Silent Night, Fatal Night (2023) Movie Script

(thunder rumbling)
(suspenseful music)
(Gideon) Hello?
Anyone there?
(suspenseful music)
(lightning clapping)
(elevator whirring)
Turn around!
- Gideon.
- Paul?
(Paul) What are you doing here?
(Mallory) Gideon knew
the next words out of her mouth
would be among the most
important she would ever speak.
If her suspicions proved correct
and her uncle
really was the monster
who poisoned her aunt,
then she just might be
the second member
of the Snow family
to die that week.
She knew she had to say
something very smart,
very quickly.
She looked into her
uncle's eyes and said...
you'll just have to buy
the book to find out.
(Michael) Thank you, Mallory.
One more time, everyone.
- Mallory Dearborn.
- Thank you.
- (Michael) Yeah.
- Thank you.
(cheers and applause)
(man) Hey, Mallory.
Thank you.
(Michael) Don't worry.
They limit the presales to 100.
- Why?
- I thought you'd be tired
after the long day.
I always have time for the fans.
Besides, it's not every day
you could have a signed copy
of the very last Gideon
Snow novel.
Speaking of which,
how did it go with Wendy
about this being my last one?
Mal, the book just came out.
(chuckles) You haven't told her.
We'll talk about this later.
(Mallory) Michael, she's been
my publisher for 10 years.
She deserves to know.
And she will. I promise.
You honestly think I'll let
my favorite client down?
Why do I get the feeling you say
that to all your clients?
(Michael) Hmm. Okay. What
are we waiting for, Christmas?
- Thank you.
- Let's go. Let's go.
Mallory Dearborn.
There's no bigger fan than me.
I talk about you all the time
on my podcast.
Um, Carrie Addison.
- Uh...
- The Mystery Maven.
It's very nice to meet you.
- Who should I make this out to?
- (Carrie) Carrie.
- (Mallory) Carrie.
- Carrie Addison.
I'm not
just a podcast host, though.
I'm a mystery writer, too.
Well, aspiring anyway,
you know as well.
Enjoy the book, Carrie.
Um, Gideon Snow
is my favorite
literary character of all time.
I don't know what I would do
if you ever stopped
writing these.
Okay. Let's keep it moving.
I just also wanted
to tell you that...
(Michael) A lot of people
to get through.
Thank you.
- Hi.
- Hi. Made out to?
(woman) Carolyn, please.
- Thanks.
- Thank you.
Why does Wendy care so much
about another
Gideon novel anyway?
Wise-ass detectives
are like a dime a dozen.
Well, not the way
you write 'em, Mal.
Look, if you need a break,
take a break.
You deserve a vacation
after all the hard work
you've done
promoting the new book.
A vacation
is not gonna fix this, Michael.
Don't get me wrong.
I love my fans.
I love Gideon,
but when am I gonna get
the chance
to write something for me?
Soon, right, I promise.
Come on.
Just, hey, one more, one more.
Do you know
how many times I've said that
to myself over the years?
Well, what'd you even write
about? What?
A new detective,
a new cast of characters?
No, no, no, no, no.
No more thrillers,
no more mysteries.
I wanna write a novel
that actually means something.
You know, something
you can't just pick up
at an airport
or read on the beach.
So, in other words, a book
that won't make any money?
I'm not doing it for money.
I'm doing it for me.
Well, I hate to be the bearer
of bad news,
but some of us do work
on commission.
This guy.
Michael, you believed in me
when no one else did.
And you've been my agent
a long time.
And so while I don't know
what this next chapter
is gonna lead, I do hope
that you'll be a part of it.
You're exhausted.
Let's talk about this
more tomorrow. Okay?
- Okay.
- Okay.
Get some rest.
To be continued.
(dramatic music)
Inspire me.
(dramatic music)
(singer) I wait in the rain
The wheel keeps on spinning
Round and around we go
Still on my mind
Undid my memories
(Michael) You promised me 25%.
Do you have any idea what kind
of position that puts me in?
I'm calling my lawyer.
(cell phone beeps)
Client trouble?
Uh, nothing a little coal
in the stocking won't fix.
Just enjoying
the peace and quiet.
Well, I was.
Well, let your heart
not be troubled.
I come bearing Christmas gifts.
It's not Christmas yet.
Well, fine. If you don't want
the croissants,
- I can just...
- From DeNucci's?
- Where else?
- (Mallory) Fair enough.
You can stay. (giggles)
So have you, uh,
given any thought
about what we talked about?
I thought
about it all night actually.
I could barely sleep.
Well, Gideon Snow has been
very good to me
for both of us.
But I became a writer
to write all kinds of books,
not just Gideon Snow novels.
What about the fans?
What about 'em?
Well, aren't you afraid
of letting them down?
The opposite actually.
I wanna give them something
brand new to be excited about,
you know, something
that they've never seen before.
What better way to show them
how much I appreciate them?
And Wendy?
I'll honor the agreement,
but for a new book.
Michael, don't look so glum.
It's not like I'm giving up
writing forever.
If I miss Gideon,
I can always pay her a visit
somewhere down the road,
just like long down the road.
(Michael) Of course.
Of course.
I don't mean to make things
difficult for you, Michael.
If you think it would help,
I'd be happy to sit down
with Wendy
and talk to her myself.
No. No, no. I'll handle Wendy.
