Murder, She Wrote: Season 2, Episode 18

If a Body Meet a Body (9 Mar. 1986)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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What begins as a routine murder investigation leads the police to discover that a coffin contains the wrong body.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Silas Pike
Agnes Shipley
Phyllis Walters
Lori Lethin ...
Christy Olson
Ned Olson
Stew Bennett
Connie Vernon
Richard Stahl ...
Rev. Matthews
Ben Shipley
Joe Maross ...
Henry Vernon
Ellaraino ...
Townsperson #1 (as Ella Raino Edwards)


Cabot Cove financial adviser Henry Burning is scheduled to be cremated suspiciously quickly after dying on vacation in Fransdale with his wife and sole beneficiary Connie Vernon, who claims it was a heart-attack but is accused during the church service of killing him by his mistress Phyllis Walters; when the closed casket gets knocked over, it contains another man's corpse. Amos wants to solve this case himself, while Jessica has a manuscript deadline, and gets on great with the widow. Phyllis implores Jessica to find her lover's killer, claiming Henry was ready to leave Connie for her, and tells undertaker Silas Pike she's not romantically interested in him. Clients start asking their investment back from Henry's partner Ned Olson, who fails to find new takers and disapproves of his daughter Christy's relationship with idealist student Stew Bennett. Then Phyllis finds Henry's corpse in her place, but he dies two days after his 'funeral', Connie claims John Doe is a hitchhiker who ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

9 March 1986 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Joe Maross' final TV role. See more »


Behind the actors in the diner scene, a bearded extra in a blue jacket enters the restaurant twice. See more »


References The War Wagon (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

Investigating Blueberry Stains, Fireplace Pokers, Missing Deposits and Bodies
3 October 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode marks the swan song appearance of Robert Sterling, star of Classic television and films since 1939 (including 23 that year). Carrie Snodgress, Richard Stahl, Robert Donner and Timothy Jecko have also since passed. This also marks the most recent appearance of Joe Maross, who has acted in television since 1952.

Residents of Cabot Cove turn out on the day of the memorial service for the late Henry Vernon (Joe Maross) except for Idealist Stew Bennett (Rex Smith), who drives off in his van, after telling his companion, Christy Olson (Lori Lethin), that he's tired of the idle chat of well-wishers who don't mean what they say.

Christy's father, Ned Olson (Monte Markham), has been a partner of Henry Vernon's in their financial investment operation, and many Cabot Cove residents have entrusted their savings unto them to invest into the construction of Pleasant Ridge Medical Center.

Ned escorts his partner's widow, Connie Vernon (Carrie Snodgress), into the church, she explaining that Henry had passed during the night beside her in a motel en route to Farnesdale, Maine, where they would often vacation.

Ben Shipley (Robert Sterling) and Agnes Shipley (Anne Jeffreys) are in attendance. The couple has invested $100,000 toward the medical center project and closely guards collective finances.

Sheriff Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley) has invested the value of his retirement account into the project, while Reverend Matthews (Richard Stahl) has entrusted the church's building fund. Reverend Matthews begins the service with a mention that Connie Vernon plans to leave Cabot Cove for San Francisco, to reside with her sister.

Phyllis Walters (Audrey Landers) stops by the mortuary to question Silas Pike (Robert Donner) as to why an employee at the cemetery has told her that there would be no interments today. Silas, who has long been smitten with truck stop waitress Phyllis, answers that Henry had left instructions for cremation.

Phyllis, in turn, storms into the church to interrupt the proceedings, accusing Connie Vernon of murdering the man who loves Phyllis. When Amos tries to settle Phyllis, they knock the casket to open onto the floor, revealing the body of a man, who, by the way, isn't Henry Vernon. Doctor Seth Hazlitt (William Windom) later examines the body to declare that no foul play had been involved.

Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) gladly decides to allow Amos and his Deputy (Scott Palmer) to investigate the case, which Amos suspects as murder. Amos informs Jessica that Cabot Cove believes that she provides the brains to solving murders, and for once, he'd like to try one himself. Jessica has to meet a deadline to meet and gives Amos her blessing, before the plot thickens.

Before Amos is able to leave for Farnesdale, Henry resurfaces at a cabin owned by Ben Shipley, while Connie entertains Jessica and Amos with a home-cooked dinner to break the monotony of an empty residence, before another body turns up with blueberry stains upon its clothing, and with a fireplace poker at its side.

When Cabot Cove residents return to meet at the church the next day, with Townspersons (including Ellaraino, Sonia Kara and Timothy Jecko) in attendance, Ned Olson informs everyone that the $one million investment package has been withdrawn from the Portland bank to which it's been deposited.

While accusation are flying about the church, Stew Bennett enters to report that someone has stolen his van, which he uses to transport blueberries. And when Seth discovers one of the bodies missing from his examination room, Amos decides that he really does need Jessica's deductive reasoning after all, especially "If a Body Meet a Body" with a fireplace poker in hand.

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