Murder, she watched

Someone had taken out most of season one of “Twin Peaks” at my local video shop, so I was browsing the shelves looking for something else to watch. And I saw her. Sweet Jessica Fletcher, staring benevolently yet determinedly from the cover of “Murder, She Wrote”.

It used to be one of my favourite TV shows when I was a girl cos I liked the murder-mystery element. I particularly liked an episode from season one, where an amusement park owner is killed in a locked-room murder.

So that was the first episode I watched on DVD. But rather than being the awesome locked-room mystery I remembered, it was kind of cheesy and lame. The crux of the locked room set-up was some stupid voicemail hacking.

It was this lame:


But this opened a new level of appreciation for “Murder, She Wrote”, and I soon found myself mesmerised by things I’d never previously considered, like the set dressing. Whoever did it – IMDB suggests it was several people – had a thing for covering walls with an eclectic selection of paintings and using pot plants galore.

Take this living room, for example:


To the left, you can see the eclectic paintings, positioned to cover the whole wall. And all around are masses of pot plants. It looks like the stereotypical apartment of a single girl in the big city but it is actually the abode of a hard-boiled police detective. (Jessica is walking over to pet his cat on that chair. His cat!)

Here’s another room from another episode:


As well as the eclectic paintings and the jungle of pot plants, this scene also goes one better with the horse sculpture and an artfully placed Lynn Redgrave on the sofa.

Actually, celebrity spotting is another fun part of watching “Murder, She Wrote”.

Here’s Kenickie getting arrested for murder, dressed as a lady:



Don’t worry – he didn’t do it. He was falsely accused, but his fiancee stuck by him and pashed him to prove to viewers he wasn’t a gay, but sadly was unable to prove that he wasn’t a total douchebag. (The real murderer was Kotter.)

And who’s this cute li’l scamp?


Why, it’s none other than Oscar-nominated serious actor Joaquin Phoenix, here playing Jessica’s great-nephew Billy.

But what kept me going as I revisited all those DVDs were the mysteries at the core of every episode. Some of them are far-fetched, others are too easy to guess, but others were quite ingenious and made up for that lame voicemail hack.

So, I think it’ll be a while now before I get around to watching Twin Peaks.


Lately whenever I go to Ponsonby (which isn’t all that often) I seem to come across thirty-something parents with small daughters called Ruby or Lily. What’s it going to be like at Ponsonby Primary School in a couple of years time? “Ruby T, stop hitting Lily B! No, the other Ruby T.”

I know names like that were popular baby names about a hundred years ago, so I’m sure these people are naming their kids after their grandmothers. I wish someone would have the guts to come out and name their baby Gran.

For about the last year I’ve been having major angst with the DVD player on my iBook. It lets me change the zone five times, then on the fifth time it locks. Ok, cool. But when I got up to the fifth change it kept giving me this weird error message. The Apple website was not helpful. Other websites were not helpful. Then last night I did another search and found the answer. To change the zone for the final time requires a DVD that has only one zone on it. The ones I’d been trying with were zones 2 and 4. So today I went to Video Ezy in Ponsonby (where Ruby was picking a DVD), got a DVD only for zone 4 and have changed my DVD player zone to zone 4 so now I can rent all the DVDs I like and never have to leave the house much this summer. Hooray!