While starring in a commercial as a favor to her nephew, Grady, Jessica's trip to New York City becomes eventful when a major star is found murdered on set, finding herself involved in examining the celebrity's long list of suspects to determine who is to blame for the deadly deed.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Jessica Fletcher is a bestselling mystery writer who has a knack for stumbling upon real-life mysteries in her various travels.
Donald Bain, Jessica Fletcher’s longtime collaborator, is the writer of over eighty books, many of them bestsellers.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Table of Contents
OTHER BOOKS in THE Murder, She Wrote Series
A Slaying in Savannah
Murder on Parade
Manhattans & Murder
Rum & Razors
Brandy & Bullets
Martinis & Mayhem
A Deadly Judgment
A Palette for Murder
The Highland Fling Murders
Murder on the QE2
Murder in Moscow
A Little Yuletide Murder
Murder at the Powderhorn Ranch
Knock ’Em Dead
Gin & Daggers
Trick or Treachery
Blood on the Vine
Murder in a Minor Key
Provence—To Die For
You Bet Your Life
Majoring in Murder
Dying to Retire
A Vote for Murder
The Maine Mutiny
Margaritas & Murder
A Question of Murder
Coffee, Tea, or Murder?
Three Strikes and You’re Dead
Panning for Murder
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First published by Obsidian, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, April 2009
Murder, She Wrote is a trademark and copyright of Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:
Bain, Donald, 1935-
Madison Avenue shoot : a Murder, She Wrote Mystery by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain.
“Based on the Universal television series created by Peter S. Fischer, Richard Levinson & William Link”
eISBN : 978-1-101-02880-3
1. Fletcher, Jessica (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2.
Television commercials (Advertisements)—Production
direction—Fiction. 3. Celebrities against—Fiction. 4. New
York (N.Y.)—Fiction. I. Murder, She
Wrote (Television program) II. Title.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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To all our friends at the Association of
Independent Producers (AICP):
Matt, Anima, Farah, Denise, Ileana, Jane, David, Paul,
Laurie, Maryann, Lena, David, and Kristin.
And to the Southeast Consortium for Special Services, Inc.,
helping Down Syndrome children—whose abilities
and personalities are as varied as yours and ours—
achieve the best they can be.
Many people helped us along the way to this book. The commercial production world is filled with wonderful, friendly, talented professionals, too nice to kill anyone. Here are a few of them.
Many thanks to Jon Kamen and the crew email@example.com in New York City for letting us hang around their commercial shoot, in particular to director Steve Miller, DP Eric Schmidt, and Producers Matt O’Shea and Nancy Kagan. Thanks, too, to Derek Pletch and Bebe Baldwin of GSD&M in Austin, Texas.
We’re grateful to crew members Michael Sibley, Anne Shratter, Kate Wilson, Peter Jackson, Geb Byers, Jennifer Koestler, Rick Nagle, Greg Addison, Kevin Smyth, Rick Liss, David Moshiak, Liz Maas, Julie Vogel, and Tina Murgas, who shared their knowledge and nomenclature with the authors. And a salute to all we didn’t name, the other crew members too numerous to mention here, but who do a fantastic job making make-believe believable. You know who you are.
Special thanks to Jane Nunez of AICP, Sally Antonacchio of The Artists Company, and to Detectives Bruce K. Bertram and Roger Brooks of the Danbury Police Department, and North Salem Judge Ralph Mackin.
All those named above are the experts; any errors you find are ours.
“A unt Jess!” “Grady! How good to see you.” I gave my nephew a hug, stepped back from his embrace, and looked down. “And who is this young man? It can’t be Frank. Frank was a little boy the last time I saw him, and that was only six months ago.”
“I’m still a boy, Aunt Jessica, just not so little anymore.”
“Indeed, you’re not,” I said, smiling. “You’re going to be taller than your father before we know it.”
“I already come up to my mother’s shoulder.”
“Well, I can see you’re very grown-up, but not too grown-up to give your aunt a hug, I hope.”
Frank shrugged, but he allowed me to give him a quick cuddle, and even managed a slight squeeze back. “What year are you in school now?” I asked, holding him at arm’s length and examining his sweet face, a miniature version of Grady’s, but with his mother’s eyes.
“As much as that? My goodness, where does the time go?”
“Excuse me, Aunt Jess. What does your bag look like?” Grady asked.
I turned to peruse the baggage moving toward us on the conveyor belt. “Brown tweed with a red ribbon on the handle. I think I see it now. Yes, there it is.”
