Yesssss, FletcherFans! It’s a Cabot Cove murder this time! (I just can’t contain my excitement!)
Just the facts ma’am:
Spoilers are in white font, so highlight the text below to reveal the answers.
- The victim was… Simon (that’s not a spoiler since the title gives that away), a local artist/painter and also the local bookstore owner!
- killed by… his nude model, a woman scorned!
- in… his artist’s studio (a separate building in his yard)!
- with… a carving knife causing a “massive penetration of the left ventricle” (according to Seth’s autopsy)!
- because… he was trying to stop the killer from destroying his painting! and the killer was trying to destroy the painting because she was on it!
- vital clues: cigarette lighter; and paint residue on Jessica’s jacket.
As it is a Cabot Cove episode, we get an appearance by Doctor Seth Hazlitt (who appeared in a total of 53 episodes), and Sheriff Amos Tupper (who appeared in a total of 19 episodes).
Plus, there’s Phillip Clark as Deputy Collins (who has only made two appearances–this is his last):
Wait, wait… What’s the difference between a teletype and a fax machine? Thank you Murder, She Wrote for making me feel young for not knowing that.
Aside from that, there are a few people who have appeared multiple times as different people:
- Diane Baker — (playing Eleanor Thane) made a total of 3 appearances on the show; this is her first. Diane Baker is also a very prolific actress and appeared in many classic movies. Mystery fans might also recognize her from Columbo: Last Salute to the Commodore.
- Ann Dusenberry — (playing Carol Selby) made a total of two appearances; this is her last. The year before this episode aired, she also co-starred in a short-lived sitcom called Life With Lucy as Lucille Ball’s daughter.
- Steve Inwood — (playing Cash Logan) will go on to appear in two more episodes.
Dick Sargent! a.k.a. The second Darrin Stephens on Bewitched. He’s sorely lacking in “creative energy” in this episode.
I have so many thoughts about this episode!
First of all: the timing. Several of the characters make reference to not seeing each other all summer… but this episode aired in March and so I’m very confused about what part of year this is supposed to have taken place. What happened to fall and winter?
Second: the theme of wealth is very prevalent in this episode. Jessica is invited to an “informal dinner party”, but is still told what the appropriate attire would be. While there, the dinner has been cooked and is being served by a poor single mom from town who can’t afford to buy her son a bike. Additionally, it’s super grating to have her be referred to as “the girl”. Overall, it’s interesting to see Jessica as the “everywoman” who can get along with both the rich and the poor.
Third: we get a closer look at Amos, the man behind the Sheriff’s badge.
I was raised by a widowed mother, deep in the Depression, not much money. Never could afford the kinda stuff other kids had.
We also get a rare glimpse of him not in uniform… and also of him tossing a football around.
Fun fact: Tom Bosley looks like my dad, so I have a special fondness for him.
Fourth: Jessica’s loosening moral fibres.
Amos: “But what am I gonna do about the fact that Irene Rutledge has no legal claim to Tommy?”
Jessica: “Amos, if I were you, I would develop amnesia.”
Amos: “Mmm, save a lot of paperwork too.”
This isn’t such a big deal in this episode — the viewer might think it’s justified that a boy gets to stay with the only mother he’s ever known, rather than having his world torn apart — but it’s an interesting look at Jessica’s morality, nonetheless.
Fifth: following up on the mention of elopement at the end of the previous episode, Cupid’s arrow also works its magic in this one with two of the characters possibly becoming a couple.
Finally… Does this really count as a Cabot Cove murder?
One of the reasons I started this episode log is because of the reputation Cabot Cove has as the murder capital of the world. But of course, not every Murder She Wrote episode takes place in Cabot Cove, and not every murder that takes place in Cabot Cove is perpetrated by a resident of Cabot Cove.
In this case, the cast of characters are self-proclaimed “summer people at the Cove”. Meaning, they’re not full time residents. So that’s something to consider for the Cabot Cove Crime Statistics.
Amos: “Has all the earmarks of a crime of passion.”
Amos: “Oh, I know that Simon Thane is somethin’ of an institution around here. But just because there’s a little snow on the roof, don’t mean that there’s no fire in the hearth, if you get my drift.”
Jessica: “Oh, I get your drift, Amos. I just think your anchor is slipping.”
Well, that’s all folks, that’s all she wrote!