Murder, She Wrote

Season 2 Episode 10

Sticks and Stones

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Dec 15, 1985 on CBS

Episode Recap

Just as Amos retires from the sheriff position, a woman – Beverly Gareth – dies in an apparent accidental electrocution, and the town of Cabot Cove is plagued with a deluge of prank letters, sent to nearly every single one of its inhabitants. As neighbors turn on each other, Jessica begins investigating who might want Beverly Gareth dead, and how the letters all tie together, as they are all postmarked "Cabot Cove." Amos helps his newly appointed successor, Harry Pierce, and Jessica has her hands full with a traveling writer who is staying with her. Jessica begins to tie in happenings to a committee that wants to place new condominiums on a seaside cliff where a lighthouse was mysteriously burned to the ground before. Later, Elvira, a woman suspected in sending out all the letters is found dead – hanging by a noose – outside her house. Jessica, however, does not believe she took her own life.

As Jessica deduces how the two women's deaths were connected, she investigates Beverly Gareth's home and discovers a peephole drilled in Beverly's bathroom floor so that the killer could see when she stepped out of the tub and reached for the frayed cord which caused the electrocution. Amos is snooping around "unofficially" at the same time, and the two are surprised when an intruder comes to the basement. It is townsman Adam Forbisher, and both he and another civilian, Frederick Hoffman, are taken into custody in conjunction with Elvira's death, along with another local, Larry Burns. Jessica, however, believes that the real murderer is still at large, and Harry Pierce resigns in anger when Jessica opposes his desire to keep these three men in custody.

Meanwhile, Jessica's traveling writer is worth his weight in gold when he distracts the condo committee by meeting up with them in a restaurant and then sends them on a bunny trail by planting an idea in their minds, per Jessica's advice. Jessica figures out that all the prank letters were sent out to distract the one legitimate letter, which the murderer didn't know who would receive. Amos, receiving a letter that the lighthouse on the coast was torched the previous year in order to sell the land commercially, helps her fit the other piece of the puzzle together. Jessica heads back to the basement of Beverly's home and waits for the murderer to show up. Much to her sorrow, it is Harry Pierce, who had been cohorts in the torching of the lighthouse with Beverly Gareth. Harry confesses that when Beverly threatened to withhold his share of the cut and blackmail him with a tape recording of his confession of the crime, he decided to do her in. Elvira had just gotten in the way, and so he had to kill her, too. Harry threatens to do in Jess, but Amos and crew arrive on the scene just in time.

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