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Recap / Murder She Wrote S 1 E 21 Funeral At Fifty Mile

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One death follows another when Jessica attends a funeral in Fifty Mile, Wyoming. Shortly afterwards, an unwelcome guest, Carl Mestin, produces a will entitling him to almost the entire estate, over the head of the deceased's only child, Mary. When a farmhand finds Mestin hanging in the barn, the circumstances point to murder, but with all the people who had reason to want the man dead, Jessica will have her hands full sorting out who was responsible.

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This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • The Beard: Jessica figures out from the lack of paleness beneath Sally's ring and the calls she made that she wasn't really Mestin's wife. She had been shopping around to find a wedding venue in Vegas that would give her a forged marriage certificate so she could inherit everything. This almost gets her arrested for murder.
  • Big Secret: The secret Mestin had over Carver that caused him to sign the will was that Mary was Mestin's daughter by rape. Carver had always tried to keep it a secret from Mary. When Jessica learns what happened, she agrees to keep the secret as well, though she does talk the culprits into standing trial for Mestin's death.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Jessica hears noises one stormy night and investigates. Upon finding a hangman's noose outside her window, she comments she must be unnerving someone.
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  • Child by Rape: Mary isn't Carver's daughter; she's the result of Mestin forcing himself on her mother.
  • Everybody Did It: Four friends and family of Mr. Carver's were involved in Mestin's death, although they claim, and Jessica seems to believe, that they intended only to frighten him, not to kill him.
  • Happily Adopted: Mary turns out not to be her father's daughter. However, Mr. Carver adored her, and she clearly loved him, regardless of their lack of DNA ties and the circumstances of Mary's conception.
  • I Didn't Mean to Kill Him: The four men claim they put Mestin on a horse with a noose around his neck to frighten him, but then the horse heard thunder and bolted, killing Mestin. Jessica points out that even if they didn't intend to kill him, they still did something that led to his death.
  • Inheritance Murder: Subverted; at first Jessica suspects Mestin's wife Sally killed him so she could inherit everything. However, then she finds out that they weren't married, meaning if he died the property wouldn't go to her.
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  • Red Herring: For a while, Jessica suspects Mestin's wife Sally of his murder. She had proved herself strong enough to match him during an arm wrestling match directly beforehand. She was also left-handed, and Mestin had a head injury that had been inflicted by a left-handed person. However, Jessica then finds out that Sally and Mestin were only pretending to be married, which would remove the motive of gaining the inheritance.
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