Just do me a favor.
Don't say anything
to anybody just yet.
Okay? I think we owe it
to her to hear from me first.
Of course.
So this new book...
any idea
what you wanna write about?
(Mallory) I don't know.
Honestly, I've been
in the Gideon Snow business
for so long, I think
I'd just take the holidays
and recharge, you know?
(dramatic music)
(Michael) Thanks for seeing me
on such short notice, Wendy.
Considering what you told me
over the phone,
I didn't have much of a choice.
I know. I know.
She's a special writer, Michael.
Well, you don't have to tell me.
- She's made up her mind.
- Then change it.
I've already tried everything.
She does realize
that she's agreed
to give us another title.
- She does.
- (Wendy) And she is aware
that we've already paid her
a handsome advance
for another Gideon novel,
isn't she?
Well, if she doesn't deliver,
I'll have no choice but to sue.
And not just for the advance,
for damages
due to lost royalties.
(phone rings)
Wait a minute.
She does know about the advance,
doesn't she?
I just need a little time.
I'll return it, plus interest.
I'll give you a couple months.
And that's only
because of our history together.
(Christmas music)
(woman) Here you go. Hot mocha.
Thank you so much.
Hmm. Thanks for meeting me.
You said you had good news.
Well, I, uh, I met with Wendy.
- And?
- And she's on board.
You're serious?
I'm not gonna joke
about something like that.
- Just like that.
- Well, there is one
little thing.
- Of course.
- (Michael) No, no, no.
It's not terrible.
Not terrible.
Do you remember the winter home
I have up in the mountains?
I've heard you talk about it,
but I don't think
- I've ever been there.
- Oh. Um,
excuse me, oh...
- take it.
- What is this?
(Michael) Well, you said
you wanted
to take the holidays
to recharge.
Yeah. But I didn't need...
(Michael) Oh, you'll love it.
I just decorated it
for the holidays.
It's isolated.
It's got a gorgeous library,
a great big writing desk.
Plus they just got
a little dusting of snow.
So you'll be able
to have yourself
a merry little Christmas.
I'm not gonna change
my mind, Michael.
(Michael) I know. I know.
But you've seemed so down
since your parents died.
I think it would do you good
to get away for a few weeks.
And Wendy and I...
Wendy just thought
it'd be good for you
to go clear your head
and make sure
this is what
you really wanna do.
So Wendy's my therapist now?
We just want
what's best for you.
You mean what's best
for Gideon Snow.
Just read,
relax, explore the woods.
There's miles of hiking trails
and write if you want to.
Just don't tell anybody where
you're going and enjoy yourself.
(dramatic music)
(bird squawking)
(phone rings)
Well, what do you think?
I think it looks like
a picture print
by Currier and Ives.
These wonderful things
are the things
we remember all through
our lives.
The landline's a nice touch.
(Michael) (chuckles) I think
you'll find the self-service
a little spotty there
in the wintry fairyland.
(Michael) But if it's too much
for you,
there is a, uh,
a telegraph in the kitchen.
No, but seriously,
how do you like it?
I'm only wondering why
you never had me here before.
Ah, well, you know,
I just don't get
up there much myself.
since my parents passed.
It was, you know,
kind of their place.
I gotta say,
if this was supposed
to convince me how much
I would miss Gideon,
I'm afraid it's having
the opposite effect.
(Michael) Well,
you deserve it, Mallory.
Enjoy it.
Thanks, Michael.
- Of course.
- (Mallory) Bye.
(birds chirping)
(Christmas music playing)
(singer) I wanna wish you
Merry Christmas
From the top
of every mountain
From the middle of the ocean
And the bottom of my heart
(door opens)
You and I
can take sleigh ride
(ominous music)
(singer) I feel so warm
I can't shake the feeling
That it must be
Christmas time
(suspenseful music)
(computer dings)
(male reporter) Mystery fans
around the world
are in mourning
after it was announced
that bestselling author
Mallory Dearborn
has unexpectedly passed away
from natural causes.
(female reporter)
Dearborn was the author
of the bestselling
Gideon Snow Mysteries,
the most recent of which
just hit bookstore shelves
earlier this month.
(male reporter) Dearborn's
latest and now final novel
Gideon's Family Reunion
quickly climbed
to the bestseller's
list upon its release.
(female reporter)
Several of Mallory's friends
have spoken out publicly
about their shock
over the sudden loss
and have expressed their love
and admiration for the author.
Dearborn's untimely death
will leave a huge hole
in the hearts of her fans
for a very long time.
To Mallory.
May your creativity never die.
If I take the gag out,
you promise not to scream?
You need to flush
the anesthetics in your system
unless you want
a nasty hangover.
There you go.
Good girl.
I imagine
you have a few questions.
It's a tracker.
That way you can move freely
around the house
and I know exactly
where you are at all times.
It's really fascinating
what modern GPS technology
could do.
They say this one's accurate
down to 10 feet.
So if you try to leave
the house,
I get a notification.
You try to remove it,
I get a notification.
And we don't want that.
Why are you doing this?
Well, think of it
as a writing retreat
with a little extra incentive.
A writing retreat?
Well, see, the thing
is we've already received
a substantial advance
for the Gideon novel.
What next Gideon novel?
I told you I was done with...
you never told Wendy?
(Michael) I thought
you would change your mind.
