- Summaries (3)
The taping of an infomercial by Jessica and two fellow novelists is plagued by problems including the mysterious death of an audience member.
Stewart Murphy, is strangled in a car and dumped in an alley in Buffalo. On his firm's Telesales infomercial film-set, Tom Powell is not amused to hear the troublesome, expensive star-host Wade Foster is in make-up for a rehearsal for the Hartley Murder of the Month Book Club. Jessica is one of the authors shown around by Larry Shields before the on-air panel talk, with former glory Mat Matthews and Joellen Waller. Tom's wife Gina first complains about his late hours and a $450 hotel credit card charge he blames on a client staying a day extra, then blocks off Foster's financial desires, while confirming security will be beefed up. NYPD Lieutenant Harry Fogel (who usually works alone) and temporarily reassigned Detective Henderson drop by inquiring about the Murphy case. After the rehearsal, the dining authors get a visit from Arnold Wynn, a fan of all three and former writing class pupil of Mat in Buffalo, who is also one of the extras hired as a fake audience. A female extra asks an off-script question. Matthews refuses to honor his contract, saying he won't return the next day, even after a talk with Jessica. Gina threatens to fire Tom and his assistant Sara unless he subscribes to new rules. Next day, Mat is back, the lunches are mixed-up so it's unclear for whom the post-it note asking to meet a certain Jason Bayer Saxon is for. When Wade, who worried about his ex, is approached in his dressing room by Arnold about a dodgy co-op he's involved in and his $200 is rejected as peanuts as $50,000 is involved, he throws him out by fist. At 10 PM that night, Larry and Sara trip over Arnold's corpse. Henderson finds out Wynn was not in the actors union and came from Buffalo like Murphy. Jessica notices he signed in just like the mysterious Jason Bayer Saxon on the post-it note. Jessica realizes several items are missing from his effects, including a key and medical ID bracelet. She finds the bracelet in the hallway where he died and it is for a quinine allergy. Yet, he died of a quinine reaction, so they conclude it was murder. The police arrests Matthews as he and Arnold had rap sheets, including a bar fight in Buffalo, and glasses with quinine traces and both sets of fingerprints were found. Jessica gets an idea how to link everything.
Jessica Fletcher, along with two other writers Mat Matthews and Joellen Waller, are to appear in an infomercial for the Murder of the Month Book Club. Everything is going wrong, however. The host of the infomercial, Wade Foster, is conceited and self-centered. He's also in dire need of cash. Mat Matthews, who hasn't written a new book in years, is a drunk with no work ethic and refuses to honor his contract. Jessica has also been helping a homicide detective, Lt. Harry Fogel, looking into the murder of Stewart Murphy who was strangled. A member of the infomercial audience, Arnold Wynn, is also found dead backstage and when the police learn that both Wynn and Murphy were onetime students of Mat Matthews, the washed-up writer is arrested for for murder leaving it to Jessica to solve the crime.
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