Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries S02E13 - Murder Under the Mistletoe

Warning: Contains spoilers!
Another season of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries ends on a high note with this fabulous Christmas episode entitled Murder Under the Mistletoe.

The episode kicks off in a snowy chateau. Len is hanging the lights on the Christmas tree whilst the 12 days of Christmas plays on the gramophone. He plugs them in but finds they aren't working so he switches them off and goes to investigate. He finds one of the bulbs are missing and puts his finger in the socket just as a gloved hand reaches around the door and switches the lights back on. Len is electrocuted and the Christmas tree falls down landing on top of him.

Credits roll

At her home Phryne, Dr Mac and Aunt Prudence are done up in their winter gear ready for their trip. Phryne is telling Aunt Prudence about Mac's skiing prowess and says Aunt Prudence should try it but Aunt Prudence tells her she has enough to do organising Christmas in July and sorting out the sale of the mine. Dot comes down the stairs in her woolly hat and Mac asks her if she fancies a skiing lesson Dot says yes but where are the brakes. The party set off and arrive at the snowy chateau.
They head inside and find the place empty. Nicholas comes in and apologises telling them they are all in shock due to Len's death which they suspect is a heart attack. Chester then arrives and Aunt Prudence asks after Len's wife Birdy. Chester says she is shattered as the death is so unexpected. Phryne tells them that Mac is a doctor and could inspect Len's body. Nicholas takes Aunt Prudence to Birdy to comfort her.

Phryne and Mac inspect the body which is being stored in the pantry and Mac says it is difficult to determine the cause of death without an autopsy. They check his hands and feet and Phryne finds burn holes in the soles of his slippers and Mac finds a scorched finger. Phryne concludes Len must have been electrocuted.

Back in the great hall Dot is bringing in the Christmas presents to put under the tree (which has been righted). She is spooked by the surroundings. Quentin Lynch appears from behind the tree startling her. He introduces himself as Mr Mortimer's secretary and mistakes her for Phryne. Dot sets him rights and says she is sorry about Len saying the presents seem inappropriate now. Quentin helps her put them under the tree as Phryne enters the room and Quentin then introduces himself to Phryne. Phryne spots the Christmas tree light which are little pears. She notices one is missing and Quentin finds it behind the tree. Phryne put her finger into the missing sockets realising this could be how Len was electrocuted.

Nicholas Mortimer enters the room and asks Quentin if he has cleaned the guns for the shoot the next day. Quentin goes to do it and Nicholas tells Phryne the servant has put her car in the garage and her luggage in her room.

Back in Melbourne Mr Butler is busy in the kitchen when Jayne arrives back early  from a trip to France. Cec and Burt enter carrying Jane's luggage and tell Mr Butler she telephoned them to pick her up.  Mt Butler tells Jayne that the household are all away celebrating Christmas in July in the mountains. Cec says they would take her but the cab wouldn't make it and Mr Butler says they can have their own Christmas in July.

Back at the Chateau Phryne is settling into her room. She finds a card by the bed depicting 9 ladies dancing. Dot enters and tells Phryne her car had 7 swans swimming like the carol. Dot says Mrs Fowler must have laid out the rooms before Len passed and Phryne tells her Len's death is not all it seems. Phryne tells Dot to explore to see if she notices anything odd while she goes to talk to Len's wife. Mac comes into the room and tells Phryne she gave Birdy Fowler a sleeping tonic. Phryne asks Mac if she happened to ask Birdy who would want to kill her husband but Mac says she will leave that to Phryne but Birdy will be asleep for a good few hours.

Dot is exploring the library when Quentin enters. He comments on a picture Dot is looking at calling it enigmatic like the Mona Lisa. He then returns a book of poetry by Wordsworth back to the library. He calls Wordsworth the most romantic of poets and quotes some of his poetry which makes Dot uncomfortable and she leaves the room.

Dot then calls Hugh at the Police Station and tells him about the murder and the body in the cool room. Hugh asks if the local police have been called and Dot tells him no  one seems to think its a problems except Phryne who thinks its a murder. Dot tells Hugh there's something about the place that scares her but then hers footsteps coming down the stairs so quickly tells Hugh they arrived safely and hangs up. Dot greets the girl , Isobel and wishes her happy Christmas in July but the girl tells her Christmas isn't happy at any time of the year.

Back at the police station Jack asks Hugh what the call was about and Hugh tells him Phryne has gone on holiday again. Jack asks if anyone is dead yet and Hugh says only one so far.

