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S07E14 – Who Killed JB Fletcher?

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Shenanigans! Outrage! Fancy dogs! Someone is running around Texas pretending to be JB Fletcher!

Obviously.

Obviously.

This obvious doppelganger is on the Case of the Dog What Always Wins The Dog Show, and is breaking into the kennels to prove it. Unfortunately for Jessica Faux-tcher (nailed it), she didn’t take into consideration a little thing called a silent alarm and gets arrested. She’s bailed out the next morning by her friend Kit and her true identity is revealed – Marge Allen, mother of a state senator and so clearly can’t be seen getting arrested breaking into dog kennels. Marge gets Kit to drive her to her car, via the home of kennel owners the McAuleys. Marge returns a short time later to confront Lisa McAuley about the Blatant Outrage of Dog Related Corruption, but begins to scream when a bloodied hand opens a door. Or something.

Meanwhile, in New York City a news report comes on the television – JB Fletcher has been arrested for breaking and entering.

Sorry not sorry

Sorry not sorry

Reassured that she hasn’t been smoking peyote for 6 straight days,  JB gets on the phone to sort this out but local sheriff JT Tanner refuses to believe her, and says a split personality defence is between her and her lawyer.

Aren't we all.

Aren’t we all.

Exasperated, JB gets on the first train, plane and automobile to Bremerton, Texas.  Her first stop is the sheriff’s office, but the Sheriff is unmoved by her ID card, Cabot Cove library card and other odds and ends, saying Jessica Faux-tcher had the same ID card. Jessica sighs and asks for directions to the nearest bookshop.

KNEEL BEFORE ME, MORTAL

KNEEL BEFORE ME, MORTAL

The sheriff capitulates in the face of inescapable logic, and tells JB he’ll change the arrest record to ‘Jane Doe’. JB wants to know what happens next but the sheriff tells her he’ll take care of it. He does begrudgingly tell her name of the person who bailed out Jessica Faux-tcher, and Jess heads there next. She knocks on Kit’s front door and gets a response she probably wasn’t expecting…

I had this exact reaction when I saw the ads for Zumbo's Just Desserts

I had this exact reaction when I saw the ads for Zumbo’s Just Desserts

That’s nothing compared to what’s inside – the weekly meeting of the JB Fletcher Literary Appreciation Society (JBFLAS)

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Stephen King has a lot to answer for

Stephen King has a lot to answer for

The literary society – Bertie, Kit, Florence, Jane and Caroline – want to know what JB is doing in town and she tells them about the arrest of Jessica Faux-tcher. Kit looks uncomfortable and tells the others that Marge was the one who got arrested, and had used her JB Fletcher ID so that her son wouldn’t find out.  JB is very interested in these Fletcher-IDs and demands they all give theirs up immediately (fair).

Kit tells JB about the Case of The Dog What Wins All The Time, and that Marge had cracked the case that morning. Jess goes to see Marge at home, but finds the house empty and a fresh newspaper on the path.

k1

That escalated quickly.

That escalated quickly. (That report clearly written by Richard Wilkins)

Back at the headquarters of the society (or as it shall be ever known, JBFLASH), the news of Marge’s death is handled in varying ways.

Factual.

Factual.

According to the newspaper, Marge was killed when she lost control of her car. The rest of the JBFLAS call shenanigans – Marge drove that road regularly, there was no way she would have lost control. Jess wonders what Marge discovered at the MacAuley’s house and after a brief competition, Kit volunteers to drive her over.

They arrive at the MacAuley house to discover a wake in progress for Simon MacAuley, recently deceased after he was shot in the back by his dog, the sort of thing that could happen to anyone at any time obviously. The sheriff is surprised to see JB there and hopes that she’s not there to harass MacAuley’s widow Lisa. Kit introduces JB to local insurance salesman Mitchell Lawrence who is also surprised to see JB there on account of she’s dead. He asks them if they knew Simon well and Kit says they never met him. Mitchell says he’d known Simon for a long time, but they weren’t particularly close – Simon preferred dogs. (Understandable).

Mitchell excuses himself and JB tells  Kit she’s going to try and have a chat with Lisa McAuley. Kit declares she’s going to scope the room for anything unusual.

