Welcome to suspiciously sunny Ireland Fletcherfans, where JB is researching for her new book. As it happens, recently retired NYPD detective Sean Culhane (aka the other Demon Barber of Fleet Street, seen previously here) has returned home to Ireland and is happy to chauffeur Our Heroine around, while bitching about the prevalence of Australian soap operas on TV. (Such blasphemy will not stand, although I must confess I’ve never really watched Home and Away but I did watch Neighbours for a time, until that ridiculous¬†storyline with the bomb on the plane on their joyride to Tasmania, because frankly Tasmania did nothing to be dragged into that shambles).

I digress.

JB¬†just wants to hang out with some typical Irish folk, and Sean knows just the place – his friend Neil Gillen heard he was back in the old country and has invited him for a visit, so they head to his village. While the hotel owner sees to their rooms JB and Sean stop for a bite of lunch, and Neil soon joins them for a pint and an invitation – forget staying at the pub, come stay at his his new castle-y big house he’s just bought. It has a library full of old books ready for JB to peruse.

Guys I won’t lie, I am well acquainted with Irish drinking customs. In fact, I have a degree in whisky-tasting from the Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland because I’m awesome.

JB knocks off the rest of her beer and remembers she has some film she wants developing so she cruises on over to the chemist across the street. After she leaves, Sean tells Neil he’s here, what does he need? Neil says he can’t say just yet, but he wants Neil just to look around, and see what’s up. They’ll talk later.

Over at the chemist JB meets the proprietor and long time fan Francis O’Reilly, who had heard JB had been coming. He’d be happy to get the film done for her, and asks her to sign a few of her books so that he can take them round the housebound villagers. Jessica is obviously happy to oblige.

I mean it’s long at the bag and slightly less long on top. Turbo mullet?

Jess and Sean arrive at the fancy-pants house and meet Neil’s assistant Claire Abbot, who is delighted to discover that the guests are so famous (well, one is anyway) and tells them to let her know if there’s anything she can do. Neil then introduces Jess and Sean to his new wife Anne and his cousin Liam (previously also seen here). Anne is delighted to meet them both, and particularly Jessica – she hadn’t known Jess was coming until the day before. Liam politely excuses himself from dinner, saying he has other plans.

At dinner everything goes swimmingly until they hear shrieking coming from outside. Neil assures them that it’s just the wind catching on the facade, but Ann says it might be the Crying Lady. Back in ye olde black and white times, a ship captain built the house for his wife as a wedding present, complete with tower so she could watch the ship come in, but one (dark and stormy) night, she was in the tower and saw her husband’s ship crash against the cliffs and sink. She threw herself off the tower and died, and to this day people say she can be heard roaming the grounds. And guys would it surprise you to learn that she is a harbinger of death?

(Jessica Fletcher is 100% not a harbinger of death though, obviously).

That night Sean is woken by the sound of dogs barking. He looks out his window to see a shadowy figure walking thr grounds with a torch. He rushes to the hallway and bumps into Jessica.

“I was just going for some hot milk.” He says.

“So was I.” Says JB.

This is the weirdest episode of Scooby Doo ever.

They head on out and follow the light to the tower, but when they go inside the figure is missing. They find a plaque that reads “For my beloved Sarah, safe passage through dangerous places.” Then a man appears with a machine gun. He introduces himself as Quint Sankey, caretaker, (I WOULD WATCH THAT SHOW) and orders them back to the house. Neil and Ann quickly sort it out, Quint takes his leave and everyone goes back to bed, while Claire Abbott lurks in the shadows.

The next morning, Jess is up early eating breakfast and raiding Neil’s library. She’s found a goldmine but she wants more info so she’s going to go into town and see what she can find out from the locals. She invites Sean along, but he tells her he’d rather stay and stroll the grounds to get a feel for the place. Jess says that’s what he says when he’s investigating a crime. Sean tries to cover it up and JB says she doesn’t mean to intrude, she is offering her help whenever he needs it.

In town JB picks up her photos and for extremely subtle plot point reasons also grabs a bottle of the newest fragrance Emerald Sunset. The shopkeeper tells her she’s the first one to buy it and would love to hear what she thinks. Jess then goes back to the pub to hear the story of a battle between five strong men, one woman, a tax collector, a horse, several cases of good Irish whisky, and crossing rights to a bridge.

SPOILER ALERT: The horse won.

I just realised that the person telling this story is inexplicably drinking a pint of milk. But anyway.

Jessica and the storyteller (a Mr Foudy) are joined by Neil’s neighbour Jason McNamara who suggests that Jess might be interested in the story of the Crying Lady. Foudy hasn’t got much more to add, just that in life no one ever saw the wife go in or out of the tower, and that Jason McNamara can’t think of a more deserving person to have to deal with a ghost than Neil Gillen. Foudy explains after Jason leaves that Neil bought up Jason’s land when his finances went sideways.

