Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries S01E02 - Murder on the Ballarat Train

A man walks in to a room with a group of young girls and a woman. The girl hand over items that have probably been stolen and the man checks the items over. One girl only hands over a few coins and the man grips her wrist and ask if she is stealing from him. He says he can make her tell. The girl behind her in the queue grabs a carving fork from the table and sticks it in the man's hand shouting at him to leave her alone.

Credits roll

Phryne and Dot are queuing for train tickets. Phryne tells Dot that their return journey will be far more thrilling and shows Dot a brochure for the Hispano-Suiza car they are going to collect.
The young girl who stuck the fork in the man's hand is hanging around the fence. Behind Phryne and Dot in the queue are a woman and her daughter. The daughter offers to take her mothers bag but the mother tells her off saying she is trying to count and calls the girl stupid. Phryne notices the young girl hanging around and the girl runs away.

Phryne purchases two first class tickets to Ballarat. Burt and Cec bring Phryne's luggage onto the platform and Phryne says she doesn't know what she would do without them. Burt says she will have to find out as they have some jobs on that day. Phryne says that is a shame as she is taking possession of her new house and wanted them to help move in the last of her furniture but Burt tells her their old car couldn't handle heavy loads. Phryne tells them it is a shame and give them a scrap of paper telling them if they call at that address she has left a small token of her appreciation for them. Cec and Burt thank her and leave

Dot wonders if she should stay behind to help with the unpacking as she would be of more use but Phryne tells her she didn't invite her to be useful she invited her so they could have some fun. A young boy whizzes past with a toy aeroplane getting dangerously close to the tracks. Phryne tells him if he is squashed under the train no one would be able to put him back together again and the young boys father comes to collect him telling him to stay away from the edge.
Phryne and Dot are on board the train. Two handsome young men enter the platform. One hands a bouquet to the daughter who was behind Phryne in the ticket queue and gives her a kiss. The other young man smiles at Phryne. Phryne comments that the scenery has vastly improved and they haven't even left the station. The train pulls out of the station and the young men do not board it. Phryne comments that this is a shame.

At Phryne's new home Cec and Burt are collecting their present which is a new taxi. Burt comments that they left their job at the docks so they didn't have to lick the bosses boots but Cec says Miss Fishers boots are different. Mr Butler comes out to greet them with a tray of lemonade and offers them some refreshment before they pick up the rest of the furniture. Mr Butler says that he hasn’t worked for a spinster before and it will be a pleasure to work for a lady with a strict routine who appreciates the quiet life and Cec spits his drink.
Back on the train Phryne is hanging off the back rails and invites Dot to come smell the fresh air but Dot is worried and asks her to come back in. In the dinning cart Dot notices the young woman reading and her mother playing cards. The young woman is reading a book called Bandit Love. The young boy with the toy plane whizzes past her and comes to see Dot. The father comes to collect the boy and the lady asks if someone can keep the boy quiet. The father notices the woman and addresses her as Matron Henderson. Mrs Henderson says she is surprised and he says likewise and if he knew he would have changed his booking. The young woman Eunice tells him Mr Cotton that is enough but her mother tells her to keep out of it. Mr Cotton takes his boy Eddy away. Mrs Henderson tells Dot to stick her eyes back inside her head and Dot looks away.

In their compartment Dot is sleeping whilst Phryne reads Lady Chatterley's Lover. Phryne places her book and Dot's knitting on the table and curls up to sleep. It is late at night and the train has stopped. Phryne wakes. The train sets off again jarring her and she notices a strange smell so she grabs her purse and goes to investigate. She pulls her gun and follows the smell to another compartment and knocks to see if everything is alright but there is no answer. Through a crack in the door she can see Eunice collapsed on the floor but the door is locked so she shoots of the lock and checks on Eunice. Dot is awoken by the noise and comes to see what is happening. Phryne finds a cloth next to Eunice covered in chloroform. Eunice stirs and asks where her mother is as she was right there. Phryne tells Dot to pull the emergency cord which she does.

The train is stopped and the local police search for Mrs Henderson. Phryne, Dot and the rest of the first class passengers are waiting in the dinning cart. Phryne and Dot are playing cards but Phryne although distracted wins. Phryne is concerned that the local police are useless. Dot tells Phryne about Mr Cotton's run in with Mrs Henderson as the local police constable comes in to tell them the train will be stopping where it is for the night. Phryne grabs her card from her bag she offers it to one of the police constables and asks if she can be of some assistance but her tells her not to worry her pretty head about it. Phryne tells him Jack find her work invaluable and he says he will be phoning his report through so will ask Jack direct.

