Murder, She Wrote 7.10 “Murder in F Sharp”

In yet another music-themed episode, Jessica Fletcher tells her pal, Cabot Cove Gazette editor Ben Devlin, the inside scoop regarding a scandal involving a pianist who was subject to an insurance investigator by Dennis Stanton after his (insured) hands were badly burned.

Just as we saw in “Always A Thief“, Jessica actually has a tape from Dennis in which he narrates his adventures to her.

Just the facts:

Click on the text below to reveal spoilers.

Click to reveal the victim It was Milena Maryska, the wife of a famous pianist!
Click to reveal the killer It was her pianist husband, Vaclav Maryska!
Click to reveal the weapon It was a gunshot!
Click to reveal the location It was in Vaclav’s apartment!
Click to reveal the motive He wanted to run away with another woman and start a new life after learning that he had degenerative arthritis and wouldn’t be able to play the piano much longer!

Cast of characters:

Because the episode begins with a bookend segment set in Cabot Cove, we get a brief glimpse of Joe Dorsey playing Ben Devlin, the new Cabot Cove Gazette editor and friend to Jessica. This is Dorsey’s fifth and final appearance on MSW. He first appeared in the two-parter “Death Stalks the Big Top” and then in “Showdown in Saskatchewan“, each time playing different characters. He first appeared as Ben Devlin in “Deadly Misunderstanding“, which was followed by “A Body to Die For“.

Ben and Jessica attempting to listen to some records.

As this is a season 7 bookend episode, we get Dennis Stanton and his usual sidekicks:

  • Keith Michell plays Dennis Stanton. This is his fifth of nine total appearances on MSW. He first appeared in “A Little Night Work“.
  • Hallie Todd plays Rhoda Markowitz, his secretary. This is Todd’s fourth of seven total appearances on MSW. She initially played a different character (in “Class Act“), but has been playing the character of Rhoda since “Always a Thief“.
  • James Sloyan plays Robert Butler, his boss. This is Sloyan’s fourth of seven total appearances on MSW. He initially played different characters (such as in “The Body Politic“). His first appearance as Robert Butler was in “Always a Thief“.
  • Ken Swofford plays Lt. Catalano, his frequent police contact. This is Swofford’s seventh of eleven total appearances on the show. He initially played different characters (such as in “Steal Me a Story” and “Truck Stop“. His first appearance as Lt. Catalano was in “Always a Thief“.

This particular episode centers around a famous pianist and his family:

  • Ricardo Montalban plays Vaclav Maryska, the famous pianist.
  • Patricia Neal plays Milena Maryska, Vaclav’s wife.
  • Stephen Caffrey plays Alex Seletz, Milena’s son from a previous marriage. This is Caffrey’s first of two total appearances on the show.

Other important people in Vaclav’s life include:

  • Melinda Culea as Nicole Gary, Vaclav’s former student and current romantic interest. This is Culea’s first of two total appearances on MSW.
  • Aaron Heyman as Mr. Fritz Morris, Vaclav’s assistant.

The remaining cast members play potential witnesses to the events happening in Vaclav’s apartment include:

  • Dean R. Miller plays Charlie, the doorman to Vaclav’s apartment building.
  • Anne Gee Byrd plays a widow who lives in Vaclav’s apartment building.
  • John Kerry plays a Security Guard.

Final thoughts:

I don’t have anything to add about this episode that I haven’t already mentioned before. Personally, I really like the mystery in this episode, and in general appreciate what they’ve done to develop the Dennis Stanton episode in Season 7.

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