Vintage Steele
From the original episode written by:
Susan Baskin
Thank you, Jan for the transcript!

A group of reporters, laughing and talking, are gathered at the bottom of large metal vine vats. A female voice is heard, "Let's get things going," as another calls out, "Whenever you're ready, " and a male voice replies, "Fire away."

"Mr Jefferies, it's been rumored that your bank is thinking of financing an expansion for Vandermeer Wineries to the tune of twenty million dollars. Could you comment on that?"

Wilson Jeffries, well dressed in a suit, tie and vest answers, "I think it's safe to say that if we do proceed we'll have no doubt about putting our full support behind a prize winning cabernet like this." He looks down at four labeled wine bottles and tilts one for the photographers.

A male reporter speaks, "The critics have praised this Vandermeer cabernet as a leggy, full bodied wine, with a marvelous nose, a rich ruby robe, an almost transcendental finish. That's an awful lot of adjectives for grape juice wouldn't you say?"

"I think the person best qualified to answer that question is the man responsible for creating the cabernet, Mr. Claude Vandermeer." The reporters clap as Wilson moves off, speaking in a low voice to Claude, "I'm going to stretch my legs."

Claude steps into the spotlight as the reporter's questions continue, "What really makes this vintage so exceptional Mr. Vandermeer?"

"Well, as you remember when we presented this cabernet at the competition last year ..."

Wilson is seen walking up wooden steps to a walkway which overlooks large wooden barrels. He wanders to the end of the walkway and then heads down some stairs, stopping at an open vat which has a large ladle by its side. Wilson picks up the ladle looking appreciatively into the vat, "A marvelous nose, rich ruby robe .." he stirs the wine in the vat, "..and oh, so leggy." Wilson dips the ladle and when he brings it up to the surface he sees a hand being lifted by the ladle. He drops the ladle, astonished as a body in a singlet floats to the surface.


Bernice is typing when Steele walks into the office. "Good morning Miss Wolfe." Steele picks up a pile of mail. "Any matters here of great consequence that demand my immediate attention?"

Bernice is smiling as she turns around , "They're bills, sir."

Steele hastily puts down the pile of letters, "Ah bills, good." He starts towards his office.

"And he's waiting for Laura so I don't think you should .."

Steele turns to notice Wilson waiting in reception, he holds up his hand, "Ahh, ssh, ssh. ah, ah," as he approaches Wilson. "Remington Steele." Steele holds out his hand which Wilson shakes. "Perhaps I can be of some assistance," continues Steele.

"Mr. Steele, will Miss Holt be in soon?"

"Oh any moment I'm sure but, umm, you're welcome to wait in my office Mr..."

"Jefferies, Wilson Jefferies."

Steele leans forward, sniffing, "That wouldn't be a cabernet you're wearing by any chance Jefferies?"

Wilson looks uncomfortable, "One of the best," he moves past Steele into the office. "I don't know quite how to say this Mr Steele but I .." he stops looks down at himself and then continues in an amazed tone, "I'm a banker."

"A banker?"

"Executive vice-president of Mutual Guarantee." Wilson looks in his jacket for a business card, "Manager of Corporate Fnances." He doesn't find a business card, stops and sighs and asks with concern, "How is she?"

"She?" asks Steele puzzled.

"Miss Holt."

"Oh, Miss Holt, she's fine, fine, fine but umm, as for your banking .."

Wilson becomes animated, "It was my proposal to diversify -finance the winery."

"Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe that banking in itself is cause for investigation unless of course ... " Steele doesn't know quite how to continue.

Wilson sits down looking blankly and then amazed, "I did it. I can't believe I did. But I did it." Suddenly he looks concerned and gets up out of his chair, "You did say Miss Holt was coming in soon."

"Oh, yes, yes, yes. A brief traffic delay at worst." He takes a deep breath not sure how to continue. "But umm, anyone can appreciate your dilemma. I mean, faced with the prospect of a vast financing, a banker, umm, any banker might yield to the impulse and -uh ..."

"Steal a body?" queries Wilson.

Steele looks confused, "You stole a body?"


Bernice is still at the typewriter when Laura enters with a song in her voice, "Good morning," heading for the pile of letters picking up a few that Steele had briefly perused.

Bernice turns in her chair, "That might be a little rash."

"How's that?" ask Laura with caution.

"I can't fight him any more Laura. If he gets here before you do and grabs hold of a client, I won't be held responsible."

Laura looks panicked as she drops the mail and heads directly for Steele's office.


Wilson is sitting down again. "I don't know what came over me."

Laura walks into the room. "Excuse me for being late but ..." Wilson turns around and Laura catches sight of him. She stops short in shock, utters, "Oh my God," and turns, immediately leaving the office.

Wilson turns to Steele who points at Laura's receding person, "That was Miss Holt just now. Would you excuse me?" Steele follows Laura out the office.

Laura is in reception, her back to the wall with disbelief on her face and in her voice as she says to herself, "I don't believe it."

Steele comes out of the office and looks at a loss to her reaction, "Well, it's not as if it's the first time I've seen a client before you did. I mean, don't you think you're overreacting just a touch.." Steele walks past Laura who takes a deep breath and gets a determined look on her face as she storms back into the office. Steele continues, ".. I mean, we're supposed to be professionals and.." He stops as he sees her disappearing into his office.

Wilson approaches Laura as she enters the office. They stand opposite each other.

"What are you doing here?"

"Laura, I had no idea this was going to happen."

Steele comes into the office, coming up between Laura and Wilson watching their exchange.

"Haven't I hard that from you before?"

"I take you two have already met?" Both Laura and Wilson ignore Steele's question.

"Laura, I have to talk to you."

"Prior case no doubt," suggests Steele.

"I don't think this is the place for that."

"A friend of the family?" persists Steele.

"It can't wait," insists Wilson.

"Wilson, I work here!"

"A cousin perhaps?" Finally, Laura glares at Steele, "Skiing instructor?" continues Steele silently pleading for an explanation.

"I had no choice Laura."

"WHY?" she demands to know, losing her patience.

"Because he stole a body," interjects Steele pointing at Wilson.

Laura looks confused and is caught off-guard, "You stole a body?"

"Well, I took a body, I mean, I have a body."

"What do you mean you have a body?" asks Laura, her voice becoming high-pitched. "We all have a body Wilson!"

"MINE'S in the TRUNK of the CAR," replies Wilson.

Laura pulls back with a silent "Ooh" and looks at Steele who reacts similarly.


Steele, Laura and Wilson are walking in the parking lot.

Wilson is walking slightly ahead of Remington and Laura berating himself. "Look at me. My suit. I'm falling apart. You can't imagine what's it's like lifting a body from a vat of wine."

"Hmm. I'm sure the bouquet is overwhelming," responds Steele, "What size are you?"

"Thirty-eight, regular," replies Laura automatically. Steele and Wilson stop to look at her.

Steele pauses, "You mean to tell me .."

"White belts," Laura confirms. "T-shirts that say, 'Bankers do it with interest'."

Steele looks positively stunned.

Wilson asks. "You still have those clothes of mine?"

"You lived together? I assumed you had some history but .." verifies Steele.

Laura cuts him off. "It's ancient history now." Wilson looks away from her glare and moves to the trunk of his car. He hesitates.