We were at a crowded luggage carousel in La Guardia Airport in New York. My flight had originated in Dallas. I’d joined it in Chicago, where I’d been attending a conference. Before I returned to Cabot Cove, I was stopping off in the city for some business meetings and, more important, to visit with my nephew; his wife, Donna; and my pride and joy, my nine-year-old grandnephew, Frank, named for my husband, who had died many years before this child was born.
“I can get it, Dad,” Frank said, pushing his way in front of others waiting for their bags.
“Wait, Frank, it’s heavy,” I said.
“Hold on, sport,” Grady said, following his son.
“I got it. I got it.” Frank grabbed on to the handle of the suitcase, but the weight of it threatened to pull him into a crowd of my fellow passengers. Grady reached over his son and wrestled my bag off the carousel, nearly knocking over a large gentleman in a ten-gallon hat and intricately inlaid turquoise and black cowboy boots.
“What the heck do you think you’re doing, man?” the cowboy said. “You nearly ran over my foot. Do you have any idea what these boots cost?” He pulled a red kerchief from his pocket and bent to wipe off his pointed leather toe.
Apologizing profusely, Grady lugged my bag to where I stood.
“Aw, I could have got it, Dad,” Frank said, shuffling along behind his father.
“Not without mowing down half the people over there,” Grady replied. He turned to me. “What kind of rocks do you have in here, Aunt Jess?”
“Oh, the usual kind,” I said. “I brought you and Donna some books.” I eyed Frank. “And I might have a little something in there for a boy in the fourth grade.”
Frank’s eyes shone. “You brought a present for me?”
“We’ll see if you like it when we get to my hotel.”
“You know you could have stayed with us, Aunt Jess. Frank was happy to give you his room.”
“You said I could sleep on the couch. Right, Dad?”
“Now, we’ll have no more talk of that,” I said. “I put you out enough picking me up from the airport. My agent tells me this is officially a business trip, since I no longer live in New York City. Besides, we’ll all be more comfortable this way, and the hotel is only a few blocks from your building.” What I didn’t say was that from what they’d told me, Grady and Donna’s new apartment in Manhattan was small enough without an out-of-town relative crowding in and taking up precious space. And selfishly, I’d reached a time in my life when I treasured my privacy and found a hotel room more relaxing than someone’s guest room, especially when it meant rousting the room’s rightful owner. The magazine ads for the hotel that my literary agent, Matt Miller, had booked for me bragged about their luxurious feather beds and European linens. I looked forward to testing their claims for a great night’s rest, even though it could never be the same as sleeping in my own bed.
We exited the terminal and walked across to the garage where Grady had parked. Frank had insisted on wheeling my suitcase himself, and I was happy to let him, but Grady and I kept a sharp eye on his progress in case the bag became too unwieldy to handle. He managed it well—only one tip over—and the look of pride on his face when Grady opened the trunk was worth any bumps and scrapes the suitcase might have endured.
“I’m learning Italian, Aunt Jessica,” Frank informed me from the backseat as Grady negotiated airport traffic, looking for the entrance to the highway.
“You are?” I said. “That’s wonderful. I’m all for teaching languages in the elementary grades.”
“I’m learning Spanish in school,” he said, “but my friend Michele is teaching me Italian. His name is spelled like a girl’s name, but if you say it, it’s like three names in one, Mick-Kay-Lee. That’s how they say it in Italy. He lived in Italy for a lot of years. I can count up to twenty already. Want to hear?”
“Of course,” I said, winking at Grady while Frank recited the numbers in Italian.
“Michele lives upstairs in our building,” Frank said after reaching venti. “He’s cool. You’ll have to meet him.”
“I’ll be happy to,” I said.
Grady glanced at his watch. “Donna has dinner planned for six thirty. Would you like to stop at the hotel first?”
“Is there time? I don’t want to keep her waiting.”
“It’s rush hour, so it may be tight. But if nothing else, we can drop off your suitcase and have them hold it for you.”
“Let’s do that,” I said.
A little voice from the rear piped up. “But what about my . . . um . . . present? If you leave your bag at the hotel . . . ,” he trailed off.
“Frank Fletcher,” Grady said sternly. “I don’t want to hear selfish thoughts like that. I think you should apologize to Aunt Jessica.”
“Sorry, Aunt Jessica.”
“I did promise him a present,” I said. “How about this? You let me off at the hotel while you park the car, and I’ll meet you at the apartment.”
“You don’t have to indulge him, Aunt Jess. Frank’s a big boy. He can wait.”
“I know he can, but I can’t. I want to see if he likes what I brought him.”
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