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The Resurrection of Joe November Recap

On a riverboat heading toward New Orleans, Baron Thor von Und Zu Himmelstern and a man talk. After a moment, Thor stabs the man in the side with his sword cane and tosses him overboard. Bret comes up on deck and greets Thor, thinking that he heard a splash. Thor dismisses it as a porpoise and Bret is understandably skeptical. He suggests that it's a catfish, and Thor claims that he heard a meow and leaves. Captain Nelson comes down and mentions that there's a German noble lady is playing 21 in the salon and bankrupting the man she's playing, but she's attractive.

Bret goes into the salon and finds the woman, Felice De Lassignac, winning at 21. She recognizes Maverick and says that they met ten years ago when their fathers played cards together. Thor comes in and Felice introduces him to Bret as her husband. Felice invites Bret to sit in and he agrees. He loses consistently to Felice and finally bows out, and Felice suggests that they meet him at the Absinthe House in New Orleans the next day. Bret agrees and leaves.

The next day the riverboat arrives in New Orleans and goes to a bar. The bartender, Willie Saffron, serves him a drink and asks if he's in town for Mardi Gras. Willie suggests that he "loan" Bret his woman to party with, and calls over the woman Bessie Bison. He tells Bessie to "cheer up" Bret, and she tells Bret that she's just as lonesome as he is. She talks about her engagement to Willie for the last seven years. Bessie shows him a large engagement ring and complains that Willie tells her to never wear it and it must be junk because it's so large. Willie comes over and tells Bret that a couple in a room want to talk to him.

Felice and Thor are in the room, and Felice says that they have a plan where Bret can get his money back. They give him an envelope with his money and Felice says that there's $5,000 more in it for Bret. He has to get permission to remove the contents of a grace. Bret remembers the majordomo, Joe November, who ran the De Lassignac manor, and they want him to disinter Joe's remains. All Bret has to do is get a permit from the Chief of Police, then he takes it to the cathedral and they'll hand over the brass casket to him and he'll bring it to the boat the couple is on that is leaving for Germany. Thor claims that he can't do it because of the Franco-Prussian War and the locals' attitude toward Germans, and Felice doesn't consider it woman's work. Felice says that she regarded Joe as a member of her family and they will reinter him at the mausoleum in Germany. Thor tells Bret the hotel where he can reach them and leave.

Bret goes out to the bar and hears Bessie complaining to Willie about how he should either propose or they're done. She leaves the ring on the bar and leaves, and Willie says that she'll be back in a week. As Willie leaves with the ring, he drags it across the glass counter and leaves a scratch. Bret realizes that it's a real diamond, but Willie claims the scratch was left earlier in a bar fight and gets Bret a drink on the house.

Bret goes to the Chief of Police and gets the permit, saying that he's doing it for a woman. The Chief points out that Joe died during a yellow fever epidemic and shouldn't be opened on Louisiana soil, and offers to direct Bret to a funeral director who can provide a complete service for $50. Bret isn't interested but the Chief insists that he do it and bargains him down to $25.

Bret goes to the cathedral and shows the permit to Brother Ambrose. He reminds Bret that it's Mardi Gras week and they'll be busy on Ash Wednesday. He remembers the funeral and how there was only one mourner. It wasn't Felice, because her father had died a week before. The mourner was a man who still comes once a week, but Ambrose doesn't know who he is. All he said is that he's Joe. Ambrose knew Joe, and remembers him like Bret does, rather than how Felice described him.

Ambrose leaves for vespers and Bret goes back to the bar and tells Willie that he thinks the couple are trying to run a con. Willie remembers Joe, but his description doesn't match Bret's or Felice's. Bret doesn't want to give drop it and give up the $5,000, and shows Willie a necklace that he found on the floor of the mausoleum. Willie says that it's a fake and Bessie might like it, and she rolls her eyes when he offers it to her. Bret wonders if there's a picture of Joe at the old De Lassignac manor, and Willie suggests that he check it now that it's been turned into a museum. The gambler wonders about how Felice recognized him right away when he didn't recognize her, and remembers her as a brunette rather than a blonde. Willie dismisses his concerns and goes to get a drink, and Bret scratches the glass on the bar with the necklace and realizes that the diamonds are real despite Willie's offer.

