Jessica Fletcher, a widowed English teacher, receives a surprise when her nephew Grady tells her he got the manuscript she wrote published. The rush of publicity brings her up to New York, where life quickly starts imitating her art. Plotting a murder mystery in fiction is one thing; can Jessica use her skills to solve a case in real life?
This episode includes examples of the following tropes:
- Anti-Villain: The killer is being blackmailed over a crime for which he was framed originally, and he kills his blackmailer. He only loses Jessica's sympathy because he kills someone else too.
- Establishing Character Moment: While leaving after a quick meeting with a play's director, Jessica compliments him on the production. Then she says she's sure none of the audience will figure out that the killer was the uncle, demonstrating that her talent for mystery writing enables her to see solutions to other mysteries.
- Murder by Mistake: For a while, it's thought that the killer may have murdered the private eye while trying to kill the captain, who was originally wearing the Sherlock Holmes costume. At the end, Jessica reveals that she sorted out that the lighting coming on at a certain time meant there was no way it would have been dark enough for the killer to make such an error.
- Sympathetic Murderer: Subverted; the killer, Preston Giles, murders his blackmailer. Jessica admits she might have felt sympathy for him except that he then killed a second, completely innocent person, just to throw her off his trail.
- Unwanted Assistance: Grady is the one responsible for Jessica's fame. He sent her manuscript to a publisher under the pretense of helping her. She's not very happy with this- at first.