At the chateau Phryne is investigating in the library. She notices a picture has been taken off the wall. She is interrupted by a creek and sees Nicholas reading at the window seat. Phryne asks if he can recommend some reading material and he offers the book he is reading which is Wordsworth. Phryne says it is a little too  florid for her tastes. Nicholas agrees but says his wife Vera adores Wordsworth. Phryne asks about the missing picture and Nicholas says it is a photograph of the miners and he took it down because it upset Vera as they were the men that died in the 1919 Christmas eve cave in at the mine. He tells Phryne that Len took the photo as he was the foreman. Phryne tells him Aunt Prudence hasn't told her much about it and Nicholas points out the union rep who was Quentin's uncle and the mine engineer who was Vera's first husband. Isobel enters the room and tells Nicholas not to touch the photo. Nicholas introduces her to Phryne as his daughter and she corrects him that it is step-daughter.  Nicholas asks her if Vera is back from her walk and Isobel tells him she wouldn't tell him if she was. Vera then enters the room saying she thought Nicholas had gone hunting. Nicholas introduces her to Phryne and she asks Phryne to join them for pre-dinner drinks.

That evening the guests gather for drinks. Dot asks Mac if she thinks they will be leaving early now but Mac says no chance. Vera introduces herself to Mac and says she hears she is a keen skier but she doesn't think the weather will co-operate. Chester agrees and says they are about to close the roads and he suspects they will be snowed in by tomorrow.  Dot looks worried but Chester says they have plenty of supplies and each other for company. Birdy comes down the stairs with stockings. Which she hangs at the fireplace. Aunt Prudence asks if Birdy should be up and she tells her she has to keep busy. She asks Chester to fix a hole in the hen house tonight as she saw a fox there.
Phryne sees one of the stockings has Laurie embroidered on it and asks who this is. Birdy tells her it was the young boy who died in the mine when it collapsed as he had begged his father to take him down as a Christmas treat. Phryne asked if no one else survived and Aunt Prudence says no that's why she and Nicholas want to sell the mine to erase the dreadful memories. Vera questions this saying as if she and Isobel could ever forget her first husband. Aunt Prudence apologises but Isobel asks if Vera didn't want to forget her Dad why did she marry Nicholas. Vera says Nicholas is a good man but Isobel storms away so Vera goes after her. Aunt Prudence asks Phryne if she is satisfied with all her questions and says she wishes to sign the paperwork with Nicholas and Chester first thing in the morning and leave everyone to their grief.
Vera enters the library upset. She notices the photograph of the miners back on the wall.

Later that evening Phryne calls her house and converses with Jane in French. Phryne says she should send Jane to Istanbul next as she needs to brush up on her Turkish. Phryne apologises Jane is there alone and she says that's alright as Burt and Cec are keeping her entertained. She hands the phone to Burt and Phryne asks him to go to Aunt Prudence house and look for any paperwork relating to the mine especially relating to Ernie Hepenstall, Len Fowler or Mitch Darcy. Phryne is interrupted by a scream so she hangs up the phone and runs to see what the noise was. 

Phryne finds Vera dead in the library with a head wound. Aunt Prudence, Mac and Dot also come to see what the noise was. Phryne picks up the books that Vera had pulled down which is the Wordsworth volume and notices that it is has fishing wire attached to it that is also attached to a statue. Phryne tells them she saw Nicholas reading the book and Dot tells her Quentin was also reading it as he quoted from it. Mac recognises the sculpture as the Kiss by Rodin. Phryne calls it the kiss of death. There is a knock on the door and Phryne goes to answer it and tells Dot and Aunt P to tell the others about the murder. 

Phryne answers the door and finds Jack and Hugh there. Hugh tells her Dot called and asks to come in out of the storm. Hugh says the closed the road behind them so Jack tells her they may be there longer than they planned.  Phryne shows Jack Vera's body and Jack asks how a sculpture just fell of the shelf. Phryne tells him it was attached to fishing line which was threaded through the cover of the book. 

Jack takes the body down to the cold room and Nicholas asks how it could happen as he was just doing paperwork in his room. Quentin runs into the room and is visibly shaken. Quentin blames Nicholas and a fight ensues. Jack breaks it up and tells Nicholas to check on Isobel. Nicholas leaves and Jack introduces himself to Quentin and asks Quentin why he blamed Nicholas. Quentin tells Jack Nicholas is not the benevolent man everyone thinks he is. Jack ask Quentin where he was at the time of the murder and Quentin says he was asleep in his room. He asks why he would want to kill Vera and says I... Jack asks you what? and asks how well he knew Vera.

