Murder, She Wrote: Season 2, Episode 17

One Good Bid Deserves a Murder (23 Feb. 1986)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Jessica finds herself in a tough spot when one of the auctioneers of a diary is murdered and she has to rely on Harry McGraw to help her out.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Sylvia Dunn
Ray Girardin ...
Sheila Saxon (as Nancy Grahn)
Robert Gray ...
Albert Cromwell
William Readford
Richard Bennett
Robert Rhine
Sal Domino
Deborah Chase
David Ankrum ...
Young Doctor
Sterling Swanson ...
Desk Sergeant Hogan
Allysia Sneed ...
Desk Clerk
Howard Huston ...
Uniformed Cop


Celebrity Richard Bennett gets Jessica to bid for him in San Francisco on suicided fellow star friend Evangeline's diary to destroy it. Before the auction she witnesses security guard Albert Cromwell reporting to auctioneer William Readford a failed offer of $5,000 to steal it for Evangeline's therapist Dr. Sylvia Dunn. At the auction, Richard's corpse is found in an armoire. SFPD Lt. Casey nearly arrests Jessica, speculating his check was made out in her name, but still doesn't do after Readford is found murdered too just when Jessica comes return to him the diary she found in the secret compartment of a chess set she privately bought from him. Dodgy P.I. Harland 'Harry' McGraw takes it on himself to 'offer for sale' a photocopy of the diary. Meanwhile Jessica follows up on people mentioned in the diary, finds out who had it auctioned and... Written by KGF Vissers

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

23 February 1986 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Hurd Hatfield also starred in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) with Angela Lansbury. Landsbury played Sybil Vane. See more »


Once when Jessica approaches the hotel desk, she asks for Room 810; another time, she identifies her room as 812. See more »


Lt. Casey: [to Jessica Fletcher] If murder were a disease, you'd be contagious.
See more »

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User Reviews

Dear Diary: "Remind Me Never to Get Murdered in Boston"
24 August 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Classic Television actress Jean Vander Pyl, famous as the voice of Wilma Flintstone, makes a cameo in this episode, as Lydia, a pleasant fan of fictional actor Richard Bennett.

"One Good Bid Deserves a Murder" also prominently features Jerry Orbach in the second of his six episodes as lightweight Boston-based Private Investigator Harry McGraw.

On Monday evening, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) arrives by Cabot Cove bus at the Boston airport, from which Richard Bennett (Edward Mulhare) plans to depart for Spain. He presents her with a check for $one million to bid upon Evangeline's diary, scheduled to be auctioned at Readford's at 5:00 PM this coming Saturday, and authorizes his bank to give Jessica whatever it takes to procure the diary of his old flame, a late troubled actress, whom he wishes to protect from further unwarranted publicity. He explains that his presence would attract undue publicity and coaxes Jessica to act as his agent in the matter.

On Friday, Ambassador Jonathan Damon, who had also been involved with Evangeline demands that his lawyer, Robert Rhine (Cotter Smith) outbid all others for the diary, in an attempt to shield its pages from the press and public, in his hopes to seek national political office.

On Saturday afternoon, Producer Sheila Saxon (Nancy Lee Grahn) meets with publisher Sal Domino (Vic Tayback) to suggest joining financial resources to outbid everyone else for this treasured booklet, one to plan to turn Evangeline's life story into a film, the other to plan to publish its contents, each to dream of great financial gain.

At Readford's Auction House, Jessica seeks to authenticate Evangeline's diary with owner William Readford (Hurd Hatfield), who sells her an antique Spanish chess set, which she carries into the bidding room in a wrapped cardboard container.

Dr. Sylvia Dunn (Karen Black), psychiatrist to the stars, including Evangeline, is reported to Mr. Readford by Albert Cromwell (Robert Gray), who claims that she attempted to bribe him with $five thousand to lift the diary. Her plan is to conceal its contents to protect her career from any disparaging remarks which Evangeline may have written in a moment of contempt.

Secretary Deborah Chase (Rebecca Street), whose mother had long been Richard Bennett's Fan Club President, also arrives on time for the bidding with her employer, Sal Domino.

But when an armoire, which opens the bidding segment, is, in fact, opened for inspection, a body descends from within, and into a room filled with suspects.

Lieutenant Casey (Ray Girardin) questions Jessica at length, as she carries the chess set into the police station, he interrogating her over the $one million check made out to her order, as Harry McGraw enters to get into the act of investigating, to Casey's displeasure.

When Harry escorts Jessica to her hotel room, they find it ransacked, with nothing missing. Upon a table stands the antique Spanish chess set, which she has been carrying around. How or why Jessica unpacks it to assemble its pieces in proper order remains as much a mystery as Evangeline's last name, which is never spoken. But the chess set remains a crucial plot device because within a concealed drawer lies Evangeline's diary.

And when Jessica arrives at the auction house on Sunday morning to return the goods, she stumbles across another body at the moment Lieutenant Casey arrives from the opposite direction.

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