Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries S02E06 - Marked for Murder

Warning: Contains spoilers! 
Episode 6 of Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries is Marked for Murder. It is based on the short story The Vanishing of Jock McHale's Hat from the book A Question of Death but as the storyline is markedly different from the short story I will do my synopsis now. 

The episode kicks off with a body of a young man hanging in the showers of a football club. The man has a tattoo on his side which is a noose with 'the hangman' written underneath.

Credits roll

A young tomboy like girl enters the clubhouse bar and asks one of the footballers for an autograph. The Coach Mclean enters carrying his dog and takes off his hat and sits down. One of the footballers asks after the captain and the coach tells him he left him to lock up the sheds. The footballer asks if the captain is still into his cold water treatments and the coach tells him her doesn't care as long as it helps them win. Burt is in the club and calls a raffle number. The number belongs to the Coach Mclean and he goes to collect his prize. While he is gone the young girl steals his hat. Outside she hands the hat off to a shadowy figure who exchanges it for money. Back in the bar last drinks are being called. The Coach goes to leave and realises his hat is missing he asks who has taken it.
The next morning Burt takes Phryne to meet Coach Mclean. She asks him if he has any idea who would have taken the hat and Burt says someone that plugs for the opposition West Melbourne. The Coach invites them inside and find the changing rooms have not been locked. They walk in and find the shower still running and the Captain, Harry hanging in the shower with a football scarf around his neck.

Jack and Hugh arrive on the scene as footie fans are setting to go over to West Melbourne to cause a fight. Jack tells them that if they start trouble they will start a fight and Burt says she is probably a West Melbourne fan aswell but Jack and Hugh inform him they are both Abbotsford fans. Harry's wife Celia arrives on the scene and demands to know what happened. Barlow restrains her. Jack tells her to go home and they will come by to talk to her. Jack sees Phryne and says a football ground is the last place he would expect to see her but she informs him that she watched her first match from her fathers shoulders. She tells him shes a lapsed Collingwood supporter since the grand final in 1910. Jack remembers that Collingwood won but there was some of the worst fighting ever seen on a football field and asks if that's what put her off but Phryne tells him he knows her better than that.

They go into the locker room where the body has been cut down and Jack asks why she is there. Coach Mclean tells him she is there to help find his hat that was stolen the night before. Phryne picks up the scarf and the coach tells her it is a West Melbourne scarf. Phryne wonders why they would resort to murder and he says they would do anything to see his team go down. Phryne wonders why Harry's wrists are taped and Hugh says injury. Jack says it is unusual to have both taped and there is bruising to the back of his head. Hug says Harry copped a blow in training from Barlow. Phryne notices the soles of Harry's feet are covered in blisters and tells Jack to have a look but her sends her along to get on with her brief and she leaves the room. As soon as she does Jack checks Harry's feet and sees the blisters which are some kind of burns.

Outside the locker room Cec arrives and tells Burt he heard the news. Burt asks him if he is rubbing his hands because he is a Wests fan and they start to argue. Burt says Cec is a traitor to the suburb he was born in but Cec tells him he is a good son to his Mum who was born at West Melbourne. Phryne goes to greet them both and Cec says he didn't realise she was called in. Burt tells Cec he called Phryne in to find the coaches hat which one of his mob has stolen and another fight ensues. Cec says the would not stoop that low and they were all in the clubhouse all night. Phryne tells them she won't be taking side and Burt says why would she as she was born in Collingwood.

The coach of the Wests, Neville Gibbs arrives and greets Coach Mclean. Coach Mclean asks if he is there to rub it in and he says he is there to offer his condolences. Jack ask Mr Gibbs to come talk to them inside. Burt says what a cheek and Cec tells them Mr Gibbs is no stranger to tradegy as he is a widower and a couple of years ago his daughter died. Phryne asks how a West Melbourne fan could get into the clubhouse and take the hat without being spotted. Burt said it was the kid hanging around asking for autographs and describes her. Cec says he thinks its there orange girl. Phryne asks where she can find the girl and Cec tells her at West Melbourne fruit market.

Inside the body is being taken away and Jack shows Gibbs the Wests scarf used to tie up Harry. Gibbs says anyone could have used it as there are hundreds out there. Jack says Harry doesn't have much friends at Wests due to leaving there to go to Abbotsford. Gibbs says he deserted which no one likes but they wouldn't kill him for it.  Hugh says that Harry was a talented player but not everyone agreed with his tactics or reputation. Gibbs says he had an eye for the ladies but someone from the Wests wouldn't use their own club scarf to kill him. Jack says could be cover of the crowd and he needs to talk to the Wests blokes. Gibbs says that is fine but they should talk to Harry's teammates aswell as plenty of people closer to home don't like him.