Hugh is aboard the train and bumps into Dot. Phryne pops her head out of their compartment and asks Hugh to tell Jack she will be right there but Hugh tells her Jack is not there. Hugh says Jack only sent him to tell her to stay in her compartment and not interfere and not to bandy about his name for her own convenience.

Phryne goes to find Hugh and Hugh tells her she should be in her compartment as the local police have it under control. Phryne says she is not good with confined places and says she knows Mrs Henderson was on the train at Baccus Marsh because she saw her and asks where the train stopped after that. Hugh says nowhere as it is an express but Phryne says she felt the train stop. Phryne consults a map and asks what a marking is and Hugh says it is a water station but the train only stops there for five minutes. Phryne tells him a lot can happen in five minutes.

Phryne gets of the train and follows the track to the water stop with the police dragging after her. Phryne notices a patch of grass where it looked like something had been dragged through. They reach the water tower and Phryne begins to climb the ladder and then they spot Mrs Henderson's body hanging from the tower.

Phryne and Hugh are back on the train with the body when Jack arrives and tells her to go back to her compartment. Jack checks the body notes there's not a lot to see apart from the bruising around the neck. Phryne comments that Mrs Henderson is not wearing a lot of jewellery and tells Jack to look out for the jewellery Mrs Henderson was wearing which she describes in detail. She then bids them goodnight and leaves. Jack calls her back and tells Hugh to take a full description of the jewellery from Phryne.

Jack questions Eunice asking who would harbour a grudge against her mother. Eunice says everyone knew her mother was difficult but murder and breaks down crying. In her compartment Phryne has asked Mr Cotton to open the windows for her as they are sticky. She then tells him that they found Mrs Henderson's body and asks how he knew her. Mr Cotton says he is not sorry she is gone but her daughter seems nice. Jack arrives to question Mr Cotton and Phryne offers the use of her compartment.

Jack asks where he was when the train stopped at the water tower and Mr Cotton says he was in the dinning cart getting a lemonade for his son Eddy to keep him quiet as Eddy kept asking how long it would be until they got to the show. He says they were on the way to the Ballarat show as they had free tickets. Phryne motions for Jack to come outside and tells him to ask Mr Cotton about his altercation with Mrs Henderson.

Phryne goes to speak to Eunice and asks her if her mother was in full control of her faculties. Eunice tells Phryne her mother was completely sane and had only recently retired and they had moved to the city. They were going to Ballarat to visit old friends and had booked a guest house for the weekend. Eunice asks Phryne if she think her mother suffered and Phryne tells her she was chloroformed and would not have felt a thing. Phryne comments it is a lot to go to for some jewels but they looked valuable. Eunice says her father bought them back from the war and they had sentimental value. Phryne gives Eunice her card offering her services and asks her why her mother was arguing with Mr Cotton. Eunice says Mr Cotton's wife went into labour when her mother was still Matron at the Ballarat hospital and she died in childbirth. Eunice asks if Phryne thinks Mr Cotton hurt her mother and says she would like Phryne's services.

Jack is still questioning Mr Cotton and Mr Cotton tells him that his wife tried to tell Matron Henderson that their son was arriving but Matron would not listen and sent them home. His wife bleed to death on their kitchen floor after he delivered their son.

Phryne meets up with Jack on the train Phryne says that if Mr Cotton had hauled Mrs Henderson of the train he should have a blister or two. Jack says he could have been wearing gloves. Phryne says it is odd that he happened to be travelling on a train with a woman he loathed but Jack tells her Mr Cotton had not planned the trip as he won the tickets and shows her the envelope containing the tickets.

Jack asks Phryne how she got into the Henderson's compartment if the door was locked and Phryne tells him she hit the lock with her shoe. Jack comments that her shoe seems to have the capabilities of a 38 revolver. The check out the compartment and wonder how the murderer broke in and knocked out both the ladies without either of them protesting. Jack asks if the window was closed when Phryne found Eunice and picks up a piece of material from the window frame. Phryne says it is a perfect match for Mrs Henderson's dress. They notice red leather patent paint on the frame from Mrs Henderson's shoes and realise her body must have been dragged out of the window. Hugh comes to get Jack and Phryne tells him that she is working for Eunice.

