I’m going to have to take about a one-month break from the blog, as I’m planning a big, ‘ole party at my place that is sucking up all my time. Sorry for the delay. 😦
Monthly Archives: June 2015
And on to the tag, at last!
It is apparently Monday morning, and we find Laura and Steele on the way to the office together. Did they meet by chance in the lobby? Does Laura have Fred swing by Steele’s place to pick him up in the mornings? Or did they spend the balance of the reunion weekend in one another’s company?
Steele seems in a particularly chipper mood for someone who had to work over the weekend. “So rewarding,” he gushes.
“So stimulating. What a brain twister that was. A puzzle to test the finest minds.” (That finest mind, presumably, is himself.)
He places his hands on Laura’s shoulders in a familiar way. “And you, Miss Holt, shone brilliantly.” He seems to be praising her as a superior would one of his subordinates … a little patronizing? Or genuinely impressed?
Aw. Let’s not question the man’s motives.
Prince Charming Mr. Steele goes on ahead to the office.
I think she’s pleased, don’t you?
Steele seems to have changed his mind about something. He returns to her side. “You know, I’ve been thinking,” he begins, striking a Napoleonic pose.
“Perhaps we should have a reunion every year!” Steele suggests. I can see where a man like Steele, who seems to be alone in the world, might welcome the diversion of such a gathering, even with sub-par company like the former employees of Havenhurst.
Laura, however, seems dubious.
As they enter the office (Steele holding the door in typical gentlemanly fashion), we hear Murphy’s voice. “Ballistics tests conducted several days after PROVED that the path of the bullet began INSIDE the industrialist’s body.”
Hey! It’s déjà vu all over again. Laura seems a bit shocked, but Mr. Steele is getting a kick out of this, methinks.
“And travelled OUT,” Murph concludes dramatically.
It turns out Murphy is blowing smoke at Bernice. She is suitably impressed. “That’s AMAZING. But how’s it possible?”
Yeah, Murphy. How?
Bernice, a good murder is like a good wine. It should be savored.”
So take the evening. Or the week, for that matter. Allow it to seep into your thoughts, invade your dreams, consider it and ponder it.”
Emulating his new favorite man of mystery, Murphy prepares to exit.
He pauses, looking back at his mentor. He seems … uncertain.
“Is that how it’s done?”
Yes, Mr. Michaels. That is indeed the way it’s done. Mr. Steele is proud.
And the credits roll on their amusement.
It’s kind of interesting that Murphy is suddenly playing Steele’s game – if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em? Does he hope to make himself more attractive to Laura by imitating the man she’s so obviously infatuated with? Or does Murphy perhaps genuinely admire – albeit grudgingly – Steele’s panache and ability to bamboozle people? We’ll never know … but it’s fun to speculate!
Well! This episode does go on, doesn’t it. Let’s wrap this puppy up.
We left Mr. Steele contemplating Alan’s wardrobe.
Now we’re watching somebody fumble through a file cabinet.
“His business was off thirty percent,” Laura tells them. “He let a lot of people go.”
“Murphy, why do people put an elevator in their homes?” Don’t ask Murph hard questions, Laura. You’ll only embarrass him. And Carl – ever heard of a little thing called “personal space?”
“‘Charles Laughton. Witness for the Prosecution,” Steele provides, while thumbling through recipe cards. Still planning that lunch?
“Had a stroke,” he adds.
“Couldn’t walk upstairs.”
Witness for the Prosecution. Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton. MGM, 1958. Leonard Vole is arrested on suspicion of murdering an elderly acquaintance. He employs an experienced but aging barrister as his defense attorney.
“He’s good,” Carl informs Laura. (So Donald is the only one who doesn’t think our detective is the bees’ knees. Guess who’s not getting a Christmas card from Steele Investigations this year.)
“Oh, brother,” grouses Murphy, silently.
“You know what I think?” Laura says. “I think Alan was a very sick man.”
I’d have thought we’ve pretty well established that, Laura. Alan was a sociopath at the very least.
When the door opens … surprise! Somehow the whole crowd has materialized behind her. Sneaky devils.
“What are you doing?” Donald asks. Laura isn’t inclined to share her theories with him.
The door closes. Inexplicably, Laura makes a peace sign … or V for Victory sign? as the door slides shut.
Laura presses the UP button.
Then checks the walls.
Makes jazz hands!
Finally, she looks heavenward, presumably asking for guidance.
What’s this? Some sort of grate in the ceiling?
Aha! That’s Laura’s “I’ve got this thing figured out” look.
We get a look at a very neatly taped outline of the corpse. Really, it must have taken Donald hours to create that little homage.
“Best murder,” she says. Wait. Isn’t this where we came in?
“A man gets on an elevator. He’s all alone.”
“It makes no stops, but when the doors open, he’s dead.”
Aw, Laura. That was Alan’s best murder story. You couldn’t come up with one of your own?
Now we get a voiceover as the crime is recreated in flashback.
There’s creepy Alan pressing the elevator button.
“Sometime during the day, he must have taken the belt from Sandy’s robe,” Laura’s voice continues as we see Alan not taking the belt from Sandy’s robe.
