S12E04 – Big Easy Murder

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We’re in Nawlins baby! There are drums, and voodoo and fog and someone running and SURPRISE CAMEO


That someone running turns out to be the reporter Jim Nash, and running did not help him – he was hacked to death with a machete, the fourth victim in three months. There are signs of voodoo at the body but Detective Alex Tibideaux thinks it’s a ruse and Jim’s colleagues at the paper Tom McCray and Cynthia Broussard say Jim was investigating links between the murders and organized crime.

You know what I’d like to organize? A whole lot of beignets in my mouth. And maybe some gumbo. And a cocktail or two.

Detective Tibideaux’s next stop is the last notation on Nash’s planner, which was to pick up JB Fletcher and take her to dinner. Nash was helping JB with research for her newest book; voodoo, illegal gambling, jazz, all the good stuff. Detective Tibideaux warns her that New Orleans also has the highest murder rate in America, but I mean has he been to Cabot Cove?

Guys, forget books. It’s all about KonMarie-ing people.

Jessica is staying at the home of her friend Emily Broussard, newly married to former Senator Brent Renwyck (aka Greg’s dad from Dharma and Greg) who has swapped senate-ing for opening a jazz bar. While JB chats with their housekeeper Yvette Dauphin, Emily has a quiet word with Brent before he heads out the door. Apparently one of their bank accounts was mysteriously empty but Brett explains he had emergency repairs down the club, he’s totes sorry he forgot to tell her about it.


Jess heads off to a voodoo shop where she finds some dude called Ralph Danton roughing up sales assistant Vera Welles. Vera was friends with the dead reporter and Ralph’s just discovered she’s planning to leave town which he’s aggressively against. He backs off when JB wanders in and walks away with a smile. Jess is actually looking for the owner, Kelly, but alas she died six months ago and the shop has new owners.  Kelly was going to take JB to the Gula Ruines for St Johns Eve festivities and to educate JB on a poisonous plant JB heard about in Jamaica. Vera doesn’t like to get involved in that stuff but agrees to take JB to the ruins.

Down at Brent’s jazz bar, Priscilla Dauphin (daughter of Yvette) is rehearsing for the grand opening. Brent wants to tell her how happy it’s going to make Emily and Yvette but she gives him the brush off and calls Emily, demanding to see her. Yvette overhears the conversation and looks worried. Meanwhile, Brett has a meeting with local crime boss Frank Roussel, nightclub host Mal Carter and Ralph – Brett’s an idiot who got financing from Roussel and now he’s signing paperwork that will give the club to Mal if anything should happen to him. Ralph spots Tom McCray out the window, and Roussel orders Ralph to tail him.

Back at the Broussard house, Jessica finds an old photo of Emily with her father and Yvette. Cynthia Broussard (who is Emily’s daughter don’tcha know) arrives with an envelope addressed to JB that they found in Jim Nash’s office and a message from Tom to meet JB at  3pm so he can explain what the documents are.

When they meet, they aren’t alone – Ralph is keeping an eye on them. Jess has discovered notes in Jim’s file that suggest he had a last minute change of plans to go and meet someone before meeting Jess. Jessica spots Ralph and suggests that Tom gets going, she’ll put Ralph off – which she does by blocking his exit and demanding the waiter call the police, causing Ralph to scarper.

Back at the Broussard residence, Priscilla confronts Emily with an anonymous letter she received declaring Emily’s father is also her father and that he paid for her schooling at Julliard as a result. Emily is aghast, and when she asks Priscilla about it she confirms it. Yvette says she wants her money or she’s suing.

That night

You know Snakespeare is here for the sonnetsssss. I should also mention that Melbourne is basically a firey Hellmouth right now and we’ve all lost our minds due to the heat. And by we I mean me.

Jessica and Vera arrive at the Gula Ruins for the voodoo festival and spot Ralph in the crowd. He sees them, and they make a hasty exit leaving just enough time for Ralph to laugh creepily.

