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Murder, She Wrote. And Played.
July 1, 2014 7:28 PM   Subscribe

"But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let me tell you a story: a story about a board game. The Murder, She Wrote board game. You didn't know such a thing existed? Neither did I, before my friend Sarah brought it one summer to camp. (For the sake of clarity: I mean camp in the upstate New York sense, i.e., a small un-insulated cottage on a freshwater lake that has a preponderance of mismatched glasses and forks with wonky tines and maybe exposed studs but is the greatest place to family-vacation on earth.) Sarah and I met in day care, and had been friends for years—but this year, when she came to visit, she unknowingly brought the one thing that would enflame my jealousy."

Previously: 1, 2
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (35 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
I believe the author means her envy.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:32 PM on July 1


(Yes, I was just double-checking that! Oh well.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:33 PM on July 1


There are worse places to live than Cabot Cove. Very few worse places to be a life insurance salesman though.
posted by arcticseal at 7:37 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


If you like this piece, you should check out Racculia's novels! I particularly loved her recent one, Bellweather Rhapsody. VERY Murder She Wrote.
posted by leesh at 7:41 PM on July 1


Anybody who is familiar with Murder, She Wrote and doesn't want to be in Jessica Fletcher in their old age (or right now) is a liar or someone I don't understand.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:42 PM on July 1 [6 favorites]


Anybody who is familiar with Murder, She Wrote and doesn't want to be in Jessica Fletcher in their old age (or right now) is a liar or someone I don't understand.

I just want to hang out platonically with Seth Hazlitt. We could play backgammon and I would make him cakes.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:45 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


I'm waiting for a Mary Worth board game. Feel free to drop your suggestions in this thread.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:45 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Are we sure that Jessica Fletcher wasn't actually a serial killer?
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:46 PM on July 1 [7 favorites]


If I'm going to be someone who has one of their friends or close acquaintances fall victim to a different murderer every single week, I think it would be a lot more fun to be Jonathan Hart.

I would get a better dog, though..
posted by Nerd of the North at 8:15 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


They took Murder She Wrote off Netflix briefly and I was crushed because I had been coping with a miserable period by marathons of Jessica Fletcher being Awesome. Just the opening sequence makes me happy - her cycling through the town, the house, the typewriter, the clothes, I love all her clothes. Why is there not a fashion lookbook of Jessica Fletcher?
posted by viggorlijah at 8:36 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]




I love all her clothes. Why is there not a fashion lookbook of Jessica Fletcher?

OH OH OH at some point she and Cher from Clueless wear almost exactly the same outfit; similar jackets, the same shirt, virtually the same accessories -- the woman is fashion forward.

And it's not weird that I noticed this. Everyone knows exactly what outfits Cher wears in the entire movie. Uh, right?

Seriously, though, Jessica Fletcher is my hero; she's always polite and respectful but she doesn't let people trample on her, be they potential swains or irresponsible contractors. I honest-to-God think about the way she interacts with people when I need to be assertive in a way I find comfortable.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:51 PM on July 1 [8 favorites]


BoardGameGeek game description:
One player is secretly and randomly chosen to be the murderer, the rest are detectives (Jessica Fletcher) trying to determine which player is the murderer.

If you look around the room and see FOUR Jessica Fletchers, it is not a good time to murder someone.
posted by a dangerous ruin at 8:57 PM on July 1 [9 favorites]


Are we sure that Jessica Fletcher wasn't actually a serial killer?
I'm a huge proponent of this theory, yet I'm bothered that it's not yet complete. "Jessica Fletcher was a serial killer" would explain the ludicrous death rate among her acquaintances, sure. And if you add "an expert hypnotist" to her qualifications you might explain the similarly astounding rate with which she extracts confessions and finds compelling evidence of others' guilt.

But the remaining gaping hole in this theory is: why doesn't anybody else come up with this theory? She has fans who are specifically interested in murder mysteries, she interacts with multiple police forces and criminal investigators; surely she can't have hypnotized them all? And in these cases the hypnosis would have to be impossibly flawless! If a once-confessed criminal later recants nobody gets too suspicious, but if a once-deceived police officer or reporter snaps out of it and starts examining statistics then Jessica still goes under the microscope.

So what's the missing piece here? For that matter, even if Jessica isn't a serial killer, why isn't she erroneously suspected of it? Why is Cabot Cove the murder capital of the world, and why isn't Cabot Cove famous for being the murder capital of the world?

I can't figure it out. Could Jessica Fletcher herself solve this mystery? Her astounding track record would imply "yes", but in that case, the fact that she hasn't revealed the solution (and she publicly hasn't even noticed a mystery exists) is not evidence in her favor. Even in the best case scenario, she's basically an innocent victim of damnable luck, putting up a falsely cheery front, living a life gripped by secret terror. She would be spending her life praying that each new person she meets won't be the next improbable victim lain at her feet or the next improbable killer she must remove from society, waiting just underneath the sword of Damocles for the overwhelming circumstantial evidence against her to be noticed and for her reputation and her life to be ruined, and privately trying to determine if suicide would finally put an end to the swath of death following her or if it would just forever end her chance of finding the hidden thread connecting those deaths and thereby achieving real justice.

I'm not sure when my "have a drink before bed" plan turned into "have a drink and then hop on Metafilter before bed", but I promise not to let it happen again.
posted by roystgnr at 9:13 PM on July 1 [8 favorites]


I basically look, right now, like Angela Lansbury looked in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I feel like I win at life.
posted by padraigin at 9:26 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


How can anyone who's seen The Manchurian Candidate not believe that Jessica Fletcher is a serial killer?
posted by McCoy Pauley at 9:53 PM on July 1 [6 favorites]


This thread just made me wish that I could give anything for one more night sitting on the living room floor watching Murder, She Wrote with my mother sitting behind me on the couch sipping Suisse Mocha while I knotted friendship bracelets and the brisk California winter wind whistled behind the packing tape sealing the front door from the cold.

