Voodoo black magic is the apparent cause of death of her host, leaving Jessica to figure out the truth while visiting an old friend in Jamaica.

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Michelle Dusant
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George Gordon
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Jean-Pierre Dusant
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Calder Williams (as Ji-Tu)
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Mark Waverly
Patrick Masset ...
Adam Waverly
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Harry Waverly
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Selina Williams Waverly
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Olivia Waverly
Darrow Igus ...
Sergeant Jones
Obaka Adedunyo ...
Dr. Hayes
J. Christopher Sullivan ...
Servant
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Jessica visits the widow Olivia Waverly, whose family runs a plantation in Jamaica (won in a cards game decades ago from Jean-Pierre Dusant), for the surprise 21st birthday party of her second son. By father's testament, this Adam gets charge of the estate instead of his old-fashioned uncle Harry Waverly, who considers Adam too undisciplined, his elder brother Mark too dumb. Harry had arranged for Adam to wed Jean-Pierre's daughter, Michelle, so as to unite their adjoining estates. However, Adam presents his wife Selina, whose father, witch doctor Calder Williams, opposes the union even stronger, saying a mortal voodoo curse and leaving a skull with a python as 'wedding present'. That evening Harry is found strangled in his room, locked from the inside, with the snake, for which he's too large. Next day a toast (with wine offered by Dusant) is interrupted for the delivery of a voodoo doll. Next Adam nearly dies from the estate's natural rat poison based on hellebore. After discovering... Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery

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12 November 1989 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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It looks like part of this episode was filmed where Fantasy Island was filmed. It looks like the home of Mr. Roarke. See more »

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The constant bird sound heard is a native Australian Kookaburra. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nightmares of Jamaica in the Moonlight
7 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Late one evening in a Jamaican forest, a sect of native African-Caribbean Islanders led by Calder Williams (Ji-Tu Cumbuka) practices a ritual with heavy chanting in the form of Shamanism, to rally against descendants of colonial European settlers, who do not outwardly subscribe to the notions of spells and dark magic.

One day later, author George Gordon (Grand L. Bush), who has been researching the tribal faith, symbols and practices of this native organization, welcomes Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) on her excursion to this Caribbean island to visit her dear friend Olivia Waverly (Shani Wallis) for the occasion of an engagement party for her son Adam Waverly (Patrick Masset) and his fiancée, Michelle Dusant (Cheryl Arutt).

Michelle, daughter of the widowed Jean-Pierre Dusant (Hurd Hatfield) descends from the family which once owned the Waverly Plantation and its grand residence, they now operating a neighboring plantation, she disclosing her love for Adam, her father considering the forthcoming wedding a merger between old estates, should the wedding reach fruition. (Jessica's arrival often poses a sort of threat to anticipated nuptials.)

The widowed Olivia Waverly operates the home plantation with Brother-in-Law Harry Waverly (John Rhys-Davies), plus her sons, Adam and Mark Waverly (James Lancaster), who act responsibly toward their family, but at times impulsively.

(Notice the similarity in fashion design between this Jamaican episode and the one set in Palm Springs, California, three episodes earlier, with the reappearance of a pretty turquoise dress with green trim.)

On the night of the engagement party, for example, Adam arrives late and snubs his fiancée by bringing a female companion, Selina Williams Waverly (Nancy Valen), with whom he has just eloped, thus ending the cause for celebration, at least for the Dusants, who exit along with other guests.

Jessica remains with her hosts, Olivia, Harry, Mark, Adam and now Selina, as they receive an enigmatic gift from a visitor who has been discovered on the premises, one Calder Williams, who announces that he's the father of the fair-complected Selina, as the gift begins to squirm from its sack: a python, which Mark manages to remove from the parlour without incident.

While Adam's family defends his marriage with Selina, a series of mysterious events begins to threaten the household, including murder, when the snake reappears in a room on the mattress of a victim. (Note: how anyone could enact a lifeless body with a large snake squirming around the same bed deserves accolades.)

Sergeant Jones (Darrow Igus) arrives to investigate the homicide, with Jessica and George's assistance, and Doctor Hayes (Obaka Adedunyo) enters to determine a medical report, and to assist the next evening when another victim is poisoned at the dinner table, with Selina assisting to introduce healing herbs to combat the potion.

With the cooperation of Sergeant Jones and the family, Jessica studies the locked room mystery, when a zombie appears to threaten one of the suspects, on the "Night of the Tarantula."

(Chanting and background music sound overly intense and excessive here, but extra points for a very good cast.)

J. Christopher Sullivan rounds out the cast as the Servant. This episode marks the first television acting credit for Patrick Masset, who has switched careers after a brief period before the camera. This also represents the first of two "MSW" appearances by James Lancaster and Nancy Valen, the second of three for John Rhys-Davies, and the third of three "MSW" guest roles for Hurd Hatfield.

Cheryl Arutt, who portrays the daughter of Hurd's character, has soon afterward switched her career from acting to Psycholgy. Nancy Valen, acting since 1985, has been married to Nels Van Patten, and continues to host infomercials. Ji-Tu Cumbuka began acting on television in 1968; Ji-Tu translates to "Giant" and Cumbuka "To Remember" in Swahili. Shani Wallis has been acting since 1956, and continues to design products with close friend Connie Stevens. John Rhys-Davies has been acting since 1964, and has been performing in many productions since this episode, including several projects in process. Grand L. Bush has been appearing on television since 1976, and currently co-develops film projects with wife, Sharon Dahlonega. James Lancaster has been appearing since 1983, and continues to act on television.

This episode marks one of the final performances by Classic film actor Hurd Hatfield, acting since 1944, and guest starring thrice on "Murder, She Wrote," in support of lifelong friend Angela Lansbury, since their co-starring roles in " The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1945). For many years, Angela's family and Hurd had owned neighboring properties in County Cork, Ireland, a setting to be featured in future "MSW" episodes.


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