Jack is angry but Hugh interrupts telling him that the local police want to talk to him about a lost child. Jack goes to see the child who is the girl from the station and Hugh tells him the local police picked her up and she had a handkerchief full of Mrs Henderson's diamonds. Jack asks the girl her name and tells her she had to talk as she has been caught with thousands of pounds worth of diamonds but the girl refuses to talk to Jack says perhaps they have a use for Phryne.

Jack find Phryne on top of the train surveying the area. Phryne asks why the murderer would use the water tower to hang Mrs Henderson as any tree would suffice. She says the only use for the water tower is the water but Mrs Henderson was hung not drowned. Jack tells her that they have found the diamonds. Jack tells her the thief is being uncooperative and asks for her help. When Phryne sees the thief is a child she says she doesn't do children and Jack says he will have to call welfare then. Phryne says they both know that will not help and talks to the girl.

Phryne introduces herself and tries to bribe the girl with a fizzy drink but the girl stays quiet. Phryne then tells her she is tempted to tell the police she saw the girl hanging around the platform obviously attempting to stow away. The girl says she doesn't remember anything and must have hit her head when she jumped from the train.

Phryne tells her if she does not say how she got possession of the jewels she could be locked up for life and the girl tells her she didn't kill anyone and her name is Jane. Phryne tells her she had a sister called Jane.

Phryne then goes to see Eunice and Eunice asks her if the police questioned Mr Cotton. Phryne says he has a flimsy alibi and he has motive but not incriminating evidence has been found against him. Phryne tells Eunice that her car is arriving in a bit and she can give Eunice a ride back to Melbourne

Jack and Hugh are aboard the train they look outside and see Phryne and Dot with Eunice and Jane in Phryne's new car. Phryne and co zoom away and Jack realises that Phryne has possession of two of the cases witnesses. The car load arrive at Phryne's new house and she meets Mr Butler. She apologises for not calling ahead and tells Mr Butler they are a little shaken up over Eunice mother's murder. She tells him to watch out for Jane as she is a thief and a stowaway and probably needs delousing and that the police will probably come looking for her and asks him to be careful unloading her bags as her pistol is in one of them and is still loaded.

Inside the house Phryne finds Dot blubbering and asks what's the matter Dot tells her she has never had her own room and that it is lovely. Phryne says that is a relief as she was wondering if Dot was still suffering motions sickness and Dot says she was not ill just terrified. Mr Butler greets Phryne at the foot of the stairs and asks how long Jane will be staying. Phryne says until she has told them everything she knows. Mr Butler then announces that Mr Alistair Herbert Eunice's fiance and Mr Lindsay Thompson her cousin are in the parlour.

Phryne greets them and Alistair tells her he is worried about Eunice as she told him she had been chloroformed and he knows of the effects. Lindsay tells him not to show off and says that Alistair will be a doctor after one more exam. Dot shows Alistair to see Eunice and Phryne talks to Lindsay who apologises for their informal dress as they have been rowing and they are part of the university team. Phryne notices a bandage on his hand and he says it is part of the sacrifice but Al is the sporting hero and it is how he got his university scholarship. Phryne asks Lindsay if he is a medical student too and he tells her he is studying law and hopes to specialise in crime.
Phryne asks who would have had something against his aunt and Lindsay tells her there would be a long list. He says he was fond of her but she didn't like Al as she thought he was too common to marry Eunice. Phryne ask why his aunt never turned her talons on him and Lindsay says charm.

Alistair and Eunice come downstairs and Eunice thanks her for the ride. Phryne asks if she is sure she is ok to go home and she says yes but she looks forward to her call and Lindsay chirps in that so does he dropping Phryne his card. The party leave and Phryne then asks Dot to get her the number for the university as she needs to have a word with the Vice Chancellor.

In the middle of the night the household is interrupted by a knock on the door. Mr Butler answers and Hugh is at the door with a woman that claims to be Jane's Aunt. Phryne comes downstairs and asks Mr Butler to show the woman Miss Gay into the parlour. Hugh tells Phryne that he has explained to Miss Gay that Jane is in temporary care whilst they continue the investigation and that Jack wants to see her in the morning as she has technically kidnapped a minor.

