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A womanizing Cabot Cove landlord is found murdered and Jessica must prove the innocence of a young boy's mother who is accused of the crime.


(as Anthony Shaw)


(created by), (created by) | 2 more credits »


Episode cast overview:
Kevin Bryce
Jack Franzen
Bridget Hanley ...
Gloria Franzen
John Harkins ...
Owen Brownwell
Marla Bryce
Patsy Dumont
Danny Snow
Sheriff Mort Metzger (as Ron Másak)
Teri Ralston ...
Lydia Johansen
Paige Pengra ...
Lee McAdam
Edwina Moore ...
Dane Winters ...
Post Office Clerk


Land owner Jack Franzen, a flirtatious scrooge, disappears for three days until his corps is found behind the wheel of his crashed car, skull smashed in, possibly staged as an accident. At the same time a tenant, widow Marla Bryce, went missing. Her young son Kevin, a diligent student and Jessica's excellent gardener, who takes his status as 'man of the house' seriously, kept her disappearance silent fearing to end up in foster care as one terrible time when the Bruces lived in Chicago. Luckily he can stay with Jessica, first informally, then in temporary foster care after ma is found mildly wounded. She's arrested, having had opportunity and lied about her whereabouts, but Jessica and Kevin investigate other suspects with motives, notably other tenants such as her employer, moccasin factory boss Owen Brownwell, and merry widow Gloria Franzen. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

21 January 1990 (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?


Final role for Kiel Martin, who died eleven months and seven days after airing of this episode. See more »

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User Reviews

Raising the Rent Raises the Roof, Tempers and the Shovel
22 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode marks one of the last appearances by Kiel Martin, who has acted in film and on television since 1960. John Harkins and Jonathan Brandis have also since passed.

When life-long bully Jack Franzen (Bruce Glover) causes frustration, pain and hardship around Cabot Cove, he goes all the way. His domineering approach, impossible expectations, outrageous demands and condescending attitude alienate the affections of his wife, Gloria Franzen (Bridget Hanley); his tenant at Owen's Shoes factory, Owen Brownwell (John Harkins); plus three of Owen's employees, Patsy Dumont (Lorna Luft), Danny Snow (Kiel Martin) and Marla Bryce (Season Hubley), who also strives to pay increasing rental fees at the residence leased from landlord Jack Franzen.

But it is Marla's preteen son, Kevin Bryce (Jonathan Brandis), who controls the primary focus of this saga with his concerned confidant, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), for whom he performs odd jobs, such as assisting with her gardening.

On several occasions during the course of this series, a single mother who can't seem to make ends meet to provide for her preteen son finds herself questioned during a murder investigation without a solid alibi, and so the child becomes "the man of the house" with Jessica's blessing and support.

We may decide that this formula works well here because, after all, a body has been discovered near her residence, her name-engraved shovel is missing, and so has been Marla since the day of the murder.

While Kevin eagerly launches his own investigation to defend his missing mother, it is discovered that he had once been placed in foster care back in Chicago, after he and Marla skipped out of their apartment one night to avoid paying back rent. So, now the plot thickens for Kevin to face the possibility of foster home placement once again.

Jessica assists any way which she sees fit, as she, Doctor Seth Hazlitt (William Windom), Sheriff Mort Metzger (Ron Masak) and Deputy Floyd (Will Nye) conduct the official murder investigation.

Kevin's Third-Grade Schoolteacher Lydia Johansen (Teri Ralston), Social Worker Lee McAdam (Paige Pengra), Nurse at hospital in Portland (Edwina Moore) and Cabot Cove Post Office Clerk (Dane Winters) round out the cast in supporting roles.

Lorna Luft sprinkles a few wisecrack for comic relief along the way before the final curtain, but cleverly avoids the possibly tempting "If the Shoe Fits, I'll sock it to you to boot you right out of here."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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