From the mid-1980s, Angela Lansbury reigned the small screen as queen of murder mysteries. Murder, She Wrote ran for a whopping 12 seasons, consisting of 264 episodes, and audiences just couldn’t get enough of the small coastal town of Cabot Cove, with its bewilderingly high murder rates. For those of you who never got into the series (or those of you who’ve forgotten), Lansbury played Jessica Fletcher, a retired English teacher and successful author of mystery novels, whose deductive skills helped her solve murders far more effectively than any police team.
We all love a good mystery, but today we’re shining a light on Murder, She Wrote, and giving you a slew of things you may never have known about everyone’s favourite amateur detective (or at least my personal favourite; sorry Miss Marple).
1. Murderer’s paradise
The fictional town of Cabot Cove, Maine, would easily steal the title of “Murder Capital of the World”. Research by BBC4 found that the town averaged 5.3 murders per year, with a population of around 3,560.
According to Guinness World Records, Jessica Fletcher holds the title of “Most prolific amateur sleuth”, beating out Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.
3. When Jessica met Magnum
Who doesn’t love a good TV crossover episode? In the Magnum, P.I. episodes “Novel Connection” and “Magnum on Ice”, Jessica travels to Hawaii to investigate an attempted murder, and then must attempt to clear Magnum’s name when he is accused of murder himself.
Just being nominated for an Emmy is an impressive feat, but Lansbury was nominated for 12 Emmys for the series (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series) – one for each season of the show. The number is a still-standing record, as is her matching record of never having won. She won four Golden Globes, though.
5. A different Jessica
Jean Stapleton, who audiences may remember as Edith Bunker from All in the Family was originally offered the role of Jessica Fletcher.
6. Murder, she committed?
A popular fan theory supposes that Fletcher herself was committing all of the murders in Cabot Cove. Helping the theory along is the fact that even when Jessica travels, she is followed by murder.
7. Visit Cabot Cove
Despite being set on the east coast of America, in Maine, the series was largely filmed in Mendocino, California. If you want to see visit the “harbour” used during filming, just get on the Backlot Tour at Los Angeles’ Universal Studios.
8. One more murder
Lansbury has expressed a desire to return to television screens as Jessica Fletcher one final time, perhaps for a telemovie like the four aired after the series ended.
Which Murder, She Wrote mystery was your favourite? Tell us in the comments below!