As a child, I used to love a good mystery. As an adult, while I do love a good mystery, I have to be very careful with what I watch or read because my imagination will go WILD. I used to be able to handle watching those Dateline and 20/20’s, but now, my mind just goes crazy with speculations and I get super jumpy and suspicious of people.
Enter Hallmark Mysteries!
If you’re like me and like a good mystery, but can’t handle graphic events in explicit detail, Hallmark Mysteries are a good alternative! I’ve really enjoyed Aurora Teagarden mysteries and Garage Sale Mysteries are another favorite. In fact, that’s the ONLY thing (besides Signed, Sealed, Delivered) my husband will watch with me. Speaking of my husband, he did watch a few of the new ones, because I asked him.
So far, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries have released five new mysteries. Four new shows and one new episode of an established show. I’m happy to report that I have watched them all! Here are my quick thoughts on the latest Hallmark Mysteries. (And I’ll do my best to keep this as spoiler free as possible.
Ruby Herring Mysteries: Silent Witness
Starring: Taylor Cole and Stephen Huszar
- Ruby reminded me of Nancy Drew and it brought out a very nostalgic feeling. I felt like this particular story could have been in one of Carolyn O’Keefe’s books.
- Taylor Cole’s red hair really threw me for a loop. Ruby’s look and style reminded me of those pop art superheroes.
- The mystery seemed too easy.
I was able to figure out the murderer very quickly. I thought it was pretty obvious, although I was thrown for a loop in a moment that ended up being a red herring.
I had a lot of fun with this Ruby Herring movie because it brought out a nostalgic feeling. Ruby reminded me of Nancy Drew and I felt like this story could have been a mystery Nancy Drew would solve. I do wish they had more of Shawn Christian in this movie. I really enjoyed the father/daughter chemistry. (It also helps that Shawn Christian is Taylor Cole’s step-dad in real life!)
My husband didn’t care for this one because it was too Nancy Drewish for him.
Overall, I would watch another movie if they decided to pick this up for a series.
Starring Jill Wagner and Kris Polaha
- Perhaps it’s the English major in me, but I just loved Jill Wagner’s character, Amy, because she was an English professor! I would have LOVED to take a crime fiction novel class in college. That would have been so fun.
- Kris Polaha’s character reminded me of a cross between The Fonz and Danny Zuko (John Travolta In Grease). It must be the dark hair, the leather jacket and the motorcycle.
- My husband, who watched this with me, did not care for the emotional outburst at the end. He said is was unrealistic. I disagreed. But that’s the difference between him, an INTP, and me, an ISFJ.
There were A LOT of moving parts to this story and there were so many storylines that I almost had trouble keeping up. I didn’t know who the killer was at all! My husband called the killer the moment he showed up on screen.
I really enjoyed this pilot and hope they make more! I really enjoyed Kris Polaha and Jill Wagner’s chemistry and can’t wait to see if they make more movies with these two!
My husband thought this one was okay until the end. The emotional outburst killed it. I’m trying to convince him otherwise.
Overall, I loved this one! I’d definitely watch the series!
Emma Fielding: More Bitter than Death
Starring Courtney Thorne-Smith and James Tupper
- I didn’t realize that this was the third movie. Site Unseen (the Pilot) came out in 2017 and Past Malice came out last year.
- I was really confused about the relationships Emma had with the two men who kept trying to one each other up. (Probably would have helped to have known this wasn’t a Pilot movie).
- The professors in this movie were quirky… but SO FUN to watch!
- I immediately thought of the POstables after realizing that Geoff Gustafson (Norman Dorman) and Mark Valley (Steve Marek) were both in this one.
- Fake accents killed me.
- The Indiana Jones thing underground also killed me.
I was so distracted by the multiple storylines in this movie among other things like bad accents and the Indiana Jones thing, that I just wasn’t looking for the killer. The whole cultish fraternity going on, not gonna lie, pretty much creeped me out and I was very distracted. I did figure out the murderer towards the middlish end of the movie.
This one was just odd. It was so odd that it was almost pretty good? I didn’t like it at first, but the more I thought about it, it was interesting. And finishing a movie baffled is better than not finishing a movie because I was bored, right?
My husband didn’t finish this one with me. The Indiana Jones thing and Emma being rescued by both men really just made his eyes roll all the back in his head. He did NOT like this one.
Overall, I think I’ll have to watch the previous two mysteries. And I would watch a fourth movie. The quirkiness in this one was interesting enough.
The Chronicle Mysteries
There were three Chronicle Mystery movies that were released earlier this year:
- The Wrong Man
- Vines that Bind
- Recovered: I enjoyed the plot twists and didn’t see the end coming.
- The Wrong Man: The secondary crime had me baffled.
- Vines that Bind: I’ll be honest— I was a bit distracted while watching this, and I may just have to rewatch this, but I couldn’t really get into it.
Other things to note: the whole premise of this series was supposed to be the fact that Alex McPherson (Alison Sweeney) was a podcaster. To be honest, I had forgotten about that bit because it’s very journalism heavy. My friends, Rachel and Lisa, at Hallmarkies Podcast mentioned some great ideas that would have made these first three movies stellar. Go check it out here!
There were multiple story lines within each movie that kept me guessing.
In Recovered, I did not see the ending coming.
For The Wrong Man, I had a feeling about the killer.
Finally, in Vines that Bind, I was also suspicious of the killer.
I think this series could easily become a favorite if they change the premise and focus more on the podcasting piece. Otherwise, it’s just the same mystery storyline, but the characters have different jobs. I’d hate to see this series become generic!
Crossword Mystery: A Puzzle to Die For
Starring Lacey Chabert and Brennan Elliot
- The art heist arc combined with the crossword puzzles reminded me of a computer game I used to play way back in the 90s called ClueFinders.
- I like Lacey and Brennan’s chemistry and found them quite charming.
- My heart was crushed midway. I did not see the second death coming.
I think if I had been paying closer attention, I think I would have predicted the right killer. Although, they had some interesting red herrings that kept me guessing.
I am very interested to see how they incorporate the crossword puzzles into the next few movies. Are all the murders going to communicate through crossword puzzles? I feel that would be a little odd, because at some point, aren’t the newspaper people going to start screening submissions? I’ll definitely be watching when the next movies come out later this year!
I would rank these winter mysteries in the following order:
- Mystery 101
- Chronicle Mysteries: Recovered
- Crossword Mystery: A Puzzle to Die For
- Ruby Herring: Silent Witness
- Emma Fielding: More Bitter Than Death
- Chronicle Mysteries: The Wrong Man
- Chronicle Mysteries: Vines that Bind
Overall, I think the mysteries have kicked off to a great start! I am looking forward to the next set of mysteries Hallmark Movies and Mysteries has in store for us!
What mystery movie did you enjoy most? Let me know!