Laura is impatient, "All right, we're here. Let's see it."

"Brace yourself, it's not an easy thing .."

"Open it," demands Laura, cutting him off.

Wilson opens the trunk. Steele and Laura look in only to find it empty.

"Oh no. No, he was right there. I swear it." Wilson sees the look of disbelief on their faces, "Someone must have taken him."

"From a moving car, that hardly seems likely," says Laura not impressed. She walks to the front of the car, leaning on the hood. Steele follows her and attempts a tactful suggestion. "Ah, perhaps in light of the personal nature of this affair, we should refer Wilson to another agency."

Laura cuts him off. "There is nothing personal going on here, I am over it."

"All right," responds Steele deciding discretion is the better part of valor.

Laura senses his doubt and emphasizes, "Completely." She then turns and approaches Wilson. "All right Wilson. We're both adults , we're both professionals, and if you insist that there was a body in that trunk, then I think the thing to do is to proceed with a series of," she takes a deep breath, "strictly professional questions."

Steele looks at Wilson still with a bemused look on his face as he looks Wilson up and down.

Laura asks, "On the way from the winery, did you stop anywhere?"

"No. Yes. Once. I had to."

Steele looks uncomfortable as Laura asks, unimpressed, "Where?"


The Rabbit is driving along a dirt road through a vineyard. Laura is driving, with Wilson in the passenger seat and Steele in the back. They pass monks tending to vines. One of the monks stands up after they pass and walks onto the road looking at the car.


The Rabbit is driving along a heavily vegetated stretch of road. Steele is admiring the scenery. "Ah wine country. Warm, friendly, inviting."

Laura continues her questions to Wilson, "Can you describe this body?"

"Well, it was heavy." Laura looks at him. "I really didn't look at that closely. Slow down, I think this is it." Laura slows the car to a stop and they all leave the car.

"You stopped here?" asks Laura looking around in doubt.

"Well, there was, there was so much wine at the press conference I didn't know when I'd find a gas station."

"You mean you needed to Ahh .." concludes Steele in understanding.

"Yeah, by that tree over there. Maybe it was that tree over there. I don't know, it was so dark I can't tell now."


"But I was only there for a minute or two."

"You didn't hear or see anything?" asks Laura.

"Sure I did. I heard Harcourt tear up a year's worth of work in ten seconds. I heard the Board kick me out of the bank. I heard my whole life coming down around my ears! I saw that body in the vat and suddenly I thought to myself, 'What would Laura do about this?'"

Laura doesn't look impressed, "So, you stuffed him in the trunk of the car and ran away with it."

Steele is absorbed, "Are you talking about this Laura here?"

Wilson ignores him, looking to Laura, "The loan is set to go through in less than forty-eight hours. There were reporters all over the place. I HAD TO DO SOMETHING!"

"All right," Laura says, looking around the area. "There are signs here of truck treads, maybe some, ah, rubber boots, a few horse shoe impressions but in this area none of those is unusual."

"Well, in that case I think we should proceed to the winery and inspect the original source of umm ... the problem." Laura nods in agreement with Steele's suggestion.

A white horse with a well-dressed middle-aged woman astride comes into view. The horse rears up and throws the woman as it passes the parked car. "WHOA, Arnold, WHOA! Ohh." The woman falls from the horse. They all run to assist her, Steele reaching her first and holding out a hand to help her to her feet, "Are you all right?".

The woman takes his arm and then heads to the horse. "Once more, Arnold my pet, ONCE MORE AND YOU'RE DOG MEAT, YOU HEAR ME?" The woman turns around and glares at Steele, Laura and Wilson, "Is that you're car there?"

Both Steele and Wilson point to Laura who replies, "It's mine."

"Arnold doesn't like cars, never has. What's it doing there?"

Wilson tries to placate the woman, "Well, we were just admiring the view."


Steele continues with Wilson's lead, "Oh, to students of nature like ourselves even the most mundane surroundings can afford ahhh .. panorama of delight."

"I want that car out of here in five minutes."

"This is a public road you know, " states Laura, moving forward as Wilson starts to stop her.

"Not when it runs thorough my land it isn't." The woman turns towards Arnold, "Don't you move from that spot, Arnold. You hear me?"

The woman moves towards the horse as Steele comments, "What an engaging attitude."

"Hers?" asks Wilson in disbelief.

"Arnold's," replies Remington.

Laura looks up at Steele, "Wonderful wine country huh?"

"Well," he shrugs and they back head to the car.

As they're getting in the car Wilson informs Laura, "They're are a number of private vintner estates in the area Laura, so, with the way you drive .."

Steele is sitting into the back when he asks, "What's wrong with her driving anyway?" only to be forced back into the seat as Laura puts the car into gear and accelerates rapidly.


The car is driving fast along a road before screeching into a sudden ninety degree turn, coming to a halt under a canopy at the entrance to 'Claude Vandermeer Vineyards'. Steele slowly sits up, his voice a bit shaky, "Well, you certainly taught that road a lesson it won't soon forget."

"No sense in dragging this thing out," responds Laura glaring at Wilson.

"It's inside, I'll show you," replies Wilson as Steele continues his slow exit from the car. Laura walks into the cellar as Steele pulls Wilson back. "Ah, if you don't mind my asking Wilson, umm, when you and Miss Holt were ... ah, umm"


"Yes, ah .. was her driving always so uh, exuberant?"

Wilson remembers fondly, "If anything, it's gotten a little better. But I'm sure you know how she is. Impulsive. Uninhibited. Absurdly passionate. It must get trying for you at times, keeping her in check?"

"Oh well, I do what I can," answers Steele looking unsure. Wilson follows Laura's path as Steele tilts his head, raises his eyebrows and repeats to himself in a disbelieving tone, "Absurdly passionate, eh?"


Inside, the trio walk down an aisle lined with pallets filled with boxes on either side as Claude rushes up to them.

"Wilson, thank God. I was so worried about you when you disappeared last night without a word."

"Something sort of came up suddenly," replies Wilson.

"I guess waiting for final approval on the loan has us all a bit strained," agrees Claude.

Laura interjects, "Well, Wilson was so excited about something in your wine he insisted we come up and have a look," Laura looks at Wilson.

"Forgive me, Claude Vandermeer, this is Miss Holt and"

Steele cuts him off with an affected voice introduces himself, "Lindsey-Woolsey, Nigel Lindsey-Woolsey. Wilson asked us not to say anything but I'm preparing the definitive text on California wines. Miss Holt is my assistant and if the reports can be trusted we might do a feature on your cabernet. Mind if we have a look around?"

"For a feature write-up I'll personally give you a grand tour," replies Claude, looking extremely pleased. He looks at Wilson, "Wilson, you clever dog you, when you grab something, you run with it all the way."

Wilson laughs nervously and follows Claude as Laura mutters in agreement, "Just as far and as fast as he can," while she and Steele follow.


Claude puts down a plastic tube on a table as moves to some machinery, turning around to address Remington and Laura. "Of course you know that wine consumption in the United States over the last ten years has more than doubled."

"Hmm hmm," agrees Remington as he and Laura walk past Claude and Wilson. The latter two turn to the machinery as Claude continues, "This of course is our bottling area where the results of months of hard work finally come to fruition ..."