Jack and Hugh are leaving the dressing room when Jack's ex-wife, Rosie and her new fiance Sidney turn up. Jack says he thought Rosie had returned to the West's fold. Rosie said her father would love that but Sidney is an Abbotsfords man. Sidney says Harry was a brilliant player and a good man. Jack ask if Harry worked in shipping and Sidney says Harry managed one of his warehouses after he left Wests. Sidney says Rosie and her are close to both the Harpers. Sidney and Rosie leave.
Phryne is at the markets looking for the orange girl. She finds her and asks for 6 oranges. The girl tries to short change her an orange. Phryne pays her and tells her she can keep the change. She asks the girl if it is more than she was paid for the hat. The girl says she doesn't know what Phryne is talking about so Phryne asks her is she has heard about Harry. The girls doesn't know and Phryne tells her about Harry death. The girl doesn't seem bothered and says he was a traitor the to the West. Phryne says Abbotsford have enough going against them without the coach losing his lucky hat. Phryne says the police will be looking very closely at anyone who has hanging around the clubhouse the night before . The girl says she did what she did for her club not the money but Phryne tells her she has a witness and if the girl doesn't co-operate she will deliver her to the police. The girl says if she tells Phryne who it was he will kill her so Phryne asks for just a description and calls Cec and Burt over to help.

Back at the station Jack is telling Hugh Stan Baines took Harry under his wing at Wests but as soon as Harry became a star he deserted his team and went to Abbotsford who are Wests arch enemy. They argue over Harry's character. Jack says he wants to speak to Harry old teammates.
Back at the market Cec and Burt are arguing over who the description could be. Phryne calls a time out and asks the girl, Poppy for another clue she says he has a gold front tooth and Cec and Burt agree it has to be Stan Baines.

At the police station Jack is interviewing Stan and shows him the scarf. Stan says coach Gibbs dedicated the first match of the season to the dear departed. Harry thought this meant him but Gibbs was referring to his daughter. Stan says he was angry Harry left Wests but he wouldn't kill him because he wanted to make his 300th match and he wanted his last day on the field to be against Harry. Phryne enters the interview room and introduces herself to Stan. She hands him her card and asks about the hat. She say Poppy confessed but refused to name him. Hugh enters the room to let Jack know the deputy commissioner is there with coach Gibbs.

Jack goes to speak to the chief commissioner who tells him Gibbs has called him complaining of police harassment and saying Stan has been bought in. The chief commissioner says if word gets out Stan is being questioned unnecessarily there will be trouble. Jack tells Gibbs that Stan has told them what he needs to know and if free to go. Stan and Gibbs leave the station and are met by disgruntled Abbotsford fans.

Phryne is at home with Coach Mclean she return his hat to him and tells him Stan took it. Dot is petting the coaches dog which causes her to sneeze. Phryne asks the coach why Harry left West Melbourne. The coach tells her Baines would not let Harry spread his wings. Phryne asks what will happen now the captain is dead. Coach tells her Vince Barow will have to step up. Dot says hes the vice captain and was in line for the captaincy before Harry moved to Abbotsford. She explains that Hugh her beau is an Abbtsford fan and explained it to her. Coach Mclean leaves as Jack calls Phryne on the phone. Burt tells Dot its lucky he didn't tell the coach she is a West Melbourne supporter, at least until she and Hugh marry. Dot explains she won't convert. Burt says she will have no choice as Hugh will want to take his kids to the games and Dot says she will divide them up like her Mum did, girls for the Wests and boys for Abbotsford.

Phryne and Jack are in the autopsy room she is checking out Harry's tattoo when Jack stops her. She tells Jack her case is solved. Jack tells her the burns on Harry's feet are third degree and even with the shower at full heat it isn't enough to burn or blister the skin. Phryne notes his feet were off the ground anyway and asks about cause of death. Jack tells her preliminary examination points to strangulation with a rope not a scarf.

Jack and Phryne return to the shower room and Jack says assuming it was a suicide and Harry hung himself he would have hung the rope climbed up and kicked a stool out from underneath himself. Phryne notices a drawing pin pushed into the hooks with a corner of paper attached to it. Phryne wonders why the hot water was running and Jack says this is especially odd as Mclean is a fan of cold water treatments to toughen up the players. Phryne searches Vince Barlow's locker and finds cruise tickets. She says whoever swapped the rope for the scarf could have turned the tap on. She then searches Harry's locker but finds nothing of interest. Phryne and Jack wonder who would want to make a suicide look like a murder and why would Harry kill himself at the peak of his career.