Alan gets into the elevator, closes the door. “It was already attached to the elevator cables, and sitting on top of the vent.”
Alan pulls out his tool.
Hey! Get your mind out of the gutter!
“Now, I don’t know what he used, but he pulled it through the vent,” Laura explains.
“And he must have transferred MY fingerprint to the elevator button.”
Wait … what? Is that even possible?
“And then he hooked it up into a noose. He put it around his neck …”
“… and then pressed UP.”
Apparently we’re not going to see the actual demise. This was a primetime network show.
“As the elevator rose, the cable jerked the belt tight, breaking his neck,” Laura concludes. “Only that wasn’t good enough. Suicide wasn’t what he had in mind.”
Really? Then it was a pretty dumb idea to rig up this self-hanging contraption.
“So he set it up so the noose would tear. That way, by the time the elevator reached the second floor, the cable would have pulled the belt back up through the vent.”
Dead Alan again.
“In every way it looked like a murder,” Donald adds.
“Why, Laura?” Sandy wants to know. “Why would he do something like that?”
Laura’s got the answer!
“A hospital.” Murphy has his thinking cap on!
Okay, here’s a problem. If Sandy was Alan’s mistress, wouldn’t she notice if he went missing for several months. And when he returned, wouldn’t she say, “Hey, Alan! What’s up with the massive weight loss?”
Well, but obviously it’s a ghost dog, like the ghost servants who cooked Mr. Steele’s breakfast and removed the funeral spray-like floral arrangements from the drawing room. Pay attention, Donald.
“When a man knows he won’t be able to take care of it, he’d probably find it another home,” Laura concludes.
He rests a hand gently on Carl’s inner thigh. I feel a new romance starting! “Why would he DO that to us?”
Carl has the answer!
“Alan was always letting us know he was better than us. He invited us here for one final, joke.”
“A last vanity, so to speak. Something to remember him by.” Oh, there you are, Mr. Steele. I thought perhaps you’d gone home.
Murphy is belatedly chivalric. “Laura, they might not have found out for years. You could have been convicted of murder. That’s no joke.”
“He said if we didn’t solve the murder, he’d explain it to us before we left.”
She opens Alan’s appointment book. “The elevator servicemen are coming on Monday. I’m sure they’re checking the cables. It’s just like him. They’ve have found the belt.”
And doubtless just thrown it away. Because elevator servicemen aren’t detectives or police or anybody who would know or give a damn about dead Alan and his slightly bumbling former colleagues.
Anybody else get the feeling the writer of this episode got a little sloppy about the denouement?
Next up … the tag!
Kind of a short one this time. Too many irons in the fire!
We find Steele still on a mission! When his Laura is in trouble, he can jog those stairs pretty quickly.
He’s in one of the rooms – Alan’s?
… and starts rummaging through his drawers (that joke just never gets old).
Well, look! Murphy has followed him. Going to apologize, Mr. Michaels? Beg for your job back?
Nope. He’s just going to slouch and pout. Meanwhile, Mr. Steele is getting impatient.
“It’s staring us in the face, damn it!” he growls.
Murphy remains impassive. “Do you know what you’re looking for?”
“I’ve no idea.” Refreshing honesty, Mr. Steele. “Something. Anything that seems out of place. Alan’s room is the only one we haven’t been through. Closet, closet, closet.”
Murphy points toward the closet. Have you been here before, Murph?
“The man had excellent taste,” he notes. “A little conservative. Someone should have told him that herringbone is out.”
Interested in learning more about herringbone? Well, who wouldn’t be! Here’s GQ with all the need-to-know info: http://www.gq.com/style/blogs/the-gq-eye/2013/11/dropping-knowledge-herringbone.html
Murphy sits down, apparently to weep (my guess is he has a closet full of herringbone at home). Laura comes in. Steele continues his sartorial lecture.
“Houndstooth is au courant. Actually, Murphy, a trained eye can learn a great deal from a man’s clothes. We dress for what we are.”
“Silk suits, custom made, and by and large, always in style.”
Well, except for that appalling herringbone blunder.
Laura seems to be getting a migraine as Steele continues to make observations about Alan’s sense of style. “A man who lost a great deal of weight, I would think.”
“He went from a size 44 to a 38 – with no stops in between. Hmm.”
Laura seems a little more interested, now.
Laura and Murphy exchange looks. “He’s done it again, hasn’t he?” Murphy asks.
“Hmm?” Mr. Steele has no time for Murphy’s blathering. “Did what?”
“We’ve gone about this thing all wrong!
We’ve dissected everyone …
… but the one person we should have been looking at from the start!”
Murphy finds her performance gripping. “Alan!”
“Alan?” Mr. Steele tries to be patient with dunderheaded Murphy. “Don’t be absurd. The man’s dead.”
“The others are calling the police,” Laura tells Murphy. “Getting ready to leave. We have to stop them!”
Looks like Steele may beef up his own wardrobe. Well, at least he’ll get something out of the weekend.
“Well, maybe not.”