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WMG / Murder, She Wrote

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Jessica Fletcher is a Kira
She sets up the murders and covers her tracks by covering over the Death Note and saying she's writing murder mysteries, and is able to solve the cases because she set it up that way.
  • This would explain why she solves the crimes mostly not by rational deduction, but by having randomly perceived and remembered a little detail that just happens to be the key to everything.

Jessica Fletcher always gets confessions offscreen from the killers, verbatim, before she tells everyone else.
She knew exactly what a murderer and his girlfriend had said while they were alone in a wide field.

Jessica Fletcher has ghosts help her solve crimes
Possibly those of the victim or previous murder victims.

Jessica Fletcher has the entire Northeast bugged.
Sheriff Tupper set it up, but hasn't the slightest idea what to do with it. It's all highly inconspicuous for the era.

And when she moves to NYC in a late season, she taps into their security with her new word-processing computer.

Jessica Fletcher killed all those people and pegged the blame on others to make herself famous
  • Hero System version: Here.
  • If you know Jessica, then either you or someone close to you will be killed (by Jessica) or you will be blamed for it (thanks to Jessica). The only person immune is Sheriff Tom Bosley, & even he left the series mysteriously after a few years. The only loose end is how she gets her patsies to confess.
  • The German name of the series (Mord ist ihr Hobby) would translate to "murder is her hobby". Hmmm...
  • Considering how many confessions she gets that is pretty questionable.

Jessica Fletcher is the Anthropomorphic Personification of Murder.
She naturally creates a murder-field that increases the premeditated crime rate 1000%, often retroactively, wherever she travels. Her kindly old lady facade is a ruse to lull the unwary — Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Alternatively, kindly old lady is how she sees herself (she might even believe herself to be one). After all, anthropomorphic personifications really only need to be to keep things running, and as Death is fond of pointing out, they don't necessarily have to do the act they're personifying themselves. For that matter, the whole 'solving murders' thing might be a way to keep herself connected to murders (and thus her actual job) in a relatively morally nice manner compared to hanging around for the other side of them. Causing murders might just be an unfortunate side-effect she prefers not to think about (plus it might be supplemented by other wild mass guesses, like the psychopomp one — Fletcher is drawn to murders that will happen, regardless of her presence).

Jessica Fletcher is a Reaper with guilt issues regarding her job.
She deals with them by making sure that the Reapee's killer is caught.

Jessica Fletcher is related to Kudo Shinichi/Edogawa Conan of "Case Closed."
  • Wait, Shinichi/Edogawa Conan killed all those people and pegged the blame on others to make himself famous?

All the murders around Jessica Fletcher are orchestrated because of Jessica Fletcher.
Someone or something is ensuring murders continually occur around Jessica Fletcher.
  • Jessica's community, neighbors, family, friends, and casual acquaintances are regularly involved in murder. Whoever or whatever is after Jessica Fletcher is intentionally and maliciously targeting everyone around her for death... and she hasn't caught on yet.
  • Going along with the Death Note theories, there's a Shinigami that has fallen in love with her. This one, however, is content to just hover invisibly without her being aware. From time to time, it snacks on the people around her. Noticing that she likes solving mysterious deaths, it arranges the murders to happen. Jessica's happy, the Shinigami gets meal service, everyone wins. Well, everyone important.
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  • Let's make the best Mystery Novel Ever!!! In true Les Grossman fashion, Jessica's publisher is orchestrating everything; all to hone Jessica Fletcher's already impressive skills as a mystery author.

Cabot Cove is Evil.
Whether Jessica Fletcher realizes it or not, something about Cabot Cove compels people to murder. Cabot Cove's two percent murder rate is unnaturally high not to attract attention.
  • A Great Old One sleeps under Cabot Cove, perhaps even Cthulhu; compelling the town's residents and visitors to madness and murder. Jessica Fletcher just has more sanity points than everyone else; For now.
  • Cabot Cove is in Maine. Maine is Lovecraft Country. So it is evil, but the murder rate goes relatively unnoticed because it's no higher than anywhere else in the area. (Especially since Jessica traveled around the area!) The locals are used to it, and the people who would be shocked don't know what to look for... It took Sheriff Tupper's replacement (an ex-New Yorker) to figure out something was going on.
  • Cabot Cove is a Hellmouth, and Jessica Fletcher is its watcher. The murders are fictional accounts of vampires and demons written by Jessica (a talented mystery author) to conceal the truth.
  • Perhaps Pennywise relocated to Cabot Cove after his defeat in Derry.

Jessica Fletcher killed her husband.
Seth Hazlitt helped cover it up.

Jessica Fletcher is an earlier incarnation of Haruhi Suzumiya
She was a murder mystery writer, so obviously she subconsciously wanted to have lots of mysteries to solve. So being God/a higher stage of evolution/whatever the heck Haruhi is, she fashions the universe around herself to give her mysteries. When she finally passed away, she was reborn in Japan and continued her insanity.

Jessica Fletcher lives in a Crapsack World where people have anger management problems.
That's why so many people are killed - everyone is so Hot-Blooded. Think about it. And because of this, murder is her world's equivalent of jaywalking or theft (petty or otherwise). It's not as serious a it is here, so more people do it.