Phryne joins Miss Gay in the parlour and Mr Butler fetches Jane. Phryne tells Miss Gay that Jane has been accused of theft and Miss Gay says she has been in trouble before. When Jane sees the woman she says she is not her aunt and she doesn't want to go with her as she doesn't want 'him' near her. Phryne says it is very late and tells Miss Gay if she meets her at the police station in the morning with proof she is Jane's legal guardian she will be there with her lawyer and release Jane into her care. Miss Gay tells Phryne not to be fooled by Jane as she is a devious child but Phryne tells Mr Butler to show Miss Gay out. Phryne then asks Jane who the woman was and why she is afraid of her but Jane says she can't tell her.

The next morning Cec and Burt are enjoying breakfast in Phryne's kitchen. Phryne asks them to rent a room in Miss Gay's boarding house and find out about her and her dubious male tenant. Jack is in the living room he reprimands Phryne for taking Jane when she should be in state care. Phryne tells Jack she has convinced Jane to talk to him and calls for her. Jane tells Jack she found Mrs …. jewels by the rail line. Jack asks what she was up to the rest of the time and Jane tells him she was asleep in the guards van but someone came in when the train stopped and woke her up. She said she thought it was the guard but they just grabbed a lot of rope and then left. It was too dark for Jane to see who it was but a little later she heard noises so she looked and saw the jewels on the ground. Jack said he should still charge Jane with being a stowaway and Jane tells him she was not the only one there the rich man in the striped jacket was there. Phryne says it must have been Alistair Herbert or Lindsay Thompson. Phryne sends Jane away and tells Jack the pair turned up to quickly for her liking so she checked with the college and found out Lindsay Thompson is in trouble for gambling and Alistair Herbert has failed his medical degree.
Cec and Burt head to the boarding house. It looks dilapidated. Burt checks in. Miss Gay shows him his room and tells him the rules. A man name Mr Merton asks Miss Gay if she found the girl. Burt tells Mr Merton he looks familiar and Mr Merton says perhaps Burt has seen his stage act as he is the Great Hypno. Burt leaves and gets back in the cab he tells Cec he cant take the room because he knows Mr Merton the hypnotist that had made him cluck and 'lay an egg. Cec sends him back in.

When Burt gets to his room a young girl is in there. Burt asks her for some information and gives her some money. Burt asks about Jane and the girl Ruth says Jane was her best friend. Miss Gay calls the girl and the girl runs away.

At the police station Jack is questioning Lindsay Herbert . Jack asks him where he went after he saw Miss Henderson off on the train. Lindsay says he loves Eunice but he was in the city watch-house for soliciting. Lindsay says police records will confirm he was in a jail cell all night.

Phryne is at the university watching the rowing team. Back at the police station Jack is with Eunice looking over her mothers will. It turns out her cousin is the sole beneficiary. Eunice says she can't believe it but her mother must have found out Lindsay owed money and wanted to help as Lindsay's gambling had got out of hand. Jack asks if her mother discussed her plans to change her will but Eunice says never, she only thought to look when Phryne mentioned it.

Back the the uni Phryne is talking to Lindsay and he tells her he only just found out that everything was left to him but he will share it with Eunice. Phryne says he doesn't seems surprised but Lindsay says his aunt threatened it constantly because of Alistair but he didn't think she would go through with it. Phryne asks where he went after dropping his aunt at the train. Lindsay says he went to the automobile club for a drink and stayed longer than planned. Phryne asks if anyone can verify this and asks where Al was. Lindsay said he went off to swot or something. Phryne asks who else was there but Lindsay can't recall. Phryne tells him he should hone his answers before Jack calls him in.
Phryne asks if Eunice was aware she would be disinherited and Lindsay saw yes his aunt was not the secretive type. Eunice might have been worried Al would lose interest.

At the boarding house Burt gives Ruth Phryne's details. Burt asks Ruth how Jane ended up at the house and Ruth said they got her from the orphanage like some of the other girls. Ruth says Jane has no one unlike her as she still has her granny. Mr Merton walks in and asks what they are up to. Mr Merton asks Burt how he enjoyed his lunch Burt says he guts are still groaning and Mr Merton says he can help and hypnotises Burt to do everything he commands. Mr Merton asks why Phryne is interested in Jane and Burt says she thinks Jane stole some jewels.
At the police station Jack is questioning Lindsay and asks where he was the night of the murder. Lindsay says he was at the automobile club and Jack says no one of his name signed in. Lindsay said he moved on and Al can back him up. Jack said Al can't back him up as he was in the watch-house. Lindsay asks if that is what Al told him. Jack says the police-station confirmed it. Lindsay tells Jack it was him at the watch-house he had signed in under Al's name so he can still go to the bar. As he and Al look alike they have an agreement. Jack tells him someone looking like them was seen boarding the Ballarat train the night his Aunt died.

