Jess is visiting her dear old friend Linda Stevens in Comstock, Idaho (Westridge County) — yet another completely fictional town.  Linda and her recently deceased husband once had a wonderful picnic on the beach in Cabot Cove, and the most likely assumption is that Linda is originally a Cabot Cover.  Jess finds out about Linda’s husband’s car accident when she calls Seth from Rome, so she cuts her trip short in order to be there for the grieving widow.   Linda’s husband was the former mayor of the town, and his father doesn’t think his dying in a car crash was an accident.

Just the facts ma’am:

Spoilers are in white font, so highlight the text below to reveal the answers.

  • The victim was… the former mayor’s dad!
  • killed by… the deputy mayor!
  • in… the deputy mayor’s office at night!
  • with… a paper weight?  it’s not really clear what it was exactly, but it was a blunt instrument grabbed from the top of a desk!
  • because… the deputy mayor was tipping off an illegal gambling organization of the police’s activity so that he could get their political support in the upcoming election!
  • vital clues: personal effects found on the body & lawbook clues & unsuccessful gambling raids.

Repeat offenders:

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Marie Windsor plays Kate Gunnerson, the gambling barn organizer.  Some people call her “Queen of the B’s” because of the number of B films she has appeared in.  She also makes a second appearance on the show as a different character.

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Joseph Campanella plays George McDaniel’s… He comes back to play a different George on a later episode.

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Jeff Yagher plays Police Deputy Beeler. This is his first of three appearances on the show.

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Zale Kessler plays a coroner.  Also his first of three appearances on the show. Each time he plays a nameless “job”.

Big names & honourable mentions:

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Charlene Tilton plays the former mayor’s secretary, Cindy March.  She has also appeared in close to 250 episodes of Dallas as Lucy Ewing.

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Mitchell Ryan, seen here playing Captain Lenko, also played Greg’s dad on Dharma & Greg.

Conclusions:

In addition to the death of the deputy mayor’s dad, which happens during the episode while Jess is in town, there is also the suspicious death of the mayor himself which happened before the events depicted in the episode.  For those who like to theorize that Jessica Fletcher is actually a serial killer who successfully frames other people: this could be evidence against that theory.

Honourable mentions go to the following scenes:

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Don’t we all keep a shotgun in the guest room closet?
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A little reference back to “Crossed Up”, episode 13 earlier in the series, where Jess is also stuck in bed next to a phone.
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Jessica’s reaction to hearing Cindy say that she continues to see Deputy Beeler even though she’s afraid of him when he gets mean because “I love him. And he loves me too.”…”He’s gonna ask his wife for a divorce just as soon as she has her baby.”

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