Jessica Fletcher is immortal
In the unlikely event she didn't commit the murders, she'd have to be.
  • Evidence. Though this is inconclusive because superspeed could either be her means of survival, or her M.O.
    • Perhaps, she's a Shinigami and uses her Death Note to kill people...

Jessica Fletcher will be murdered
She's such a good detective, she already knows who the murderer will be, and has already set things in place such that her murderer will confess after the wrong person is arrested at first. After it all dies down, the manuscript of her final novel, to be published posthumously, will be found, detailing all of these events in advance.

The entire series is nothing more than story ideas that Jessica has created for her books.
Think about it: She knows ALL of the victims personally...she was only the suspect in a few of the murders but that didn't last....she's able to solve all of the crimes no matter how convoluted solution...and no one seems to comment on the incongruity of an elderly woman being or near the scene of so many murders.Why does this all occur? Because all of the "murders" take place in Jessica's MIND as ideas for new novels.

Jessica Fletcher is in some way related to Richard Castle.
Both bestselling mystery novelists who help the police solve murders — and you're telling me there's no connection?
  • Jessica Fletcher is Richard Castle, she's a Time Lord who regenerated.
  • Richard Castle is one of Jessica Fletcher's nephews who was inspired by Aunt Jess' work to become a writer himself.

Jessica Fletcher committed all the murders.
Web Soup's Chris Hardwick has suggested this, elaborating that the entire series is her hallucinations as she tries to come to terms with the horrible things she's done—Kinda like St. Elsewhere, except with psychological coping instead of autism.

Jessica Fletcher is the leader of an Assassin's Guild.
Every time there's a murder, she's on hand to keep suspicion off her underling, who is usually posing as an "old friend" or distant relative, by framing an innocent patsy. There's never any real evidence against the patsies, but they are made to confess or otherwise implicate themselves by intimidation.

Jessica Fletcher is a Reality Warper who feeds on souls.
She kills people to devour their souls then warps reality to blame other people.

Jessica Fletcher is a Psychopomp.
She doesn't cause the deaths, they would happen regardless. Jessica's appearance on the scene happen because she heralds the victims to the afterlife and resolves them of their issues by solving their murders.

Jessica's books are ghostwritten.
In general, the second biggest question of the series is how Jessica was able to write all her novels. The other wiki lists her collection of in-storyline novels sitting at 43 (and since she was promoting the first one in the pilot, that implies 43 novels in 12 years.) That's a staggering output for someone who does nothing but write, but it seems downright impossible for someone who also teaches, travels, and also guides piss-poor police detectives in the right direction when solving the murders of the hundreds of victims who fall like dominoes around her. The possibility remains that, like the Stratemeyer Syndicate, she provides outlines for stories, sends them to ghostwriters (possibly one Donald Bain?), and possibly helps to edit them. Maybe Bain finally revolted and demanded credit for his work, which is why he's now co-author of Jessica's recent work?
  • Pretty much jossed, in the tie-in novels at least. She's shown working on her books, and it's mentioned that she wrote her first murder mystery as a way to help her get through her grief after her husband died.
  • It's unusual, but not impossible. 43 divided by 12 is 3.58, meaning Jessica put out 3 or 4 novels per year. For about a decade, Nora Roberts put out a stand-alone romantic suspense novel, a trilogy of romances, and two In Death novels every year. Also, Jessica wrote her first novel to get through her grief, and it's being published in the opening episode - but it usually takes about a year for a book to get from acceptance to release, nor do we know just how much time passed between Jessica finishing the novel and it being accepted. If Jessica had retired right after Frank died, or even just before, she could have written three or four manuscripts by the time of the opening episode. Nor do we know if it was her first attempt at writing a novel; nearly every writer completes more than one novel before getting published traditionally. Jessica could have had several manuscripts she didn't deem fit to show anyone in her attic which she dusted off and re-worked later.
  • In support of this, and there being some kind of Time Skip in the pilot they never mentioned, episode 7 of season one has the Victim of the Week wanting to make a theme park based on Jessica's novels - note the plural - and Jessica is on a publicity tour for a new book in episode 12 season one. If you go by the rule of thumb that one season takes place roughly over one year-14 months note  it would mean that Jessica has had at least three novels published in six months. Which is technically possible, but only if she had two or more manuscripts mostly ready to go by the time The Corpse danced at midnight was published.

Jessica Fletcher is a Sentinel; a low-level one who doesn't need a Guide.

Notice how often the mystery is solved by her noticing something nobody else does? Slightly enhanced senses would do that.

Jessica Fletcher is a Grimm; the murderers (and most of the victims are Wesen.

Jessica is Asexual.
While she had a long and happy marriage with Frank, they never had children, nor does she seem to reciprocate many of her male friends' affections. Considering in the 80's/90's understanding of human sexuality was basically still in its dark ages, it's possible she wouldn't have known why she wasn't interested, hence why it didn't come up.
  • More than likely, one or the other was just infertile.

The Cabot Cove sign saying Population: 3,000 is outdated (maybe the sign has some kind of historical listing?)and there are really hundreds or thousands of more people in town to help justify their high murder rate
  • The episode "Town Father" does say that there are a lot of people who have summer houses but don't spend enough time the town to be counted as residents.