Murder, She Wrote 6.9 “Test of Wills”

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In this episode, Jessica Fletcher is transported by helicopter to an island owned by Henry Raynard, who arranged for a family gathering and asked Jess to come along and figure out which one of them might be trying to kill him.

Just the facts:

Click on the text below to reveal spoilers.

Click to reveal the victim Preston Howard, the granddaughter’s fiance. (Spoiler: It first appeared that Henry died, but he was just faking it!)
Click to reveal the killer Preston was killed by his own fiancee!
Click to reveal the weapon He was shot!
Click to reveal the location Preston was found dead in the pool-house!
Click to reveal the motive She didn’t mean to kill him–they were wrestling over a gun and it went off accidentally!

Cast of characters:

  • Gene Barry plays Henry Reynard, the family patriarch. Barry had a starring role in the popular detective series Burke’s Law.
  • Marj Dusay plays Alice Reynard Carson, Henry’s daughter. This is Dusay’s first of two total appearances on MSW.
    • Jill Carroll plays Kimberly Carson, Alice’s daughter.
    • John Callahan plays Preston Howard, Kimberly’s fiance. This is Callahan’s second and final appearance on MSW. He previously appeared in “Doom with a View“.
  • Keir Dullea plays Jason Reynard, Henry’s son.
    • Cassie Yates plays Valerie Renard, Jason’s wife. This is Yates’ third of four total appearances on MSW. She previously appeared in “Showdown in Saskatchewan“.

Also in attendance are:

  • Philip Abbott as Dr. Hubbard Dabney, Henry’s doctor. This is Abbott’s second of three appearances on MSW. He previously appeared in “Deadpan“.
  • Curt Lowens as Mr. Forest, Henry’s servant.
  • Victoria Boothby as Mrs. Forest, another one of Henry’s servants.

After the crime, local law enforcement come on the scene:

  • Morgan Woodward as Sheriff Brademus.
  • Jeremy Roberts as Sergeant Stokley.

Visitors arrive at the island with the help of a helicopter pilot played by H. Ray Huff.

Final thoughts and other trivia:

While the location of “Reynard Island” is unspecified, an imdb reviewer pointed out that there are some clues as to its general whereabouts. For instance, there are references to business travels to Chicago, which suggests that the island might be somewhere on Lake Michigan.

The premise for this episode is clearly inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None–starting with a gathering on a remote island and continuing with the same major plot twist.

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