Phryne proclaims Vera and Quentin were lovers and shows Dot a note she found in the back of the book which is a poem saying I must leave you. Phryne says both Nicholas and Quentin must have know the poem was in the back of the book. Phryne wonders if Nicholas murdered her for revenge and Jack says maybe Quentin did it because of thwarted love. The storm hits and knocks the electric out. Jack and Phryne go out to the hen house where Chester is fixing it up. Chester tells them the fuse box is in the basement but there sis no point as the whole grid goes down in bad weather.  Chester says he will see to the generator in the morning but suggests for now everyone retires to bed. 

The next morning Birdy goes out to get eggs and finds a body in the hen house. Jack,  Phryne and Hugh go out to investigate and Phryne says it is Nicholas Mortimer. Jack says the gun didn't leave much of his face and Phryne says she recognises Nicholas' shoes. Jack asks Hugh to get a statement from Birdy and to check on the other guests. Jack finds a revolver and Phryne tells him that Nicholas was going shooting that morning but Quentin had the key to the gun cabinet
Phryne races back inside and find the gun is missing. Jack joins her and tells her Quentin has gone as his room is empty and his things are gone. The electric comes back on. Mac enters the room and asks if Phryne is there then why are her skis missing.  Phryne says Quentin must have taken them and they go to the window and see tracks in the snow. Jack tries to call Jamieson Police but when he goes to use the phone the line has been cut. 

Aunt Prudence, Birdy and Isobel are sitting in the great hall. Birdy says Chester said the car engines are frozen so Quentin can't have escaped by road. Phryne tells them they believe he escaped on skis and could be halfway down the mountain by now. Mac says she is experienced in skiing and could go alert the police and Phryne says she thinks she should go. Jack says he doesn't want anyone in harms way as conditions are treacherous outside and as Quentin is gone they should be safe in the house. Birdy says they should stay busy and offers to put carols on. She asks Isobel if she wants to help but Isobel yells at her asking how she can celebrate when 3 people have died. Isobel storms off to her room and Birdy puts on the 12 days of Christmas. Aunt Prudence gets upset and asks her to turn it off. She asks Phryne where her briefcase got to as she needs the paperwork signed and Phryne tells her she thinks it ended up in her room. Aunt Prudence asks what use it is there and goes to retrieve it. 
Phryne goes after her and asks whats wrong. Aunt Prudence tells her she loathes that song as it haunts her. She tells Phryne that on the night of the cave in at the mine she thought she heard the song being sung by the trapped miners. Her husband Edward came downstairs to see why Aunt P was up and she told him the miners were singing but he said she must have been hearing things as all was quiet. Aunt P gets upset and says it must have been her mind playing tricks.

In the kitchen Dot, Hugh and Birdy are preparing lunch. Isobel comes downstairs and asks them how they can do that when there are people laying dead all over and under the house. She says someone has to pay the price for all of it. Birdy tells Isobel she is in shock and leads her away to the next room to talk and Dot and Hugh listen in.

Phryne and Jack question Isobel and Jack asks her what she meant by 'others haven't been punished'. Isobel says she doesn't know what they are talking about but Phryne tells her Dot and Hugh overheard her conversation. Phryne says they are trying to prevent more murders but Isobel says its too late for her mother. Phryne goes to hug her but Isobel shrugs her off saying they are all as greedy as each other and runs away. 

Phryne and Jack then go to search Isobel's room and Phryne finds a wad of money in Isobel's pillow. Jack finds Isobel's card which is 5 gold rings and Phryne tells Jack about the one she found besides her bed.
Meanwhile Aunt Prudence is in the kitchen when she hears a strange bird calling she goes outside to investigate by the bird bath and someone pushes her head under the water in an attempt to drown her but she kicked over a milk pail and Dr Mac hears the commotion and comes to her rescue as do Jack and Phryne who come dashing downstairs. 
Aunt Prudence tells them what happened and is visibly upset she hugs Phryne and Dot wraps a blanket around her. Dr  Mac said she was out checking weather conditions when she heard the commotion. Jack told her that everyone was meant to stay inside but Mac says she is a doctor and meant to save lives she can't do nothing. Jack asks if she saw the culprit but she said he made himself scarce before she got to Aunt P. Hugh comes back in from outside and says there's no sign of anyone but he found a buttonhole. Phryne recognised it as Quentin's. Aunt P asks why he would want her dead and Phryne says she owns the mine where his uncle died but Aunt P asks why a decade later. Dot brings Aunt P a cup of tea and she asks Dot to get her powders from her bag. Phryne finds a card in her bag which is 4 calling birds. Phryne asks where she got it and Aunt P says it was beside her bed. Phryne tells Jack they need to secure the place as she thinks she has worked out how the murders fit together. 

