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Steven Perkins

Death In Paradise season 13 episode 6 recap: Why is Florence returning?

Death In Paradise season 13 episode 6: Joe Blyth (John Gordon Sinclair) and Cora Blyth (Gabrielle Glaister) stand on a beach with the wind blowing, both looking out to sea.

Death In Paradise season 13 episode 6 was a real treat for long-term fans of the show as two beloved former characters made a return: Officer Dwayne Myers (Danny John-Jules) and DS Florence Cassell (Joséphine Jobert). But what brought them both back? And what happened after Neville (Ralf Little) was reunited with ex-girlfriend Zoe (Taj Atwal), who had been leaving comments on his blog under the alias of "Sunset_Chaser"? It certainly was a busy episode — and that's before we even get to the seemingly impossible murder of a terminally ill woman in a lift...

Here's what happened in Death In Paradise season 13 episode 6...

At a swish resort on the island, Cora Blyth (Coronation Street's and Blackadder's Gabrielle Glaister) is celebrating with her husband Joe (Gregory's Girl star John Gordon Sinclair) and their daughter, Holly Portlake (Poldark's Ellise Chappell), and they're soon joined by Holly's husband Sam (The Great's Ali Ariaie). Cora and Joe get up to dance, but Cora starts to feel faint — but she insists she's fine. In their hotel room later, Cora is furtively messaging an unknown person, and hides her phone when Joe comes in. 

They head down to dinner, and as they get to the lift, Joe asks the housekeeper to take a Polaroid of the two of them together all dressed up. He and Cora get into the lift, but Joe realises he's forgotten their club card, so he tells Cora that he'll see her downstairs, and that he'll get the concierge to meet her from the lift. In the lobby, the concierge takes Joe's call and heads over to the lift — where the door opens to reveal Cora dead from a stab wound to the chest.

At the police station, Darlene (Ginny Holder) is seriously overworked without Marlon, though Naomi (Shantol Jackson) tells her that he's doing well in Jamaica. Unfortunately, Commissioner Selwyn Patterson (Don Warrington) arrives at that moment with the last thing Darlene wants to hear: the officer he hired to replace Marlon has decided to stay in the Caymans for personal reasons. Neville thinks they can probably handle the workload between the three of them as long as no big cases come in — and this is, of course, the moment when the phone rings informing them of the murder of Cora Blyth.

The team head over to the Arawak Hotel to survey the crime scene, where Naomi informs Neville that Cora, who arrived from the UK yesterday, was terminally ill. Darlene's initial enquiries report that Joe saw Cora into the lift at 6:30pm, and the housekeeper confirmed Cora was both alive and alone when the lift door closed, which was the moment that Joe called the concierge to let them know Cora was on her way down. 15 seconds later, the door opened and the concierge found Cora's dead body. There's no possibility that the killer got into the lift from a floor inbetween, as the Blyths were staying on the first floor, and 15 seconds is the normal length of time the lift takes to travel between floors, so nobody could have stalled it using the emergency alarm either.

Neville looks through Cora's handbag and finds a personal alarm in there, along with the receiver — which strikes him as odd, since there's not much use in having both parts in the same place. Naomi spots that one of Cora's manicured nails is broken too.

Neville and Naomi interview Joe, Holly and Sam. Holly explains that Cora had a bucket list of things she wanted to do, with a trip to Saint Marie right at the top of it. Naomi asks if Cora had any enemies, and Joe says that unfortunately it would be a long list: Cora was a barrister who put a lot of serious criminals in jail. Neville asks why Joe left Cora alone in the lift, and he explains that he'd forgotten the club card, which is how customers at the resort pay for things. Naomi asks Sam and Holly where they were at 6:30pm. Sam was swimming in the pool, and says that there were various sunbathers there who would have seen him. Holly, meanwhile, was jogging with the hotel running club. Naomi notices a rip in Holly's top, which Holly says must have happened while she was running — but she broke away from the group to take a longer route, so the other runners can't necessarily alibi her.

Sam (Ali Ariaie) has his side of the story questioned by Naomi (Shantol Jackson) and Neville (Ralf Little) (Image credit: BBC/Red Planet Productions)

On closer examination of the photo taken by the housekeeper, Naomi notices that Cora's nails were intact before she got into the lift. Clearly on a roll, she's also come up with a possible explanation: the killer could have entered the lift through the service hatch in the ceiling. Neville asks Naomi and Darlene to try it for themselves and see how quickly they can do it — despite their clear disdain for the very idea, they give it a good go, but the best time Naomi can manage is 29 seconds once she's climbed down from the hatch, "stabbed the victim", and climbed back up again. She thinks she could potentially get faster with more practice - but probably not twice as fast. A search of Cora's room turns up an underlined passage in a Bible and a sunblock box that's got a load of cash squirrelled away inside it. Naomi also finds Cora's bucket list, and Neville instantly spots something weird on it — there's no mention of Saint Marie anywhere. (Quite right too, who would put the murder capital of the Caribbean on their list of important things to do before their death? Unless they were trying to hurry it along...)

