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Recap / Murder She Wrote S 4 E 1 A Fashionable Way To Die

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Jessica flies to France to take in a big fashion show of one of her old friends, Eva Taylor. But while Eva seems finally to stand on the verge of getting her big break, the financial compromises she made to get there threaten to ruin her triumph. Soon the murder of her pushy investor Maxim Soury shatters the glitz and glamour of the fashion exposition. Can Jessica find the truth and prevent her friend from being convicted for a killing she didn't commit?

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This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • The Chanteuse: Valerie Buchet, Maxim's latest mistress, sings at one of the nightclubs he owns. He had apparently tired of her, securing a booking for her elsewhere while he took a trip to the Riviera with another woman.
  • Completely Different Title: In-Universe, a French police officer is a fan of Jessica's book The Corpse Danced at Midnight, but he knows it as The Damsel Waltzed at the Ball and Was Buried at Dawn.
  • Fashion Designer: Eva has her own fashion line, "The Taylored Look", and apparently she's worked long and hard to get it off the ground. Understandably, she hates the sacrifices she had to make to Maxim along the way.
  • I Was Young and Needed the Money: Officer Pannessie refuses to let Jessica see a photo taken off Maxim's body, claiming it's too indelicate for a lady. He later shows the photo to Lu when giving a summation. She says that she ran away to Paris and needed money, and someone gave her a job at a magazine — implicitly a porno magazine. The photos never appeared in the magazine, but Maxim got ahold of them and used them to blackmail her.
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  • Leonine Contract: Maxim tells Ms. Taylor that he'll give her the ten thousand dollars she needs for her fashion show and a six-month extension on the loans he's given her, but she has to sign a contract giving him fifty percent of the profits from her fashion line. Ms. Taylor protests, comparing it to his having a gun to her head. However, she goes through with it anyway as the only other potential option would mean confessing her embarrassing circumstances to Jessica.
  • Suspicious Spending: Inverted; Ms. Lu is a fashion superstar in France, yet she seems to run out of funds very quickly. It ultimately comes out that all her money went towards paying Maxim's blackmail.
  • Wrong Assumption:
    • Jessica asks Panassie to let her come when he talks to some suspects. Panassie assumes she wants to come because she's smitten with him rather than because she wants to keep abreast of the case.
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    • Valerie suspects Maxim might make a move on Eva Taylor and allows her daughter Kim to join the show to allow her to spy on him. Unfortunately, she then finds out Maxim had his eye on her daughter.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Maxim has been cheating on his wife for years with a number of women, most recently Valerie Buchet, a singer in one of his nightclubs. She knows what's going on but pretends ignorance.
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