'Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries' Season 1, Episode 7 Recap: "Murder In Montparnasse"

(Photo via Acorn TV)

In its seventh episode, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries abandons the seemingly-unrelated cold open for a round at the pub with Bert. He's drinking it up with his war vet pals Thommo (Chris Davis) and Ronnie Cliff (Ben Prendergast). But tragedy strikes when Thommo is deliberately hit by a car. Robinson and Collins focus their investigation on Thomo's tiff with Ronnie just before they left the bar, much to Bert's irritation. But then the vehicle turns out to be a blue Rolls, owned by local bookie Hector Chambers (Vince Colosimo), who recently fleeced the three of them.

Robinson: Ah Miss Fisher. I was wondering when Bert would roll in the heavy artillery.

For once, Miss Fisher's not there to help investigate. She's had a surprise guest turn up from Paris, Véronique Sarcelle (Linda Cropper). Her late husband, Pierre, always wanted to come to Australia, she claims that's why she's visiting. She admits she had to sell his paintings in the wake of his death. Phryne, it turns out, has two in her collection, one of which surprises Véronique. It's a nude Pierre painted of Phryne in 1919, his last painting, and best work. Phryne bought it through a dealer after he died, and she won't give it up. But she's all too happy to give Véronique the other one, ordering Mr. Butler to wrap it up.

Miss Fisher then takes Véronique to lunch at a recreated French cafe run by Anatole (Renaud Jadin), who recognizes her guest immediately. Véronique and her late husband were regulars at his Paris cafe. As he reminisces, he mentions reading recently the French police had reopened the inquiry into Pierre's death, and he hopes they find the man who did it. It will surprise no one Pierre did not die of natural causes. (He was pushed under a train.) Phryne is surprised Véronique did not seen fit to mention this and asks if she can help. Véronique refuses, saying the past is the past.

(Photo via Acorn TV)

The past may be the past, but Véronique's reappearance does stir up old memories for Phryne, including René Dubois (Peter O'Brien), who Phryne met while modeling for Sarcelle. (Not that French artist René Dubois, this one was into the Cubism and Surrealism movements made famous by Picasso. He was also very into Phryne.) Unfortunately, Véronique doesn't stay to stir up more, first standing up Phryne for dinner, and then disappearing from the Seaside Hotel altogether. Meanwhile, a man breaks into the Fisher home and steals the other Sarcelle.

Thommo dies of his injuries, making his hit-and-run a murder inquiry. As Bert and Cec hire Fisher to solve their friend's murder, Robinson and Collins hit up Chambers for questioning. Chambers claims his car was stolen by "a foreigner." Meanwhile, poor Collins stops by hoping to take Dot out on a date, only to be turned down. (Her Catholic priest told her to stop seeing Collins, kissing a protestant is deeply unacceptable apparently.) Despite this setback, Collins is helpful for both Fisher's cases. A female passenger name Sarcelle was registered traveling to Australia via steamer with her husband. (Fisher is shocked to learn Véronique remarried.) As for the Rolls, it hit a couple of other things as it fled the scene. 

Bert's car expertise turns up a trail leading to the car, which has been taken by a local, Alf (David Rock). When shown a picture of Chambers, he confirms this was not the driver. The person he saw run away from the car was "foreign-looking." Bert and Cec aren't convinced, but Fisher thinks Chambers wouldn't run down a customer in a fit of pique. When Ronnie is killed next, it's clear someone is aiming to take down Bert and his war vet friends, for reasons that have nothing to do with gambling. 

As Bert mournfully talks about their final days in Paris, Fisher realizes she doesn't have two cases, but one. Bert, Thommo, and Ronnie were at the train station where Pierre was murdered. They even bumped into the murderer, accidentally divesting him of the very painting stolen from Fisher's bedroom. Phryne realizes in horror Pierre was killed for it and who would be so possessive: The abusive René. When the police reopened the case, they said they were looking for "the soldiers at the station that night" to question. René came here to take down the witnesses and grabbed the painting when Véronique told him she had seen it.

(Photo via Acorn TV)

There's one person René has had contact with, Chambers, whose car he stole. It turns out he also offered Chambers £500 if he'd bump off the victims, and a piece of the pie for moving the paintings. Chambers has the contact info to where they are staying at the Seaside Hotel. Véronique didn't lie about where she was or disappear. She's just staying under her husband's name at the hotel. When Fisher and Robinson arrive at her room, they find her tied up and beaten, and René gone. She never knew René killed Pierre, only that he was kind when her husband died, and charmed her into marriage before turning abusive.

Using Chambers as bait, Fisher lures René to the French cafe, where Collins, Robinson, Fisher, Bert, Cec, and Chambers are all waiting at various tables for his arrival. We get our first Jack and Phryne kiss, as Robinson turns her to him so René won't see her when he walks in. Unfortunately, Bert spoils the undercover game by jumping up and punching René in the face once he arrives. In the scuffle, René gets ahold of Phryne, but she pulls free and turns her gun on him. Before she can shoot, he turns and runs... right into the knife Véronique is holding for self-defense.

René is arrested, and Véronique is free of him. Also in happy endings, Dot takes the advice of Mr. Butler and threatens to"convert," pulling her baked goods and sewing from the church's yearly fair, to see if it would budge her priest on the subject of Collins. Faced with the prospect of losing her winning baked goods, Father Grogaine decides perhaps Dot should work over Collins and get him to convert Catholic instead. And finally, Robinson returns Fisher's painting, getting an eyeful of her nude portrait for his troubles. Or perhaps as payment for them? Either way, that kiss probably wasn't the last.