I loved that show but mostly I loved watching it with my mom.
posted by annathea at 10:35 PM on July 1 [7 favorites]


Wait, they took Murder She Wrote off of Netflix? Fucking barbarians. I guess I'm less upset than if they'd taken Law and Order or Rockford Files off, but that's just because I haven't seen all of them yet. MSW was something my whole family watched every week when it was on, and picking out the guest star's claim to fame was always a parlor game for us.
posted by klangklangston at 12:26 AM on July 2


They took it off for several months but I am very pleased to tell you it is back on Netflix.
posted by viggorlijah at 12:41 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Are we sure that Jessica Fletcher wasn't actually a serial killer?

I always thought the murders were in her imagination and that was Jessica just trying to figure out her next story. The series was fun, but it made no sense whatsoever...sort of in the same escapist category as The Mentalist...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 3:59 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


> "How can anyone who's seen The Manchurian Candidate not believe that Jessica Fletcher is a serial killer?"

Nonsense. Jessica Fletcher is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.
posted by kyrademon at 5:50 AM on July 2 [11 favorites]


For further proof of how scary Angela Lansbury can be, see "The Court Jester", where she's the wonderfully homicidal princess who somehow also needs to be rescued.

Hey, am I misremember it, or did a MSW episode feature a government agent who revealed that he had done some research on Jessica's background and found it quite surprising? I do think that she firmly shut him down before he could actually reveal anything, but I like to believe it would reveal a younger Jessica Fletcher to be an international secret agent (presumably under a different name, and with some basic cosmetic surgery when she retired to become 'Jessica Fletcher'). Oh, hey, fanfiction.net is calling my name...
posted by Mogur at 9:01 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


"They took it off for several months but I am very pleased to tell you it is back on Netflix."

Right on. Filthylightthief and MCMike and I were mooting doing a rewatch for Fanfare, but I haven't had time.

My favorites were always the ones where there's technology stuff going on, or where there's Jerry Orbach.
posted by klangklangston at 12:32 PM on July 2


How can anyone who's seen The Manchurian Candidate not believe that Jessica Fletcher is a serial killer?

Not to mention Sweeney Todd!
posted by bcwinters at 1:07 PM on July 2




Alternate to the Jessica Fletcher is a Serial Killer theory:

Someone close to her is the serial killer. Someone she wants to protect, but who holds some sort of power over her--which is why she never turns them in, just sends patsies to jail.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:23 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


I hope it's Grady.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 2:21 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


God my feelings about Grady are so complicated.

On one hand, he's a huge reason why Jessica Fletcher, retired widowed Maine school teacher, even became J.B. Fletcher, internationally renowned author.

On the other hand, EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT HIM.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:36 PM on July 2 [2 favorites]


My feelings about Grady are also complicated: do I wish he would die quickly so he's gone as soon as possible or do I wish he would die slowly so he can suffer as I have?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 2:40 PM on July 2 [3 favorites]


Oh. Oh my. What if it's Frank?
posted by bcwinters at 3:58 PM on July 2


YOU HUSH YOUR MOUTH. I fell asleep last night to the episode where Jessica investigates a murder at the tiny playhouse where she met Frank and fell in love. There's this scene where she just stands near some painted scenery props and touches them gently and voices drift over, a conversation between young Jessica, frustrated at not being able to get the painting quite right and Frank giving her tips on perspective, and it was just so sweet, down to the wistful smile on her face remembering and the interested slightly flirtatious discussion over painting techniques.

I wholeheartedly subscribe to the belief that Jessica Fletcher is ex-CIA and travels the world on missions, but Frank was her good man.
posted by viggorlijah at 8:16 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


I hope it's Grady.

So, this thread inspired me to put the show in my netflix queue (having probably not seen an episode in 20 years), and in the very first episode, Grady is the prime suspect for a while. So maybe it starts with her covering up his horrible crime.

And then she's shocked at how easy that was. And then maybe the next few murders are genuine murders that happen in her vicinity, and since she's an intelligent lady, she's a little disgusted at how badly the murderers covered their tracks. Maybe she frames a few more people to cover up for Grady's half-assed murder spree, and is shocked at how easy it is to extract a false confession.

Plus, every time she solves (or "solves") another case, her book sales shoot up another 20%.

And so she starts thinking about how to commit the perfect murder, first as a thought experiment, and then increasingly seriously... And then, just to make sure she's got it all figured out, she asks metafilter...
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:10 PM on July 2 [4 favorites]


Oh. Oh my. What if it's Frank?

Are we asking if he was Jessica's first kill?

God my feelings about Grady are so complicated.

On one hand, he's a huge reason why Jessica Fletcher, retired widowed Maine school teacher, even became J.B. Fletcher, internationally renowned author.

On the other hand, EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT HIM.


Yes, but Grady was there to make Jessica look smarter than she really was -- add two dumb sheriffs, and she no doubt had the highest IQ in that town...given that almost everyone else in the town was murdered...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:22 AM on July 3


Why is there not a fashion lookbook of Jessica Fletcher?

Oh, but there is!
posted by Thomas Tallis is my Homeboy at 5:15 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


That needs to be a FPP of its own!
posted by viggorlijah at 7:00 PM on July 7


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