Bret goes back to the mausoleum and pulls out Joe's casket. He finds a hidden compartment on the outside containing jewels, and goes to the museum. He has the attendant take him to the picture gallery, but doesn't find a picture of Joe. The attendant finds the name familiar but wasn't working there when Joe was. A woman comes in and Bret realizes that it's Felice: a brunette. She remembers Bret and flirts with him, and he kisses her on the cheek. They talk privately in the weapons room and Felice explains that her father gave it to New Orleans and she's poor. Her father was rich but there was nothing left after he died. Bret asks her if she knows someone like the Felice he met on the riverboat, and Felice says that it was probably Felice Schmidt, whose description matches the Felice Bret met earlier. Felice #1 was German and used to be a parlor maid at the manor, and spied for the Germans during the Franco-German War. She was caught and they put a tattoo on her to brand her as a spy. Bret shows her the jewelry and Felice #2 says that it belonged to her father and it was collateral from the Emperor of France. Her father loaned Napoleon a million francs, and Napoleon gave him the jewels as collateral. When the father died, Joe took over but he died and the jewels disappeared. Bret says that he'll return the jewels the next night, making Felice #2 a very rich woman. Grateful, Felice #2 kisses him.

Thor comes in and says that he saw Bret enter the museum and followed him in. He confirms that Bret was successful in recovering the casket and asks him to visit them that night. Once Thor leaves, Thor stages a conversation with Felice #2 to explain why he's there but Felice isn't very convincing.

As Mardi Gras begins, Thor watches it from his hotel window. He tells Felice #1 that he wasn't convinced by Bret's early claim and figures that he's up to something. Thor doesn't trust that Joe put the jewels in the coffin. Felice #1 notes that Joe recovered after he was reported dead by the hospital, and the mistake was never corrected during the epidemic confusion. Felice #2's father told Joe about the jewels, and Joe hid them in his casket to get them out of the country. The authorities wouldn't let the casket out of the country because it contained a yellow fever victim.

Bret arrives and says that he's arranged for transfer of the casket but it will have to wait two days because of red tape. Thor tells him to get the casket that night and bring it to the hotel, and Felice #1 points out that Bret will get his money quicker. They suggest that Bret put on a costume and blend in with the crowds, pushing the cart with the casket through the people on the streets. Bret puts on a fake nose mask and leaves. Once he goes, Thor puts on a mask and follows Bret to make sure everything goes according to plan. Felice #1 insists on going with him, saying that she doesn't trust him, and Thor slaps her before leaving.

At the mausoleum, Ambrose has his helpers load the casket on the hand cart that Bret brought. He tells Ambrose that he's taking it to the museum first so Felice #2 can pay her respects. "Joe"--Willie-- arrives with flowers and Ambrose tells him that Bret just left with the casket. Ambrose confirms that it was Bret, not Thor, and Willie accidentally drops a knife but claims that it's part of his costume. The brother says that Bret is heading to the hotel and Willie go after him.

Thor tries to find Bret in the crowd despite his mask. Willie does so as well, and Willie also looks for Bret. Bret reaches the hotel and Willie knocks him out from behind, and then pulls the cart to the back of the bar. Bessie is waiting, and he pries open the casket and unloads the jewels inside into a bag. He claims that they're fake, and a disgusted Bessie leaves because he won't set a wedding date.

Bret wakes up and sees the trail of streamers that fell on the casket. He follows the trail to the bar and finds the casket in the back room and takes it with him to the museum. Felice #1 sees him go inside, while Bret and the attendant take the casket inside. Thor confronts Bret and attacks him with his sword cane. Bret and grabs a display sword, and the two of them fight. Felice #2 and the attendant arrive, and Felice #1 comes in. Felice #1 hides while Felice #2 yells for the police.

Thor disarms Bret and figures that he's Felice #1's partner. Felice #1 steps out and shoots Thor dead. The Chief and his men arrive, and Bret tells him that Felice #1 killed Thor. Bret tells the Chief what happened and the Chief points out that Bret has been operating a cart without a license. The gambler explains that jewels are in the casket, and when the Chief opens it he finds Willie inside. Felice #2 confirms that Willie is Joe, and Willie says that Bessie took the jewels and left him there. The Chief tells Willie that he's under arrest for impersonating a corpse.

The Chief's men find Bessie and they bring everyone to the station. Felice #1 points out that Thor wasn't her husband and she killed him to save Bret. Felice #2 refuses to press charges against Willie and Bessie since she has the jewels back, and Bret notes that none of them are criminals. Willie finally agrees to marry Bessie and they run out, and Bret suggests that they go out and celebrate Mardi Gras. The Chief tells Bret to pay up $50 for operating a push cart with a license, and handcuffs himself to Felice #1 to make sure she's there in the morning to review her case.

Bret is soon back on the riverboat, heading to Natchez. He tells Nelson that he has to recoup his losses, and Nelson says that there's a game of red dog in the salon... being run by a female wearing a purple wig. Bret considers and then goes to check the woman out but has second thoughts.

Written by Gadfly on Mar 31, 2019

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