Jack is with Mclean and told him about the suicide. Mclean says he doesn't believe it. Jack assures him that Harry killed himself but someone interfered with the body after. He asks Mr Mclean what he was doing that night. Coach says he was drinking at the club from 6 til 10pm. Back at the police station Jack tells Phryne that they need to verify the times Mclean was at the club. Jack says he will have to talk to Harry's widow who is currently staying with Rosie.
The next day Jack and Phryne head to Sidney and Rosies house to interview Celia. They are shown in by Rosie who tells them she is helping Sidney arrange Harry's service which is to be held later that day. They see Celia who tells them Harry struggled after leaving West Melbourne as he was branded a traitor but things improved thanks to Sidney's help. Jack asks if Harry was in financial trouble and Celia says not that she knows of  but there were things Harry didn't share with her and then leaves the room. Phryne asks if Celia and Harry where happy together Rosie says yes and they were planning a cruise at the end of the season. Rosie asks for there not be a police presence at the service and Jack agrees.

Jack and Phryne return to the station and Jack is put out he can't be at the service but Phryne will be going. Phryne tells him he may need to visit a travel agents anyway and gives him the tickets she took from Barlow's locker. Phryne attends the memorial and talks to Rosie. She see Barlow with Celia and wonders if anything is going on between them. Rosie says Celia is not a scarlet woman. Phryne says she is looking for the killer and Rosie says she thought the police suspected suicide and Phryne says she doesn't think Harry was the type and the motive for murder is probably love or money. Rosie tells Phryne Celia asked her advice about divorce but didn't think Celia had plan to go through with it. Stan Baines arrives at the memorial to pay his respects and leaves a Wests scarf for Harry and then leaves. Coach Mclean argues with Stan telling him he shouldn't have come and Stan pushes past him knocking into a maid carrying ice who drops the ice on the floor.

Phryne heads outside and overhears a conversation between Barlow and Celia. Barlow is asking Celia how she could accuse him and says he would have waited for her. Barlow tells her this is their chance but Celia storms away from him. Phryne then bumps into Stan as a woman runs up to him saying we need to talk, hes onto us. Then some Abbotsford players turn up and want to fight Stan he knocks one of them out and runs away. The woman follows him.

Jack has called Barlow into the station for questioning and asks if Harry knew he and Celia were lovers. Barlow says Harry was a useless husband who didn't care about Celia or the other women just his game. Jack tells Barlow he knows about his and Celia's booked cruise tickets and Barlow says Celia was asking Harry for a divorce so he had no need to kill him. 

In the police station waiting area Celia is talking to Phryne and she says Barlow and her would not have done anything to disrupt the game. Phryne asks like go on a cruise together? Celia says that Harry never had any time for her and never got over the move to Abbotsford. Phryne asks if it wasn't his decision. Celia says Harry was only considering it until Sidney offered him the job on the docks and a house. Celia tells Phryne she should know what Harry the night before he died but at that moment the Deputy Commissioner storms into the station. The Deputy Commissioner tells Jack he needs to solve the case before the game on Saturday or there will be a riot. Jack asks him if he knew Sidney bought Harry the house. The Deputy Commissioner says if you have enough money you can buy what you want. Jack asks if Sidney bribed Harry but the Deputy Commissioner says he didn't say that and asks Jack if he has charged Barlow yet and tells him to hold Barlow overnight to stop the unrest. 

Phryne is looking at the scarf which is evidence when the Deputy Commissioner catches her and tells her to make herself scarce. Jack asks Phryne if Celia has an alibi and Phryne tells him yes and that Celia told her Harry had refused her a divorce the night before he died. Hugh enters with the full coroners report. Which states that Harry was strangled and had bruising to the head from a blow with a blunt object and bruising on his wrist suggesting his hands were bound with rope. Jack questions why someone would remove the rope and add the scarf and Phryne says whoever spent so much time knitting it would be horrified about where it ended up.
The next day Jack and Hugh are letting Barlow have a  training session Jack asks if Hugh wants to step in and take some kicks and Hugh tells Jack he had burnt his footie scarf and no longer supports the team as Harry is dead and Barlow locked up. Dot arrives with a basket. She gives Hugh the drink that she used to make her brothers when they play footie. She says they lost every game but always gave it their best. Dot says that's the hardest thing staying true to your team when everything is going wrong so Hugh jumps into the training.

That night after a drink Stan calls the Fisher residence. Dot arrives home and Phryne asks after Hugh. As Dot enters the hallway she notices a dropped glove so hands it to Phryne. Dot begins to sneeze again. Phryne asks if it is a cold and Dot said she thought it was just the coaches dog that made her sneeze. Phryne handles the glove and notices hairs. She ask Dot to sniff the glove and Dot begins to sneeze again. Dot asks Phryne if she was petting the dog and she answers no as the phone rings it is Stan he tells Phryne he has a confession to make and is at the Wests club rooms.

