Welcome to New Orleans (one of my most favourite places in all the world), where JB has jetted in for the funeral of Jazz musician John Coop, the husband of JB’s old friend Melinda Coop. After the service and and the second line (New Orleans funerals and Irish wakes are how people should be remembered – with dancing and drinking), the mourners adjourn to the wake portion of the festivities for MOAR MUSIC and MOAR DRINKING at the home of John and Melinda Coop. Melinda tries to introduce JB to her son, John Jr, but he is not in the mood, saying that his father wasn’t a saint. Instead, Melinda introduces her to her mother-in-law, Emma Coop who hurls sass at Our Heroine before issuing an omen – there’s a storm coming.
Another mourner, Andy Henley aka Walter Peck from Ghostbusters, offers his condolences to Coop Jr, saying that Coop Sr was proud to know his son was a respected police officer, but Coop Jr says he doesn’t think his father had any respect for police officers – or attorneys for that matter. Melinda explains to JB that Senior and Junior clashed all their lives, and that when Coop Jr was 19 he ran off to the marines before joining the police force.
JB and Melinda catch up with Coop’s bass player Jack Lee Johnson, who tells JB he has a club now, full of old John Coop memorabillia. Melinda says she’s got a whole heap of stuff she’d like to give him to create a bit of a memorial, and Andy Henley wanders past to offer his help, while telling JB he’s a great admirer of her work. As he departs, Melinda explains that he was always called the Judges boy, but now he’s a prosecutor and practically a judge himself.
And then the non-metaphorical storm hits. Because Emma knows, you guys. Emma knows.
Cut to an old white dude drinking a cocktail and watching the television.
Later that night, Emma, Melinda, JB, and someone else drive over to Jack Lee’s club to see his memorabilia stash but find the place trashed and Jack Lee dead on the floor. The NOPD are called, and conveniently it’s Coop Junior who takes the case. JB thinks Jack hasn’t been dead for very long, and most most likely strangled. Coop shows her a mark on Jack’s neck, which his partner thinks is from a rope with a knot in it being used to strangle him but both JB and Junior think the shape is too perfect for a knot.
“This family has been living on borrowed time for twenty years, and now the Devil will have his due.” Announces Emma.
Later that week, Melinda and JB are at the soon-to-be-opened Museum of Rhythm and Blues when Melinda gets a phone call from a shady character saying she has something that belongs to him, and he wants it back. He hangs up before Jessica can scold him, and Melinda tells her that she’s been getting lots of calls at home as well. Someone wants something but she has no idea what they are talking about.
JB asks Melinda what Emma’s warning was about, and Melinda guesses she was talking about Luna Santee – a jazz singer who recorded once with Coop Senior and was murdered, twenty years earlier. Before she can go on they hear a noise – the lights go out and one of those automatic pianos kicks in. A shadowy figure quietly departs.
The next day JB is down at the precinct giving her statement and wanders past Junior’s desk to ask why he hasn’t been returning her calls. Junior tells her he’s busy and that she should just go home and leave them in peace. She’s no longer needed here.
JB informs Junior that Melinda can tell her when she is no longer needed and she will make her own travel arrangements. Outside the precinct she bumps into Andy Henley, who tells her it’s much too dangerous to walk at a New York pace in a Southern town, they’re all much more languid. He requests to escort her on a tour of his New Orleans.
Despite that reaction, JB agrees to meet Andrew Henley for a twilight trip around the city, and so departs in a horse and carriage because that is how Our Heroine rolls.
Meanwhile, Junior gets a phone call from the same mysterious voice as his mother. Instead of hanging up, he agrees to leave what the caller wants at the cemetery the next night. The caller warns Junior not to look back when he walks away.
Over coffee and beignets, JB asks Andrew Henley about Luna Santee. He tells her he didn’t know her that well, just saw her sing with Coop Senior’s band a couple of times but then she was strangled to death (he also calls her a beautiful woman of colour, and don’t even start me on how awkward that was). He changes the subject to his recent weight loss, and then offers to show JB his family home/plantation, which features, as it happens, a secret room.
Andy shows JB a secret room with a bed and a large self portrait of Andy’s father, aka Old White Man Drinking Cocktail. JB notices Andy is wearing his father’s ring, Andy tells her he gave it to him when Andy passed the bar. He offers to show Jess more paintings but Jess insists on getting back to Melinda, because too much of Andy is too much.
On the way hone, JB asks the Coop’s driver Gene what he remembers about Luna Santee, but all he will say is that she was a witch. Meanwhile, Coop Junior goes to meet the mysterious phone caller. He leaves an envelope in the door of one of the tombs as instructed and lies in wait. When a man comes to the tomb and finds the envelope empty, Coop yells freeze. Shots are exchanged, and the shadowy figure runs away.
Meanwhile, JB gets back to her hotel to discover she’s been burgled. The next day a lieutenant arrives to take her statement and to tell JB about Coop Junior’s shooting adventure the night before. They are soon joined by the Henley’s, who are horrified about JB’s treatment in New Orleans. JB takes the opportunity to ask Henley Senior about the case, and he says all he can remember is that Coop Senior was the only suspect, since Luna was Coop Senior’s mistress, but he wondered whether Coop Junior might have had something to do with it. In the end, Coop Senior had an unshakeable alibi, Coop Junior turned out to be an exemplary police officer. Henley Senior suggests coffee and beignets. “Come!” Says Henley Junior. “The Henley’s will calm all your fears and slay all your dragons.”
Coop Junior is conducting his own investigation. He asks Gene where he was the night of Jack’s death and Gene tells him he was driving Jessica back to her hotel. Coop Junior tells him he knows Gene’s mother’s maiden name was Santee, but then Emma appears wanting to know why Junior is asking about the witch. It becomes clear that Coop is convinced that his father killed Luna, but Emma says Senior’s heart got broke, Junior walked out, people died, and it was all because of the witch. Junior goes in to ask questions, but his mother said he should have asked his father when he was alive. Long (and I do mean long) story short, Junior walked in on Senior with Luna the day before Luna died, but Melinda swears that Senior was with her the night that Luna died.
Down at the precinct Junior’s lieutenant wants to know what went on at the cemetery but Junior simply says he will reveal all in a couple of days. The lieutenant tells him he is suspended pending an investigation and Coop Junior departs in a storm of flung paperwork.
Coop decides to go to the club to look for clues, and after hearing weird noises, finds JB doing the same thing.
Junior finally reveals that he inherited a recording and a letter from his father, that seemed to indicate that his father knew what happened to Luna but it’s in code. Junior and Jessica listen to the song, and discover a reference to Easy Street, where Senior had an apartment, which was also where Luna was killed. Inside, they find a painting of Luna. Jess recognises the room Luna’s in as the secret room at the Henley plantation. They realise that the painting was hidden away as an insurance policy all these years just as the killer arrives.
JB knew it all along – there was no way Andy could have seen Luna smile unless he’d met her personally, she never sang live with Coop and the band, only recorded. Andy, who knew his father was devastated when Luna dumped him for Coop Senior, took matters into his own hands, and then killed Jack Lee when he was trying to find the painting.
And there it is Fletcherfans. Let us leave JB partying on in Bourbon Street, with the rest of the gang. And if anyone wants to pay for me to visit New Orleans I wouldn’t object. I suspect it looks a lot different to when I was there in 2006.