Steele and Laura are walking through machinery. "Laura, in your experience, would you say Wilson sees things from an -unusual perspective?"

"I don't know anymore what he sees, why?"

"Well, he claims to take a body from a vat of wine which then, ah, mysteriously disappears."

"You don't believe him?"

"No, no, it's not that but with all the stress from this business loan, the man he found might have been merely intoxicated."

Claude is continuing his spiel, "... but I sweat out every inch of the process. So that I know when I press this button," which he does, "...all the months of careful fermentation," behind Claude and Wilson a hand drops from the now moving conveyer belt,"... the endless checking and blending and sampling has produced the most extraordinary vintage ..."

As they stand at the end of the conveyer belt, Laura is explaining to Steele, "Wilson has made a career out of being accurate and specific. If he said it was a body, there's a better than even chance .." she stops as the body rolls down the conveyer belt and comes to a stop in front of them.

Claude rushes from where he is standing, panicked "What the hell was that?" He looks horrified as he realizes what he is staring at. Wilson follows Claude and looks up at Laura, "The body".

Claude looks up astonished, "What?"

Steele and Laura reply in unison, "The body."

Claude is nervous, "Who, who is it?"

Laura looks up, "You don't recognize him?"

"Oh it's the same one all right," states Wilson.

"You recognize him?" ask Claude.

"Oh just from the trunk of my car but how did he get back here?"

"Back here?" asks Claude still unnerved.

Steele offers his advice, "It appears to be a blow to the back of the head."

"Enough to make him drown in a vat?" queries Laura.

"Hmm, that would be my professional opinion." Steele winces as Laura steps on his foot.

"What vat? What opinion? Since when does a wine writer have professional opinions about bodies. Wilson, what in God's name is happening here?" asks a frightened Claude.

"I would like to be more specific with you about that Claude but as for the moment .."

Wilson is cut off by a no-nonsense voice calling out, "Jefferies, you back there?"

Wilson freezes, "Oh no. It's Harcourt. That means Westfield. The *whole* Board is here!"

Claude contributes, "I was expecting them sometime today but, oh no!"


Wilson pleads to Laura, "HELP me!"

"Give me as much time as you can," she waves Wilson away, "Go on, go on."

Steele points at the body, "Intriguing problem, eh?"


"Well then, perhaps you gentlemen would like to start with some wine," suggests Wilson as he starts to lead a group of men, lead by a gruff, officious looking man, away from where he left Laura and Steele with the body.

"Wine? Perhaps later. Just now, we're anxious to have a look at what we're buying into. What's this way?" The man turns and heads towards where the body lays.

Claude looks troubled as Wilson calls out after the group, "Ah, this way."


Steele and Laura are trying to stuff the body into a wine barrel but the arm of the corpse will not bend. Laura is pushing the head into the barrel, "Push!".

"I'm pushing, I'm pushing down," mutters Steele as they both sign in frustration, "Ooh."


Wilson has reached the front of the group which is fast approaching the bottling area. He calls out, "This is the bottling section of the winery where the WINE IS PUT IN BOTTLES."


Laura gives up trying to bend the arm and stands in front of the barrel. Steele stands beside her on her left. They both look down and see the arm protruding between them. Laura looks down and sees the arm, hits it away and changes position with Steele so she is standing on his left. "Ooh" calls out Steele as he pushes past the arm. Laura grabs the arm and places it around her waist as she leans into Steele. They both put on smiling faces as Wilson walks up with the Board, "Ohh, allow me to introduce the noted wine author, Nigel Woolley ..." - Steele tries to subtly mouth "Lindsey" which Wilson misinterprets, "Lentil!" Claude looks puzzled at Wilson's introduction.

Wilson turns to the gruff looking man, "Chester Harcourt."

"Never heard of you," informs Harcourt as he shakes Steele's hand.

"Oh, I don't publish that much now in the colonies."

Wilson continues with the introductions, "And his assistant, Miss Holt."

"Hello," sings Laura.

"But you do seem familiar to me," observes Harcourt.

Laura looks questioningly, "Really, I can't imagine where we would .." as she raises her own hand from holding the corpse's hand to her body it starts to swing out. Laura quickly grabs the swinging hand and brings it back to her waist. "..have met before." She laughs loudly as Harcourt continues to stare at her.

Wilson tries to lead the Board away, "Well, we still have a lot to see. Shall we?"

"If you'll excuse us," says Harcourt but as he turns away he loses his step.

Remington leans forward to help balance him, "Oops, there we go." He goes back to the barrel, putting his hand on Laura's left shoulder, she quickly hits it away before anyone realizes 'Lentil' has two left hands, one on her shoulder and one around her waist.

"Excuse me, Lentil. I'm not usually so clumsy," explains Harcourt continuing to stare at the smiling duo.

"Oh yes, well, we all miss a step now and then," Steele laughs as Laura looks up and joins in.

Harcourt, far from impressed, turns away, "Carry on Wilson." Before he turns the corner Harcourt looks back to Laura who is looking down into the barrel. Steele sees Harcourt looking and pulls Laura up. They both look up with exaggerated smiles and wave at him. Harcourt looks thoughtful before following the others.


Remington and Laura are rolling the vertical barrel, with its lid in place, out of the cellar.

"There's no telling why he turned up back here. Sabotage maybe?" ponders Laura as they struggle with the barrel. "Would love to know why he was killed. We don't even know who he is."

"That's the trouble with Harry."

Laura looks up at Remington, "What makes you think his name was Harry?"

"Paramount," Laura joins him as he finishes the annotation, "Nineteen fifty-five."

Remington is impressed, "Hey. John Forsythe, Shirley MacLaine. They had a similar problem keeping up with a roving corpse."

The barrel falls upright as they both look down, "Ooh."

They are approached by the woman they'd seen earlier in the day with Arnold, the horse, "Shake that any harder and you'll kill it for sure."

"Ah," Steele looks around.

"But then who said 'students of nature' knew anything about handling wine?"

"And here I thought your forte was horses- or has Arnold got his back up again?" Steele asks.

"When you run an estate of twelve thousand acres you learn to be good at lots of things. You must be here for Claude. I should have guessed that before."

"And you must be ..." leads Steele.

"Alexis Vandermeer," introduces the woman not happy at not being recognized.

"Vandermeer," identifies Laura, "then you're..."

"His mother. I'm afraid so. Somebody had to teach the poor creature how to make wine. You with the bank that's hoping to cash in on that so-called cabernet?"

"And what if we are?"

"You'll be throwing away a lot of good money, that's all. Land on this side of the valley is too sandy. One freak harvest of good grapes is not going to change that. I warned him it was just a matter of time before the soil gave out when he insisted on buying this place. You can see what he thinks of my opinion."

Steele observes, "Then it's safe to assume you don't wish him every success."

"I broke my butt to build something I could pass onto Claude. And he threw it back at me. What would you suggest I wish for now," Alexis starts to enter the cellar, "And I'd put that cask inside if I were you. It will draw flies in the sun like that."

Steele considers her advice, "She does have a point there." They continue to roll the barrel.


They approach an open shed filled with machinery. Laura observes, "It would seem Claude and his mother have a very thick and stormy past." They place the barrel on its side and turn around for a rest.

