Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
4 user 1 critic

Sticks and Stones 

Cabot Cove is flooded with poison pen letters which proves hard for the town to handle as Amos prepares to hand the reins over to a new sheriff.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Jessica Fletcher
... Harry Pierce
... Friedrich Hoffman
... Sheriff Amos Tupper
... George Knapp
... Larry Burns
... Elvira Tree
... Edna
... Nils Anderson
... Lila Norris
... Michael Digby
... Adam Frobisher
... Dr. Seth Hazlitt
... Bart Nelson
... Deputy Willard


Amos eagerly retires, handing over his sheriff's star to real estate agent Harry Pierce, but then Beverly Gareth is found electrocuted in her bath. She was the heir to land of vital importance to Friedrich Hoffman's environmentally horrible 400 condos Cabot Cove coast development project. The town is flooded by gossip letters badmouthing -at least part are lies- Beverly, only one of which was sent by Elvira Tree, who is next found hung. Jessica, her guest New York travel reporter Michael Digby and Amos discover both women were murdered, how, by whom and why; meanwhile the new sheriff Pierce arrests repairman Larry Burns, who allegedly didn't fix Beverly's fatally ragged electric cord after an accusation from Adam Frobisher, then him and Hoffman, but Jessica does her own sleuthing... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 December 1985 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title is from the childhood rhyme that is meant to repel name callers: Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. See more »


Sheriff Tupper receives an anonymous letter and when he reads it, the letter is a single sheet of paper, no lines, with smooth edges. When he reads the same letter he received in the sheriff's office, the letter is a lined piece of paper with hole punches and a frayed edge. See more »


Jessica Fletcher: [to Harry Pierce as he is being arrested for murder] You don't know how much I wanted to be wrong.
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User Reviews

Murder and poison pen letters
21 July 2017 | by See all my reviews

Have always been quite fond of 'Murder She Wrote'. It is a fun and relaxing watch that makes you think as you try to unwind in the evening. If one wants more complex, twisty mysteries with lots of tension and suspense 'Murder She Wrote' may not be for you, but if you want something light-hearted and entertaining but still provide good mysteries 'Murder She Wrote' fits the bill just fine.

"Sticks and Stones" is one of the highlight episodes of Season 2, one of the better Cabot Cove episodes and a standout of the early seasons. Slowed down only by the subplot between Michael and Lila, which didn't really add anything and didn't have much chemistry. Parker Stevenson is also a little on the bland side.

On the other hand, it's a well made episode as usual. Love the Cabot Cove setting and how it's like a close knit community (making one really feeling the tension the poison pen letters and gossip cause). The photography complements it well. The music has energy and has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune.

Writing in "Sticks and Stones" is humorous, thoughtful and sometimes moving and tense. The story is somewhat sprawling but always fun and absorbing, with the poison pen letters causing much tension and the reveal is a genuine shocker. It is actually one of 'Murder She Wrote's' most shocking endings, it was the last person personally suspected which doesn't happen a lot on the show and the viewer is completely on Jessica's side about her wanting so badly to be wrong.

Angela Lansbury is terrific and particularly sells the emotion in the denouement, the shock and sadness Jessica is feeling in this scene is incredibly moving and comes through vividly in Lansbury's acting. Tom Bosley, William Windom and John Astin are solid too.

In conclusion, thoroughly enjoyable and an early season standout. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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