvey and Sam who (despite causing Carrie to be in the hospital) are hell bent on taking her home again. JB scolds them and they promise to get the DA to file charges of embezzlement against Willie John for convincing their (grand)mother to leave her millions to him.

After the hullabaloo, Carrie asks Our Heroine to call her granddaughter-in-law Alice to come and visit. The Doctor suggests Carrie could use some rest so JB steps out to use the payphone. As the phone rings out, she notices Nurse Sue Beth  (who’s real name is Barbi I swear I’m not making this up) come out of Carrie’s room and go down stairs.

Time passes. Then so does Carrie, sadly. As the doctors try and revive her JB asks Sam what happened but he doesn’t know and quickly takes off. JB notices a syringe on the floor and carefully picks it up with her handkerchief before she is thrown out of the room. She takes a whiff – cyanide.

Cue dramatic pause.

After the adbreak Alice arrives at the hospital along with DA Fred Whittaker. Harvey tells him to investigate Willie John immediately but Fred is hesitant. JB informs them that she believes Carrie was poisoned by cyanide and is backed up by her Doctor. Fred promises to speak to both Sam and Willie John.

Back at Carrie’s, Alice and JB find Sam brandishing a new copy of Carrie’s will that leaves everything to her family. JB is suspicious, especially as the signature on the letter from Carrie she just so happens to be carrying around in her handbag doesn’t match the signature on this mysterious new will.

SCREW THAT I WANT TO HEAR MORE ABOUT THE LORD’S VINEYARD. Is it Oyster Bay? I bet it’s Oyster Bay, their sav blanc is hand pressed by angels. (Probably not true).

Anyway, Fred and JB go to confront Sam and he admits to typing the will and signing it with his grandmother’s hand (creepy!?). JB gently encourages Fred to lay murder charges against Sam  but Harvey won’t hear of it and tells Fred that he’ll see to it that Fred won’t even be dogcatcher next spring.

Down at the hospital JB is hot on the case of the Mysterious Syringe and where Nurse Sue Beth went when she left Carrie’s hospital room. It turns out the stairs lead down to the carpark, opposite the Church of the Electric Cathedral TV studio, so JB goes to look for the Lord’s Vineyard check it out. She runs into Willie John and tells him that she was just making sure that her friend wasn’t being taken advantage of. This sends Willie John into a preaching fit, and he tells her about all the good work the Church is doing.

Seriously, if you know the location of the Lord's Vineyard please get in touch.

Seriously, if you know the location of the Lord’s Vineyard please get in touch.

Willie John wanders off to do a bit more preaching and leaves Jess to have a tour of the studio with his wife Sister Ruth which concludes with their private apartment. Jess comments on how spectacular it is.

e2a e2b

Over tea and scones it turns out that Sister Ruth helps out on the Indian Reservation on Wednesdays (she used to be a nurse), Willie John just so happens to be diabetic, and he’s not telling JB where the Lord’s Vineyard is. Or where he was the night Carrie died.

JB goes to see Fred and tell him what she found out, but he ain’t buying. For one thing, JB seems to have more questions than answers, like why was Carrie killed with an insulin needle full of cyanide when insulin would have done the trick?

Fred: Are you a doctor or something?

JB: Writing murder mysteries almost qualifies me, believe me. (Life Lesson #43)

JB answers her own question – if insulin was used it wouldn’t have been detected and they would never have known there was a murder. Someone wanted the murder to be discovered!

The results of the fingerprint test on the syringe arrive while everyone’s at Carrie’s wake. The fingerprints belong to Willie John…

…but he’s not the killer. Apparently while the killer was killing he was in the chapel ‘ministering the needs’ of Nurse Sue Beth.

That's a burn right there

That’s a burn right there

But wait. If Willie John didn’t do it….who did? Fortunately the answer is as obvious as a smack in the head to Our Heroine.

Are you ready?

Did you guess?

Did you guess?

This time, money had nothing to do with it. Sister Ruth wanted out of the Willie John train, but it’s not so easy divorcing a Reverend. Much easier to have him locked up for murder.

Unfortunately, the Mystery of the Holy Vineyard will never be solved. And on that sad note…

Later Fletcherfans!

Later Fletcherfans!

PS – Tomorrow afternoon I’m going to see a little play called Driving Miss Daisy starring two up and coming actors named James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury. AIN’T NO THANG. (Seriously though, dying).