"Might that apply elsewhere do you think?" asks Steele.

"If you're referring to Wilson and me, we were only together for a year, year and a half. It ended."

"Badly?" Laura sighs and glances up at him. "I'm sorry. I'm hardly in a position to question your past. I just never thought it contained very many ... surprises."

"Well, we all have secrets, and our reasons for keeping them. That is still your philosophy," she faces him, questioningly.

"Perhaps, to a fault."

"Well then, until we're ready to, ah, break with tradition, I suggest we stand Harry back up on end and check in on .." Laura stops as she looks at the shed and notices the barrel is no longer there.

They run into the shed looking around. Steele glimpses the barrel as it disappears down an incline, "Come on." They dash after it, pausing at the top of a hill in time to see the barrel crash through a white fence. Steele leads the way down the hill. The barrel is losing momentum when it comes to a halt as a farmer places one leg on the barrel. Laura and Steele come to a stop at the barrel.

The man speaks with a German accent, "You lose something maybe?"

"In a manner of speaking, ah, yes."

Laura looks behind to the fence, "We'll be happy to pay for that fence. That was your fence?"

The man is unimpressed, "Don't play the fool with me. I know how Vandermeer loves to taunt me with the success. So he sends you with his precious cabernet, in my nose to rub it, yes?"

"Beg pardon?" queries Steele.

"Claude had .." Laura starts before she is cut off as the man continues.

"I've been growing my grapes for forty years. My liebe Kinder. Like my father, and my grandfather along the Rhine. And that, that stoonk, no nothing, moves into the same soil, under the same sun grows a cabernet good enough to die for."

"You're not looking forward to his expansion I imagine."

"Nature has played a cruel joke on me. But you tell Claude Vandermeer, Werner Shuman doesn't need his prizes or his wine," Werner concludes by stamping his foot on the barrel causing the lid to fall out, along with 'Harry's' arm as he walks towards his truck. Remington and Laura jump and rush to put the arm and barrel lid back into place. Remington looks up at Werner, "I don't suppose there's an easier way back up there? Yes," he concludes as Werner continues to head to his truck in disgust.

Laura looks at Remington, "Wonderful wine country." She moves around the barrel as they start to push it down the road.

"Wonderful. Gotta get to get know them really."

"Oh, come on," mutters Laura joining Steele in pushing barrel along the road.


It is night and Wilson is opening a bottle of wine for the Board who are now very inebriated, singing loudly and dancing. Wilson pours a glass for Harcourt who is now no longer somber but leading the Board in song with his shirt open and his tie as a headband.


Steele, Laura and Claude are sitting on the floor in the middle of an aisle leaning against the barrel listening to the distant revelry.

"It would appear someone might be using Harry here to sabotage your deal," Laura postulates.

"Harry? You found out his name, that's great."

"Yes, well I'm afraid it's more endearing than accurate. Ah, this neighbour of yours, Werner, do you think he might be responsible?" asks Steele.

"Well, he's not one of my bigger fans but I can't believe he's capable of killing anyone. My mother on the other hand ..."

Laura looks up as Steele quietly observes, "Thick and stormy past, eh?"

"When I was nine I set up a lemonade stand. My mother told me the key to good lemonade was to scratch the sugar, and double the salt. And when I had a paper route she used to go through my papers every day and take out the funnies." Both Steele and Laura wince as Claude continues, "She's always had this problem with me succeeding and she knows that this wine is my chance to finally make it on my own. I wouldn't put anything past her. Not after watching her drive my father Arnold to his grave."

Laura and Steele are both startled. Laura looking to Steele disbelieving asks, "Your father's name was Arnold?" as Steele winces.

Wilson calls out, "WAIT, wait, I'll get it." All three jump to their feet and line up to form a blockade in front of the barrel.

Harcourt answers him, "All right," laughing as he comes around the corner. Claude, Steele and Laura start laughing. "Damn fine *brew* you got here Vandermeer. Don't you think so, Lentil?" Harcourt gestures to Steele. Remington follows his gaze, "Huh," turning to look behind himself before he realizes Harcourt is referring to him. "Oh yes, ahh, in a class all by itself," as Claude and Laura smile and nod in agreement.

"But we're running just a little bit low," informs Harcourt touching his glass and then yip of his nose." Harcourt spies the barrel the three are trying to block from his view, "And there it is," pointing to the barrel. Steele and Laura look down at the barrel before pulling up to form a united front with Claude.

"In here boys, fresh supplies!"

Laura starts to speak but Claude takes the initiative walking up to Harcourt, "We'll get you some more. I don't think this would be to your liking ... it hasn't aged yet." Claude grabs Harcourt's arm and starts walking in the opposite direction only to be pulled back by Harcourt, "Nonsense, I love them when they're young."

"And botulised? Oops," Steele walks up and into Harcourt as the latter moves forward.


"Botulise cynareria. A fungus found on certain species of the grape. We fear that this uh, barrel may be, ah, tainted." Steele moves in sync with Harcourt as he sways from side-to-side trying to see past the former.

Harcourt laughs out loud resulting in Steele drawing his handkerchief from his suit breast-pocket to wipe his face. Through his laughter Harcourt asks, "You think we've had too much, don't you?"

"Oh no," denies Steele looking to Claude who supports his denial, "No, not at all."

Suddenly, Wilson comes darting around the corner stopping suddenly taking in the situation, "Mr Harcourt."

Harcourt turns around and puts his hand onto Wilson's shoulder, "Wilson. Wilson, maybe you haven't explained the situation clearly to everyone." His arm moves around Wilson's shoulder and gives him a tug, "We're the guys who have to push the final button on your loan," pointing to Claude and becoming annoyed. "Now you're not trying to tell me, " Harcourt pushes his way through Claude and Remington, "that a couple of shots from that barrel," he pauses as Laura jumps on the barrel crossing her legs smiling sweetly at him, "are worth more than twenty million, are you?" Laura rolls her eyes and looks worried while Steele and Claude are at a loss.

Laura jumps in, "Of course not Mr Harcourt. It's just that Claude here wouldn't have you drink anything less than his very best." Laura touches Harcourt's shirt lapels and vest adding a husky quality to her voice, "Right?" Steele and Claude nod in agreement as Harcourt slowly looks up from his chest and Laura's hands with recognition dawning in his eyes, "What a minute, now I remember, yeah, I thought you looked familiar. Wilson! Wilson, isn't she ..." Laura begins to look anxious.

Wilson issues a definite ,"No, no," as Laura laughs nervously.

"Acapulco!" yells Harcourt pointing to Wilson as Laura continues her nervous laughter that is growing louder, "No," shaking her head. Harcourt continues, "You're the girl from Ac-a-pul-co," he gives a slight swing to his hips as Laura continues her denial, "No."

Steele is perplexed looking from Wilson to Laura and back, "Acapulco?" he queries.

Harcourt excitedly reminds Wilson, "Yeah you bought her down to the convention," while Laura hides her head in hand.

"No really, it was someone else." Wilson raises his hand implying a taller companion, "She was .." but he is cut off.

"Yeah, hey guys, it's her. Remember the girl from Ac-a-pul-co," says Harcourt dancing to the where the Board members are standing, "You know, she did the big fan dance on the bar."

