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Who Is Ready for a Fall?, 13 October 2009
Author: WeatherViolet from United States
On the evening of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' (ATAS)
Emmy Awards in 1989, presenters read the names of six nominees for the
category of "Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series." "...And Jean
Simmons for playing the role of Eudora McVeigh in 'Mirror, Mirror on
the Wall: Part 1.'"
Although another actress for a role in a different program was awarded the honor that year, Jean Simmons became the only guest star (female or male) to be nominated for an Emmy Award for a role in any of the 264 episodes (265 hours) of "Murder, She Wrote."
"Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall" begins in New York City with troubles mounting for the Shipton family. While Hank Shipton (Ken Howard) is experiencing financial and domestic difficulties, his irresponsible young adult son, Bobby Shipton (Daniel McDonald) squanders large amounts of cash in pool halls and race tracks, often getting into trouble, and depending upon his father to bail him out with pool sharks, as Jonathan (Richard Erdman) and Willie (Ken Gerson).
Meanwhile, Publisher Lew Bracken (Richard Anderson), in the presence of Literary Agent Liza Caspar (Shelley Fabares), admonishes Mystery Novelist Eudora McVeigh Shipton (Jean Simmons) that her recent work has not been up to par in spite of the fact that her titles have headed best seller lists for the past 22 years. When Liza speculates that Lew Bracken has offered to publish current best seller Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), Eudora storms from his office, vowing to maintain her proper place as the world's foremost female Mystery author of the past two decades.
Back in Cabot Cove, Doctor Seth Hazlitt (William Windom) prescribes rest and relaxation for the overworked Jessica, who has been maintaining an exhausting pace at writing and traveling for several years. When she hears from Lew Bracken, she informs him that she has not reached a decision to publish with his company.
Liza and Hank express concern for the determined Eudora, as well as for each other behind closed doors. When Hank discovers Eudora missing from their apartment that evening, he stumbles across a J.B. Fletcher Novel and a Maine road-map, leading him to load his automobile with Bobby and an overnight bag, without realizing that a private investigator named Capeletti trails the Shipton vehicle.
Eudora arrives at Jessica's doorstep bearing the gift of a basket of beautiful red apples. Jessica warmly receives her old acquaintance, who slips her a sedative that evening, and searches for Jessica's latest manuscript to copy in an attempt to plagiarize for the sake of a "comeback." Hank, too, shows up at Jessica's doorstep the next morning, unsuccessfully urging Eudora to return to NYC with him, before suggesting that Jessica be careful around Eudora's high-strung state of mind.
But while Eudora accompanies Jessica upon a walking tour of Cabot Cove, an excited Cub Scout informs them that his troop has discovered a body upon the rocks below. The child rushes to alert a bewildered Sheriff Mort Metzger (Ron Masak), who arrives with Deputy Floyd (Will Nye), as a local photographer, Gadge (William Bryant), informs Eudora that the Sheriffs rely upon Jessica to solve Cabot Cove murders. Eudora suddenly plans to offer her assistance to the authorities, to attempt to solve the murder on Jessica's own turf.
In the presence of her husband, suspicious Victor Caspar (David Hedison), Liza turns on the television, as Reporter (Dick Wieand) broadcasts the report of the crime scene with two famous Mystery authors on hand to uncover clues. She immediately leaves for Cabot Cove, with Victor's trailing her, and Lew Bracken's flying in on his private jet, to be swamped with reports around the Sheriff's office.
Meanwhile, Jessica suspects that Eudora has "borrowed" her manuscript, but decides to consider Seth's advice to slow down a bit, by inviting him to dinner that evening, for which he volunteers to bake rhubarb pie. When he shows at the Fletcher residence to borrow a pie baking dish, he misses a call from Hank to alert Jessica to be cautious of Eudora, and then samples one of her apples, before collapsing to the floor.
This episode marks one of the last appearances of William Bryant, who has appeared in many film and television productions since 1950. Daniel McDonald has also since passed.
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