Murder, She Wrote 4.2 “When Thieves Fall Out”

The second episode of Season 4 finds us in… Cabot Cove!

The mystery initially revolves around a murder that happened 20 years ago in nearby Shawmut [there is in fact a town tamed Shawmut in Maine].  At the time, a business man was found dead in a car crash and $100k in negotiable bonds were stolen from his car.  A hitch-hiker was arrested for his murder, and has just been released on parole.  He shows up in Cabot Cove hoping to find justice for all the years he spent in jail, and his visit results in another death.

Just the facts ma’am:

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

  • The victim was… the local car salesman!
  • killed by… his highschool football Coach!
  • in… his office between 9 and 11 at night!
  • with… his gun (but it’s unclear how the killer got his gun in the first place)!
  • because…he was the only witness in the original killinghe was in the car with the coach when they caused the original car accident, and the coach killed off the businessman with a rock in order to steal the bonds!
  • vital clues:  the time on the clock in the picture from prom night.

Big names/Honourable Mentions:

There aren’t any huge stars in this episode, but a couple of more recognizable faces include:


Kenneth McMillan plays Coach Kevin Cauldwell. McMillan had a recurring role on Rhoda, and also frequently appeared as cops in movies.  (E.g. He played Sheriff Hawkins in the Burt Reynold’s film Malone.)  McMillan died in 1989 (two years after this episode), and I suspect he’d  otherwise be more of a household name by now.


Michael Lembeck plays mysteriously rich Arnie Wakeman.  Since 1990, Lembeck has been more known for his directing rather than acting.

Repeat offenders:


Quite a few of the actors have made multiple appearances as different characters on the show.

  • John Glover (left) plays parolee Andrew Derbin in his second and last appearance.
  • Mark Voland (top centre) plays drunk car salesman Dan Pulling in his first of two appearances.
  • Dack Rambo (top right) plays car dealership owner Bill Hampton in his second of three appearances.
  • Shelley Smith (bottom right) plays wife Alison Hampton in her first of two appearances.
  • And John Bennett Perry (bottom centre) plays Judge Perry Sillman in his first of two appearances.

Additionally, since this episode takes place in Cabot Cove, Sheriff Amos Tupper makes an appearance.


Other comments:

Curiously, Doc Seth Hazlitt doesn’t make an appearance, and instead we have someone introduced as Doc Mathews deliver a line regarding the cause of death:


We additionally get some more glimpses of Cabot Cove.


There’s The Cove Restaurant (top right), Cabot Cove High School (bottom right), courthouse (bottom left), and a bit of the street just outside the Cabot Cove Gazette (top left).  I don’t know much about rural U.S., but would a town with a population of 3,560 (the sign for which we can see in this episode) really have its own high school and courthouse?

What’s really curious about the top right picture is that a street sign showing Route 27 is clearly visible — but Route 27 doesn’t go through Maine!

This episode also mentions the name of another J.B. Fletcher book: The Belgrade Murders.

And that’s it! That’s all she wrote!


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