Steele, still looking perplexed sidles up to Laura, "The big fan dance on the bar?"

Laura raises her head, "The dance was big, the, er, fans weren't," moving her hands from her breasts to her nether regions. Steele's gaze follows her hands.

"Was it," mutters Steele, not believing what he is hearing.

"Hey it is" .... yells out a tall, balding Board member while Steele, now standing behind Laura, looks down over her shoulder not quite sure what to make of it all.

"Hey boys, let's get the barrel," the balding man approaches Laura holding up his flexing hands, "Roll out the barrel."

Laura puts up her hands up in defense and with Steele in tow moves through the Board members gathering around the barrel to where Wilson is standing, resigned. "It's all over now," Wilson says.

Laura turns to Steele and advises him, "I want you to forget the next five minutes of your life."

"What?" asks Steele, not sure what to make of what is happening.

Laura runs ahead of the group who are starting to roll the barrel, "All right boys." The Board members stop and look around to Laura as she continues while taking off her jacket, "There's no sense in denying the past while there's still a future to be lived," She flings her jacket up over the cartons with Wilson and a bewildered Steele's gaze following its' flight, "Right?" Laura walks up to Harcourt and grabs the glass of red wine from his hand, "Think Acapulco was fun?" Laura empties the remaining wine from Harcourt's glass and then throws it so it smashes on the floor, "You ain't seen nothing yet." She unties her scarf tie and leans into kiss Harcourt while placing her scarf around his neck. She breaks off the kiss and runs around the corner. The Board members remain motionless. Laura comes back around the corner and offers, "Anything you catch, you keep." She kicks her left leg so her shoe sails in an arc before landing in Steele's hands. Laura then turns and runs away.

Harcourt is eager to join her, undoing his vest and calling out, "ACAPULCO!" waving his hands in the air and leading the Board in a chase after Laura. Steele and Wilson look at each other before also joining the pursuit with Steele calling out, "Laura!"

Harcourt is seen walking past a gap in two wooden wine vats. Laura appears beyond the gap with her shirt in hand, wearing only her skirt and a camisole. Steele and Wilson continue to search for Laura as the Board members run around them asking, "Which way did she go?"

Laura comes up behind Harcourt and places her shirt on head. He removes the shirt and breaks into a cheeky grin turning to see Laura beckon him with her finger. Harcourt tries to squeeze through the gap between the wine vats but he cannot fit. Laura gives a delightfully evil laugh as she runs away to remove her skirt. She is now only dressed in a pink teddy.

Steele and Wilson are standing still as the one of the Board members runs through them dancing and calling out, "Acapulco!"

"Hi lover," Laura addresses the tall, balding man who turns around with a smile. She throws her skirt in his face and runs away laughing. Steele and Wilson break off to search for Laura.

Laura comes through two vine vats before ducking as Harcourt and the tall, balding man miss grabbing her and crash into each other. Laura is running, looking behind her when she crashes into the monk that had watched her, Steele and Wilson earlier in the day drive through the vineyard. The monk quickly turns heel and runs. Steele, still holding Laura's shoe, rushes around the corner and into Laura. He looks at Laura's state of undress and offers, "Ah, Laura, ah I appreciate your, your, your ah your zeal but we can't let the situation get out of hand, can we?."

Laura is thoroughly enjoying herself, "It's all right. I can handle them."

"Oh," says Remington, totally at a loss as a voice calls out, "There she is."

"Just get Harry out of here," implores Laura before dashing away. Steele watches her go and turns around only to collide with Harcourt. Steele directs Harcourt, "That way, yes," pointing in the direction opposite to which Laura went. Remington runs back to the aisle where they had left Harry. Wilson is close behind him. Steele finds Claude leaning over a crate. "The barrel? What happened?"

Claude groans, "I don't know, somebody hit me from behind."

"Could it have been one of the bankers?" Steele asks Wilson.

"The Board is all back there," they both realize the barrel is missing, "Steele, the barrel, don't tell me."

"Oh no, here you go," says Steele as he gives Laura's shoe to Claude and runs outside with Wilson.

Both look frantically around as Wilson summarizes, "You didn't take it."

"No," agrees Steele.

"I didn't take it."


"They didn't take it."


Laura runs out still dressed in her lingerie, "Okay, where did you put him?"

"Where did we put him? Steele?"

"Ah, yes, well it appears someone thought all the excitement was more than Harry can handle."

"Oh no," laments Laura.


The next morning Laura is walking with Claude, Wilson and Steele outside the front of the winery.

"Are you sure you didn't see who hit you?" Laura asks Claude.

Claude replies, "All I remember is Harcourt running in front of me shouting Acapul-"

"Yes, we know," says Laura hastily cutting him off. "Now this sounds ridiculous but is it possible that I saw a monk in there last night?"

"A monk? What would a monk be doing here? This is hardly a place for a-"

"A religious experience?" offers Remington looking pointedly at Laura who ignores him.

"Wait a minute, isn't there a monastery somewhere around here Claude?" asks Wilson.

"Well, there's the Order of St. Costello, of course, but the monks hardly ever leave the monastery and I can't imagine them lugging a body around."

"Well, whoever took it may have already tried to plant it back here," surmises Wilson, looking worried, "waiting to let it drop at the right moment."

"Harry's timing has been rather precise before," remarks Remington.

"Well, I suggest we find him before he finds us," says Laura before moving off with Steele watching her go before turning his gaze to Wilson and then back to Laura.


Laura walks into the open shed. She turns and sees Wilson is behind her, "I was, ah, just checking in here."

"Me too," informs Wilson. He slowly pulls a stocking from his trouser pocket and clears his throat as he hands it to Laura, who sighs as she takes it from him.

"All right Wilson, say it."

"Maybe we should just forget last night."

"Why, because there was wild, crazy Laura making a fool of you in front of the whole bank?"

"Laura, I know I asked for your help, I just didn't expect anything like that."

"I never expected you to leave me."

"It just wasn't working out Laura."

"For whom?" Laura almost pleads, stepping forward.

"Either of us," asserts Wilson, "I like things being organized, regular, predictable. You love spontaneity, being reckless, living dangerously."

"I also loved you," declares Laura. She starts to walk away and notices Steele standing at the edge of the shed. He stares at her as she looks back to Wilson, realizing Remington has heard her discussion with Wilson.


The Rabbit jerks to a sudden halt outside 'Werner Shuman Vineyards'. Steele slowly extracts himself from the back as Laura and Wilson leave the car.

"Do you think this Werner character could have taken it?" asks Wilson.

"Well, none of us had a car or truck last night," replies Steele.

Laura points and bends over two lines in the sand that appear to have been made by a barrel being rolled on its side, "Harry did disappear rather quickly."

"You're not suggesting that he rolled it all the way down here?" queries Wilson.

"Well, anything's possible."

Steele follows the lines on the ground, "And if we're right about this track, Harry should be in here somewhere," comments Steele as he leads the way into the vineyard. They appear at the end of a large cellar with hundreds of barrels lining each side of the aisle.

"Harry could be anywhere," states Laura.

"There must be hundreds of them," points out Wilson.

"Mmm, it seems Harry's bent on challenging us, eh?" agrees Remington.

"Well, I'll guess I'll check down there. Tell me if you find anything," says Wilson as moves to the back of the cellar.

