Friday, November 18, 2016

Movie Review: The Gourmet Detective - Death Al Dente

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun characters, laughs, mystery
Cons: Characters stupid at the climax
The Bottom Line:
A foodie murder
Provides more fun for viewers
Enjoyable flick

“What Are You, One of the Hardy Boys?”  “Hey, the Hardy Boys Solved Every Case.”

I got caught up on The Gourmet Detective movies just in time for Hallmark to premier the third in the series, Death Al Dente.  Frankly, I’ve been really enjoying this mix of romance, mystery, and food, and I’m thrilled to say that the third continued to entertain.

Renowned San Francisco food expert Henry Roth (Dylan Neal) and San Francisco Homicide Detective Maggie Price (Brooke Burns) are among the guests to celebrate a local Italian restaurant receiving the best of the city award for the year.  Henry is good friends with the owners, Leo (Ben Wilkinson) and his wife Claudia (Jordana Largy).  During the evening, Leo mentions that someone broke into the restaurant the week before, but nothing had been stolen.

However, the next morning, someone breaks in again, and this time, Leo is shot.  Claudia finds him, and Leo is rushed to the hospital where Leo is in a coma.  While technically not a homicide, something doesn’t feel right to Maggie, and she works her way into the case with Henry as a consultant.  Can the two figure out what is happening?

Once again, we are presented with a good mystery filled with viable suspects.  The plot manages to weave in some surprising and interesting ways before we reach the climax.

Of course, I have to rant about the climax for a minute.  Henry and Maggie get very close to the too stupid to live threshold by what they do.  No, I’m not going to spoil anything, but you’ll know it when you see it.

The romance heats up here as both Henry and Maggie’s ex’s pop into the picture.  I actually found some of these scenes to be extremely funny, and I loved it.  Honestly, their relationship and the banter between the characters still reminds me of Castle, the early years.

Of course, the movie does still have that Hallmark feel to it, although with each movie I watch, I’m finding it less and less.  The acting is fine for a Hallmark movie, and as long as you remember what it is when you sit down to watch it, you’ll be fine.

These movies are based on books written by Peter King in the second half of the 90’s and early 2000’s.  I’ve never read the books, but I do have to wonder about the changes they’ve made as they bring the books to the big screen.  It seems that everyone has a smart phone, and they even talk about Facebook apps in this movie.  This particular books was published in 1999, so I doubt it was part of the original story.  I’m just thinking out loud at this point because it certainly doesn’t hurt the movie version of the story in the slightest.

I really do need to read some of Peter King’s books.  But until that happens, I’m going to keep enjoying the movie versions of his characters because they continue to entertain.  If you are a fan of light, cozy mysteries, be sure to check out Death Al Dente.

This movie is part of the Gourmet Detective DVD Collection.


  1. When you make a movie of something written earlier, you really have to update. Otherwise it looks dated. I remember a series of crime novels by an author called Shane Moloney. They were set in the 1980s, though written later, because the author wanted his hero to be working for a politician who was part of an earlier government. When they turned two of the stories into telemovies they simply updated and ignored the earlier government thing. It worked anyway.

  2. Great review. I love this particular Hallmark series.