Jack and Hugh secure the house and Phryne searches Len's things and finds the partridge in a pear tree card. She remembers the other cards she and the other guests had received. Phryne goes to tell Jack that the murders are the 12 days of Christmas as Len was electrocuted under a tree with pear lights, Vera and Quentin were lovers thus two turtle doves and Nicholas was killed in the hen house being 3 french hens and Aunt P murder was attempted after she heard a bird calling 4 times that being 4 calling birds. Phryne says the killer arranged the murders weeks ago as everyone got cards and he knew there would be 10 guests in the challet. Jack tells her there are 12 days but Phryne says there are two police officers with them. Jack and Hugh check their coats and find they too have received cards.

The guests gather with their cards and panic ensues. The guests say they are leaving but the roads are frozen. Chester says he will hike but Jack tells them to stay in the main hall as Quentin may have arranged them in neat numbers but if he saw them he would take the opportunity to kill them. Jack tells them that everyone is inside and the doors and windows are locked then Phryne realise Mac is missing as is her pistol. 

Phryne and Jack go looking for her and find her knocked out in the snow.They wake her up and Phryne gives her a tot to warm her. Mac says she will live but she lost Phryne's revolver. She shows Phryne her card which is 6 geese a-laying. Mac says she was going to go cross country to Jamison and then she saw a sign and someone hit her from behind. Jack notices the entrance to the mine is covered with fresh timber boards. 

Back inside the house Jack asks Chester who could have been down the mine recently and Chester says it must have been Quentin. Jack asks why Quentin would go down the mine and Chester says he has no idea but why would he kills people along with the 12 days of Christmas. Jack asks about the cave in and Chester says he has never forgiven himself for not trusting his own opinion as he didn't want the men to keep drilling but they got close to a new seam of gold and he was issued with a report that said the mine was safe but it wasn't. 

Phryne asks Birdy about the mine shaft and Birdy asks why they are talking about it as they should be out trying to find Quentin. She says they should ask Chester as he can't think straight. Phryne asks what she gave Isobel earlier and Birdy says nothing but she should go to her. Phryne stops her and asks if she gave Isobel the money. Birdy tells her 6 months ago Nicholas paid Len and her to dig new tunnels to get to the gold seam another way. She said the week before they came across the bodies of the dead men along with a letter in a tin.

Jack reads the letter with Phryne Birdy and Isobel and it says the men are trapped down here we tried to warn the boss that the walls are unstable but he refused to listen. We hauled young Laurie up in the basket to deliver word we're still alive and we're keeping our spirits up by singing young Isobel's favourite Christmas song. Phryne asks if Laurie delivered his message and Birdy said she just heard he had died.

There is a flash back to Laurie entering the office coughing and collapsing and Edward runs for help. Nicholas and Quentin are also in the office

Birdy says that later that night there was another cave in but it sounded like an explosion to her. She says Len noticed some gelignite was missing. Phryne asks if she is suggesting the men were missing and asks if either of them informed her uncle. Birdy says no as Len wasn't sure who was responsible and was scared of losing his job. Birdy says she is not proud of what she did but they have been doing it tough so Len threatened to tell Aunt P about the gold seam if Nicholas didn't let them take half for themselves but then Isobel tried to blackmail Nicholas about the past with her letter. Isobel says she and her mother deserved the money as her father could still be alive.

Phryne tells Aunt P that the men lived through the first cave in and she did hear singing. She tells her it was a second collapse (perhaps deliberate) that killed the miners and guaranteed their silence. Phryne asks if Uncle Edward had ever mentioned Laurie delivering a message but Aunt P says no if Laurie had said anything he would have told her. Phryne wonders if he became desperate as the mine was struggling.

The quiet is pierced by a scream from Dot who has found Birdy dead at the kitchen table surrounded by spilled milk and 8 toy cows - 8 maids a milking. Jack says the cocoa was poisoned and Quentin must be inside the house. Aunt P says they all must leave but Jack says they would perish from exposure. He tells Hugh to get a gun from the cabinet and search the reading room then once he knows its safe get everyone inside and lock the door. Jack wonders how he got in and Phryne remembers Aunt P hearing the miners sing. She tells Jack the mine tunnels must run under the house. 

Phryne runs into the cold room and says Aunt P heard the singing in the kitchen by the fire so she check the connecting wall. They find something under a table and start to investigate when the cold room door opens. Jack pulls his gun and it is Chester. Jack tells him he should be with the others Chester tells them it is a ventilation shaft but it must be how Quentin is getting into the house. He gives them the keys and says there are other sets and Nicholas must have given Quentin a key. 