Back at the club, Mal Carter overhears Tom interviewing Brett. Tom’s picking up Jim’s story and tells the senator all about how Jim found out that Brett had blown Emily’s money and ended up with a magical last-minute partner with just enough money to get the club going. Tom knows Mal Carter is fronting for Frank Roussel but Brett is giving nothing away. Also, it’s totally awkward because Tom went after Brett while he was a senator, and he’s also dating his step-daughter. Like I said, awks.

Mal watches Tom leave and calls Frank to report trouble.

The next day Jessica has coffee with Emily and explains that she called her friend at Julliard (because Our Heroine has friends EVERYWHERE) and he confirmed that Emily’s father paid for Priscilla’s schooling. Jessica suggests a DNA test but Emily’s father was cremated. Emily is a hot mess but Jess says not to worry – the letter is odd but there’s more to it than they know just yet.

Emily fills Brett in on the letter situation and he hits the roof, doubly so when he finds out that she’s going to audit the businesses in case she has to give money to Priscilla but she’s adamant. Brett runs into Priscilla and tells her she won’t get away with her scheme.

The club opens that night and everything appears to go swimmingly. Mal tells Brett to cheer up. Cynthia arrives and is not thrilled about Aunt Priscilla.

Back at home, Yvette is embracing some KonMarie voodoo and a Senator shaped voodoo doll.

I’ll be honest, I don’t actually know what this means either, but let’s pretend it does okay?

Brett calls Roussel, who is getting a status update on things from Ralph. Brett explains Emily’s audit plans and Roussel tells him to shut that down. Brett tells him there’s no way to stop the DA from finding out about their little arrangement if Emily knows about what’s going on. Roussel calls Mal Carter and tells him to follow Brett, as he asks Emily to go home with him. Priscilla finishes her set and says she’s going to get some air.

At nine o’clock that night, Brett is having a cheeky whisky when someone wanders over to him and kills him. Jess and Cynthia arrive home a short time later just in time to find Emily screaming over the body, a voodoo doll on the floor next to it.

Ah yes. That old chestnut.

Detective Tibideaux arrives on the scene in double quick time, and tells them that it appears to be a heart attack – the only physical thing they can see wrong with Brett is a cut on his hand, which Emily says was from a splinter he caught a couple of days earlier. Yvette is missing, and Cynthia sends Emily off to bed. Jess asks Detective Tibideaux if all the homicide squad are in attendance because of the voodoo doll and he says yes – there’s a habit for voodoo to take the fall for the bad guy. Tom arrives just as Jessica spots a familiar looking petal on the ground that looks a lot like those Priscilla was wearing on her head.

On the scent of a clue, Jessica pops down the club and finds Charlie the piano player, who has just heard about what happened. Priscilla is shaken and admits she followed Emily and Brent home, but by the time she got there he was already dead so she hightailed it out of there. She swears that the voodoo doll wasn’t there when she left, which means someone else was there in between Emily leaving the room and coming back in and Jess has a good idea of who and where she might be now.

Sure enough, Yvette is down at the Guila Ruins doing a bit more voodoo. Jess tells her Priscilla has gone to the police and Yvette says she only left the doll there to throw suspicion away from Priscilla, she didn’t want her daughter getting caught up in it all. Over at the voodoo shop, Vera is packing up for the night when she sees Ralph coming. She hides, he breaks in and she only gets away after conking him on the head.

The next morning Detective Tibideaux arrives to take Yvette in for questioning. Vera returns home from grocery shopping to find Ralph loitering outside her apartment so she gets on the pay phone (naw!) and calls the only person who can help.

I saw a tweet a while ago that said Jessica Fletcher was the only white person that people could trust and it made me laugh so hard. She’s such a Slytherin.

Tom arrives a short time later with the news that the call that lured Jim to his death came from a rando dentist office, that had other calls to Frank Roussel’s cell phone. Vera tells them that Ralph is skilled in the art of cloning phone numbers onto illegal mobile phones (LOL WHAT). Tom has also learned that Brett owed money to Emily and to Frank Roussel and a comment about left and right hands sends Jessica off on a reverie and she asks Vera about the poison from Jamaica. A call to the detective reveals that Brett had puncture marks on both hands but neither showed up anything poisonous.