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S01E18 – Footnote to Murder

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I’m sorry to say it Fletcherfans, but we’re still not back in the Cove – JB is in New York, accepting the US presidency the Nobel Prize, an award for crime writing. While I am desperately sad that the Cove doesn’t feature in this episode, it does start with a man roller skating in the rain, which gives me an excuse to show you this video:

Before she accepts her award, JB meets her friend Horace, a poet who looks like a cross between Rick Moranis and Neil Gaiman (just think about that one). Horace is hanging out in a diner bemoaning the lack of booze/cigarettes/women in his general vicinity, and writing crap poetry that includes the line “Cupid’s turgid rights neglected.”

Let the record show that Our Heroine gave this line the reaction it deserved.

This line was later used in Fifty Shades of Grey. Probably.

JB and Horace aren’t the only people in town for American Idol X Factor the literary awards. Hemsley Post (who in his spare time is the voice of King Triton in The Little Mermaid according to IMDB) is in town to host the awards/tempt people with his penis new book. This news is received with great interest by Tiffany the assistant award manager (who finds great penises literature ‘stimulating’) and with indifference from Hemsley’s ex-wife, who just says ‘SHOW ME THE MONEY’.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, a man with a carton of milk called Frank Lapinski is very interested to learn that Hemsley Post is in town to host the awards, and pays him a visit in the bathroom of the opening night reception. Someone’s not very pleased with Hemsley’s incessant talk of his penis new book.

Holy crap, they’re called the Gotham Book Awards! IF THERE IS NO BATMAN IN THIS EPISODE I’M DEMANDING A REFUND.

JB and Horace aren’t the only winners of the Gotham Book Awards, or the Batties as I’ve just decided they’re called. Also attending the awards are Adrian Winslow, who is in fact Mike Brady from The Brady Bunch.

I KNOW RIGHT!?

Completely irrelevant side note: apparently he was second choice for Mike Brady after Gene Hackman turned it down. Gene Hackman. Just consider that one for a minute.

On their way into the awards ceremony Our Heroine and Horace are accosted by Batman Debbie Delancey, a young lady desperate to show off her tits short story. Horace is more concerned with the application of his mouth to as much scotch as he can find, but Jessica being the Incredibly Magnanimous Human that she is offers to read it for her.

Inside the party Winslow/Brady is chatting to Lucinda Lark, who has written ‘Woman Unleashed’ which presumably is the 1985 equivalent of Fifty Shades of Grey. Meanwhile, Hemsley’s little friend Tiffany has just burned Our Heroine and Horace.

I’m pretty sure Tiffany knows not what she does, mainly because she’s a complete bimbo. JB should set her up with Grady.

Shaking off this outrage, JB grabs a drink and settles in to watch a bitch-fight between Hemsley and Winslow/Brady, while Horace works his turgid magic on the 50 Shades of Unleashed lady. If ever there was a match made in heaven…his tugidity is interrupted by Hemsley looking for someone to talk about his penis book to. Horace tells him he couldn’t finish his book due to the terrible grammar, and Hemsley thanks him for his constructive criticism by punching him in the face.

JB steps in to referee.

I’ll be honest, I’m starting to fall in love with Horace a little bit…

After a good scolding from Our Heroine the two brawlers go their separate ways.

The next morning, JB discovers she has Hemsley’s umbrella (nothing suss), and goes to return it. When she arrives at his hotel room she discovers a D.A called Comstock, a lieutenant called Meyers, and Horace’s sword umbrella shoved in Hemsley’s chest. This’ll take some explaining, methinks.

The DA seems more preoccupied with big-noting himself than actually solving the case so JB gives the lieutenant a hand in searching the room. By the way, does this lieutenant look familiar to you?

Recognise him yet? I’ll explain this pic in about two seasons time. Or you could just Google Ron Masak, if you can’t wait that long.

A search of the room brings up a key to a room not in this hotel and a lipstick smudge on the bed. Looks like Hemsley got to show his ‘book’ off after all…they also find a signed copy of Fifty Shades of Grey Woman Unleashed, and a pair of glasses. What they don’t find, however, is Helmsley’s manuscript. Curiouser and curiouser! Done with making phone calls to as many TV crews as he can think of, Comstalk-Codswallop throws Jess out of the room, but not before putting the mystery glasses in her handbag. He’s a bright one, that Codswallop.

