Books by J.B. Fletcher

In the course of twelve years, Jessica Fletcher wrote more than thirty books - that's more than two and a half books a year, a very prolific production rate for any author - and those are just the ones that we know about from their explicit mention in the series! Further testament to Jessica's considerable talent as a writer was her ability to consistently hit the bestseller list year after year. Apparently, she never sacrificed quality for quantity.

As to the question of which novel contains the phrase Jessica is seen typing in the opening credits ("Arnold raced out the door"), your guess is as good as mine. Another enduring mystery: where Jessica, between travel, teaching, and solving other people's murders, found the time to write all these books!

Wherever applicable, I have included what pictures I have of the dustcovers of Jessica's books from my archives. These are few and hard to find! If you know of any other images of these titles, please e-mail us.

Here follows a list of Jessica's known books, presented in the order in which they were mentioned in the series (the numbers in parentheses under each title indicate the episode in which it was seen or named):

The Corpse Danced at Midnight
(1, 4, 29, 65, 99, 184, 207, 227, and many others at least in passing)
Jessica's first and best-known work, she began writing this book shortly after her husband Frank's death strictly for cathartic purposes. The story was inspired by a recent murder in Bar Harbor that Jessica had heard about in the local news. Although she had no aspirations to have this book published, her nephew Grady found it, read it, and submitted it to Coventry House in New York, which accepted it. The rest, as they say, is history. It is the most frequently seen and mentioned book in the series. Spoiler: the pregnant ballerina did it!

Andrew Probert, an artistic designer and illustrator for the film and television industry (he did a lot of work on Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek: The Next Generation), got the nod to design the cover art for Jessica's first book. His prototype illustrations for the dust jacket can be viewed at his website,

Dirge for a Dead Dachshund
(2, 99, 23, 207)
Presumably, this was Jessica's second book. Though not explicitly named in Episode 2, "Deadly Lady," it can be seen when Ralph picks it up in Jessica's kitchen and claims to have read it. Jessica replies that he couldn't have - at the time, this book had not yet been released, and what Ralph was holding was a pre-publication copy. Later, it was her picture on this book that blew Jessica's cover in the second season opener "Widow, Weep for Me." It makes another appearance in the window of the bookstore in "Smooth Operators." (Thanks to Chao Xing for providing a much better screen capture of the cover.)

A Faded Rose Beside Her
(10, 207)
Jessica tried to use her picture on the back of the paperback edition of this book as proof of her identity. It didn't work.

Murder on the Amazon
(13, 27, 99)

Seen in passing during the episode "Murder to a Jazz Beat" and again as part of the display of books in the bookstore in "Smooth Operators." It was also the book Danny Briggs was holding when he used the picture on the back to identify Jessica in "Sing a Song of Murder."

Lover's Revenge

The Umbrella Murders
(28, 99, 207)
Francesca Lodge is seen with this book in the opening scene of the episode "Reflections of the Mind." It is also one of several of Jessica's books displayed for sale in the bookstore in "Smooth Operators" and the general store in the episode "Northern Explosion."

Murder at the Inn
Jessica was in the midst of writing this book when she visited a lodge set on Stone Lake in Maine in the episode "A Lady in the Lake."

Murder at the Digs
Jessica accepted Seth's invitation to an archeological dig in New Mexico to further her research on the subject for this book.

Murder in a Minor Key
The first ever "bookend episode" by the same name was essentially a narration of this new book by Jessica herself. She intended to write a sequel to it, but if she did get around to this, we never learn the title it was published under. (Pictured at left is the galley edition Jessica was proofreading in the episode.)

The Stain on the Stairs

The Mystery of the Mutilated Minion

The Belgrade Murders

Sanitarium of Death

Calvin Canterbury's Revenge

Murder at the Asylum

Murder Comes to Maine
This book was adapted into a Broadway play entitled "Mainely Murder."

Ashes, Ashes, Fall Down Dead
(99, 156)
Jessica dedicated this book to Mort Metzger, and is seen autographing a copy of it for Mort's younger brother Wayne while flying home from New York in the episode "Thicker than Water." It is also the book that blows her cover while investigating the shady hospital in "Smooth Operators."

Good-bye, Charlie
One of the many "bookend episodes" in Season 6 was based on this book.

Yours Truly, Damian Sinclair
Jessica based the character of Damian Sinclair on her friend, ex-jewel thief Dennis Stanton.

