Murder, She Wrote: Season 2, Episode 14

Keep the Home Fries Burning (19 Jan. 1986)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Poised strawberry preserves served at the Joshua Peabody Inn result in murder.



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Title: Keep the Home Fries Burning (19 Jan 1986)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Sharon Acker ...
Wilhelmina Fraser
Mercer Hawthorne
Gary Crosby ...
Ted Stully
Margo Perry (as Anne Lloyd Francis)
Bo Dixon
Harrison Fraser III
Henry Polic II ...
Alan Dupree
Betty Fiddler
Floyd Nelson
Rosanna Huffman ...
Helen Stully


Bo Dixon is getting desperate as all his diner customers, even sheriff Tupper and his former waitress Cornelia, desert to the Joshua Peabody Inn on the Interstate. When he checks out the competition during breakfast and sees the owner Floyd Nelson row with the pseudo-French chef Alan Dupree, who wanted out of his three year contract by getting fired, there is a mild case of food poisoning and a fatal one: businessman Harrison Fraser III's wife Wilhelmina's best friend Betty Fiddler. While Dr. Seth Hazlitt calls in haughty health inspector Margo Perry and concludes on atropine, Jessica looks into the possibility of murder. The only missing item is a jar of old Mrs. Margo Perry's strawberry preserves, which Amos is allergic to. Jessica unmasks Dupree as a fake cordon bleu and Harrison as Betty Fiddler's adulterous lover, but also doubts the intended victim and ties up more minute observations... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

19 January 1986 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The exteriors of the restaurant and parking lot are the same as used for The Rockford Files. See more »


Jessica Fletcher: Preserves are terribly difficult to get out of a suede purse, aren't they?
See more »


References Peyton Place (1957) See more »

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User Reviews

"Preserving" History -- One or Two Murders at a Time
5 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Cabot Cove, Maine, has its constants and variable. Among the former, we find resident Mystery author and former schoolteacher Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), Doctor Seth Hazlitt (William Windom) throughout most episodes of Seasons Two through Twelve, Sheriff Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley) for this series first four seasons (with his successor lasting its remaining eight). We see the recurring Loretta's Beauty Shoppe, two hotels, plus a handful of other landmarks.

Among its variables, we find shifting populations of townsfolk plus ever-changing newspaper offices, churches and restaurants. In fact, throughout the course of approximately sixty "MSW" episodes set in Cabot Cove, we rarely, if ever, spot the same diner or its staff more than once.

"Keep the Home Fries Burning" features two Cabot Cove restaurants, operated by feuding restaurateurs: Dixon's Diner, owned by Bo Dixon (William Lucking), and the Joshua Peobody Inn, operated by Floyd Nelson (Alan Young).

(The legend of Joshua Peobody presents a different type of variable throughout this series. While the debate ensues over the history or myth of the town's Colonial founder, Peobody descendants appear later in the series as neighbors of those who debunk the claim of his historic authenticity.) But back to the story....

One fine morning, or at least one which begins on a pleasant note, Jessica Fletcher and Doctor Seth Hazlitt arrive in the parking lot of Joshua Peobody Inn, located off the Interstate outside of Cabot Cove, they encountering Sheriff Amos Tupper, who claims that he sets the local dining tradition, for folks to follow him from Dixon Diner to this new eatery. These three then enter together for breakfast.

Waitress Cornelia (Donna Pescow) , adorned in Colonial garb, explains her transfer from the one diner to this one, to follow her customers and their tips. This, of course, doesn't sit well with Bo Dixon, who sneaks into the Joshua Peobody Inn to spy upon his competition.

Pseudo French chef Alan Dupree (Henry Polic II) expresses disdain over Floyd's expectations to live up to his "credentials," by sabotaging meals in an effort to be released from his contract. He doesn't wish to cook at this location.

Feuding local politicians Mercer Hawthorne (Norman Alden) and Ebeneezer McEnery (Orson Bean) also enter, as they naturally argue from parking lot to table, at which they order breakfast together at any rate.

Out of town guests, Betty Fiddler (Marcia Rodd) and Wilhelmina Fraser (Sharon Acker) stop for breakfast, chuckling over the corny menu entries, each unaware that Wilhelmina's husband, Harrison Fraser III (John McCook) has followed them in his limousine, to spy upon them from a distance.

Other customers enter Joshua Peobody Inn this morning, such as tourists Ted Stully (Gary Crosby) and Helen Stully (Rosanna Huffman), as well as Mr. O'Connor (Leonard O. Turner) and his son, Jimmy O'Connor (Dion Williams), who complains of a severe internal ailment upon exiting.

Suddenly, an epidemic of pain and suffering begins to sweep the parking lot, as diners keel over helplessly. Seth orders the diner closed and victims to be transported to the local hospital, where he may examine them thoroughly.

Enter health inspector Margo Perry (Anne Francis), to scrutinize the Joshua Peobody Inn and its contents, as well as medical reports of those infected by this mysterious ailment, which Jessica diagnoses as Atropine poisoning. Margo Perry dismisses Jessica as a "crisis hound," and orders Floyd Nelson against any notion to "Keep the Home Fries Burning."

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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