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Recap / Murder She Wrote S 2 E 5 Sing A Song Of Murder

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Jessica's cousin Emma McGill pulls a trick worthy of her American relative when she fakes her own death and asks Jessica to come for the memorial service to investigate. With Emma hidden away in a Streatham flat, Jessica pokes into the behind the scenes life of the Mayhew theatre to discern who might have wanted her dead. Then Emma's dresser becomes the victim of another apparent attempt on her life. With the secret breached, can Jessica figure out who is threatening her cousin before her curtain comes down for good?

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This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: The song Emma sings in the opening theatre scene, "Good-bye, Little Yellow Bird", was one Angela Lansbury sang in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) as Sybil Vane.
  • Continuity Nod: Inspector Kyle, who Jessica looks for at Scotland Yard, appeared previously in "Paint Me a Murder."
  • Daddy's Girl: A dark example; Kitty Trumbull turns out to have made the numerous attempts on Emma's life out of frustration that her father, a former Shakespearean actor, had stayed so long as a (poor) stand-up comic at the theatre and a desire for him to move on and regain his illustrious career.
  • Identical Grandson: A variant; Jessica has a British cousin named Emma, also played by Angela Lansbury. The mourners at Emma's memorial service receive quite a shock when Jessica arrives.
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  • Improvised Weapon: When Briggs tries to escape after trying to threaten her into signing away her share of the theatre, Emma hits him on the head with a flowerpot before he can get through the window.
  • Murder by Mistake: Mrs. O'Hara comes down the steps of Emma's apartment wearing a fur coat her employer had promised her and a car lunges out of the shadows and strikes her. Jessica realizes someone must have spilled the secret because the killer clearly knew Emma was still alive and killed Mrs. O'Hara thinking it was her.
  • We Need a Distraction: Near the end, a few men stage a traffic accident to draw away the policeman guarding Emma's flat. This allows Danny Briggs to slip in and threaten her.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Emma, while she is still the most popular attraction at the theatre, has suffered some losses from the fact that it's now more a rock-and-roll world than the world of vaudeville to which she's accustomed. People keep pushing her to sell her share of the theatre and accept that her time is over.
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