Phryne returns home and Mr Butler advises her she might like to have a word with Jane. Phryne finds Jane and Ruth raiding her jewels. Phryne asks them what is going on.

Meanwhile Mr Butler finds Mr Merton snooping around outside the house. Mr Merton offers hos card and asks if he may have a word with the householder.

Back in the house Jane tells Phryne Mr Merton has hypnotised her to steal. Phryne tells the girls they are safe there. Mr Butler gives Phryne Mr Merton's card and Jane gets scared. Mt Butler offers to phone the police but Phryne says she will deal with it. She tells Dot and the girls to wait in her room and tells Dot to lock the door behind her.

Phryne heads downstairs and meets Mr Merton. Phryne tells him she is taken with the idea of being hypnotised and Mr Merton says he will demonstrate his skills. Meanwhile the girls have locked Dot in Phryne's room.

Back downstairs Mr Merton is hypnotising Phryne. He asks her where Jane is or he will kill her and he pulls a knife. Jane runs in and hits him with a candlestick. Phryne pulls her gun and Mr Butler retrains Mr Merton. Phryne tells Jane to let Dot out so she can telephone the police.

Jack arrives and informs the girls Mr Merton and Miss Gay are both behind bars. He tells them he has contacted the girls families including Ruth's grandmother. Dot comes in and tells them that Eunice is there to see Phryne.

Eunice pays Phryne and informs her that the police can handle things from here. Phryne says the case isn't solved yet. Eunice says she is over it and needs a spell at the seaside. Phryne tells her it is a pity that no one sent her free tickets like she sent Mr Cotton. Eunice says she doesn't know what Phryne is talking about and Phryne says she needn't lie about a good dead unless it is not a good dead as she already lied about having no knowledge of her mothers changing her will. Jack arrives and Phryne tells him that Eunice was just about to explain why she framed Mr Cotton for her mothers death. Phryne hands over the cheque and says it is a match to that on Mr Cottons tickets.

Eunice becomes scared and says its not what they think they only needed enough money for a practice in the country they just wanted her mothers jewels but something went wrong. Her mother woke up while Al and she were robbing her so Al gassed her as well.

Eunice says Al found out about her mothers will and about Lindsay and is furious. Phryne says they have to stop him as he is a desperate man. Eunice tells them Al has gone to the rowing club to meet Lindsay. They race to catch him.
At the club they hear an argument and see Al choking Lindsay with an oar. Phryne drops her gun and Eunice picks it up and trains it on Phryne and Jack. Al tells her to bring him the gun their plans don't have to change. Phryne tells Eunice not to trust him as Al always planned to kill her mother. The whole thing was premeditated as Al knew exactly where the tower was. The plan only went awry when Jane stole the jewels. Phryne tells Eunice her mother did not wake up as even a failed medical student would know how much chloroform to use. Phryne asks Eunice if he had told her he failed his degree. She says Mrs Henderson was right he was not good enough. Eunice collapses dropping the gun. Phryne grabs it and trains it on Al telling him to let Lindsay go. Al does and Jack arrests him. Al tells Eunice he still adores her.
Back at home Phryne puts Jane to bed. Jane returns Phryne's broach. Phryne tells her she was prepared to let it go if Jane wanted it bad enough. Jane ask when Phryne is taking her to welfare and Phryne says she can't and asks Jane how she would feel about staying. Jane says she is not a nice girl and Phryne tells her she never been very nice either so Jane is just the kind of girl she likes.

Phryne remembers playing sailing with her sister Jane as a child. Mr Butler announces Jack and Jack tells her the welfare have agreed for her to foster Jane. Phryne says he doesn't look convinced. Jack tells her it is not easy to foster a child that has been through the ringer. Phryne tells him it is not and offers Jack a drink. Jack accepts and Phryne asks Jack about children of his own. They toast children's that have been through the ringer. Jack tells Phryne to call him Jack as everyone else does and Phryne tells him then he must call her Phryne although hardly anyone else does.        

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