Phryne is climbing the stairs of the club room as Stan inside is taking another drink and a shadowy figure is approaching the door. Stan calls out to see if it is Phryne but it is not and the assailant pulls a gun and shoots Stan. Phryne jumps over a fence to hide and pulls her pistol she goes inside and finds Stan dead.

Jack and Hugh arrive and Phryne tells Jack about Stans phone call and the woman that was waiting for him at the memorial and the fight Stan had with Pat O'Farrell. Jack inspects Stan's body and sees 297 carved into his head Hugh wonders if it the number of games Stan played but then they realise he has played 299. Jack wonders if Pat is the shooter due to their earlier confrontation and wonders if Stan was involved in Harry's murder. Phryne says there is also Celia and Barlow to think of but Jack reminds her Barlow is still in custody. Coach Gibbs arrives and sees the body. Jack takes him outside to talk. Phryne notices a club photo  with the woman from the memorial. Poppy the orange girl is also in the photo.

The next morning Jack has Pat O'Farrell at the station. Jack ask where Pat was the night before he says he was having a drink to Harry and then there was a fight and he was in the hospital until 2am. Jack brings in Coach Mclean next and asks him if he owns a gun and he says no. Phryne arrives to question the coach. Phryne asks if his dog is molting and tells him that Dot was allergic to it. She says Dot had the same reaction to her gloves after she touched the scarf that Harry was hung up by. The coach said he may have gone near the scarf but Phryne said he did not go near it. Coach Mclean says one of the younger players stole the scarf and he gave it to his dog to sleep on. The coach says he found Harry hanging and put the scarf around his neck so West Melbourne would take the blame. The coach says Harry left a note and produces it from his pocket.  Phryne asks about Harry's cold water treatments and the coach said he had used one that day as there was a chunk of ice left over the drain.  Phryne says ice can leave burns like the ones on Harry's feet.

Phryne and Jack return to the locker rooms with a large chunk of ice they put it in the running shower to see how long it would take to melt. Dot arrives with a basket she asks how it will establish time of death. Jack says the ice was almost gone when Harry's body was found at 8pm so they can count back to see when Harry was placed on the ice. 1 hour and 15 minutes passes for the ice to melt which means the murderer put him on the block at 6.45pm.

Hugh heads to the market to see Poppy. He asks who the woman is in the photo. Poppy says it is Mrs Dangerfield who used to be the club nurse before Myra Gibbs died. Jack and Phryne go to pick up Mrs Dangerfield. She tells them that 2 years before Stan had called as she had delivered his first child and perhaps Stan thought she was discreet as she had to be at times. She said women used to come to her if they were in trouble but it was too late for Myra when they bought her to Mrs Dangerfield as Myra has already tried to cause a miscarriage with a knitting needle and was bleeding. Mrs Dangerfield said she managed to stop the bleeding and gave them instructions to go to hospital if it started again. She said she heard the next day Myra had been rushed to hospital and passed away. Mrs Dangerfield shows her the death notice from July 29th.

Jack, Hugh and Phryne then go to question Coach Gibbs and say he was away from the party for over an hour. Gibbs says that doesn't prove anything. Phryne says that his daughter died July 29th two years before and Gibbs asks what that has to do with it. Jack says they thought the number carved into Stan's head was the number of games he played but it was in fact the date 29/7, the date of Myra's death. Gibbs says he gave Harry a chance to confess but he wouldn't so he forced him to write the confession. Gibbs said Myra had told him there were two blokes involved so he forced Harry to tell him. Gibbs said Stan had told Harry to get rid of Myra because she was in trouble and nothing mattered but the game. Gibbs says he thought it was ironic that his teams scarf ended up around Harry's neck as Myra had knitted it for her father.
The next day the football game begins with the players running out onto the field. Cec and Burt are there supporting their opposing teams. Phryne and Jack head up to the stands where they meet up with Dot and Hugh. Dot has knitted Hugh a new scarf. Rosie and Sidney are also in the stands as is Rosie's father the Deputy Commissioner. Jack and Phryne find their seats and Phryne wonders whether Rosie knows that Sidney bribed Harry to leave the Wests. Jack says all's fair in love and football and asks Phryne what stopped her love of football. Phryne says it was her mother after she was caught trying to sabotage Carlton's new young player by smuggling him beer. She says this game should be interesting with 2 players dead and 2 coaches locked up and Jack tells her even a Collingwood girl would have to stay for a game like that. He puts his scarf on her 'to humor an Abbotsfield man and they gaze into each others eyes!

No comments:

Post a Comment