The Corpse That Wasn't There
In the eighth season opener, "Bite the Big Apple," Lt. Boyle brings up this title upon meeting Jessica for the first time. Personally, I'm not convinced that this one is in fact a real title. At the time Lt. Boyle didn't strike me as being a particularly astute student of Jessica's work, and I wonder if he was confusing the titles of two different books: Jessica's The Corpse Danced at Midnight and Lilian Jackson Braun's The Cat Who Wasn't There.

The Messengers of Midnight
(162, 165)
It was a poorly-kept secret that Jessica based at least some of her novels on her own adventures. She retold the story of her experiences in the episode "The Committee" in this book, which was later adapted to be made into a movie (as told in the episode "Incident on Lot 7").

The Poison in My Heart

All the Murderers
The movie version of this book was a big hit at the Milan Film Festival in 1992.

Murder at the Ridge Top

The Corpse Swam by Moonlight
(178, 180, 207)
Probably an early title, given its similarity to the title of Jessica's first book. As with The Dead Man Sang, this title is included on the list of Jessica's other books on the dustcover of The Venomous Valentine. It is also briefly seen in "Night of the Coyote" as the book Ashie Nakai, Sheriff Sam Keeyani's shaman uncle, asks Jessica to sign for him. Also one of the paperbacks on display at the chemist's shop in "The Wind Around the Tower." (This is a composite image from episodes 180 and 207 - take my word for it, that last word in the title is "Moonlight.")

The Corpse at Vespers

The Triple Crown Murders
(188, 202)
The episode "Killer Radio" claims that this was Jessica's fourth published novel - a statement that is at odds with the episode "Bloodlines," which claims that it was only recently published.

The Crypt of Death

A Killing at Hastings Rock
I don't know if this title was ever released as a full-length novel or not, but it was the script for a virtual reality computer game produced by Marathon Images of California.

The Uncaught
(205, 208)
This book caused Jessica some trouble when David Novaro, a man acquitted of murdering his first wife, sued her for libel, claiming that the book was based on his story. More trouble followed when Novaro himself was later found dead.

Murder in White
This novel was adapted into a play to debut in London's West End starring Jessica's friend Glenda Highsmith.

The Dead Man Sang
One of several of Jessica's books displayed for sale in the general store in the episode "Northern Explosion."

The Killer Called Collect
(178, 207)
One of the paperbacks for sale at the chemist's shop in "The Wind Around the Tower." Also one of several of Jessica's books displayed for sale in the general store in the episode "Northern Explosion."
NOTE: A book with a similar name, The Corpse Called Collect, is mentioned in Episode 29, "A Lady in the Lake." Perhaps these two books are one and the same?

Stone Cold Dead on Wall Street

This was the book that Jessica's troubled editor was working on at the time of his death in "Murder on the Thirtieth Floor." These are the mock-ups for the book's eventual dust jacket - Ted Hartley was letting the pigeons in Central Park decide which one to use.


The Launch Pad Murders
This book was to be serialized in the San Francisco newspaper the Daily Union.

Runway to Murder
This book used as its setting the fashion industry in Paris.

The Venomous Valentine

Murder at Midnight

A Case of a Half of Murder
The last title to be mentioned in the series, Jessica was promoting this new release in San Francisco when Murder, She Wrote came to a close. If she continued to write at the pace she maintained during the series' twelve year run, in the decade since the series ended Jessica should have written an additional twenty-five or more books.

And if that wasn't enough ...

The Murder, She Wrote series of books by Donald Bain mentions still more titles! Excluding the titles of Mr. Bain's books themselves (which are billed as being co-authored by Jessica), they are:

Brandy & Bullets
Mentioned in the DB book of the same name

Blood Relations
Mentioned in Martinis and Mayhem

Murder at 30,000 Feet
Mentioned in A Deadly Judgment

Martinis and Mayhem
Mentioned in A Palette for Murder

Art Imitating Life
A play performed aboard ship, possibly based on a book, mentioned in Murder on the QE2

The Hanging Vine
Mentioned in A Little Yuletide Murder

Knock 'Em Dead
Mentioned in the DB book of the same name

Murder in a Minor Key
Mentioned in the DB book of the same name

A Cautious Murder
Mentioned in A Vote for Murder


The Unofficial "Murder, She Wrote" Casebook. Parish, James Robert. Kensington Books, New York, NY, 1997.

The "Murder, She Wrote" series of novels by Donald Bain.

And, of course, the episodes of the series itself.

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