My memory may be a little fuzzy on these since they are all murder mystery movies. Also, some other stuff like getting Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Fester’s Quest for the NES working interjected themselves between viewings. Don’t judge me! I had them as a kid and they need to be beaten. Luckily, because of the kind of movies these are, I don’t think it will be a problem.
Mystery Woman: Oh Baby (2006) – I hadn’t seen Kellie Martin since she was on floor dead in her final episode of ER. I really enjoyed her on that show. This movie pairs her with Clarence Williams III who people probably remember best from The Mob Squad, but I remember him from The General’s Daughter (1999). Martin runs a book shop she took over from her uncle called Mystery Woman Books. The movie begins with a guy getting murdered on a golf course by the partner they were playing with. A woman then shows up at the bookstore with a baby. She knew Martin’s uncle so Martin opens up her home to her and her baby. Soon the mother disappears to join the husband who is on the run. The husband is a groundskeeper who witnessed the murder, but instead of reporting it, ran away. Thus, the police are after him as a suspect. Martin and Williams gear up to try solve the crime. This is the best murder mystery series I have seen so far on Hallmark. Martin and Williams are likable. They don’t come across as busy bodies. You can follow the mystery. You actually care to follow the mystery. And it isn’t sanitized to the point of looking like the Stepford Wives. This one is worth checking out.
The Gourmet Detective (2015) – This is the film that introduces us to the Brooke Burns’ cop who still identifies herself as a detective even though SFPD officers of her type are called inspectors. It also introduces us to Dylan Neal, know as The Gourmet Detective. The setup for him and getting them together is pretty stupid. I can’t believe Neal kept a straight face while explaining that he is called The Gourmet Detective because if a key ingredient runs out, then someone like him hunts down a replacement. The setup BS is just annoying. The rest of the mystery is done well enough. Apparently, just like the second film, a journalist dies. The only really noteworthy thing is that they bother to stop and give us a real recap of what has been figured out so far. I don’t think any of the other ones I’ve watched have done it, or at least in a useful manner. This is really nice. Especially for someone like myself who has difficulty following along. Okay to see, but the second one is better because it doesn’t have all that setup stuff.
Murder, She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery (2015) – Think that title is long enough? Why not The Incredibly Sensibly Dressed Baker Who Stopped Making Cookies And Became An Amateur Detective. Maybe that will inspire Hallmark’s next series. This is one of those films that people seem to refer to as a cozy mystery. I guess cozy means sanitized and set in nice areas to the point that the Stepford Wives are soon to arrive and the town is going change it’s name to Pleasantville any day now. The movie is about a baker played by Alison Sweeney. After a friend and a delivery driver get killed, she investigates. A cop played by Cameron Mathison comes into things. He’s really just there to add a romantic interest in much the same way they did in Wedding Planner Mystery. It’s neat that Sweeney actually cries over the loss of her friends. In the others it’s like it’s just an excuse to investigate or they don’t seem to care. I remember a scene in Lies Between Friends where Gabrielle Anwar just stared from a distance at the dead body of her friend like she caught her doing something dirty. I would recommend any of the other three films listed here over this one. It’s so sanitized that things like suspense simply don’t exist.
Mystery Woman: Redemption (2006) – Again, we return to the bookstore with Martin and Williams. This time John Ratzenberger plays a Vietnam vet who shows up in the bookstore and soon after is found murdered. The investigation ultimately leads back to something that he and others went through during the Vietnam war. They found something special that they were planning to return to the government later on, but never did. All the good things about Mystery Woman: Oh Baby are present here. In addition, they don’t have to keep a baby in tow. Plus, the story is more interesting. The two Mystery Woman movies are definitely the ones to go with here. I have one more of these films to go and will write about it once I have seen it.