Phryne notices Nicholas' shoes are stained with blood and when she removes then she see someone has hacked off the toes to fit the shoes. She realises that Nicholas and Quentin were similarly dressed and the body is in fact Quentin so Nicholas is the killer! Jack tells Chester to go stay with the other and let Hugh know they are going into the tunnel. 

Phryne and Jack search the tunnels and Phryne wanders off noticing a gold seam. Jack come after her telling her its a dead end and could be a trap but he is tripped and knocked out. Phryne checks on him and find Nicholas in front of her. She tells him he wont get away with it but he says he already has and takes Jacks gun. Phryne asks him why he did it and Nicholas says the gold belongs to him. Phryne asks if he is prepared to kill 12 people to hang onto it and Nicholas says he hasn't finished yet calling her 9 ladies dancing. He then shots at her feet causing her to jump or 'dance' around but the gun that he has only holds 6 bullets and Phryne calls him out on this. Nicholas then produces her pistol and fires two more shots. He aims 9 at her head but Phryne hits him with her bag knocking the pistol out of his hand then swings again knocking him down. Jack comes around and grabs Phryne's pistol leveling it at Nicholas.

Back in the house Nicholas is apprehended and the group are gathered around the dining table. Aunt P asks him why and he says he was robbed when Edward closed the mine and he wouldn't be robbed again. Chester says he should have guessed as Nicholas knew the mine was unstable but sent the men down as he was obsessed with getting the gold. Aunt Prudence asks why and Phryne says that was the least of his crimes as he could have saved the men but chose not to.

We see a flash back of Laurie entering the office. Nicholas tells Edward to get a doctor and Edward and Chester leave. Laurie tells Nicholas that the men are still alive and Nicholas smothers him to death. Then when Edward and Chester return he tells them they were too late. Edward asks if Laurie said anything but Nicholas says not a word.

Hearing this story Isobel flies at Nicholas but Hugh stops her. Aunt P asks if Edward knew nothing and Nicholas says that Edward kept haranguing him about her hearing the singing so he stole the gelignite and blew them up but he says Edward robbed him of his share of the gold because he was so distressed he closed the mine. They realise that Nicholas had hatched the murder plan to get his hands on all the gold killing everyone who stood in his was even his own wife as he was scared Isobel had talked to her and employing a secretary that looked like him to take the downfall. Dot asks why the rest of them and Nicholas says for his own amusement so Hugh hauls him away.
Back at Phryne's house the whole family is collected and Jane has mistletoe. Jane holds the mistletoe over Hugh and Dot and they share a kiss. Phryne then hugs Jane telling her its lovely to have her back. Aunt P enters the room as drinks are being served by Mr Butler and Jane holds the mistletoe over Aunt P and Burt so Aunt P gives Burt a peck on the check. Jane then hold the mistletoe over Phryne and Jack but Phryne says her kisses are not compelled by sprigs of parasitic greenery. Jack tells her it is hemi-parasitic and they get closer but Aunt P interrupts saying it is time for another song and Jane asks Cec to sing Deck the Halls and the whole gang join in for a sing song!

And so that's it for another year unfortunately it seems there are no plans as of yet to renew the show for a third season as it didn't appear in ABC's reel of shows coming up in 2014 and Essie Davies herself has said that for a third season to be out on time they would have to be filming now! Is this a ploy on the part of the ABC to rile fans? I can't see how a third series isn't in the pipeline as the show has sold to networks worldwide and had to be one of the ABC's most popular shows. Lend your support for a third series by signing the petition here

6 comments:

  1. Emma thank you for this blog and recaps of each episode.

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    1. You are most welcome! It takes a lot of work to write full episode synopsis so i'm glad its appreciated

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  2. Does anyone else think this was the worse episode of this series? It seemed so amateurish and patched together, not at all like the other 25 episodes. A big let down for me.

    I do hope the series continues. Where is the petition?

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  3. Agree. Jack's part was written totally out of character and the chemistry was lost in the shuffle. Performances were robotic and the writing didn't have the witty edginess of previous episodes.

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  4. More more more.....just love this detective show so much, watch it with my 10 year old with our little glittery bags and gold toy guns. It's fab

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  5. WHY does the evil guy let the miners die??? He was greedy for gold, sure... but how would letting the trapped miners die help him?

    On the contrary, the tragedy led the owner to CLOSE the mine!

    He ended up marrying the wife of one of the dead men... but I didn't see any evidence that he was so crazy about her that he'd risk so much, and kill so many, to just steal that bloke's wife.

    I watched that episode twice, and it still makes no sense.... Can anybody please enlighten me?

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