JB WORKS ALONE.

JB WORKS ALONE.

Jess wants to reassure Lisa that she wasn’t responsible for the break-in at the kennel, but Lisa doesn’t seem particularly bothered. Jess wonders what Marge could have been looking for and Lisa says there was only paperwork in there, nothing valuable. Jess goes on to say it must have been very upsetting to have Marge turn up at their house that morning looking for her husband, but Lisa says Marge was never there, and her reasons for breaking into the kennel will never be known – Lisa assumes that Marge must have been a crazy grey-haired loon, nothing more, though she is sorry to hear she died.

Jess takes her leave and finds Kit who reports that the sheriff was in an argument with Jethro from Beverly Hillbillies, and that she didn’t think the sheriff liked him all that much. JB thinks Lisa doesn’t like him either, but that they needed to leave before they out-lasted their welcome. Outside they run into Jethro again – turns out he is a state trooper who was hoping to start a canine unit with Simon’s help, but it never got anywhere.

Back at JBFLASH, Jess tells the ladies that Lisa lied about not seeing Marge, and that Jess might stick around for a couple of days, just to satisfy her curiosity. The ladies are delighted and immediately offer their assistance in solving the case.

JB is not on board with this plan.

JB is not on board with this plan.

Jess thanks the ladies, but thinks that she should take her suspicions to the proper authorities. Unfortunately for JB, the proper authorities think it’s all a load of codswallop and the sheriff informs JB that if there’s any investigating to be done, he will do it.

That night JB is dismayed to learn that her credit cards have been cancelled on account of she’s dead according to that one guy in the paper, which is totally legit and the sort of thing that happens all the time. Kit guesses that the local article was picked up by the wires and the news of JB’s untimely demise has gone across the country.

That Penny just dropped.

That Penny just dropped.

Kit takes JB back to her place for the night, where she calls Seth and Grady (ugh) to confirm that she’s not dead yet. A good nights sleep is in order, and in the morning she is borrowing a dog.

The next morning, Jess acquires a basset hound and a Texan accent and drops the dog off at the MacAuley kennels where the groomer, Rick, hasn’t got much to say on the subject of Simon’s untimely demise. Their next stop is to meet JBFLAS member Florence, incognito at a local restaurant, to find out what she’s learned from her husband at the coroner’s office. She shows them the autopsy report – Marge almost definitely wasn’t driving when she was killed, her glasses were in the glovebox. Florence, pleased with herself goes to have lunch with her husband, and JB notices another clue before Jethro wanders past. He asks about the contents of the envelope and Jess tells him its research for her new book.

“Oh,” says Jethro. “Are you a writer?”

shots fired

shots fired

Jess asks Jethro what he meant the previous day when he told Lisa MacAuley he offered his sympathies even under these circumstances. Jethro says he meant stupidity – no self-respecting hunter would leave a loaded rifle leaned up against a tree for a dog to knock over. JB goes to report her theory that Simon McAuley was shot by a person but the Sheriff orders her away from the case. Jess and Kit return to the kennels to pick up the dog, and discover Lisa and Rick have a little something something going on the side nudge nudge wink wink. Back at Kit’s house, they get a visit from the Sheriff – he checked JB’s theory with the coroner and he agreed with JB’s assessment that Simon McAuley didn’t die where the body was found. They go out to the crime scene and get a soil sample to test the theory further.

The next day Jess discovers her phone card has been cancelled on account of that article in the paper what said she was dead and stuff. A passing Mitchell the insurance guy gallantly offers the use of the phone in his office and JB calls Seth to wire her some money. Before she goes, Mitchell asks about the rumour that Simon McAuley’s death was a murder and she confirms that the Sheriff is off getting some evidence tested in Dallas as they spoke.

Back at JBFLASH the society is trawling through old newspapers looking for clues when Bertie bursts in brandishing the password for the insurance company files. They discover that Simon MacAuley’s insurance policy had recently been raised to 2 million dollars. Boom! Motive!

Jess is going to break the sound barrier getting out of town when this is over.

Jess is going to break the sound barrier getting out of town when this is over.

