Jessica Fletcher, a widow in a small town in Maine, writes murder mystery novels. Everywhere she goes, people are murdered. When she visits friends and relatives, people are murdered. But the quick-minded Mrs. Fletcher always solves the case and finds the culprit. This is the premise of Murder, She Wrote, a television show that ran from 1984 through 1997. Here are some bits of trivia the series.
1. At the beginning of the series, Jessica Fletcher lives at 698 Candlewood Lane, Cabot Cove, Maine 03041. Where is this fictional town? That’s unclear, but here’s a webpage that meticulously pieces together the geographic clues mentioned in the series.
2. Over its 12-year run, the series listed by title 25 mystery novels that Jessica has written, starting with The Corpse Danced at Midnight--her first book.
3. By the early 1980s, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple character had thrived on British television for a decade. CBS wanted to create a similar series to exploit its popularity. The network created and aired a Miss Marple television movie called A Caribbean Mystery.This movie was a hit, so CBS continued to work in this direction.
4. CBS decided to create a dramatic series about a mystery novel writer who solved mysteries. They offered the lead role for Murder, She Wrote to Jean Stapleton, who played Edith Bunker on All in the Family. She declined.
5. Jessica Fletcher doesn’t drive a car. Angela Lansbury liked this “because it precludes, in a sense, the need for car chases.”
6. Lansbury had demands for the show’s tone before she would accept the lead role. “I stipulated that there should be no scenes of gratuitous violence, with blood and gore and car smashes.”