Right? Then what were
you supposed to do?
Go back to the publisher,
grovel on our hands and knees,
accept less favorable terms
because we didn't strike
when the iron was hot?
Mallory, I did you a favor.
And what happened
to this advance?
Don't have it.
There it is.
(Michael) I was assured
those investments were sound.
- Clearly.
- Look, it doesn't
even matter, okay?
Wendy paid us for a book,
a Gideon Snow book.
Hey, hey.
we both know this happens
every time, right?
A new book comes out,
we hit the publicity circuit,
we get exhausted
by the whole thing.
Am I right?
But I also know that you get
antsy when you don't write.
So this is your chance
to just get away from it all,
write the new book
in complete privacy, right?
It's a win-win, Mal.
And I have taken care
of the landline
so you're not tempted
to reach out to any friends.
So take some time
to just think about it...
and I'll be upstairs
when you're ready.
There you go.
(dramatic music)
(dramatic music)
(bird caws)
(tracker beeps)
(Michael) Mal, is that you?
There she is.
This little market in town
has the best cold cuts.
I thought you should
eat something
before you get to work.
It's not gonna bite.
- I'll pass.
- On the sandwich?
On the book.
the sooner you come to terms
with what's happening,
the easier this will be.
You are holding me
here against my will.
I'm doing it
in your best interest.
You haven't been
thinking straight.
Now if you don't eat,
you're not gonna be able
to concentrate
and I need you focused.
(dramatic music)
Go on.
Told you it was good.
So, what do you think?
I thought this room would be
best for creativity.
It's got a lot of space,
lots of natural light
throughout the afternoon,
and plus I'll be right
next door in the living room
if you need anything.
Try it out.
I took the liberty
of deactivating the Wi-Fi card
just to make sure
there's no distractions.
Look, Michael,
this is all very nice.
But I think there might be
a much simpler solution
- to all of this.
- Oh, you do?
Why don't I just give you
the money for the advance?
That way you can repay Wendy
whatever you still owe her
and then some.
Win-win, right?
See, the thing is
a new Gideon novel
would be worth much,
much more than just the advance.
I mean, especially if you
include subsidiary rights,
filming television rights,
not to mention spin-offs. Woo.
I am offering you
a way out of this.
You're offering me?
You don't care what I have
to go through, do you?
As long as you get to collect
a six-figure advance
on another Gideon Snow Book.
Seven actually.
I negotiated you a raise
and you're welcome by the way.
(suspenseful music)
You know, I was thinking, um,
do you remember that story idea
you pitched me
after the Baltimore book signing
where Gideon was kidnapped
by the detective
that trained her?
I think that would be
a fantastic novel.
A little on the nose,
don't you think?
Well, you know what they say,
write what you know.
(suspenseful music)
It takes me a year
to write a novel,
- you know that, right?
- (Michael) No, no.
It takes a year
to publish a novel.
And that's just mainly
a strategic decision
by the publisher,
plus that's with all
the usual distractions,
which lucky for you,
won't be a problem this time.
I feel so blessed.
So the average novel is, what,
75,000 words,
ballpark give or take?
Something like that.
And how many words
do you write in a day?
So I think if you devote
a hundred percent
of your time to your craft,
we could bump that up
to 3,500, 4,000 words a day.
You wanna do the math
or should I?
Nineteen days, Mal.
You should deliver me
a novel in three weeks,
right before Christmas.
So let's not waste
any time, huh?
(object rustling)
Oh, no.
(muffled scream)
Here's what's gonna happen,
I'm gonna go see what's going on
- and you...
- (grunting)
Hey, hey, hey, hey.
You are gonna sit here
and stay quiet.
You understand me?
You're making me do
something we both don't want.
Trust me, you don't want
that on your conscience.
Why don't you start
writing while I'm gone?
Oh, thank God.
I wasn't sure
if anyone lived here
and then I saw
the cars out front,
I thought maybe I would just...
Can I... can I help you?
Actually, you can.
I'm renting a B&B
a couple miles from here,
thought I'd go for a hike
in the woods, you know,
get back to nature and all that,
which seemed like
a good idea at the time
but somehow I ended up here.
(Michael) Well,
it happens all the time.
These woods
aren't too forgiving.
Anyway, can I come
inside for a bit
just to rest for a little while?
I've been walking for hours.
please, yeah.
- Come in.
- Thanks, man.
- You're a lifesaver.
- Michael, by the way.
- Grant.
- Nice to meet you, Grant.
(muffled moaning)
(Grant) Sweet place, man.
Thank you.
It's my little getaway
from the city.
You all alone out here?
That's the point, isn't it?
You're telling me.
I come out every year
just to get away.
This is just what I needed.
So what is it you do
back in the city?
Literary agent.
(Grant) Really? Like authors?
(Michael) That's right.
Anyone famous?
Depends on your
definition of famous.
I wouldn't know.
I'm not much of a reader.
Hmm. Shocker.
Hey, do you mind
if I use your bathroom?
I haven't had a leak in hours.
Not at all.
No, no, no, no.
The bathroom is down there.
- What was that?
- Hmm?
I thought you said
you were alone?
(muffled screaming)
(Grant) Is someone in there?
I think you should go.
I think I should
check it out first.
I insist.
Do you mind?
(muffled screaming)
What the...
(Mallory) Michael.