Back at the house, Sean basically learns the same thing from Quint Sankey, caretaker while inside Neil confronts Liam about some money that’s gone missing out of some Swiss bank accounts. The place that they are filming this episode is the house from Clue! I’ve just worked it out. Oh man I love that movie.

After dinner that night, Sean and Neil confur in the library. Sean has had about enough of these mysterious shenanigans and he’s not a big fan of hiding things from Jess. Neil comes out with it – he thinks someone is going to kill him in the next 48 hours. He explains about the missing money, but he thinks there’s something else going on and asks Sean to meet him back there at midnight – he’ll explain it all then.

Sean sits up until 11:45 but he’s too late. The house is woken to the sound of Anne screaming – Neil is in his study, eyes wide open, dead as a post. Sergeant Devon O’Malley is called to the scene, and quickly rules it natural causes on account of there being not a mark on him. At first he rules it a heart attack but JB is quick to point out the lack of blueish tinge to Neil’s lips.

Downstairs Sean has a quiet word with O’Malley about possibly getting a full autopsy done on the down-low, cop to cop. O’Malley says he’ll see what he can do.

And now, a quick word from our sponsors…

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Out on a stroll, Sean explains the whole thing to JB, who knew something was up, the whole thing seemed dodge as. She springs into action, sending Sean to find out more about Jason McNamara, while she heads back into town.

Sean finds Jason banging up some no trespassing signs on Neil’s land. Jason says he heard or saw nothing the night before, but that he suspects Anne Gillen will be in a mood to sell the land off cheaply. Sean finds this remarkable, being as Neil’s not been dead a day.

Down in the village Jess is chatting to Brian Mulrain, the publican, who thinks it’s obvious – the killer was the Crying Lady. No one had heard anything from her for 50 years until Neil bought the house and then it all kicked off. Jess thinks there’s something to this and heads on her way, bumping into Francis O’Reilly on the way out.

Back at the house Jess tells Sean they need to talk but are soon joined by Liam Gillen, who wants to offer his apologies that such a dreadful thing should happen during their stay. He’d been out of town on business and had only just returned, and was likely to have to leave again now that he would be running the business. He departs, leaving Jess and Sean more suspicious than ever. Jess tells Sean to go and call O’Malley to find out more about Liam Gillen while Jess goes upstairs to talk more with Anne.

Outside, Liam sends his girlfriend CLAIRE ABBOTT off to stay with her family for a few days while he irons this whole situation out. Anne Gillen watches the whole scene play out from her bedroom window before she gets a knock at the door – Jessica offering condolences in this trying time. Ann tells her she plans to sell the house, she feels uncomfortable staying. Jess says she understands that Liam will take over the business, which is news to Ann – that was the opposite of what Neil would have wanted. Jess asks if anyone would have wanted to hurt Neil and Ann gets upset, insisting that it was natural causes. Jess scurries into the bathroom for a tissue, noticing a bottle of Emerald Sunset on the counter as she does so.

Later that afternoon Sean gets the coroners report back – cause of death is fluid in the lungs, presumably pneumonia. Both Sean and Jessica find this highly odd, as Sean didn’t appear sick in the slightest, but Ann and Sergeant O’Malley appear with some evidence that Ann just found. It’s a video from Sean’s cam-corder showing (among other things) Neil turning on a lamp, Neil constantly relighting his cigar, and Neil passing out and dying. We see Ann coming in to turn off the lamp before discovering Neil’s body, going to the doorway slowly and screaming.

JB is about to do her best Nic Cage from Gone in 60 Seconds impression (#ThingsThatAreOnlyTrueInsideMyHead)

A quick jaunt to the chemist confirms that while noone else has bought a bottle of the perfume, there is indeed one extra missing from the stand. The sale assistant thinks O’Reilly must have bought it for one of his lady friends, as he is wont to do.

Sean is confused as to how this will help but Jessica tells him they will just have to see the Crying Lady for more information. They sneak into the tower before being rumbled by Quint Sankey, Caretaker. Unfortunately for Quint, JB makes her getaway down a helpfully lit secret passage. (Forget Scooby Doo this is some Famous Five business up in here). She discovers nitrogen tanks, some pipes that were arguably screaming, and eureka!

Jess returns to the study to lay a trap. Anne wanders in to see what she’s doing and Jess explains that she’s convinced Neil was murdered, and she’s looking for evidence. Jess turns the lamp on, and Ann declares she’s not waiting around all night trying to find something that isn’t there. When she discovers she’s locked in though she loses it, until Jess announces it’s alright, they disconnected the nitrogen tanks already.

If I had a dollar for every wife/husband of death I’d be a rich woman.

Ahh yes. Anne was having a little something something going on with Francis O’Reilly, mainly so she could get hold of some nitrogen, bump off Neil and get hold of his money. That old chestnut.

But never mind all of that. It just so happens to be my birthday today, and this week has been a terrible horrible no good very bad week, so my birthday gift to myself, and to all of you, is the entirety of Angela Lansbury’s health and fitness video.

Watch and learn, Fletcherfans. Watch, and learn.

 

Later gang.

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