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"Murder, She Wrote" A Lady in the Lake (1985)

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

How Binoculars May Distort Perception

Author: WeatherViolet from United States
4 September 2009

This episode features real-life couple Susan Blanchard and Charles Frank, who play characters married to other spouses. Its guest cast also coincidentally includes two Lees, two Williams, as well as two Charles', a Lauren and a Laurence.

When Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) decides to research a forthcoming manuscript, "Murder at the Inn," Cabot Cove Real Estate agent Harry Pierce (John Astin) decides that the Stone Lake Inn would be the perfect spot for Jessica to spend a week because 19th Century Author Edgar Allen Poe had stayed there before the Inn had burned and recently been restored, and because Harry may use the opportunity of visiting the location to attempt to close the deal for its tenant, Grace Overholtz (Lee Meriwether), to purchase the property.

The widowed Mrs. Overholtz has two employees, boathouse custodian Jack Turney (Charles Taylor) and waitress Sandy (no actress credited). Stone Lake Inn displays paintings and illustrations of its famous guest Edgar Allen Poe in nearly every room. Harry suggests that Jessica's patronage may also prove a strong draw.

Grace, Jack and many of their guests harbor secrets in their respective past: millionaire Howard Crane (Laurence Luckinbill) and his wife, Carolyn Hester Crane (Susan Blanchard), flirty Betty Jordan (Lauren Tewes) and her husband, Lyle Jordan (Charles Frank), birdwatcher Burton Hollis (William Christopher) and nature lover Joanna Benson (Lee Purcell) maintain closely-guarded secrets.

The wooded hills and flora-filled pastures surrounding Stone Lake Inn provide some of the most spectacular scenery of this series. For that, as well as its handsome cast, which also includes Johnny Crawford as Deputy Noah Paisley, extra points are deservedly earned.

Because Stone Lake Inn lies within the jurisdiction of Sheriff Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley), it may safely be considered as part of Cabot Cove County, Maine. William Windom rounds out the cast in his recurring role of Doctor Seth Hazlitt, as he arrives at the premises with Sheriff Amos and Deputy Noah to examine the body of a missing professional swimmer, which finally surfaces at the northern end of the lake upon which Jessica has witnessed a struggle within a rowboat via her borrowed binoculars.

And now, Jessica must sort through a long list of suspects with clues which surface to determine if what she has seen as "a Lady in the Lake" were an illusion or a simple case of murder.

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