Murder, She Wrote 7.14 “Who Killed J.B. Fletcher?”

Jessica Fletcher travels down to Bremerton, Texas after she hears on the news that someone using her name has been arrested for breaking and entering. While there, she meets members of the J.B. Fletcher Literary Society, and furthermore stumbles upon a newspaper reporting that J.B. Fletcher has died in a car crash!

Just the facts:

There are three victims in this episode, so the following might get a bit complicated!

Click on the text below to reveal spoilers.

Click to reveal the victim First, we learn that Marge Allen, the mother of a state senator, and member of the J.B. Fletcher Literary Society has died! Soon after, we also find out that Simon McCauley, the owner of a local kennel has died. And finally, we discover the death of Lisa McCauley, Simon’s wife/widow.
Click to reveal the killer It was Mitchell Lawrence, an insurance salesman. (With Lisa McCauley, the kennel owner’s wife, initially acting as his accomplice!)
Click to reveal the weapon Marge (apparently) died in a car crash! While Simon (apparently) was shot in the back by his dog! Lisa, on the other hand, was strangled.
Click to reveal the location Simon was killed first, in the basement of his house! It’s not clear where exactly Marge died, but her body was found in her car at the side of the road. Lisa’s body was also found in the basement of the McCauley house
Click to reveal the motive Mitchell (the insurance salesman) and Lisa McCauley first had a deal to kill her husband Simon and split his insurance money! Marge showed up at just the wrong time and they had to kill her in order to eliminate her as a witness. When Lisa was having regrets over what she had done, Mitchell killed her.

Cast of characters:

First, the reason for Jessica Fletcher being in Texas is due to the overzealousness of the J.B. Fletcher Literary Society.

  • Jane Withers plays Marge Allen, the mother of a state senator. This is Wither’s first of two total appearances on MSW.
  • Betty Garrett plays Kit Parkins. Garret is known for her recurring roles in ‘All in the Family‘ and ‘Laverne & Shirley‘. This is Garret’s second and final appearance on MSW. She previously appeared in “Trouble in Eden“.
  • Marie Windsor plays Caroline. This is Windsor’s second and final appearance on MSW. She previously appeared in “The Cemetery Vote“. This is her last ever on-screen credit.
  • Janet Blair plays Bertie, the group’s computer hacker. This was Blair’s last ever on-screen credit.
  • Terry Moore plays Florence, who has access to the coroner’s office.
  • Margaret O’Brien plays Jane, who’s a local nurse and area coordinator for the local blood bank.

The main mystery in this episode revolves around the McCauley Kennels, which was being investigated by Marge (who was pretending to be J.B. Fletcher).

  • Jamie Rose plays Lisa McCauley, the widow of the kennel owner. Rose had previously starred in her own short-lived detective series ‘Lady Blue’ in 1985-1986. This is Rose’s second of three total appearances on MSW. She previously appeared in “Snow White, Blood Red“.
  • Tom Schanley plays Rick, a kennel employee who is having an affair with Lisa McCauley.
  • Lyman Ward plays Mitchell Lawrence, an insurance agent. This is Ward’s first of three total appearances on MSW. Ward also had a short recurring role as Lt. Draper in four episodes of ‘Hart to Hart‘.
  • Max Baer Jr. as State Trooper Boone Willoughby — who is also a hunter that had a bone to pick with the McCauley Kennel. Baer is known for playing Jethro on ‘The Beverly Hillbillies‘. This is his second and final appearance on MSW. He previously appeared in “Jack and Bill“. This is also his last ever on-screen credit.

The local law enforcement includes Earl Holliman as Sheriff J.T. Tanner. Fans of mysteries might recognize Holliman for his co-starring role in ‘Police Woman‘. This is Holliman’s first of two total appearances on MSW.

Additional minor roles include:

  • David Cowgill as the Deputy.
  • Jon Menick as Kennel Clerk.
  • Mario Machado as news Anchor. This is Machado’s second of three total appearances on MSW. His roles always involved him playing a reporter or news announcer.
  • Rod Britt as Clerk.
  • Marvyn Byrkett as Technician.
  • Marc Marosi as Waiter.
  • Michael Leopard as Cabbie. This is Leopard’s second and final appearance on MSW. He previously had a minor role in “Something Borrowed, Someone Blue“.
  • Curt Booker as Security Guard.

Final thoughts:

One of the notable things about this episode is its high body count. With three murders, this puts it on par with other episodes such as “Snow White, Blood Red“. Interestingly, Jamie Rose (who plays Lisa McCauley in this episode), also had a role in “Snow White, Blood Red”.

One other thing of note about this episode is that, as usual, they have used the same set for the small town and sheriff’s office as they have in many other episodes (for instance in “Coal Miner’s Slaughter“.

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