They report their findings to the Sheriff, along with their discovery of Rick and Lisa at the kennel and the Sheriff leaps into action. He heads over to the McAuley house just as Rick hightails it out of there on his motorbike. He puts the word out for Rick to get picked up and requests backup. Inside, he finds Lisa dead.

JB appears to assist the examination of the crime scene and points out blood spatter on the lightbulb in the basement, proving (according to her) her theory that Simon was killed there. Later, when Rick gets picked up he swears he didn’t strangle Lisa, he loved her. He found her dead then ran. The Sheriff is suspicious but Rick’s alibi checks out and he is forced to let Rick go.

Jess calls an emergency meeting at JBFLASH to reassess their position in the case, as their original WIFE OF DEATH theory has kind of fallen apart, and they still don’t know how Marge got inolved. Jess half-remembers seeing something important on the insurance report and checks it again.She remembers Jane’s earlier lament that Simon was the only B- blood donor in the area, which is odd because on the insurance report  his blood is listed as A+.

A quick snoop through some medical files later, and JB has solved it.

Not quite as catchy as Death of a Salesman but meh.

Not quite as catchy as Death of a Salesman but meh.

Mitchell and Lisa had done a deal to split Simon’s insurance money, and so killed him. Marge turned up at precisely the wrong time and so she died. And Lisa was cracking under the pressue and so Mitchell killed him.

This meeting of the JB Fletcher Literary Appreciation Society is now closed. Let’s celebrate with a drink.

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Later gang!

Later gang!

 

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S05E03 – Mr Penroy’s Vacation

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Thank you all for your lovely wishes about Dad. It’s been a rough couple of months, and we all miss him dreadfully but we are getting there xox.

Back in Cabot Cove this week Fletcherfans, where we find Mr Maurice Penroy going about his Penroy business and generally Penroying about.

What a dapper fellow

What a dapper fellow

Mr Penroy is having a marvelous day in the Cove. The Mayor has just reminded him to remember to register to vote, it’s his birthday party the next day and he has big plans for proposing to one of his landladies, but when a young bloke jumps over the fence and says hello (and another dude hides behind a tree and eavesdrops…and another is lurking outside his house when he gets home) the Penster is less than amused. It would seem Sir Pen of Roy has a SHADY PAST.

Meanwhile, Our Heroine is wrapping the Penster’s present when Seth arrives for help wrapping his present – a tie he got from Amos the previous Christmas. Classic Seth. JB is amazed to think that it’s been a whole month since Amos retired and went home to Kentucky. Seth is deeply suspicious of the new sheriff, Mort Metzger, a city cop who retired to Cabot Cove to get some peace and quiet with his wife the ‘energetic’ Adele. Jess still can’t believe Seth is going to give Maurice Penroy the tie, but Seth thinks it will be perfect on his honeymoon. Jess refuses to believe that one of Penroy’s landlords, Lillian and Helen Appletree are going to give up their renowned spinsterhood and marry Maurice Penroy but Seth is adamant his gossip is reliable.

Speaking of the Sheriff, the Mayor has just found him coming out of Brimley’s sports store with a set of golf clubs and is aghast to learn the new Sheriff has plans to get in 18 holes the next day while his deputies handle anything that comes up.

Says Sheriff Metzger:

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You said it Amos. Incidentally, you may recognise Sheriff Metzger from such times as these ones.

Down at the Appletree’s Helen and Lillian are getting ready for the party by baking a cake and digging a hole to bury the late Maurice Penroy in, protected by the Appletree’s best tablecloth that was embroidered by Helen herself.

Wait, what?

The next day, while the Mayor’s dog Winston investigate the newly dug petunia bed in the garden, Jessica and the Appletree sisters lament that Maurice Penroy was “called away” to “attend a sick friend”.  Seth’s not buying it – he thinks Maurice got cold feet about the wedding Seth is convinced was about to happen. The guests are soon joined by Reverend Wilfred Smythe-with-an-E, actually one of Penroy’s visitors in disguise, who has come to wish his friend a happy birthday. He is alarmed when the sisters, Jess and Seth tell him that Penroy has left town and might be gone some time.