After work, Neville and Zoe take a walk along the beach, where Zoe admits that she found out Neville was in the Caribbean after bumping into his mum. She wanted to get back in touch but felt a bit awkward about it, so she decided to test the waters by pretending to be someone else. She asks if he fancies a proper catch-up tomorrow night over dinner, and Neville offers to cook. Zoe's impressed — this is a very different Neville from the one she used to know.

The Commissioner (Don Warrington) has a plan, but it may not be to Darlene's liking... (Image credit: BBC/Red Planet Pictures)

Selwyn turns up at the hotel with a possible solution to Darlene's extensive workload — but one that he wants to run by her first. At the police station, Neville and Naomi run through the information that they have so far — the post-mortem confirms Cora died of cardiac trauma caused by the knife to the heart, and the angle of entry shows that it couldn't have been self-inflicted. The knife in question was a steak knife, but not one of the hotel's. 

Other information about the family that they've turned up includes that Holly works for a charity and recently announced her pregnancy, and that Sam works part-time in a dog café (a café where you go to stroke dogs) and is studying to be a veterinary nurse. Neville notes that neither Sam nor Holly can be bringing in a lot of money — so the fact that they can afford to live in London's leafy Clapham rings alarm bells.

Cora's phone records reveal that the person she was texting shortly before her death was Sam, and she was asking him if he had decided yet — the only text she'd sent him in the last month. Over at the hotel, Darlene has found some fabric snapped on the fire escape leading down from the roof. Neville notes that if anyone climbed from the lift shaft to the roof, that's how they'd get out. (Hang on a minute — Cora was killed between the first and ground floors of what is at least a six-storey building. Are we really suggesting that Holly scaled a lift shaft for five floors or more? Was she bitten by a radioactive spider recently?!) And after speaking to Cora's solicitor, Naomi's learned that Cora was planning to change her will, meaning Holly no longer stood to inherit over half a million pounds.

Holly admits to being on the roof, but says she went up there to be on her own — she's been struggling with the prospect of losing her mum. Cora was paying the rent on Holly and Sam's flat, and also made several large payments into Holly's account to help pay for IVF. (Apparently Cora also struggled to conceive Holly back in the day, so was very sympathetic to their problems.) Holly explains that after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, Cora rediscovered her faith and wanted to leave her money to worthy charities — but she and Sam weren't worried about their finances because Holly's due a promotion at work and Sam's close to graduating. (They might still want to look at moving somewhere more affordable though — Sidcup, maybe.) She didn't see anyone near the lift shaft while she was on the roof, nor did she go anywhere near it. 

Joe arrives, and Neville asks if either of them know why visiting Saint Marie wasn't actually on Cora's bucket list — or why she had $10,000 hidden in her bedside drawer? Both Joe and Holly are surprised by this revelation.

Neville, Naomi and Darlene head down to the ferry port to meet their newest team member — and it's none other than Dwayne Myers! (Last seen in the 2021 Christmas special.) Neville and Naomi greet him warmly, but the same cannot be said of Darlene — who dated Dwayne back in the day — who curtly informs him that she's "Officer Curtis" as far as he's concerned. Selwyn asks after Dwayne's father Nelson, who was meant to be joining him, and Dwayne explains that he decided to head over first and get everything set up. Dwayne wastes no time in greeting all of his old friends, as the rest of the team wonder exactly what they've let themselves in for.

What does the mysterious woman (Ronni Ancona) want from Joe and Cora? (Image credit: BBC/Red Planet Productions)

At the hotel, Joe is approached by a mysterious brunette (Ronni Ancona), who wants to know if Cora told him what she promised her. Joe snarls that Cora hasn't mentioned her for years, and wonders what she's doing here — did she have something to do with Cora's death? When Joe invokes the police, the woman gets spooked and runs away.

Back at the police station, Naomi has discovered that Sam reported that an ex-girlfriend was stalking him last week and applied for a restraining order. Neville gets Naomi to contact London for more information, while Dwayne and Darlene are dispatched to have another look at the crime scene — and it's clear that Darlene's patience with her ex-boyfriend is already wearing thin.