Someone tips him off that the umbrella belongs to Horace and the key belongs to Tiffany aka She What Snubbed Our Heroine, and so the DA drags them in for questioning. Tiffany admits giving Hemsley the key so he’d come round and show her his penis manuscript, but says he never showed up. Horace admits that everything is a blur after he got to the hotel bar. I think everything is a blur for him all the time, to be honest.

D.A Codswallop decides he has heard enough and has Horace arrested for murder. Our Heroine takes umbrage a this and lets loose a tirade that I’m pretty sure was the inspiration for this speech last week. Nobody arrests JB’s drinking buddies and gets away with it! This means war, Codswallop! Luckily for Horace the presiding judge only has eyes for hos not bros, and he’s let off the hook, for now, anyway.

JB is on the hunt for the person who left the lipstick in Hemsley’s room and rules out Tiffany and the ex-wife. She runs into Horace in a revolving door, allowing a NEVERBEFORE SEEN REVOLVING DOOR JOKE, before she drags him back to DA Codswallop’s office to make sure he’s not a fugitive. Codswallop himself is interviewing the author of Fifty Shades of Grey Woman Unleashed, and enjoying it a little too much.

And where the bloody hell is Batman anyway?

Unfortunately for D.A Codswallop, Our Heroine interrupts any shenanigans he might have been planning with the safe return of a terrifyingly sober Horace. His hopes are further dashed when it turns out that Ms Unleashed spent the previous night in Horace’s bed. With Horace.

Wait, maybe Horace is Batman?

Horace safely off the hook, he informs Jess that he’s pretty sure he didn’t kill anyone and invites her out for a night of partying with the cast of Jersey Shore (might have made that bit up).

Jess has no time for jelly shots now.

Worst Batsignal ever. I’m starting to think these so-called Gotham awards are nothing but lies. DAMN LIES.

Jess leaves Horace to it, and pays a visit on Frank Lapinksi – he who had the milk carton and bailed up Helmsley in the bathroom. He deftly avoids her questions. Shifty much? JB discovers the second pair of glasses in her bag – too many mysteries to solve at once! Get the lady a scotch already! She alerts Codswallop to the general shiftiness of Frank, and getting the usual non-reaction, goes to see Brady/Winslow.

WAIT, MAYBE MIKE BRADY IS BATM-…no, that’s just silly.

Actually, I think I’m starting to fall in love with Brady/Winslow, he’s so bitchy and he sounds like Ian Holm! He puts his money on Alexis-the-ex, but JB isn’t convinced. After a brief roadblock in the form of Debbie Delancy, JB pays Tiffany another visit but despite her lie about where she was the night before, JB agrees that she didn’t do it.

Meanwhile in Brooklyn Codswallop pays Lapinski a visit, and Lapinksi Labolts out of Lawindow, before getting La-rrested anyway. It turns out Hemsley Post had claimed Lapinksi’s penis manuscript as his own, and Frank was understandably miffed. As they cuff him he admits that he was the one that did Hemsley in, and he’s proud of it, and he’d do it again! (Paraphrasing).

Of course, we reject all mysteries not solved by Our Heroine, and this is no exception. After finding THOSE glasses in her bag again, and seeing Horace model them for her, Jess has an inkling of an idea of who the killer might be. She gives Horace money for the cab and scarpers for the optometrist.

And by cab I mean batmobile. Oh who am I kidding, Batman’s not coming is he?

A quick trip to the optometrists, and it’s as JB feared. But not me, because I’d forgotten all about her.

Yep. Life Lesson #32 – only meeting someone for 30 seconds doesn’t mean they haven’t bumped somebody off.

Ugh. Really?

I MEAN COME ON. First you lure me in with promises of Batman, and now the chick who gives JB a short story to read just happens to be Frank Lapinsky’s brother? That’s what you’re going with?

Debbie D informs Jess that she’d had no intention of killing Helmsley, she’d just defended her womanhood after Hemsley got a bit too eager to show her his manuscript. And by manuscript I mean penis.

Well, that’s something I’d believe. But that’s brought us to the end of a Batman-free episode of Murder She Wrote. OH MY GOD, MAYBE AMOS IS BATMAN!!??

See you next week, Fletcherfans!