Laura and Steele move into one of the side aisles. When they are alone, Laura starts to talk. "Look, what happened before with Wilson-"

Remington cuts her off, "You don't have to explain Laura. I mean, he must have meant a great deal to you. Last night made that clear enough." He taps on a barrel.

"Yeah, last night," says Laura as she too starts to tapping on barrels, half-heartedly.

"He was in trouble, and without thought of yourself you rushed to his aid. Frankly, I rather envied his predicament."

Laura laughs and asks, "Were you shocked?"

"Well, I never knew you'd been to Acapulco before," he answers with amusement.

"No. But there was more than just helping Wilson in that," she looks unsure, "There was a lot of me too."

"Yes. I saw that. Where do you suppose that Laura's been all this time?"

"Hiding," Laura answers shyly, "She already cost me one relationship, couldn't take a chance on her doing it again."

One of the barrels above them is dislodged and starts to roll towards them gathering other barrels on its way. Steele grabs Laura and calls out a warning, "Watch out!" as they leap out the way, landing on the floor.

Wilson comes up to the fallen barrels, "Laura, Steele!" Both stand up from behind the barrels dusting themselves off, "Are you all right?"

Steele answers, "A few splintered nerves but, uh, unharmed."

Laura is annoyed, "Come on," she says leading the way up out of the cellar as Steele indicates to Wilson they should follow.


Outside the winery, Werner is seen driving away in his truck with a barrel in the back. "Do you think we can catch him?" asks Wilson.

"Well, if Laura drives," says Steele.

"I'm getting very possessive about Harry," asserts Laura as they all hop in the car.


The Rabbit is driving along a road as Wilson says, "I don't see him anymore. We've lost him." Laura answers him, "He must have disappeared somewhere back in here." The car drives around a corner upon which the barrel is lying by the side of the road. Laura backs the car up and they all disembark. Remington rushes to the barrel and opens it.

"Ahhh, empty. Damn! I was almost getting used to seeing him in there."

Laura kicks the barrel in frustration, "It doesn't make sense."

"Werner has him and we don't. That's clear enough isn't it?" queries Wilson looking down the road.

"But we're chasing him, why would he stop just to take Harry out of the barrel?"

"Well, perhaps they didn't stop?" suggests Steele.

"And the barrel fell out?" concludes Laura.

"Then where's the body?" asks Wilson.

"That's the part that doesn't make sense," says Laura walking to the side of the road.

"Well, he didn't just dust himself off and walk away," remarks a frustrated Wilson.

"Oh well, I wouldn't sell Harry short, he's managed to get around fairly well for a dead man," observes Steele.

Laura picks up a rope belt from a bush, "Unless he did walk away."

"To where?" asks Remington.

"To some place where rope belts are in fashion," replies Laura looking towards the nearby monastery.

"St. Costello's I presume?" Steele notes.

"Well then, lets just go down and have a word with those people," declares an indignant Wilson.

"Ahh, I don't think that would be our wisest choice," says Steele.

Laura supports his comment while looking pointedly at Wilson, "People who take bodies have a tendency to try to conceal that fact, remember?"

"Oh, right," Wilson agrees.

"But we might want to have a look around on our own. Anyone have any plans for this evening, mmm?" asks Steele smiling as he looks to Wilson and then Laura.


It is night-time and the Rabbit is parked outside the monastery. Laura and Wilson remain in the car as Remington hops out and tells them, "Give me a moment to find a soft spot in their defenses okay?" Laura nods as he moves off.

Wilson starts to speak, "Listen, Laura, about last night."

"We've been through this already Wilson."

"No." Laura looks at him, not sure where he is heading. "Seeing you cut loose the way you can," Wilson shakes his head in wonder, "just made me realize how much I miss that in my life now. If it weren't for you I'd still be setting out my clothes the night before and making hospital corners on my bed."

Laura is stunned, "You've stopped?"

"Mmm. And you know every once in a while I'll call in sick and spend the whole day at the movies."

Laura smiles, looking pleased but unconvinced, "Really?"

"It's from you Laura. It has to be. You and you're .."

"Terminal flights of frivolity," finishes Laura, laughing.

"I guess you used to hear that from me a lot?"

Laura reminisces, "That, and how important it was to be level-headed, conscientious, keeping up the right sort of appearances."

"Pret-ty dull."

"I don't know. I mean, look's what happened to me since then. I've really thrown myself into my career, moved up the ranks, started my own agency."

"When was that?"

"Oh, it, that was before I started working for Mr Steele."

"I'm sorry if I hurt you Laura. I'm sorry it didn't work out better, but we're just too..."

"Different?" concludes Laura.

Wilson gives a small nod and smile, "It's nice to know it wasn't all bad."

Laura smiles, "No, it wasn't all bad." They both lean in for a kiss before pulling away laughing. Remington comes back to the car and announces, "I've think I've found a spot," before realizing he isn't in on the joke, "What's everyone laughing about?"

"Progress," informs Laura.

Steele doesn't look convinced but continues, "There's a wall around the side that doesn't look too difficult. You coming Wilson?"

Wilson looks slightly startled, "I'm still the vice-president of the bank. I'll stand guard."

Laura smiles as Steele opens the door for her, "Fair enough."


Inside the monastery Remington and Laura walk stealthily through a room and peer into a hallway to see a monk walking in another hallway. They pull back into the room leaning into a row of cassocks. Laura realizes they can be used to disguise themselves, "Perhaps it would be better if we dressed for the occasion?"

"Yes, well if you really think the medieval cut is called for," answers Steele as they both turn and take a cassock. Still adjusting her robe, Laura trips into a hallway with Steele following her. They both pull on their hoods and start walking in front of a group of monks.

"It's awfully quiet in here. I've yet to even hear someone talking," observes Laura.

"Well, if I had to wear one of these all the time I wouldn't know what to say either," remarks Steele not looking comfortable as they both tuck their hands into their sleeves of their crossed arms.

Together they stop as Laura reaches and touches Remington's arm. Slowly, they turn around to see two rows of monks lined up, one row behind each of them. Quickly they look forward and slowly walk a few paces. Steele indicates to Laura to shuffle to the wall but the two rows of monks follow in unison. Realizing they haven't lost their long shadows, Remington pulls Laura through the doorway immediately to his left and they scurry through a room before pulling up short in a doorway. The two columns of monks rush after them and do not have time to stop resulting in Laura and Steele being bumped from behind in a domino effect. Slowly the monks move from behind them into a candle-lit room in which Harry is laid on a wooden table in a white shroud surrounded by monks in melancholy reverence.

"Hello, Harry, it's nice to see you again," says Steele.

"Well at least we know where Harry is now," comments Laura as they walk into a room. Steele reaches out to open a door, "And his wardrobe has certainly taken a turn for the better." He opens the door only to find more monks filing past, "Oops." He shuts the door and they about turn to retrace their steps but more monks are passing from the corridor from which they entered. They whirl around and exit through the only remaining door down stairs into a wine cellar. Steele turns on the light and Laura walks up to a table laid with very dusty wine bottles nestled in a bed of straw.

"Do you think Harry's here to stay or is this merely another stop along the road?" asks Remington.

"I don't know. What would these monks want with his body in the first place?"

