In this episode, we find Jessica staying at The Claudine; a hotel in Monte Carlo that belongs to her former classmate Annie Floret (whom she hadn’t seen since the last class reunion 10 years prior). Jessica tries to be a calming influence on Annie when she learns that the stresses of running her hotel business include owing money to a shady financier and the potential theft of a jewel known as the Alexandra Stone.
Just the facts:
Click on the text below to reveal spoilers.
Click to reveal the victimThere were two murders in this episode! The first victim is Earl Harper, a shady financier. The second victim is Armand Beauclair, a detective posing as a hotel waiter.
Click to reveal the killerIt was Inspector Morel!
Click to reveal the weaponEarl Harper was stabbed with a pair of scissors that Richie Floret had threatened him with at the reception desk! Armand Beauclair was stabbed with (what looked like) a knife.
Click to reveal the locationEach victim was killed in his respective room at the hotel!
Click to reveal the motiveIt was love! Inspector Morel loved Annie and wanted to prevent her losing her hotel to Earl Harper since he knew it meant so much to her. He then had to kill Armand when he learned that Arman had planted a bug in Earl Harper’s room and therefore had recorded the Inspector’s voice during the murder.
Cast of characters:
The main story revolves around Jessica’s former school mate as well as her friends and family.
- Dina Merrill plays Annie Floret, Jessica’s former classmate. This is Merrill’s second and final appearance on MSW; she previously appeared in “Always a Thief“.
- Neill Barry plays Richie Floret; Annie’s son.
- Patrick Bauchau plays Inspector Morel, a friend of Annie’s and a member of the Departement de Securite.
We also meet several members of the hotel staff:
- Ian Ogilvy plays Peter Templeton, the hotel piano player as well as a cat burglar. This is Ogilvy’s third of five total appearances on MSW; he previously appeared in “The Sicilian Encounter“.
- Reuven Bar-Yotam plays Chef Robert, the chef of the hotel restaurant.
- Victor Touzie plays Armand, a waiter at the hotel as well as a private investigator.
- Diane Manzo plays a Desk Clerk.
An important set of guests at the hotel includes:
- David Birney plays Earl Harper, a financier under investigation for illegal stock transactions, who has loaned a million dollars to Annie and is there to collect the debt. This is Birney’s third of four total appearances on MSW; he previously appeared in “The Great Twain Robbery“.
- Lise Hillboldt plays Cynthia Harper, Earl’s wife. This is Hillboldt’s third and final appearance on MSW; she previously appeared in “Smooth Operators” and “Class Act“.
- Scott Strohmyer plays Henry, the Harpers’ bodyguard.
Additional guests at the hotel and local residents include:
- Maryam D’Abo plays Barbara Calloway, a hotel guest who is known for using wealthy men and who is planning on stealing the Alexandra Stone together with Peter Templeton.
- Bo Hopkins plays Scott Larkin, a business rival of Earl Harper’s. This is Hopkins’ second and final appearance on MSW.
- Gustav Vintas plays Albert DeVere, a guest at the hotel who is a very big fan of Jessica Fletcher. This is Vintas’ first of two appearances on MSW.
- Jon Rashad Kamal plays a Proprietor of an antique shop that tries to overcharge Jessica Fletcher.
Final thoughts and other trivia:
While re-watching this episode along with other MSW episode set outside of the USA, I noticed that both this episode as well as “The Sicilian Encounter” were filmed in the same two locations: at the “Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” in Los Angeles and at “Alverno High School” in Sierra Madre. Notably, both of these episodes guest starred Ian Ogilvy.
A final interesting thing about this episode is that we see the French-language edition of one of J.B. Fletcher’s books. The French title is Le Poison Dans Mon Coeur, which translates to “The Poison in My Heart”. However, it’s unclear whether that is a direct translation of the book’s English title or whether the book’s original English title is something perhaps entirely different.