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Recap / Murder She Wrote S 4 E 18 Benedict Arnold Slipped Here

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Local recluse Tilly Adams dies, leaving her house to her niece, her furnishings to local pawnbroker Mr. Tibbles, and the executorship to Jessica, who quickly finds the matter even more difficult than expected. The heirs (and Mr. Tibbles' younger brother, a Boston antiques dealer) descend upon the house, and whispers of the house containing treasure or being important in the life of Benedict Arnold soon drive up the property's value. Then Mr. Tibbles turns up dead in front of the fireplace. Can Jessica figure out who thought something in the house was worth killing for?

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This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • All for Nothing: Mr. Andrews killed Mr. Tibbles when he caught him poking around the house and Jessica and Sheriff Tupper catch him attempting to burgle the treasure. Before being arrested, he begs Amos to let him have a look at the treasure, which he expects will be a letter proving Benedict Arnold's "betrayal" had been under orders from George Washington. It turns out to be a letter revealing Arnold betrayed his mistress as well as his country and his wife; he cheated on her with one of her maids. Andrews laments that Benedict Arnold betrayed him as well.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Mr. Andrews casually mentions that he worked as a military codebreaker. Jessica later puts this together with other clues to realize he's a killer and a would-be thief.
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  • George Washington Slept Here: Jessica brings up the house's history when she and Eve Simpson are talking about the worth of the ramshackle house. Mrs. Simpson comments that legend says Benedict Arnold slept there, but that isn't likely to prove much of a selling point. Oddly enough, it does draw interest from historian Mr. Andrews, who wants to write an alternative perspective. It also turns out to be related to the murder; Mr. Andrews thought the treasure was a letter exonerating Arnold and was willing to steal and kill to get it.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: When Andrews protests that Jessica can't convict him based on his knowledge of the sampler, which he could have gotten from elsewhere, Jessica brings up the fact that he turned on the light in the den without help. He claimed he had never been in the room before, and the switch was strangely located.
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  • Worthless Treasure Twist: A British historian obsessed with exonerating Benedict Arnold was the killer; he wants to get his hands on a bricked-up treasure box in Mrs. Adams' home, which he believes contains a letter signed by General Washington himself that would prove that Benedict Arnold was not a traitor, but was acting under Washington's orders. Turns out to be a letter between Arnold and his mistress. To add insult to injury, it makes him look worse.
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