Naomi and Neville question Sam, who admits that he's been hassled by his ex-girlfriend. He hasn't mentioned it to Holly, because he cheated on Holly with her. He claims to feel like a loser who isn't good enough for Holly, so he slept with his ex to make himself feel better (ah, that old excuse). It turns out the Met Police officer looking into Sam's restraining order application was an old friend of Cora's, who called her to double-check Sam's story — and Naomi correctly guesses that Cora worked out what was going on. Sam admits that Joe has always hated him, but Cora was always on his side, so she gave him the choice of confessing to Holly or not — but she wasn't going to tell Holly herself. (Neville finds this dubious.)

At the hotel, the aforementioned nameless brunette played by Ronni Ancona swipes a housekeeper's keycard and tries to get into Cora's room — but is caught by Dwayne and Darlene and scarpers. The chase takes them all the way down to the pool, where Dwayne tries to barge past Darlene — and Darlene's shove back sends him flying into the water, much to her amusement.

The mysterious woman gives Dwayne (Danny John-Jules) the slip (Image credit: BBC/Red Planet Productions)

That evening, Zoe joins Neville for dinner and asks him about romance — and Neville wisely doesn't go into details, merely saying that he's had his heart broken twice (Florence and Rebecca/Sophie, for anyone who's not up to speed). For her part, Zoe admits to having been dumped a month ago by her fiancé, but has resolved to get herself back out there. She sets her stall out by suggesting that they both deserve some happiness and, under the guise of retrieving some Eccles cakes she sneaked into her luggage, gets up and plants a smacker on Neville.

The next day, Naomi has an update: Sam hasn't just been sleeping with his ex, but has generally been bed-hopping his way around London. The cad! Neville points out that Sam being exposed as a serial adulterer, cheating on his pregnant wife while her mother is dying, would definitely ruin his marriage, giving him an excellent motive to want Cora permanently silenced — but, Naomi reminds him, Sam's got an alibi for the time of Cora's death. Dwayne arrives having done a little bit of investigating into the identity of the mysterious brunette, and one of the bellboys at the hotel recognised her as a tour guide who's often around the town. That's not all either - a hotel cleaner witnessed a huge row between Joe and Cora the day they arrived. Darlene remembers that one of the numbers in Cora's call log was to Gary's Guides, a local tour company, and finds their mystery brunette on the website.

Neville and Naomi go to speak to Joe in the church, where he's gone in the hope of feeling closer to Cora, despite not being religious himself. Joe didn't know about Sam cheating on Holly, and Neville asks if he knows why Cora kept this from him — Joe surmises that Cora wanted to protect him and Holly. Naomi asks about his argument with Cora, and Joe says she'd just told him what charity she was leaving the money to — her church. He saw red, assuming she'd been manipulated into doing so by her priest, but says that they talked it through and Cora convinced him it was all her idea. Naomi shows him a picture of the mysterious brunette from the hotel CCTV, but Joe lies that he's never seen her before.

Darlene calls to inform them that the mysterious woman's name is Lexi Reece — and Dwayne points out that "Alexandria", one of the items on Cora's bucket list which they'd all assumed was the ancient city in Egypt, could in fact be a reference to Lexi's full name. So, in a way, Saint Marie was on Cora's bucket list — because she came here looking for Lexi.

Neville and Naomi interview Lexi, who explains that Cora had phoned her out of the blue to offer her $10,000. In return, she just wanted to meet Lexi in her hotel room for a chat, but she never told Lexi what it was about — and Cora died before they had a chance to have that conversation. Lexi tells them she went to the room to get the money she'd been promised. Neville reveals what they found out in her records — Lexi was convicted of dealing Class A drugs and went to prison when she was barely 18, and Cora represented her back when she was a defence barrister. Neville asks if she blamed Cora for the fact that she ended up in prison, and Lexi disputes this, saying the Blyths were the only ones who looked out for her when she was released. She admits that she was sectioned not long after her release — she went back to using and dealing drugs, and ended up pregnant and unable to cope. Her baby was taken into care, but Cora went above and beyond to keep her from going back to jail, even getting her off a child neglect charge on the proviso that she kept away from the child. Lexi worried she'd be unable to hold up her end of the bargain if she stayed in the country, so she moved to Saint Marie and turned her life around. Lexi says Cora is the only reason she's not rotting in jail right now — so Cora is the absolute last person she'd ever want to hurt.

Lexi tells Neville and Naomi her tragic story (Image credit: BBC/Red Planet Productions)

At the police station, Darlene overhears Dwayne talking to a doctor on the phone, and he admits that Nelson doesn't have as much life in him as Dwayne had been making out — Nelson's coming back to Saint Marie to see out his days. Darlene softens at this, and invites them both round to hers the following night for dinner.

