Murder Takes the Bus
Murder, She Wrote - 1:18
This is a particularly special episode for me. It's the first one that I watched and thought, "Oh my, this is genius!" I had loved all the shows that came before, but it was Murder Takes the Bus that made me decide to write a whole book about Murder, She Wrote!
I'm not the only one that thinks this is a humdinger; it came out as #1 in Tim Benzie's recent Solve-Along-A-Murder-She-Wrote poll to find the world's favourite.
Tim told me, "I held a weekly survey/competition with the fangelas to find what they thought was the best episode ever (drawn from a list of 32 shows that always turn up on 'top 10' lists, plus some of my personal faves). I'm proud to say I predicted Murder Takes The Bus would win from the very first week. The episode is presented in a classic Agatha Christie closed-room style, has an ingenious resolution and some corking guest stars. Five stars!"
Yes, beloved Tim. I agree with you and all the fangelas; this one is my favourite too. I love the atmosphere created when a group of murder suspects are all trapped together on a wet and stormy night in a roadside diner. The Hitchcockian music helps set the scene, and there are lots of potential murderers. Whodunnit? It could be anyone!
Amos Tupper provides lots of humour as he is very keen to get to the Maine Sheriff's Association dinner in Portland as the food there is always really good! J.B. has been invited as a guest speaker, and when the Sheriff's car breaks down, they are forced to travel by bus.
Unfortunately, stormy weather and a murder hold up their journey. Amos is upset that they will not only miss out on the hors-d'oeuvres but the fruit cup and the potato soup too! At the roadside diner, he is consoled by some homemade apple pie with a slice of cheddar. Although he thinks the dish could do with a "touch more cinnamon."
The fabulous Rue McClanahan also appears, playing a librarian. She reveals to Jessica that her books are in the top 10 "most stolen" from the library. I can believe it!
Linda Blair looks so young in this episode but not as young as when she appeared in The Exorcist! For fun, I guess you could use some green colouring in this trifle as a nod to a legendary scene in that film, although I won't mention it here in case you are squeamish!
Linda Blair's Best English Trifle
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch/cornflour
2 cups milk or half and half
4 well-beaten egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla flavouring
½ teaspoon almond flavouring
1 package (10¾-oz) pound cake*
⅓ cup raspberry jam
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 cups fresh raspberries or thawed, frozen raspberries
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon powdered sugar/icing sugar
1 teaspoon dry sherry
½ cup toasted sliced almonds
Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan. Stir in the milk. Cook the mixture over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks. Mix well. Add to the saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, one minute longer. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the vanilla and almond flavourings. Cool completely.
Brush or slice crumbs and crust from the pound cake. Slice the rest into 24 x ¼-inch slices. Spread half of those slices with jam. Top with the remaining slices to make sandwiches. Arrange them in a large shallow dessert dish or six smaller dishes.
Stir together the orange juice, brandy and sherry. Sprinkle this evenly over the sandwiches.
Spoon the fruit and pudding evenly around the sandwiches. Cover lightly and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Whip the cream with the powdered sugar and sherry. Pipe onto the trifle, top with almonds and serve with hot tea.
* In the UK, we can't buy pound cake, so I would recommend trifle sponges if you can get hold of them, or any other nice plain cake you have knocking around the place. My mum uses cupcakes with the buttercream tops sliced off!
Next week on Murder, She Cooked, a recipe from the kitchen of the spectacular Martha Raye.
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More movie star recipes can be found over at the Silver Screen Suppers blog - 15 years and counting.
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All testers will receive a postcard featuring a specially commissioned illustration of an Angela Lansbury recipe, artwork by Miriam Figueras. Not this big though!
If you like Columbo, you might like my Cooking With Columbo cookbook
Got a Joan Crawford fan in your life? My Cooking With Joan Crawford book is only available from Blurb.
Only a few copies of the Vincent Price cookbook left so don’t delay if you’d like one of these.
Check out Tim Benzie’s Solve-Along-A Murder-She-Wrote website here. His shows are an absolute HOOT - Tim did a private show for my hen night. Can you guess which episode we did?
Cheerio for now, tune in for another episode next week!