A horseshoe ring and a memory later, Jess is back at the club to talk to Charlie the piano player – who is Priscilla’s real father and the former chauffeur for the Broussard’s. He and Yvette admit to cooking up the scheme together, without Priscilla’s knowledge. Neither of them was involved in the murder but Jessica already knows that.

Because of course.

Vera got the poisonous plant for them, and they whacked Brett to get ownership of the club. Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme beauty and the beasttttttt.

Later gang

S11E01 – A Nest of Vipers

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Welcome to the second last season of Murder She Wrote oh god.

Welcome to Season 11 Fletcherfans and more specifically welcome to the jungle.

Richmond are doing very well, thank you for asking. #YellowAndBackToBack #Hopefully

And by jungle I mean the Los Angeles Animal Park, home of the greatest game of all – shadowy figures ratting out their employers to reporters.

Is this the first time I’ve made this joke? No. Will it be the last? No.

The shadowy figure is keen to take down park director Norman Gilford and wants to enlist the moustachioed Jimmy Russell into the fight. Apparently, Gilford is corrupt up the wazoo and there is a petition to have him removed. Russell returns a key to the figure and says this better be real.

More importantly than all that, Our Heroine is in town researching for her new book in which someone gets bumped off and the killer tries to make it look like an animal did it. She’s getting a lift from Kelly Michaels, golf cart driver and park operations assistant manager according to IMDB (there are like eleven million people in this episode and I’m s-to-the-leepy so bear with me on this one guys ok?) Kelly is pulled over by another angry moustache, this time it’s City Councilman Joe Gandolph who isn’t happy about something in the paper that apparently Norman  said. Kelly shrugs and floors it – she promised Norman she’d take JB straight to see him.

They arrive at the park HQ as Norman’s assistant Bea Huffington eavesdrops on Norman’s interview/argument with Jimmy Russell about corruption in the park and Joe Gandolph’s investigation of it. Norman throws him out of his office and immediately apologises to JB for all this unsightly yelling. JB tries to explain she’s on a tight deadline but he won’t have a bar of it, he orders Bea to get coffee and he wants to hear all about Jessica’s book.

Down at the vet clinic, Jessica bumps into veterinarian Dr Ray Stinson and animal caretaker Ted Fraley gossiping about Norman and his latest attempts to not pay for things (this is set after the 1994 earthquake and there’s a whole thing about trying to rebuild). Bea tells Ray that he’s wanted in the boss’s office but Ray has an elephant situation happening (don’t we all) and promises Jess he’ll see her later. Ted has some ideas for Jess’s book but also some ideas about asking Bea out, but she tells him she has to cancel on their date, something came up.

All living creatures adore her.

Meanwhile, Ray meets Norman and Kelly and is told in no uncertain terms (by Norman) have nothing to do with the petition or anything involving Norman’s departure. Ray tells him he has no interest in Norman’s job but that he should be more concerned about Mark Attwater and the Earthspeak mob who want the park to close. Kelly thinks that’s not true but Norman thinks she’s biased on account of she’s having a thing with Mark.

Jess continues her tour of the animal kingdom.

It’s a fierce-off

Ted then introduces her to a black mamba who might feature in JB’s book as a murder suspect.


Someone calls out to Ted, who leaves JB reciting sonnets with Snakespeare. It’s Mark Attwater, who wants his money in 24 hours or else past transgressions will become public knowledge.

That night Norman watches a news story with Gandolph calling for his departure and makes plans to meet someone the next day. Kelly gets met at the office by Mark who escorts her out for the night but not before making snide remarks at Dr Ray who seems to have a thing for Kelly maybe? I don’t really know, this episode has a love octagon in it.

