What's up with the Fitzpatricks?

Status: Solved?

So this is what they were talking about when they promised shorter mysteries! What seemed so tied up and confusing last week, looks...not much less confusing now, if you think about it, but at least we are two possible corpses, one priceless art piece, and one distraught detective closer to a solution... or so we thought.

The last time we saw the intrepid older Mars he was huddled behind a rock in the cold, cold desert, while an armed and gloating Cormac Fitzpatrick, who had apparently just send his lady love to the great, seedy bar in the sky, promised him he would come and pick up Keith's bloody and possibly frozen carcass in the morning. Wisely, Keith decided against waiting for the feisty (yet patient) Irishman, as we next observe him limping hurriedly through the desert, where he soon stumbles upon a beartrap, which was probably laid to keep those pesky hippies Cormac mentioned in check.

Always thinking quick on his feet, Keith decides to waylay his persecutor by setting the trap and baiting it with Vinnie's spy pen. When crossing the point a while later, Cormac proves that all the questionable brain power in the family went to pious Patrick by actually falling for the trick and getting himself a fetching leg brace. Guess his army training didn't prepare him for bears in the Texan desert.

Liam soon catches up with him, and after a sweet brotherly heart-to-heart where Liam establishes that he feels kinda-sorta betrayed by Cormac and his bride trying to cheat him out of his share of Kendall's millions, and Cormac confesses that he doesn't know where Kendall hid the money, the younger Fitzpatrick (presumably) kills the older by putting a bullet between his eyes. There can be only one!

Meanwhile, Keith has found his way back to civilization and tries to convince the local police that a murder was committed in Kendall's reclusive hut; a task not made easier by the fact that while the place has obviously been ransacked, there is no sign of a body. Fortunately, an observant deputy finds traces of blood on a really pretty picture, which just happens to be Van Gogh's Two Lovers. Kendall, for once foolishly irrational and truly believing in being able to drive into the sunset with her conning cuddlebear Cormac, had purchased it to hide Cassidy's millions from Liam's greedy little hands, and presented it to Keith on that fateful day at Mars Investigations. We always suspected that the key to Keith's eternal devotion is European fine art. The painting, predictably, does not end up on the Marsian living room wall but at an art auction house, and the money, for crying out loud, not in the Marsian empty pockets, but in charity, proving once again that Keith Mars is a greater, humbler person than this writer the MI.net staff anyone else in Neptune.

His humanity might come back to harm him, though, as Liam is now convinced that Keith helped Kendall escape, and knows where her money is hidden. Liam is really angry about that, and as Vinnie warned Keith: You don't owe the Fitzpatricks money.

Suspects

  • Cormac Fitzpatrick — A no-brainer, this one, as Cormac was the one holding the smoking gun over the (supposed) body of his former partner, jail surrogate, and main-squeeze Kendall. Cormac told Keith that he was happy that Keith had secreted the newly-enriched Kendall away from the grasping hands of his brother Liam, but Cormac was lying about a lot of things. The trick is to know what and why. What seems really strange is this: if the whole idea was to kill Kendall and take the money, why do it when Keith was there? Why not wait for Keith to leave? Keith expected them to disappear. Cormac could have done that, after burying Kendall in the desert, and Keith would never have been the wiser. Why risk the brouhaha that would follow in the wake of Keith's disappearance? It smacked of staging. Then Cormac appeared to die at the hands of his brother. If it was a long con, it had a short end, leaving a body in the desert and Keith the only one the local sheriff knows where to find.
  • Liam Fitzpatrick — We wouldn't put it past Liam to kill for several million dollars — several hundred dollars for that matter. Any doubts about the extent of his greed were extinguished by his treatment of Cormac which amounted to torture and, probably, execution. Liam is now down one brother and the money. What money? That's a damn good question. Liam is convinced that Kendall had his money. Even for Liam, it's a stretch to lay claim to Beaver's profits from the Phoenix Trust. Maybe that Van Gogh did pre-date Kendall's windfall, although if that was the way Liam was salting his cash, we'd have expected him to show the green with someone like Francis Bacon, not a long-dead Dutchman. Either way, somehow, we don't think he is going to be too pleased about Keith's bequest to the Neptune Food Bank.
  • Kendall Casablancas — Is she dead? Liam doesn't think so. We didn't see the body, and we didn't see the blood, except for a few small drops on the plastic encasing the Van Gogh. Would Kendall really have been able to cash out of Beaver's company and buy a Van Gogh in the three days between Beaver's death and the Mars's trip to New York? Or was the Van Gogh already in somebody's family? Who knows. Who cares.
  • Richard "Big Dick" Casablancas — Being abroad is not the same thing as being dead, and a deceived, cuckolded husband with money should never be counted out. There's telephones, there's mail, there's the Internet, there's assassins. Maybe Cormac turned hit man on commission.