I warned you.
I told you to keep quiet
and now look what you've done.
You didn't follow the rules
and now a man is dead.
You think this is a game?
I didn't mean what I said?
Now you know.
Get away from me, Michael.
- Stop it.
- (Mallory) No. I'm serious.
I'm not going anywhere with you.
It can wait tomorrow.
(door closes)
Morning, Janice.
(Janice) Morning, Sheriff.
Some coffee?
I'll get it myself, thank you.
Anything come in overnight?
No. Well,
we did receive one call
but it was just a hang-up.
Figured it was an accident.
- Landline?
- (Janice) Um...
cell phone right off
of County Road 19.
Do you think it's something?
(Sheriff Hill) No.
You're probably right.
Still, it wouldn't hurt
to take a look out there.
Just to be safe.
(dramatic music)
(Mallory sighing)
(dramatic music)
(knock on door)
I know you're not much
of a breakfast person,
but I assume you would
need the strength,
so I made you some bacon,
eggs, toast,
and black coffee.
(Mallory) Thanks.
But I'm not hungry.
Well, I'll leave it there
in case you change your mind.
- How's it going?
- Good.
- Can I see what you have so...
- Uh...
Never mind. Too soon, right?
You got to get in the groove,
- (chuckles)
- Mmm-hmm.
(doorbell dings)
(tense music)
Stay quiet.
(doorbell dings)
Not one word.
I mean it.
(doorbell dings)
- Morning.
- Morning, sir.
I hope I'm not bothering you.
(Michael) No, no. Not at all.
How can I help?
I'm Sheriff Hill.
Pleasure, Sheriff.
Um, actually,
I was hoping
for a few minutes of your time.
Of course.
Uh, well, uh,
would you mind if I came in?
Uh, yes, I'm sorry, I just...
I'm just, uh,
a little busy right now.
Uh, I just got here
yesterday and haven't had
a chance to unpack anything.
(Sheriff Hill) Well,
I'm sure I've seen worse.
Of course. Please. Come in.
Come in.
(dramatic music)
It smells like
somebody's been cookin'.
I just finished my breakfast.
- (laughs)
- I was hungry.
So, you said there was something
that you wanted
to talk to me about?
Uh, the thing is, sir, uh,
we got a 911 call yesterday
from a cell phone tower
not too far from here.
What did they say?
Didn't say anything. Hung up.
Frankly, I'm surprised anybody
get a signal way out here.
(Sheriff Hill) (laughs)
Don't I know it.
Still, um,
you haven't noticed anything
suspicious around here,
have you?
I haven't seen anybody
since I got here.
- This your place?
- (Michael) Family's.
- Well...
- (Sheriff Hill) Oh.
I don't get to spend
a whole lot of time up here,
but my parents did, uh,
before they passed.
My condolences.
Thank you.
(bangs table)
- Do you hear that?
- Hear it?
It nearly kept me up all night.
I had to sleep
with my ear buds in.
What is it?
Uh, it's, uh,
yeah, the pipes,
when the water freezes and...
I'd be happy to take a look.
Might only need a few turns
from the wrench.
Oh, I appreciate that
but I called the plumber,
they'll be here later today.
Might save
you a few hundred bucks.
Plumber told me not to touch it.
That's what happened last time.
I guess everyone thinks
they're a handyman.
I won't keep
you any longer, then.
- Okey-dokey.
- (banging on table)
Oh, uh, can I get your name?
For the report.
Right. Michael.
Michael Harrington.
Uh, oh, in fact... here.
Uh, my cell's on there
so if you need anything,
feel free to give me a call.
I'll do that.
Thank you.
(dramatic music)
I thought we had
an understanding.
He's gonna come back, you know.
Eventually, when that
hiker doesn't show up,
he's gonna come back.
I guess you better
get back to work.
(dramatic music)
(Mallory) The lights
reminded her of Christmas.
Only these were the flashing
red and blues of the cop car.
Not the soft white
twinkling teardrops
that decorated every
house on the block.
Gideon kept her head down,
her face tucked
into her fur collar,
as the rough snow, really, ice,
sliced against her face.
Gideon hadn't slept.
She hadn't showered.
Her hair was greasy
and her eyes feral.
Every time she heard the sound
of someone approaching
or felt someone
might be watching,
her breath caught in her chest.
Even in death,
her nemesis had her on edge.
Gideon reached into her pocket.
She caressed the ivory
handle like a warm lover,
only this lover had a bite.
A deadly one.
(owl hoots)
How's it going?
I'm halfway done.
- Right on schedule.
- (Mallory) Yeah.
The thing is, usually,
when I'm about
halfway done with a book,
I take a minute to recharge
my creative batteries.
What do you have in mind?
(Mallory) A bottle of wine...
and a nice dinner.
Anything else, Your Highness?
You want a book in three weeks?
This is my process.
Why not.
Mind if I freshen up?
I'll call you when it's ready.
(suspenseful music)
You look beautiful.
Something smells amazing.
Yes. Uh,
seared brook trout
with sage and thyme.
- Hmm.
- Please, sit.
(upbeat music playing)
I know it doesn't go
with the meal
but I can't be too careful.
How is it?
- Hmm.
- Be honest.
I had no idea you were
so talented in the kitchen.
(Michael laughs)
One of my first clients
wrote cookbooks.