If I had to choose between people talking about their love lives and a snake quoting Shakespeare, I mean…

Later that night JB is invited to a party at TV reporter Joyce Hacker’s house. Joyce explains she’s passionate about zoology, doubly so as her late husband liked to thinking hunting endangered species was doing the world a favour. Ugh. Mark declares he’d like to offer an unpopular opinion (a white man offering an unpopular opinion? I don’t believe it) but Joyce shoots that down and asks Ray for a quiet word. She wants him to take over the park management and she will take over the park board. Ray tells her he doesn’t want it but he’s flattered and disappears. Joyce is soon joined by Mark and in the 3 seconds before they start making out it is established that she has arranged for Mark to be working for the Earthspeak crew. Downstairs Kelly spots them making out and runs out of the house crying past JB.

(Things I think at weddings)

The next day Bea is showing JB the leopards when Ted pops up looking to impart more Black Mamba wisdom. Jess says she’ll come see him later and he leaves, but not before sulking at Bea about her not going to the movies with him the night before. (Bea went to the party thing with Ray. As friends. Just FYI)

I think I have it straight now. Ted loves Bea. Bea loves Ray. Ray loves Kelly. Kelly is engaged to Mark Atwater. Mark Atwater is making out with Joyce.

Mortals. What can you do?

Kelly runs into Mark who tells her it’s not what she thinks it is. Gee Gaslight was a good movie. Across the park, Norman begs Gandolph into finding someone else to take the fall for the park’s demise and offers 150K to sweeten the pot. Gandolph tells him he’ll think about it and wanders off, past Bea who heard the whole thing. Later, Norman meets mark and offers him money to throw Joyce under the bus and disavow the whole campaign.


That night…


Mark Atwater comes in looking for Kelly but JB hasn’t seen her all day. Mark assumes Kelly told Jessica about what happened the previous night and Jessica tells him she didn’t need to be told, she was there. Mark gets a phone call and departs but not before telling JB she doesn’t have all the facts.

Cut to Jimmy Russell slinking around in the vet room and bumping into Snakespeare…

Snakespeare’s got nothing but love

Also Mark Atwater is slowing dying and clutching his neck but whatever.

The next day Lieutenant Gabriel Caceras wanders in to take charge of the investigation while a bear cub gets ready for the Grammys.

There are literally too many bear puns for me to make right now.

Caceras takes down JB’s and Jimmy’s statements but it’s case closed, the black mamba did it. Jess finds it a curious set of circumstances that led to Mark being in the same place as a loose black mamba but Carceras won’t buy into it. Ray wanders past and asks where the esteemed Norman Gilford is while this crisis is happening.

Jess and Ray go for a drive and run into Joyce and Gandolph. Gandolph wants to shut the park down but they beg him for more time. Joyce thinks the whole situation with the snake and the shady lady would make wonderful fodder for a book and Jess quite agrees. She shoots off in the golf cart with Ray while Gandolph tells Joyce about Norman’s big fat bribe.

Jessica continues her research into deadly snakes and proves that Snakespeare was not the murderer, obviously. Joyce confronts Norman about the bribe and gives him the option to fess up or flee.

Back at the animal hospital…

I don’t actually know what that animal is

Jess discovers that there is black mamba poison missing from the fridge. Caceras and Bea wander in and announce Ted’s been arrested for the murder after his prints were found at Atwaters’ ransacked house. It turns out Ted was being blackmailed by Mark and after he heard Mark was dead he tried to get the proof back. Jess believes him, and after a eureka moment gets Caceras to find out who owns the vacant land next to the park. Caceras calls her later that night and tells her that it’s owned by the CH foundantion but he doesn’t know more than that.

A sign on the wall gives Jessica another eureka moment and she goes to confront Bea Huffington who confesses to being the source of Jimmy Russell’s info. Russell wasn’t the only recipient of Bea’s info, and JB gets her to call the other person and set up a meeting.

To conclude…

I mean why not.

Joyce’s husband owned the land, Joyce wanted the park’s land, Gandolph was in on it and Atwater tried to blackmail her.

But never mind all that. My chronic fatigue might have come back, but a bunch of lions killed some rhino poachers in South Africa and in the omnishambles that is life on Earth in 2018 let’s just take the wins where we find them.