Mystery Summary as of 3.07 "Of Vice and Men"

All summaries: 3.07 3.02 3.01

Clues for What's up with the Fitzpatricks?

  • 2.19 "Nevermind the Buttocks"
  • Kendall's name is assumed. She was born Priscilla Banks and went to Handley High School in Shelby, Tennessee. She was a senior there when the real Kendall Shiflett was a freshman.
  • The real Kendall Shiflett was killed in a single-car accident when the driver, Priscilla Banks, lost control and drove into a ditch. Kendall, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the car. Priscilla suffered only minor injuries.
  • Priscilla Banks spent six months in prison for wire fraud in what appears to be 1999.
  • Kendall is the partner-in-fraud of Cormac Fitzpatrick, Liam's older brother who is in San Quentin. They were grifters working the long con with Kendall as the roper.
  • 2.22 "Not Pictured"
  • Kendall shows up at Mars Investigations at the beginning of summer, offering Keith the yet unknown contents of a briefcase. Subsequently, he stands up Veronica on their flight to New York.
  • 3.01 "Welcome Wagon"
  • Keith does join his daughter for the New York vacation, but he is three days late. Feeling guilty, he buys Veronica a brand-new Saturn SUV to compensate for his negligence. As Keith tells Cormac, he used the fee Kendall paid him to purchase the car.
  • Vinnie shows up at Mars Investigations before Keith picks up Cormac, engaging him in pointless conversation and successfully bugging his briefcase, as Keith finds out later.
  • Cormac has finished his sentence and is released from prison. He is met by Keith, who has agreed to drive him to Kendall.
  • It seems that Liam wanted a bigger share of the money Kendall gathered from either her fugitive husband or the Phoenix Land Trust. Unhappy with what she was willing to give him, he threatened to harm her, which caused her to seek out Keith's help. This can be regarded as more or less hearsay, as all of it is information that is given to Keith by either Kendall or Cormac.
  • Kendall's hideout is in the desert, somewhere in West Texas. Cormac reveals that he has some experience with this sort of terrain due to his soldier's training and service done in the first Gulf War.
  • In an unguarded moment, Cormac steals Keith's gun, which he later ostensibly uses to kill Kendall, shooting repeatedly into the living room without her being visible.
  • Keith discovers the bug Vinnie planted and estimates that he may have been hired by Liam, who now knows their location.
  • After having been wounded by Cormac, Keith hides in the desert outside the house, having left his keys inside.
  • 3.02 "My Big Fat Greek Rush Week"
  • Kendall used a Van Gogh painting to persuade Keith to help her.
  • While escaping through the desert, Keith comes across an animal trap, which he baits with Vinnie's pen in order to delay Cormac. His plan works out, and Cormac gets caught in the trap.
  • Following the pen's signal, Liam finds Cormac and accuses him of trying to cheat him out of his share. Cormac claims he doesn't know where Kendall kept the money, but Liam refuses to believe him and shoots him point blank.
  • Keith arrives in the nearest town and takes the local police to Kendall's safehouse. It has been turned over, presumably by Cormac, and since no body can be found, the sheriff suspects robbery, despite Keith's protests. A deputy discovers a tiny trace of blood on a picture frame. When he removes it to take it into the lab, Keith recognizes the framed painting as Kendall's Van Gogh.
  • Keith takes the painting to an art auction house and indicates that the proceeds from its sale should be donated to the South Neptune Foodbank.
  • 3.07 "Of Vice and Men"
  • Vinnie proposes a deal to Keith. He claims that the Fitzpatricks, his occasional employers, think Keith helped Kendall escape with "Liam's" money and that he knows where it is kept. He suggest they could just split the retainer. Keith denies any knowledge of the money's or Kendall's whereabouts.
  • Liam threatens Veronica. Like Vinnie said he indeed thinks that Keith knows where the money is.