I'm not oblivious, Mal.
I know how much you must
loathe me right now.
I think we're way past that,
I can't say I blame you.
This isn't exactly
how I envisioned
our partnership ending.
Don't pretend
this was inevitable.
It's beneath you.
Oh, I suppose not.
We all make choices
we have to live with.
You know, in a strange way,
this reminds me of the old days.
- The old days?
- (Michael) Mmm-hmm.
When we first started working
together, our first Gideon book.
(laughs) All those hours I spent
pacing around your office,
encouraging you, reassuring you,
offering my opinion
on every new page.
That was a long time ago.
Yeah, it was.
It really was.
Something wrong with your wine?
Oh. Hmm.
Don't get me wrong,
I love cabernet, but...
- But?
- (Mallory) It's fish.
I don't suppose you have...
white wine?
You're right.
I have just the thing.
In addition to their cold cuts,
that little market has
a surprisingly eclectic
selection of wine.
This particular sauvignon
was imported from the
Upper Loire Valley of France.
(Mallory) Oh.
(Michael) Very, very nice.
You're not having any?
No, no, no.
I prefer the red.
More for me then.
To Gideon.
To Gideon.
(wine pours)
(tense music)
I know you well enough to know
you never drink white wine.
How much was in there?
Enough to kill me
or just knock me out?
Go back to work
before I seriously start
considering repercussions.
- (doors slams)
- (sniffles)
It was Vargas who pulled her
out of that orphanage,
who had recognized her talents
and who had honed her skills.
And it was Vargas
who had betrayed her.
In the end,
her training was more important
than her relationships.
If and when the time came,
Gideon knew she would
have to kill him,
and she also knew
she wouldn't hesitate.
I was wondering when
you're gonna come out.
I don't know
why you're so angry.
You're the one
who tried to poison me.
That writing cabinet
belonged to my grandfather.
He was a writer.
Did I ever tell you that?
Dime store novels mostly.
Never really had
any big successes.
Neither did my father
for that matter.
I just figured if...
I didn't have any talent,
why not do the deals
for the people who did?
Why'd you really come out here?
Well, actually,
I did have a request.
- Go on.
- I need to do some research.
- Your desk is in the library.
- You don't have what I need.
- And what is that?
- The internet.
(chuckles) I don't think so.
- It's important.
- You'll just have to make do.
(Mallory) It's just a browser.
What am I supposed
to do with a browser?
Oh, I don't know. Let's see.
Maybe you send an email
from a website,
post something in a chat room
or on a message board.
Yeah, that's what I thought.
This is the only
connection you have
to the outside world,
and you are not getting it.
I guess I'll just have to...
make do.
I guess so.
(door squeaks, slams)
(phone chimes)
(Michael) Attagirl, Wendy.
Start stoking that interest.
(news reporter)
Mallory's longtime publisher,
Wendy Brouchard,
hinted on an earnings
call this morning
that prior to her recent death,
hit mystery writer,
Mallory Dearborn,
may actually have completed
one last title
in her bestselling
Gideon Snow series.
(news reporter)
According to her longtime agent,
Michael Harrington,
there was indeed
an unpublished Gideon Snow
manuscript discovered,
along with other
partially completed works
at Dearborn's residence.
While no publication date
has been officially announced,
Dearborn's fan base would
no doubt be excited to see
the legendary detective
in action one last time.
I'm most excited that,
because the mystery
is so personal,
this new novel
shows a side of Gideon
that readers
have never seen before.
And, so far,
the reaction from fans
has been very positive,
which frankly is all
I could ever hope for.
(news anchor)
Speaking of the fans,
is there any chance
you can give us a little hint
of Gideon's next big mystery?
(Mallory) I wish I could.
The thing is I never write
more than one book at a time.
I never wanna give
my fans anything
less than a hundred
percent of my effort.
So I usually take
about a month off
after publication
to gauge their reaction
before I can even think about
writing another book.
So I usually take
about a month off
after publication
to gauge their reaction
before I can even think about
writing another book.
(suspenseful music)
With no extra ingredients?
Just good
old-fashioned caffeine.
Thank you.
(clears throat)
Can I ask you a question?
Guess you could call me
a captive audience.
When you decided to stop
writing your Gideon books,
did you ever consider how
it might affect other people?
Of course, I did.
(Michael) And?
And I figured I could always
just pay Gideon a visit
somewhere down
the line, you know,
when the timing was right
and I hoped that my readers
would be understanding
of my desire
to try something different.
I wasn't talking
about your readers.
Tell me, if I hadn't found you
in that mystery bookstore,
where would you be?
I think we both benefited
over the years, don't you?
And the years to come?
What about those?
Where are you going?
Do you want your book
before Christmas or not?
(dramatic music)
(phone rings)
(phone vibrates)
I was just thinking about you.
Yeah. Great, great,
great, great. Yeah.
No, I'm really excited
about this manuscript.
It has the potential
to be a real game changer.
Tell them they have
nothing to worry about.
You got my word.
Trust me, it's gonna keep
readers guessing
from start to finish.
I know. I know. And you will.
But you wouldn't wanna
open your present
before Christmas morning,
would you?
You won't regret this one.
I'm confident this
book has all the elements
to be Gideon's
bestselling novel yet.
A little bit jumpy?
I'm always
jumpy when I'm writing.
