Hetty Wainthropp Investigates III | 1999
Sixty-something detective Hetty Wainthropp and company -- her dutiful husband, Robert, and her scrappy teenaged sidekick, Geoffrey Shawcross, now promoted to full partner in the Wainthropp Detective Agency -- have their hands full in cases ranging from pyromania to stalking, hit-and-run, restaurant robbery, a drug charge that's an obvious set-up and bankruptcy.
"All Stitched Up" pits Hetty against a gang of pyromaniacs who are terrorizing a local neighborhood. Led by Lenny, the hoodlums enjoy abducting good kids for a joy ride to their next bonfire, usually a house or car. Unfortunately, the police can do little, since the victims are too terrified to finger the culprits. Detective Chief Inspector Adams asks Hetty to go undercover and break the wall of silence. Her target for penetration is the local sewing circle, obviously a gold mine of gossip.
"Daughter of the Regiment" involves Herry in the mystery of a paparazzo-style photographer Jake Vincent, who is stalking the daughter of a prominent military family. Caroline Langley is about to be married, and her mother, Dawn, hires Hetty to find out who the shutterbug is. Tipped that an Australian is involved, Hetty and Geoffrey go undercover as "Aussies." When Hetty confronts the photographer and presents her private investigator's credentials, he presents his! He was retained by Doug Arkwright, who has a personal interest in the coming wedding. Hetty's assignment evolves from sleuthing to counseling.
"Fisticuffs" opens with a minor fenderbender involving two women; road rage ensues, leaving one of them badly battered. The battered victim, Janet Fraser, asks Hetty to track down the attacker, who rode away in a red Alfa Romeo, and demand an apology and compensation. Geoffrey's creative legwork takes him to a local garage, where he finds the red Alfa and the only witness, a marathoner. The perpetrator turns out to be Lillemor Pickering, wife of an influential business leader who has just bought the city's soccer franchise.
"Serving the Community" rides a crime wave against owners of Indian restaurants. When Hetty gets involved, the masked bandits target her. Alarmed by his wife's dangerous assignment, Robert instructs Geoffrey to "ride shotgun" for her protection. Meanwhile, Robert picks up a few culinary tips from the victimized restauranteurs -- and inadvertently picks up a lot of stolen merchandise the robbers are fencing. This lucky break proves the crucial clue in the case.
In "Childsplay," Hetty goes out of town to visit in-laws, only to discover that her young nephew, Tom, has just been expelled from school for drug possession. To Hetty, it's an obvious frame up and she enlists Geoffrey to infiltrate the suspicious gang led by a schoolyard bully called "Bomber." On his way to the assignment, Geoffrey has an entirely innocent tryst with car nut Janet in the back seat of a VW bug
In "Pursuit by Proxy," Hetty is on the trail of bankrupt furniture store owner Ray Lever. To judge from Lever's high-living ex-wife, Sandra, he has been milking the firm dry. One outraged creditor is particularly keen on tracking him down. While Hetty and Geoffrey are on the manhunt, Robert is off in Australia on a free ticket from his brother Frank, who hates flying. That leaves the eccentric Frank hanging out at the agency, and not being altogether helpful.