Steele picks up a bottle and blows a cloud a dust from it. Laura also picks up a bottle and inspects it. Steele replies, "Yes, perhaps they plan on taking him back to Claude's?"

"Well, that would mean that they were behind the sabotage," observes Laura unconvinced with his summation.

"Monks have been known to do stranger things. Think of Rasputin," tenders Remington as he opens the bottle of wine.

"Rasputin?" asks Laura with an amused tone.

"Yes. 'Rasputin and the Empress', MGM, nineteen thirty-two. John, Lionel and Ethel Barrymore. Ooh, wonderful stuff. Mad monk Rasputin terrorizes all of Russia." He fills a goblet he has found.

"But why would a group of monks want to sabotage a winery?" asks Laura, still not convinced.

"Because they have a winery of their own?" he suggests, taking a sip of wine, "Hmm. And a very good vintage too," he nods in appreciation as Laura takes the goblet he is offering and sips.

"Hmm. It is good," she takes another sip, "very familiar." She laughs to herself, "You know, it makes me think of ..."


She looks up at him, "I don't think I should say, it might surprise you."

"Considering recent events, I don't think that's at all possible."

"Do you think there's any danger in feeling too much too soon?"

"It all depends on what you're feeling."

"Something like this," says Laura as she steps close and kisses him.

Remington welcomes the embrace, before pulling apart slightly to comment, "I don't think that's safe at all," he says, enjoying the moment.

"So I'll live dangerously," replies Laura as they kiss again. They are interrupted by a monk walking into the cellar. Laura identifies him as the monk from the previous night in Claude's cellar, "That's him."

Steele grabs the monk and pulls him back against the cellar wall, "Ahh, gotcha, gotcha. Uh-uh, uh-uh. Icy calm, icy calm." The monk look panicked and points to the doorway Laura is blocking.

"No, no, no, we don't want to hurt you," assures Laura, "we only want to talk to you, really." The monk pulls back and shakes his head. "No?" asks Laura, looking to Steele. The monk hands her a piece of paper from his sleeve. She reads the message aloud, "The Order of St. Costello has taken a vow of silence. Thank you for understanding."

"A vow of silence," repeats Steele in disbelief, "oh wonderful, I mean how are we supposed to question him, press him for facts, elicit the information vital to the case, huh?"

"I don't know?" answers Laura equally bewildered.

Steele steps up to the monk, "Ah, that's just a clever ploy isn't it? You killed him didn't you?" The monk defiantly shakes his head and points to Remington and Laura.

"Us! You think we killed him?" asks Laura incredulously as the monk looks pleased with himself.

"That's a rash statement if ever I heard one," comments Steele stepping back from the monk.

"We had nothing to do with his death," explains Laura, "we don't even know who Harry is." The monk looks to Laura not quite sure if he's heard her right.

Steele picks up on the monk's look, "The fellow upstairs, you know who he is?" The monk nods and moves his hands down his cassock, pointing upstairs. Steele doesn't understand so the monk repeats his movements. "Unfortunately," Steele declares, looking at Laura, "charades has never been one of my strong points."

"Allow me," says Laura turning to the monk offering suggestions to his movements, "Ah, body, person, body upstairs, is you? Is, no, is like you? Is like you! Like you?" She turns to Remington puzzled, "Who, who could that be?"

"Try brother." At this the monk points to his nose indicting that Steele is right.

"Brother? Brother!" The monk starts making motions again so Laura perseveres, "His brother, his brother monkey, his brother monkey, monk, .."

"Hah, Harry was a monk," interjects Remington. Again, the monk points to his nose. Steele laughs and drinks some wine.

"Harry was a monk, he was a monk!" exclaims Laura also laughing and reaching out to shake Remington's hand. The monk stops their celebration by shaking his head and pointing his finger. "No," says Laura subdued. They continue with the charades. "Two syllables, first syllable, sound like, sounds like, ah, talk, chatter, ah, babble, blabber, blab." The monk stops her, "Blab? blab," Steele starts to mimic the monk's actions as Laura concentrates on the clue, "b-b, blab. Blab, bla-bla," the monk covers her mouth with his hand, "bl-, blab, bab, bab, bab, ab, ab! Ab, first syllable. Ab."

"Ab? Ab, ab," repeats Steele, then encourages Laura, "Oh you're doing wonderful."

The monk and Laura carry on, "Second syllable. Circle." Steele interjects, "Dais," and they both continue providing suggestions, "Ah, ah, ah, bowl, chamber, pot, pot, pot?" This time the monk points to his nose and Laura. "Ab-pot?, ab-pot, ab-bot" she clicks her fingers, "Abbot, Harry is the Abbot?"

They are all excited and Remington states, "Well done Laura. Of course, if that's the truth then Harry was the Abbot of Costello," laughing at his joke as the monk looks disapproving and Laura disbelieving. "Sorry," apologies Steele.

Laura asks the monk, "Do you know who killed your Abbot or why?" The monk looks forlorn and shakes his head in a negative response.

"Oh, well, that simply leaves us with the body. Again."

"Maybe that the key," ponders Laura, "We've been chasing all over town after Harry. Don't you think it's time he did a little something for us?"

"Laura, I realize that Harry has been a bit little elusive at times, even uncooperative, but the man's dead."

Laura turns to the monk, "Do you really want to know who killed your Abbot?" The monk nods eagerly so Laura continues, "How badly?"


It is night and the Abbot, dressed only in his underwear, is laid out in a clearing with his arms folded across his chest. At the side of the clearing Laura prepares her flashlight. "Damn," mutters Remington flicking his left-hand fingers, "You still convinced this is a good idea? I mean what makes you think the killer will return for him?"

"He has every other time. Did you contact everyone?"

"Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes. I tipped a field hand to pass on the news of the shocking discovery to all the right people. They'll know he's here. I'd best check to make sure that we are." Steele moves around the clearing to the monk. "Everything in order?" asks Remington and then realizing what he has said adds, "No pun intended." The monk gives a thumbs up signal. "Ah good, good. It's awfully generous of you to loan us Harry, I mean ah, your Abbot, like this." The monk makes another hand signal. "Yes, I suppose justice is the point here. You know what to do when the time comes." Steele taps him on the back and starts to move away but the monk pulls him back down and hands him a corked bottle of wine and two small goblets. "Oh, yes, something to ward off the chill, hey? Good man." Remington takes the offering and continues to where Wilson is crouched behind a log, "Shouldn't be long now. Here hold this." Steele holds out the goblets to Wilson and uncorks the wine bottle.

Wilson sits up, "Good thinking Steele. It would never occur to me to turn something like this into a pleasant experience. What should we drink to? Catching the culprit?"

"How about Harry?"

"How about, Laura?"

Steele smiles and clinks Wilson's goblet, "To Laura." They both drink the toast.

Wilson observes, "Funny thing about wine, some you enjoy when they're young impudent, rash. Others, mellow with age. And then there are some .."

"That never lose their mystery, no matter when you find them," finishes Remington.

Wilson smiles in acknowledgment, "Here's to mystery." Again, they both drink but mid-toast they hear a twig snap. They duck down behind the log as around the clearing the monk and Laura ready themselves. A shadow falls over the Abbot and a man leans over to lift the body. Steele calls out, "NOW!" as he turns on his flashlight and the others following suit. The man lifts his arms to cover his face and starts to run but is tripped by Laura. Steele grabs the man and turns him around to reveal his identity. It is Werner.