You'll never guess
who just called me.
- (Mallory) Who?
- Wendy Brouchard.
Seems everyone at the company
is thrilled about the new book.
It's great news, right?
The sooner this is over,
the sooner we can...
go back to our lives, right?
Of course. Of course.
Something wrong?
Now, I know this
hasn't been easy for you.
To tell you the truth,
it hasn't exactly been
a picnic for me either.
If you're looking
for sympathy from me...
No. (laughs)
I know better than that.
But I am gonna have to go back
into the city tomorrow
to meet with Wendy
about the new book,
which means unfortunately...
You're gonna have to lock me up.
Just for a few hours.
Unless you have
a better suggestion.
I can promise you I won't leave.
That's funny.
At least, you haven't lost
your sense of humor.
Oh, is there, uh, anything
I can bring back for you?
I'd settle
for your head on a spike.
You know, I was thinking,
there's no reason
this has to be a one-off.
Maybe there's another
Gideon novel in there somewhere.
Don't push it.
We can think about it.
(ominous music)
(bell rings)
(Carrie) Hi. Uh, my name
is Carrie Addison.
I'm the host of a... of a podcast
about, um, mystery writers.
I'm writing a piece about
the life of Mallory Dearborn,
and she mentioned
in an interview
that you two were close.
After the news of her death,
you wrote on your socials
that you went
to college together.
No. It's Mystery Maven,
Yeah, you got it.
How long were you
and Mallory neighbors?
When was the last time
you saw Mallory?
Did she ever mention
writing books
that maybe
hadn't been published?
Really? No more Gideon books?
No, I had no idea.
Sorry. Uh, just one
last question.
Does anyone know exactly
how Mallory died?
(phone ringing)
Well, from what I'm reading,
the buzz is building.
(Wendy) Well,
that's what buzz does.
I learned Mallory
certainly was special.
We're all devastated
about her death, Michael.
But from a business perspective,
a posthumous novel
is a literary grand slam.
So let's play ball.
Well, I have to ask.
You just happened to find it?
Yeah. Uh, when I was going
through her files.
There's actually quite
a bit of material in there.
Most of it unfinished,
of course.
That's a little surprising, no?
Because she never
mentioned it to you.
Wendy, I'm her agent,
not her priest.
There's lots
of aspects of her life
that I wasn't aware of.
So you're sure it's genuine?
(Michael) Positive.
Like you said,
no one can write like her.
(Wendy) Okay. Well,
to build on this momentum,
I have to insist on something
before Christmas.
(exhales) That's a week away.
Well, that shouldn't be
a problem, considering
you already have
the book in hand.
Of course.
You'll have it by then.
So I assume that contract terms
are satisfactory,
but, of course,
I'll wait to hear from council.
The advance is yours,
along with the usual
percentage of sales.
It's a Christmas miracle.
Hmm. And who knows,
Mallory has a few storage units
that haven't been opened yet.
Maybe there's another
completed Gideon
manuscript in there somewhere.
Wouldn't that be a great way
to start the New Year?
Couldn't agree more.
(ominous music)
- How'd it go?
- (Michael) Great.
In fact, Wendy wants
the new manuscript by Christmas
so they can capitalize on...
the success
of the last Gideon book.
(Mallory) I'm not
a machine, Michael.
You can force me to write
but you can't force me
to write faster.
Mallory, I wouldn't
have agreed to it
if I didn't believe in you.
I guess I better
get back to work then.
Wouldn't wanna disappoint
Wendy, would we?
After you.
Lead the way.
(suspenseful music)
Drop it, Mallory.
Drop it.
- (grunts)
- You think I'm that naive, hmm?
After everything
I've done for you,
this is how you repay me?
- Everything you've done?
- Because of me,
your fans are gonna have
a very Merry Christmas.
My fans think I'm dead.
It's true, isn't it?
How did you...
You disabled
the Wi-Fi in the house,
but not your phone's hotspot,
which becomes active
whenever you connect
to a nearby tower,
say to answer a call
from Wendy Brouchard.
You didn't even
password protect it.
All I had to do was search
for devices that were connected.
So to answer your question
from earlier,
yes, I really do think
you're that naive.
(Mallory) You're gonna kill me.
After all, it wouldn't do you
any good to have me show up
after you've published
my posthumous novel, would it?
I am curious though,
how many posthumous novels
do you think
my agent can miraculously dig up
before people start
asking questions?
Who's to say you didn't
fake your own death?
Your fans know how
much you value your privacy.
The world is smarter than that.
I know it, and deep down inside,
you know it too.
Just like you also know
that somewhere deep inside
that hollow pit you call a soul,
that one day, maybe not today,
maybe not tomorrow,
but soon you,
Michael Harrington,
will have to get those manicured
Ivy League hands dirty.
Wanna play the victim, hmm?
Fine. Let's play victim.
Let's see how spending
the rest of the day
chained up affects
your gratitude.
- What about your deadline?
- I'll bring your laptop.
- Wait. Wait.
- What?
I have eaten.
You're lucky
if I give you water.
How am I supposed to write
if I don't have energy?
Hurry up.
Oh, oh, whoa, whoa,
whoa, whoa, whoa.
Fool me once.
How am I supposed
to use the butter?
Not my problem.
