Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Stars: 3 / 5
Just as Charles Osborne had novelized three of Agatha Christies plays (My review of those books here), James Anderson did a similar thing with Murder, She Wrote TV Series. He novelized a few episodes of this series into three books and this is the third of the three published in February of 1986. This particular book is adapted from two episodes - Lovers and Other Killers first aired on November 18, 1984 and It's a Dog's Life first aired on November 4, 1984. Another one that I bought in the same book sale as the previous one. And here is my review.
The book opens with Jessica getting invitations from two people - One from Kentucky by her British cousin Abigail "Abby" Freestone who invites Jessica to spend some time with her at Langley Manor. The second one is an invitation to be a guest lecture at Sequoia University in Seattle, Washington by her long-time friend Edmund Gerard. She choose to go to Seattle first because of the lecture although she is nervous. To her delight, she is well-accepted and her lectures become a hit. But she doesn’t find so much delight with her secretary she hires while she is in Seattle - David Tolliver. He is very full of himself and in-deep under suspicion of murdering Alison Brevard, a socialite with whom he had a relationship. Despite her distaste towards David she didn’t believe that he was a murderer, and steps into the investigation that Lieutenant Andrews heads. Alison is supposed to have been killed by a burglar, but the Lieutenant has his own doubts and all eyes on David.
And then Jessica finds Lila murdered in a deserted warehouse where she was called to meet with someone who could give proof of David's innocence. As Jessica tries to unravel the mystery and find the killer, she comes across a few characters who she considers under suspects - Amelia Browne (Edmund's personal secretary), David Tolliver (Secretary that Amelia suggests for Jessica), Professor Todd Lowery (with the English Department), Emily Lowery (Wife of Todd Lowery), Jack Schroeder (Swimming Coach at the University) and Lila Schroeder (Wife of Jack Schroeder). Who killed Lila? Were both the killings related? Was David really innocent? Was Todd behind this murder? Before Jessica's trip completes in Seattle will she solve the murder and get David off the hook?
After a rigorous week in Seattle Jessica is looking forward to a relaxed one with her cousin Abby Freestone in Kentucky. She gets meet Denton Langley - the owner of Langley Manor.- who arranges a feast in honor of Jessica, where she gets to meet he family and friends. She also meets the family dog and the horses that Abby is caretaker for. When Denton takes all of them on a hunting trip on horses, his horse suddenly takes off, loses control and in the process he falls and gets killed. Abby strongly believes that someone doped his horse causing it to run amok and that it had been caused by one of the heirs. And to top it all Denton leaves all his estate to his dog Teddy which outrages his family. As always her curiosity takes the best of her and she starts her own investigation despite the Sheriff Gus Millard and Deputy Will Roxie had ruled it an accident.
The people Jessica interviews to investigate the death of Denton Langley - Spenser Langley (Denton's son), Trish Langley (Denton's youngest daughter), Mrs. Morgana Langley-Cramer (Denton's oldest daughter), Echo (Morgana's daughter), Tom Cassidy (Denton's oldest friend and owner of next door ranch), Marcus Boswell (Denton's lawyer), Barnes (the security guard) and Anthony (a friend of the family). Will she find out who killed Denton? Where does this lead Jessica? To another horse-back ride at risk? Or having Abby under the suspicion of law?
Well, Jessica's vacation seemed to be less of it than she expected. However, it was fun to read. Yet I have to say that this book took the longest for me to finish reading it. Perhaps since I had already watched the episodes, reading the book was boring for me to. I certainly will say it was a different feel to read the script than watch - the other way around meaning book to screen is usually likable for me.
All in all two more mysteries that are cozy and tied up neatly in the end like a bow.
1) Facts / Deviations from the original episode Lovers and Other Killers:
b. The character who played the role of David Tolliver was Andrew Stevens. For some reason I never liked Andrew Stevens and always gave me the creeps. I remember him in another episode of Columbo Murder in Malibu that was aired in 1990 where he portrayed the role of Wayne Jennings.
He also was in another episode of Murder, She Wrote TV series. But I don’t remember watching that.
a. The episode in the book also ends with the same situation - the verdict on David Tolliver is hung. Did he kill Alison Brevard or not? Was he part of the crime? That still remains a question and is left to the viewer's / reader's imagination.
2) Deviations from the original episode It's a Dog's Life:
a. Here is the original episode:
3) Character / Geographical / Grammatical / Location / Historical Errors:
4) The author mentions about Spoonerism which I am well-versed with cause I do that many times. Just that never knew that that was called as Spoonerism. (According to Google: a verbal error in which a speaker accidentally transposes the initial sounds or letters of two or more words, often to humorous effect, as in the sentence you have hissed the mystery lectures, accidentally spoken instead of the intended sentence you have missed the history lectures.).