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Jessica Fletcher - A longtime novelist by now.
Dr. Seth Hazlitt- Jessica's best friend, who loves food.
Sheriff Mort Metzger- The local sheriff, who is always jumping to conclusions.
Kevin Bryce - A young boy who helps Jessica with her garden for extra money.
Marla Bryce - Kevin's single mother, who is arrested for murder.
Jack Franzen - The murder victim. Jack is very pushy and has a way of making people angry.
Gloria Franzen - Jack's wife. Gloria hates Jack and isn't affected by his murder. In fact, she happy about it.
Danny Snow - Danny is the murderer. He and Jack were old "friends".
Owen Brownwell - Marla's boss, who was angry at Jack because he raised the rent on his shoe factory.
Patsy Dumont - A clerk at Owen's store.
The episode starts with Jessica and Kevin Bryce working in her garden. Kevin, shoveling at the tough dirt with a small garden spade, tells Jessica he won't let the dirt win. And also says he will bring his shovel the next day.
Then it show Kevin's mother, Marla, on the phone in her workplace, Owen's shoe factory. She hangs up and sees Owen arguing with Jack in his office. Jack tells Owen he's upping the price of rent on Owen's building. Owen's temper flares while Jack calmly tells him to talk to someone who cares. Owen and Jack leave the office and Jack wanders over to Patsy, a attractive clerk. He talks to her and at that moment Marla approaches Owen asking for the rest of the day off. Owen agrees when Marla tells him she'll work twice as hard, and tells her to be there first thing the next day. Marla goes back to work before she has to go and Jack walks up, telling Marla they need to talk about her rent. Jack gets threatening to Marla and Danny interferes delivering shoelaces for Marla, asking if she's OK. Marla says she's fine and Jack tells Danny to take a hike.
Then the episode goes back to Kevin, still at Jessica's house but it is now nighttime. Kevin is joined by Jessica and Seth. After talking a bit Kevin leaves on his bike. While pedaling through a shortcut Kevin sees two headlights and a vehicle runs him off the road, bending the front wheel of his bike. Kevin, half-blind, says "Jerk," after it and strangely only spots one taillight.
The next monday Jessica and Seth are delivering packages for Jessica's family. Seth complains at how many years she has remembered her family's birthdays and anniversaries and that she has "so many of them". In the post office Jessica and Seth run into Jack's wife, Gloria. They talk a while before leaving. On the way out Jessica bumps into her friend and Kevin's school teacher, who says Kevin was not in school. Jessica goes home and finds Kevin hard at work, but he seems jumpy. Jessica asks what happened to his shovel and Kevin tells her he couldn't find it, that somebody must have stolen it. Jessica invites him in for a snack, which Kevin dovowers. Jessica questions Kevin about why he wasn't in school. Kevin answers that his mother is sick and he had to take care of her. But when Jessica asks if she can call Marla or come visit Kevin quickly makes excuses. But after Kevin leaves (On foot because his bike is ruined) Jessica grabs a frozen chicken and follows him on her bike. She knocks on Kevin's door and hears Kevin ask for his mother. Kevin opens the door and doesn't allow Jessica into the house, but after Jessica pulls together all the clues, Kevin confesses he lied, that his mother is sick. That instead she has been gone for the last 3 days.
Jessica takes Kevin inside and he explains that he didn't tell anyone because he was afraid of being put in a foster home, due to horrifying prior experience. Jessica promises he won't go back and together they go to the sheriff's office. Kevin fills out a missing report, while he does Gloria comes in and fills out a missing report for Jack. Jessica snoops and found that both Marla and Jack went missing on the same day. Jessica then takes Kevin home to collect his things (because he is staying at her house) on the way Kevin spots something and despite Jessica's cries runs forward and finds Jack dead in his car less than a mile from Kevin's house.
Jessica and Kevin call the sheriff and they investigate and Seth concludes that Jack died by a blow to the head and Mort finds a bloody shovel (The same one Kevin said he was going to bring to Jessica's).
Later Marla is found at a hospital in a nearby town due to a mugging. However Marla and Kevin's reunion is short lived when Mort asks Marla to come back to Cabot Cove for questioning and late locks her up for murder. Jessica and her former student ask Kevin about staying with Jessica until Marla is free. Kevin happily agrees but later is found in the guest room wondering if he'll ever see his mother again. Jessica reassures him with a clue she spots (a broken taillight cover) to which Kevin gets really excited. The next day, Jessica is frantic when she can't find Kevin and she and Seth go around looking for him. They run into Danny who tells them he saw Kevin the next street over. Seth tells Jessica to slow down before they find Kevin checking the backs of all the parked cars and invite him back for breakfast.
Jessica goes to Marla's workplace and finds Owen and Gloria pouring over new business plans. Mort finds out Jack went to Patsy's house the time that Marla said she was at a job interview. Marla now has an alibi and is about to be released. Jessica tells Setha and when she sees the situation with her coffee maker light she calls the sheriff.
Kevin is checking the back of Danny's truck when Danny catches him. Kevin tries to convince Danny that he wasn't doing anything but Danny doesn't believe him. Kevin sees the new tail light cover on Danny's pick-up and runs away. Danny catches him and almost uses Kevin as a shield against Mort, who just showed up, before letting him go saying he wasn't going to hurt Kevin.
Danny confesses he killed Jack because he liked Marla. He wanted to help Marla on her rent and when she wasn't there and Jack showed up, Jack taunted Danny and Danny was so angry he picked up the shovel and swung it so hard it killed Jack. Danny tried to cover it up but bumped into the stump and shattered his tail light cover.
After Danny is arrested, Kevin, Marla, Jessica, and Seth are all having dinner. Marla says she got a promotion and Kevin is still willing to work for extra money. Then Jessica and Seth ask if they can have his help and Jessica puts her hand on Kevin's arm, claiming him first.