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September is Back to School season! And while many of us may face some uncertainty about returning to school in person this year, Murder, She Wrote fans can take comfort in watching the following episodes that feature Jessica Fletcher in the classroom or a death on campus.
Season 1 Episode 6 “Lovers and Other Killers”
In the first episode to feature Jessica Fletcher in the classroom, she is in Seattle giving a series of guest lectures on mystery writing. While much of the mystery doesn’t actually take place on campus, the episode is memorable for her young student secretary David Tolliver. It is also an episode that includes a scene featured in the opening credits: that of Jessica Fletcher firing a fake gun.
Season 2 Episode 4 “School for Scandal”
In this episode, Jessica Fletcher is at the fictional Crenshaw College in order to give a commencement speech and receive an honorary degree. The mystery in this episode involves several faculty members. The episode is memorable for its scene of Jessica Fletcher wearing academic regalia while riding a bicycle.
Season 3 Episode 14 “Murder in a Minor Key“
Although this “bookend” episode doesn’t feature Jessica Fletcher in the classroom, nor does it feature much of Jessica at all, it is nonetheless a mystery that is centered in a university setting. In this episode, Jessica recounts a story she has written about a couple of college-aged sleuths. [Click here to read my full post about this episode.]
Season 5 Episode 15 “Alma Murder“
Another episode that doesn’t actually see Jessica Fletcher in the classroom. Instead, she returns to her Alma Mater and old sorority house in order to help an old professor who has confessed to murder. [Click here to read my full post about this episode.]
Season 6 Episode 10 “Class Act“
This is another “bookend” episode to feature a university setting. Although Jessica Fletcher is not the sleuth here, it instead features a cop who has been ordered to teach a criminology course at a local college. [Click here to read my full post about this episode.]
Season 8 Episode 2 “Night Fears”
At the beginning of Season 8, we find Jessica Fletcher moving to New York in order to teach a criminology class. As a result, there are several episodes set on the fictional Manhattan University campus. However, it’s really only this second episode of the season that features death on campus. [Click here to read my full post about this episode.] (The other episodes that include scenes of Jessica Fletcher in the classroom include Episode 5 “Lines of Excellence” and Episode 17 “To the Last Will I Grapple With Thee”.)
Season 11 Episode 19 “School for Murder”
This Cabot Cove episode finds Jessica Fletcher delivering lectures to students at a nearby prep school. The mystery involves not only the faculty and staff, but also the teen-aged students.
Murder, She Wrote books with school settings
Fans of the show may also be interested in the Murder, She Wrote spin off novels—some of which also take place in academic settings.
Majoring in Murder
The 19th book in the series was written by Donald Bain (and Jessica Fletcher, of course!) The novel finds Jessica Fletcher teaching creative writing as a visiting professor at Schoolman College. After a professor dies while a tornado is ravaging the area, Jessica is not convinced that his death was entirely an accident.
A Time for Murder
The 50th book in the series was written by Jon Land (with Jessica Fletcher, of course!) The novel is in some ways a prequel that finds Jessica Fletcher reminiscing about a murder that happened while she was still working as an English teacher in a neighboring town prior to moving to Cabot Cove.
Do you think there are other episodes (or books) that belong on this list? Let me know in the comments!