(birds chirping)
(engine starts)
(Christmas music playing
over radio)
(suspenseful music)
(singer) One that
can open and shut its eyes
Ho, ho, ho...
(singer) Ho, ho, ho,
who wouldn't go?
What am I gonna do with that?
What am I...
(suspenseful music)
(keys rattles)
- (Carrie) Ms. Bouchard.
- Can I help you?
My name is Carrie Addison,
and I was hoping to speak
with you for just a few minutes.
you caught me on my way out.
It's about Mallory Dearborn.
In an interview just
a few months before she died,
she said she only writes
one Gideon book at a time.
- Okay.
- She said she always waits
to see the fan's reaction,
so she takes a month off
after publishing a book
before starting a new one.
Is there a question
in there somewhere?
Yes. It's just that if the book
had only just been published
right before she died.
How can there be another one?
Look, Carrie, I have no idea
what interview
you're referring to,
but I assure you
there is another book.
Now, if you don't mind...
I don't suppose
you could at least tell me
how to find Michael Harrington.
I just wanna find out more
about what is going on.
I don't have
that information on me.
And even if I did,
I wouldn't be allowed
to share it with you.
Right. Sorry.
And don't bug Evelyn!
Evelyn. Evelyn, Evelyn,
Evelyn, Evelyn, Evelyn.
Hello. Can I help you?
Yes. Um, I'm here to see
Wendy Brouchard's assistant.
Do you mean, Jane?
- Evelyn?
- Right. My mistake.
Evelyn, someone to see you.
(Evelyn clears throat)
Can I help you?
Hi. Evelyn?
- Hi.
- I'm Carrie Addison.
Uh, Carrie's Cakes.
Um, Wendy Bouchard ordered one
of our Christmas cookie cakes,
uh, for a Michael Harrington.
She must have done that
on her own.
- I didn't place any orders.
- I know.
Uh, the thing is though is
I got this cake in the van now
and this is the only address
she gave me
as a billing address.
That sounds like Wendy.
Um, it would really be
a huge help
if you could tell me where
this cake is supposed to go.
He's been spending
most of his time
at his upstate residence lately.
I can get you his address.
That would be great.
- Uh-hmm.
- Thank you.
(suspenseful music)
(Michael) The warm smiles,
the friendly banter,
all of which she missed,
and all of which made her ponder
when the time came,
would she be able to do
what was necessary
to solve the greatest
mystery of all,
the disappearance
of Gideon Snow?
It's your best yet.
One more day,
you'll have your book.
It was never my book, Mal.
I just provided the inspiration.
- Right.
- (car approaching)
(car horn honks)
Expecting someone?
Hi there.
Uh, Michael was it?
That's right.
Good morning, sheriff.
Still have your business card
right here.
I just thought I'd, uh,
come out and take
another look around,
if that's okay with you.
Yeah. I'm glad you did.
Is there anything
I can help you find?
Uh, we'll see what we find.
Well, I don't know
what you're hoping to find.
It's been too darn cold out here
to do much of anything lately.
(Sheriff Hill)
Been doing some digging, huh?
(Michael) What?
You mean my compost pit?
It's probably been
like a couple weeks, at least.
What's this?
I was looking for that.
It must have fallen off
when I was digging.
Doesn't fit, huh?
Must be the cold.
Speaking of, uh,
mind if we go inside?
Just isn't Christmas
without a tree, huh?
A lot of folks
complain about the cold,
but me, I love
the holiday season up here.
Yeah. Me too.
Anyways, uh, we got a call
about a person that had gone
missing around these parts,
and that made me think
about that, uh,
911 call from before.
A fella named Grant Hudson
from Jersey.
Sister said he came out to stay
at B and B down the road.
She hadn't heard from him
in a couple of weeks.
- Really? Hmm.
- Yeah. I was asking around,
but it seems
you're the only one home.
Well, my neighbors are a bunch
of snowbirds, I'm afraid.
Well, you wouldn't have happened
to have seen anyone, have you?
No. Not since
you were here last.
That's what I figured...
or else she would have called.
One of your authors?
One of my best.
I'll have to pick up
one of her books
when I have the time.
I'll tell you what, Sheriff,
why don't you take that one?
- Oh, no, no.
- No. Come on. I insist.
- It's an early Christmas gift.
- Thank you.
Yeah, in fact, she's working
on a new one right now.
Well, uh, I hate to say it
but I gotta get back to work.
Well, I thought
you came up here to relax.
Well, you know what they say,
no rest for the weary...
Or their agents.
Sorry you wasted your time
coming all the way out here,
but if I hear anything
about the hiker,
that is, I'll be sure
to give you a call.
I'd sure appreciate that.
Thank you for your time.
(car engine revs)
(Mallory) And with that,
she turned and walked away.
She didn't know
what the future would bring.
She didn't know what mysteries,
if any at all, lay ahead.
The only thing she did know
is that she was ready to face
this uncertain future
like she always did,
one day at a time.
The end.
Your book.
That's it? The book is finished?
The whole 75,000 words,
give or take.
We did it.
You did it, Mal.
It's cause for a drink,
don't you think?
(Mallory chuckles)
Aged 15 years.
I brought this back
from Scotland myself.
You can't drink scotch.
No. When I finish a book,
we'd always...
- Champagne.
- Exactly.
- Yeah.
- (chuckling)
To Gideon's gone
but maybe not for good, hmm?
