Murdoch Mysteries Reviews

Murdoch Mysteries Review – Manual For Murder

Manual For Murder
What An Unpleasant Surprise: Murdoch and Brackenreid run into Ralph Fellows at a retirement party.

William (Yannick Bisson) and Julia (Hélène Joy) discover that someone is committing the murders detailed in their new book, chapter by chapter, in Manual For Murder.

The episode begins with another sparsely-attended book reading for William and Julia. William begins to read Solving Murders aloud and says each chapter reveals a different murder and how it was solved. He starts with the case of the electroplated works of art that began showing up around Toronto. Viewers will recall they were actually the bodies of young women from the season 9 episode Barenaked Ladies.

Constable Higgins (Lachlan Murdoch) interrupts him, to tell him he is needed at the Windsor House Hotel, as the owner believes she has discovered a body in the lobby. He and Julia apologize to those in attendance and leave.

They arrive and hotel detective Ralph Fellows (Colin Mochrie) shows them what he calls an electroplated body on a chair. “Just as in our book,” William says to Julia. “Have you read our book then?” she asks Fellows.

“It may astonish the two of you that the world doesn’t revolve around just you,” Fellows says. “The case was in the newspapers.”

William pierces the electroplate and finds blood.

A Manual For Murder?

Brackenreid (Thomas Craig) points out to Murdoch that the electroplate company name and instructions on how to do it are in his book. “You even gave them the address,” he adds.

Miss Hart (Shanice Banton) determines the current victim was stabbed in the heart, just like the previous victim in the Barenaked Ladies case.

Another body is found and this time it’s a doctor. Julia and Miss Hart determine his blood is black, like in another previous case and documented in chapter 2, Death By Nicotine, in William and Julia’s book.

Julia begins to worry. “The killer appears to be going through the book, one case at a time.”

Brackenreid asks how many chapters are in their book and Murdoch tells him there are 28. They are told yet another body has been found, and this time the victim was killed in a manner resembling the lipstick murders.

Manual For Murder
A Rooster On The Package: Ruth is the inspiration for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.

Meanwhile, Ruth (Siobhan Murphy) is chatting with a Mr. Kellogg at the University of Toronto’s School of Medicine, when her husband drops by. She asks him to eat something in a bowl, which he says is dry. Ruth adds milk and Henry says it tastes good. Ruth leads Mr. Kellogg to naming his product Corn Flakes. Later, she tells Henry that Kellogg gave her 1,000 shares in his company and she’s hoping the shares will be worth a lot of money one day.

“I really don’t see people eating dried flakes, especially at breakfast,” Henry says. He tells her to sell the shares and buy a new chesterfield with it. Nice going, Henry.

Inspector Slorach Retires

Station House No. 5 Inspector Hamish Slorach (Patrick McKenna) drops by to invite them to his retirement party. He asks Brackenreid to compose a speech in his honour, and the inspector drags Murdoch along with him to the party. When Fellows shows up and stands at the bar beside them, Murdoch and Brackenreid are clearly uncomfortable. Trying to make conversation, Murdoch mentions he didn’t realize Fellows knew Slorach. Fellows sarcastically replies that he’s not always been a hotel detective and that he used to work with Slorach.

Brackenreid begins his speech and is about to toast the “man of the hour”, but is interrupted when Slorach gets a telephone call. He puts the phone to his ear, but is shot, and blood pours from his head as he falls to the ground. Murdoch realizes what happened to Slorach is from chapter 4 of his book, which details a murder in the hall of inventions.

Murdoch and Brackenreid begin to suspect Mr. Fellows is the copycat killer and begin to look for any connection he may have to the victims. But is Fellows the killer or is someone setting him up to look like he is?

Manual For Murder is an enjoyable walk down memory lane for fans of the show, with flashbacks to former cases and scenes with some old familiar faces.

Murdoch Mysteries airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. on CBC. You can watch Manual For Murder here, and make sure you check out Greg David’s interview with Patrick McKenna here.


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