"Ah, so, Werner. Just as I suspected, hey? Bitter about Claude's success you murdered the Abbot and used him to crush the expansion," theorizes Steele.

"I KILLED NO-ONE!" answers Werner looking around at the four flashlights shining in his face.

Laura chimes in, "There's no sense in lying, Werner. We know you stole the body from the winery last night."

"NEIN. I steal a barrel of wine to test, to analyze this cabernet and what do I find? HIM. Dead. God in Heaven."

"You toppled the barrels on top of them before you ran," interjects Wilson.

"I was frightened. I think maybe you came to blame Werner for the body. Or kill him too, yes?" Werner looks up at them.

Steele indicates for Laura to follow him away from the others, "Do you think he's lying?"

"I don't know. What he says makes sense enough," answers Laura, "I can't figure why he'd kill the Abbot."

"You mean, if he was desperate enough to commit murder .."

"Why not kill Claude himself?"

From the bushes they hear the sound of someone else approaching. Laura turns off her flashlight and motions everyone back to their hiding places. A person with a gloved hand holding a coil of rope is seen walking up to the Abbot. Laura calls out, "NOW," and again everyone turns on their flashlights to reveal the person as Alexis Vandermeer.

She asks, "Who's there," and then realizing she has been caught, Alexis tries to escape but runs into Steele's arms.

Laura is right behind him and asks Alexis, "It's a bit late for riding don't you think, Mrs. Vandermeer?"

Steele starts his summation, "Ahhh, just as I very nearly suspected. Anxious to get Claude back under your thumb you killed the Abbot and used him to poison Claude's deal."

"That's a damned lie," retorts Alexis.

"What are you doing here, Ms Vandermeer?" demands Laura.

"All right, all right." The lights are turned off so she continues, "I wanted Claude's deal to fall through. I thought if it did he might come back to me. Is it so wrong for a mother to want that?"

"It is if she kills for it," says Steele.

"I didn't kill anyone. I moved him but I didn't kill him."

"Then where did you get the Abbot?" asks Laura.

Alexis looks at Wilson, "From him. I was on my way into the press conference when I saw him come out with it. I followed him through the woods on Arnold and when he stopped I pulled it out of the trunk and put it back in the winery. Then I came by the next day to watch the fireworks. That was the last I saw of it until now."

"Yes, excuse us will you please," says Remington taking Laura's arm and leading them away from the others once more, "Well?"

Laura looks back at Alexis, "It all tracks."

"What do mean it all tracks? This plan was supposed to isolate the killer, remember?"

"Look," Laura starts her synopsis, hesitates and then works her way through the sequence of events, "We got Harry back from the monks. The monks got him from Werner, Werner got it from us, we got it from where the mother hid it, and the mother got it from Wilson!"

"So. Harry makes friends easily, now what?"

"We still don't know, how it got into the vat or why someone would kill the Abbot in the first place!" As Laura finishes they hear another twig snapping as another person draws near.

She runs off as Remington comments, "Oh we draw any more of a crowd up here and we'll have to throw a dinner party," as he too hides with the others.

Wilson asks him, "What's happening Steele?"

"Just pass the wine and pray that Harry didn't come from a large family," replies Remington.

A monk moves towards the Abbot. As he bends to pick up the body Steele, calls out, "NOW" and all the lights focus on the monk. The monk starts to run but is caught by Steele, "Come here, ah, gotcha!"

Laura removes the hood of the cassock and Wilson identifies the 'monk', "Claude!"

"Ohh, just as I," Steele pauses, "no, I never suspected him at all."

Alexis pleads, "Let him go."

Claude is frightened and surprised as he look around the group, "Mother, Werner, what are you doing here?"

"The question is, what are you doing here?" asks Laura, "And wearing the Abbot's robes?"

"I don't have to answer that."

"You killed the Abbot and put his body in the vat to sabotage your own expansion, eh?" surmises Remington.

"That doesn't make sense Steele," comments Wilson.

"Ah, that's not always the deciding factor in these cases Wilson, please, trust me."

"But why would he want to sabotage a chance to expand on his own cabernet?" asks Wilson.

"Oh that's not his wine, it's his wine," answers Steele pointing from Claude to the monk.

"What did you say?" ask Laura.

Steele thinks, "I said it's not his wine it's," again pointing to Claude, "his wine," pointing to the monk. He looks at Laura, confused by his own logic, "Mmm, I've done it again, haven't I?"

"Yes, Mr Steele you have," replies Laura.

"Told you Wilson."

"There wasn't going to be any expansion was there, Claude? Because that prize winning cabernet wasn't yours. It was really made by the monks. Your land wasn't good enough for those grapes. Werner knew that."

Claude realizes he is caught, "I started buying wine from the Abbot a few years ago, just a little at first. Last season at the competition, I entered some under my own label. I didn't know it was going to take first prize."

"So you tried to convince the Abbot to go along with your expansion but when he found out what you'd been up to ..."

"He threatened to expose the whole thing," Claude confesses.

Steele concludes, "So you killed the Abbot and hid his body in the vat, eh?"

"If Wilson hadn't stumbled into it and taken him I would have buried him later that night," Claude tells them.

"Speaking of which, umm., don't you think we should umm," Steele nods in the direction of the Abbot's body.


It is daytime and Wilson, Steele, Laura and the monks are in the monastery grounds, gathered around a freshly covered grave as the final shovels of dirt are being laid upon it.

Laura says her farewell, "So long, Harry."

"Peace Harry," offers Wilson.

"The running's over old boy. Get a good rest," says Steele. Laura and Wilson look at him before the latter draws Laura away. The monk nudges Steele and indicates they will drink some wine inside the monastery. Steele nods in acquiescence.

Wilson and Laura walk towards a taxi parked in the monastery's driveway.

"Laura, I really want to thank you for everything."

She answers, "You found Harry. If it weren't for you Claude would have run away with the money from the financing. You're a hero Wilson."

"Harcourt and the Board seem to think so. It's given me another promotion."

"Oh," Laura is pleased for him.

"Save them enough money, and they have to. Look, sometime when I'm in town I'd like to give you a call."

"And we'll have dinner. I'd like that."

Wilson opens the taxi door, "Oh, ah, about this boss of yours, Steele. He's a nice guy, but a little reserved."


"See if you can loosen him up a little. A little."

Laura laughs, "I'll try," and kisses Wilson goodbye as Steele walks towards them, "Bye." Wilson enters the taxi and drives away as Steele reaches her.

"Laura, I've been thinking about this fan dance you did in Acapulco."


"I mean, just how- fanny was it?"

Laura laughs, "You really want to see it, don't you?"

"Well, uh, being a connoisseur of exotic dancing, I always like to explore new forms," he tells her, looking down at her.

"Uh-uh," Laura laughs again, "maybe someday."

"Ah, I see," says Remington nodding.

"Mmm," agrees Laura nodding.

"Everything in its own time and place, I suppose."

"Well, not everything," replies Laura.

Steele shakes his head and mouths a silent "No", as Laura shakes her head. They kiss softly then pull apart slightly before deepening their kiss.

The End