Bottoms up.
- Mmm.
- Mmm.
- (coughs)
- (chuckles)
Why don't you pour us another
and I'll read you the ending?
Sounds good.
Goodnight, Janice.
- Janice.
- Oh.
- Sorry, Sheriff.
- I said goodnight.
I'm, uh, I'm headed home.
This thing has got me hooked.
What you got there?
Mystery novel.
This author can write.
(Sheriff Hill chuckles)
That's funny.
I got this book yesterday.
- You bought a book?
- No.
- (chuckles)
- Uh, the agent gave it to me.
- What do you mean?
- Oh, he's got that, uh,
big Tudor place
off Winslow Street.
- Huh.
- Who knows, you know?
Maybe we'll get to meet her
one day too.
Not unless you hold a seance.
Uh, what are you talking about?
- The author?
- Yeah.
- Mallory Dearborn...
- Uh-huh.
She's dead.
- Recently?
- Very recently.
Gosh, Sheriff,
don't you read the news?
I could have sworn he said...
Said what?
Nothing. I...
I guess I must have just,
uh, misheard him.
- I got woozy for a sec.
- (Mallory) Uh-hmm.
Didn't you know
that's what happens
when you mix scotch
and champagne?
- Oh.
- (Mallory) But don't you worry.
- Hmm.
- All you have to do
is sit there and listen.
"And in that moment, Gideon knew
that she was finally free.
Not just from Vargas,
but from her own prison
of self-doubt.
She was a detective at her core.
And although he may have been
the first to notice it,
to nurture it,
it was as indelible
a part of her as her eyes
were the angry-looking scar
across her eyebrow."
Hmm. I'm loving it, Mal.
Keep going. Keep going.
"Vargas had done her
two big favors.
One, he had reinvigorated
her love for the craft,
but, more importantly,
he had broken his vow
to never let her
get behind him again."
Get up.
Get up, you bastard.
- You hit me?
- Yes.
And if you don't get up
right now, I'll kill you.
I'm up.
- I'm up.
- (Mallory) Good.
Now, walk.
Gotta be honest with you, Mal.
I'm not too crazy
about this ending.
- Shut up.
- (chuckles)
Unlock it.
Do it.
(suspense music)
All I ever wanted
was to help you, Mallory.
After all,
where would you be without me?
- Out of this house.
- Hmm.
Now, like I told you
a long time ago...
Nobody's leaving here.
You had me fooled, Mal.
I'll give you that.
I thought we were
on the same page, hmm?
But now that you're finished,
I think it's time
we close this book for good.
- (grunts)
- (gunshot)
Where do you think
you're going, Mallory?
(suspense music)
You think that's gonna
throw me off, Mal?
I'm used to you leaving me
in the dark by now.
(floor creaking)
That wouldn't be you,
would it, Mallory?
- (phone rings)
- (Michael) Mallory.
Come out now. You're just gonna
make it worse for yourself.
(dispatcher) 911.
What's your emergency?
Please, send help.
Someone is trying to kill me.
(dispatcher) Ma'am, did you say
someone is trying to kill you?
- Yes. Please send help.
- (dispatcher) Where are you?
- (Michael) Mallory.
- (Mallory) Oh, the address?
I don't remember.
Um, uh, Winslow Street,
um, but it's owned
by Michael Harrington.
(dispatcher) Is he the one
trying to hurt you, ma'am?
Yes. Please send help.
Where did he go?
Forget about the sword
and pen, Mal.
A laptop to the head has got
them both beat.
- Get off of me!
- (both grunting)
(suspense music)
(dispatcher) Ma'am? Ma'am?
Are you still there?
(Michael) I really wanna
collaborate on another book now,
but now it's time for you to
join that hiker six feet under.
- Leave her alone.
- Who are you?
- (gunshot)
- (gasps)
So this is how the novel ends?
Only one problem.
I'm not Vargas
and you're not Gideon.
You're right, I'm not Gideon.
My name is Mallory Dearborn.
Sheriff, this man has kept me
prisoner for over a month.
He killed your hiker.
You'll find him
buried in the woods.
All right. Come on.
As soon as you two ladies
are up for it,
please come down
to see me at the station
so I can get a statement
from both of you.
I remember you.
Carrie, right,
from the bookstore?
I told you I'm your biggest fan.
Actually, Carrie,
I think I'm yours.
How did you find me?
Well, I had a little help
from the best detective
in the world.
I don't know
if you've heard of her.
Gideon Snow.
(siren wailing on a distance)
Thank you so much.
Enjoy the book.
(woman) Thank you.
In case I forget,
thank you again
for this opportunity.
No, thank you.
Besides, it's the least
I could do,
given that I have no bigger fan.
For once, I wrote a book
that actually means something
and I...
I couldn't have done it alone,
So what are you gonna do next?
Something historical.
Something that probably
won't make any money.
What about you?
I don't know. I'm...
I was thinking about asking
if the world might be ready
for another Gideon Snow book?
Are you volunteering?
Only with your permission,
of course.
I can't think of anyone better
than the Mystery Maven herself.
- Really?
- Yeah.
Just, uh, take good care
of her for me, will you?
I will.
Oh. (chuckles)
Well, I'll save you
the first signed copy.
- I'll hold you to that.
- Okay.
Oh, my gosh.
(soft dramatic music)