After further investigation, the knife that killed Cora turns out to be from a restaurant close to Gary's Guides — but one that has tables outside, meaning pretty much any passer-by could have swiped it. Neville gets an eyelash stuck in his eye, and gets his phone out so he can use the camera to get it out — and after sorting out his ocular interloper, he suddenly has a brainwave. He knows why Cora was killed — even if he doesn't yet know how. They return to the hotel, and this time it's Dwayne's turn to try and climb in and out of the lift via the hatch, but he can't do it in enough time either. Dwayne complains that he's dizzy from going "up and down" through the hatch over and over again — and that slots the final piece of the puzzle into place inside Neville's idiosyncratic brain. He sends Dwayne off to search through some drain filters for the final piece of evidence...

Time to gather everyone together while Neville lays out his theory: Cora wasn't killed between the first floor and the ground floor. The lift went down past reception and into the lower lobby by the pool, which was deserted at the time — except for Sam. While down at the pool, he retrieved the knife that he'd stashed there earlier, and when the lift doors opened, he stabbed Cora in the heart. Afterwards, he used his pool towel to wipe his prints off the knife and then sent the lift back up to reception. Cora's nail was found in the pool filter, because Sam dived into the pool after killing her to wash off any lingering forensic evidence — and to be seen by the sunbathers, firming up his alibi.

Joe points out that Sam wouldn't have had time to kill Cora, because he called the concierge the second that the lift doors closed on the first floor — and reminds them that the housekeeper witnessed him do it. Neville's wise to this though — he knows that Joe deliberately got the housekeeper to take that picture of him and Cora, so that she'd be paying attention to him and could give him an alibi, because Joe was in on the plan with Sam. He'd given Sam the receiver of Cora's personal alarm, and when he got into the lift, he pressed the button to alert Sam that she was on the way. He then pretended to have left the club card behind to make sure Cora was alone in the lift, and then pressed the button for the pool floor, not reception. He then pretended to call the concierge — but in reality, did nothing of the sort. After killing Cora, Sam put the receiver back in her bag, and once Sam had had enough time to kill Cora, Joe made the real call to the concierge from back inside his hotel room — and that's when the concierge found Cora's body. 

Joe (John Gordon Sinclair) conspired with son-in-law Sam to kill Cora (Image credit: BBC/Red Planet Productions)

Joe and Sam had been playing up their mutual antagonism so that nobody would realise they were working together. Neville — not enjoying this particular part of the denouement — breaks the news to Holly that Sam had been cheating on her. Not because he enjoys being a life-ruiner, but because he suspects (correctly) that even after Neville and Naomi told Joe about Sam's infidelity, Joe still didn't tell Holly. Because — the plot thickens — Cora actually did tell Joe that Sam had been unfaithful to Holly, but Joe responded by going to Sam and promising to keep the secret if Sam helped him to kill Cora. Why? Because after Cora found religion, she became obsessed with cleansing her soul, and that meant that she wanted to come clean to Lexi about something that she and Joe did in the past. When Lexi was sectioned, Cora and Joe took her baby and raised her as their own — Holly. Cora then lied to Lexi that she'd face a neglect charge if she ever tried to contact her child, and Lexi, trusting Cora completely after everything she'd done for her, didn't question it. Joe was afraid that if Cora confessed to Lexi, he'd end up in prison and Holly would want nothing more to do with him.

Neville worked all of this out when trying to get the eyelash out of his eye, because he'd been staring closely at his own eyes, which are brown, like Holly's — but Joe and Cora both had blue eyes, and two blue-eyed parents almost never produce a brown-eyed child. Joe tries to apologise to Holly, who coldly shuts him down, and Joe and Sam are both arrested. A tearful Holly isn't looking forward to going home on her own — but Neville suggests she could stay in Saint Marie a bit longer and get to know Lexi.

Neville meets Zoe on the beach, and says that this case has really made him think about life and what he wants out of it — and unfortunately, Zoe isn't a part of that. When they kissed, the spark wasn't there any more — and Zoe admits she felt the same way. Neville suggests that neither of them really wanted it, but they were both vulnerable and on the rebound. He's really grateful that she came all that way to see him though, because chatting to Sunset_Chaser reminded him of the thrill of speaking to a new potential romantic interest for the first time. Zoe tells him that he can't expect to find the love of his life through an internet messageboard, and the two of them part amicably.

Over drinks at Catherine's Bar, Neville breaks the news to Naomi that everything he's been through recently — including the Commissioner's brush with death — has made him realise how his job doesn't leave him much time to find romance, and that Saint Marie is a small island filled with the ghosts of the past. So he's realised that in order to find love, he's planning to leave Saint Marie and go travelling.

As the Commissioner is leaving the police station, he gets a phone call — from none other than Florence, who has just got out of witness protection. Hooray! We knew those little mentions of her across the series had to be leading somewhere — but is she coming back to Saint Marie for good? And will Neville still want to leave if he knows she's coming back? We'll have to wait until next week's episode to find out...

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