That night, while the sisters argue over who is going to forge Mr Penroy’s signature on his pension check so they can cash it at the bank the next day when they hear loud thumps coming from upstairs. Since they can’t call Amos on account of Amos being away, and they can’t call Mort on account of “He’s not one of us,” they decide to take matters into their own hands.

Cut to the exterior where the man masquerading as Reverend Wilfred Smythe-with-an-E is on the ground with a pitchfork sticking out of him, and Helen and Lillian are digging another hole in their garden.

Wait, WHAT?

The next morning Jess runs into the Appletree sisters at the bank and tells them what a pity it is that Mr Penroy couldn’t make his party, and that his friend the Reverend missed him. Lillian tells her that she felt Mr Penroy was there – in spirit – and the Reverend called to get the address of Penroy’s sick friend, and that he was going to the same place as Mr Penroy. On her bike ride home she runs into the Mayor trying to train Winston, who is more interested in returning to the Appletree’s garden and digging up Mr Penroy.

Sheriff Metzger is quickly called and demands answers. JB suggests the sisters might need more gentle handling and goes to see what she can find out – noticing the tablecloth that was covering him. Inside, the sisters plead ignorance about everything – although Lillian slips when Jessica makes a comment about Helen’s potential wedding to Maurice Penroy. Jess notices napkins with the same embroidery as the tablecloth outside but the sisters are adamant that they threw the tablecloth out months ago. Sheriff Metzger comes in to put the hard word on the sisters when his deputy comes in to announce they’ve found another body, a minister this time.

I love these two.

I love these two.

After taking the sisters in for questioning, JB and Mort return to the Appletree house to search for evidence. They find Penroy’s suitcases in the cupboard and Mort is convinced the sisters are guilty. Before he can go down to the basement to search for more evidence/bodies there’s a knock at the door. It’s Maurice Penroy’s wife, Marilee.

WAIT, WHAT?

After collapsing upon hearing of the death of her husband, Seth is called and takes her back to her hotel room. JB and Mort return to the sheriff’s office with the pitchfork they found that Mort is convinced is the murder weapon. They are soon joined by Seth, and a visitor – Bart Klapper, special investigator for the Boston and Western Railroad, aka Penroy’s former employers. He’s on the trail of 5 million dollars that went missing after an armed robbery perpetrated by the three men who came to see Penroy – the punk, the one hiding behind the tree and the non-priest. Jess wonders why Penroy concealed his marriage and Bart tells her Penroy was never married – that woman was married to Cliff the not-priest. Helen and Lillian are released without charge.

Jess isn’t entirely satisfied with events and goes to see the sisters at home. They explain that Penroy died of a heart attack while proposing to Helen, and that they aren’t sure what happened to Cliff the non-priest. One minute they heard someone in the room upstairs, then they heard someone shout something like Holy and then they found Cliff with the pitchfork in him which they later disguised as irons for the fireplace. Jess asks them if anything was missing from Penroy’s room and they tell her the only thing missing was Penroy’s collection of baggage claim tickets.

Across town, Mort and one of his deputies arrest the two remaining suspects in the train robbery; Daryl the punk and Ole the dude-behind-the-tree. Jess asks about the money but Mort hasn’t found it yet. It suddenly occurs to him that there might be a reward and when he calls the company they confirm 10% of the recovered amount will be offered as a reward – and that Bart Klapper doesn’t work for them any more.

Meanwhile, the sisters have suddenly remembered the trunk they were storing for Penroy and head down to the basement to see what’s inside – they aren’t disappointed, it’s full of sweet sweet money. Their excitement is shortlived, however, when the thief tries to collect – Bart Klapper, who pulls a fire iron on them. Fortunately Mort appears to save the day.

But there’s the small matter of the missing suitcase of claim checks. And the murder of the not-priest Cliff. But Jess, thankfully, has it all worked out. I’m still wondering why Helen and Lillian didn’t get their own spin-off series.

Oh, yes, right.

Oh, yes, right.

Long story short, Cliff the not-priest left her when he finally got wind of some money, so she retaliated by stabbing him with a pitchfork and stealing a suitcase load of worthless ticket stubs. That old chestnut.

Until next time.

Later gang

Later gang