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Recap / Murder She Wrote S 1 E 12 Murder To A Jazz Beat

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Jessica arrives in New Orleans to promote a book, by accident two days early. She drops in on a friend who runs a TV station, but all is not relaxed in the Big Easy. Just after completing a special performance and just before taking a major trip to Las Vegas, renowned jazz artist Ben Coleman drops dead, apparently of a heart attack. But Jessica smells foul play, and busies herself looking amidst Coleman's survivors for the sour notes of murder.


This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Absence of Evidence: Jessica finds evidence of how the murder was committed by noticing what wasn't on the clarinet — namely, the coffee stains that should have been there had it not been wiped clean after Ben played it.
  • Alliterative Name: Callie's married name is Callie Coleman.
  • Cassandra Truth: The killer confesses that he knew Ben was plotting to kill Callie and the intended victim wouldn't believe him, so he killed Ben before he could follow through.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Ben was planning to kill his wife Callie with a rare poison he had picked up overseas. Instead, one of his friends kills him with the same poison to protect her.
  • Instrument of Murder: A jazz clarinetist who was planning on firing his back-up band before signing a huge recording contract and killing his wife was murdered by a poisoned clarinet reed.
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  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Ben had begun cheating on Callie and didn't want to take her to Las Vegas. However, he didn't want to run any risk that she would tell the truth about an incident for which she gave him an alibi, even ignoring Eddie's assurances that she wouldn't do such a thing. So he decided to kill her, which backfired.
  • Red Herring: Callie takes the cup Ben drank from off the piano in the commotion, making it look like the liquid was poisoned. It wasn't, but she acted as though it were to divert suspicion from the real killer.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Subverted; initially Jessica and the others suspect the coffee that Ben drank from contained the poison, but Callie also drank from it on camera. The poison was elsewhere.

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