One in this murder mystery series about an unassuming Maine mystery writer turned sleuth named Jessica B. Fletcher who uses her professional insight to help solve real-life homicide cases. In this episode, a reclusive former movie star, Siobhan O'Dea, is stunned to learn from the newspaper that a jeweler, Blackthorn, has acquired a famous tiara. A month later, Jessica visits Blackthorn's store for research, planning to set her next novel in a jewelry shop, and is mildly pranked by Laszlo Dolby, Blackthorn's assistant, also meeting the designer, Andrea. In a meeting, Blackthorn is urged not to put the priceless tiara on display, but he states that they are a "thoroughbred" store and must maintain high standards. Elsewhere, Blackthorn's partner, Diane, lectures Andrea about her "dull" designs, and Andrea guesses that Diane views her as competition for "him." At dinner, Blackthorn tells Jessica all about Laszlo's failed playwriting dreams and then, at her request, takes her to see the store's vaults. He explains the security system and introduces her to Wilson, the guard, but the alarms immediately begin to ring and they realize that the tiara has been stolen, with an envelope containing $1,500 in its place. Detectives Stacey and Chadwick arrive and question Blackthorn, growing suspicious when they see Jessica poking around. Jessica points out that the doors were blown outward, suggesting an inside job, but they are doubtful, and when they question Wilson, he collapses, having been drugged. The detectives speculate that Jessica engineered the crime as a "publicity stunt" for her book, and despite her protests, they tell her not to leave town.

Diane arrives and tells Blackthorn that the tiara was not entire insured, and she and Blackthorn are hounded by an eager reporter, Ken Parrish. They dismiss him, and Blackthorn lectures Leo, his head of security, about the breach. Later, Parrish approaches Jessica and, hungry for a big story, tells her all about O'Dea, who believed herself descended from Irish kings and was given the priceless tiara as a gift from a fiancé. Her career went downhill after his death and she eventually became a hermit, and Parrish requests that Jessica assist him in getting her "angle" on the tiara-theft story, as she is a fan of Jessica's books, but she refuses, wanting to respect her privacy. Back at the store, Andrea resigns, saying she cannot accept a pay cut and has been working with "inferior gems" ever since Diane joined the business, and Diane angrily reminds her of her contract. Jessica arrives and tells Blackthorn that she is leaving and will return to finish her research some other time, but they then learn that Laszlo is missing, and when they journey to his apartment, they find that he has been stabbed to death. Jessica visits Detective Stacey and tells her about the murder, and Stacey is again suspicious of Jessica's involvement, but she then receives an anonymous phone call saying that Parrish was seen at Laszlo's home around the time of the murder, and he is arrested.

Parrish's attorney visits Jessica and beseeches her to help him, and when she goes to see him in prison, he swears that he is innocent and explains that O'Dea has the tiara and that he saw Laszlo delivering it to her. He adds that he followed Laszlo home and tried to confront him but was sent away, suspecting that someone else was in the apartment. Jessica returns to Stacey, but she exasperatedly tells her that she does not work homicide cases and cannot help. In response, Jessica takes matters into her own hands and visits O'Dea, who welcomes her warmly. They chat, and O'Dea reveals that Laszlo was "terribly in love" with her, and when Jessica spots the tiara, O'Dea confirms that Laszlo fetched it for her at her request after it was "stolen" from her by the government. Jessica informs Stacey, and Chadwick tells them that O'Dea's tiara is actually a fake, though Blackthorn swears he does not know the location of the original. Stacey suspects that he made the fake to protect the uninsured real one, but Jessica declares that Laszlo made the fake for O'Dea and left the $1,500 to cover the inferior gold and jewels that he used. Blackthorn tells her that he did not have the skills to create such a thing, however, and Jessica realizes that Andrea was involved. Stacey and Chadwick capture her at the bus station, and Jessica states that she made the anonymous phone call, inadvertently connecting the theft and the murder by calling Stacey rather than a homicide detective. Andrea confesses that she made the fake tiara for Laszlo and was indeed in his apartment, accidentally killing him when she defended herself from his attack. The case closed, Blackthorn offers the fake to Jessica, but she suggests that someone else would appreciate it more. Commercials deleted.


  • DATE: November 27, 1988 8:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:00:00
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: B:33891
  • GENRE: Drama, mystery/suspense
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Drama, mystery/suspense
  • SERIES RUN: CBS - TV series, 1984-1996
  • COMMERCIALS: TV - Promos - "Murder, She Wrote" upcoming episode^TV - Promos - "CBS This Morning"^TV - Promos - "Almost Grown"


  • Peter S. Fischer … Executive Producer, Created by, Writer
  • Robert F. O'Neill … Supervising Producer
  • Robert E. Swanson … Producer
  • Anthony J. Magro … Associate Producer
  • Richard Levinson … Created by
  • William Link … Created by
  • Seymour Robbie … Director
  • Richard Markowitz … Music by
  • John Addison … Theme Music by
  • Angela Lansbury … Cast, Jessica Fletcher
  • Lucie Arnaz … Cast, Det. Bess Stacey
  • Barbara Bosson … Cast, Diane Raymond
  • Michael Constantine … Cast, Laszlo Dolby
  • Erin Gray … Cast, Andrea Dean
  • Patty McCormack … Cast, Det. Kathleen Chadwick
  • John McMartin … Cast, Hudson Blackthorn
  • David Naughton … Cast, Ken Parrish
  • Jean Peters … Cast, Siobhan O'Dea
  • David S. Sheiner … Cast, Leo Selkirk
  • Barry Dennen … Cast, Sheldon Persky
  • Wayne Heffley … Cast, Security Guard
  • David Sage … Cast, Stavros
  • Thomas Bellin … Cast, Superintendent
  • Harry Moses … Cast, Policeman