Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Movie Review: Framed for Murder - A Fixer Upper Mystery

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great mystery, fun characters
Cons: It’s a Hallmark movie
The Bottom Line:
Neighbor is murdered
Makes Shannon a detective
Builds a fun story

Hallmark’s Newest Mystery Movie Series Has a Solid Foundation

There are authors on my shelf that I fully intend to read, yet for some reason I haven’t.  One of those is Kate Carlisle.  I read her debut years ago and enjoyed it, yet I’ve never read any more in either of her series.  Why am I bringing this up now?  Because Hallmark Movies and Mysteries has debuted their latest movie franchise based on Kate Carlisle’s Fixer Upper series.  Framed for Murder gets this new movie franchise off to a great start.

The movie is set in the small town of Lighthouse Cove on the coast.  Shannon Hughes (Jewel) is the go to person in town for renovations, and she specializes in the Victorians that populate the town.  In fact, she’s just finished work on her friend Jennifer’s (Erin Karpluk) new bed and breakfast.

However, things take a dark turn when Shannon discovers the body of her neighbor, Jennifer’s uncle Jesse (Ken Tremblett), one morning.  The police think he accidentally tripped and fell, hitting his head, but Shannon isn’t so sure.  Little clues make her think that Jesse was actually murdered.  Can she find any evidence to back up her claim?

Any fan of a book knows that you need to let go of any preconceived ideas when a movie version is made.  While I’ve never read any of these books, I do know that they changed Shannon’s last name for the movies from Hammer to Hughes.  I don’t know of any other changes, but I’m sure there were some.

But I can really only judge on what I saw here.  And what I saw was a very good mystery.  I had no clue where things were going until Shannon figured it out at the end, yet the ending tied up everything nicely, including an opening that didn’t seem to tie in to anything else for quite a while.  Your patience there will be well rewarded.

And I like these characters.  Heck, I was very sorry when Jesse turned out to be the victim, and I sympathized with the characters as they mourned.  Shannon is a great character, and I also really enjoyed Mac Sullivan, a true crime reporter and the potential love interest played by Colin Ferguson, who helps Shannon along the way.

I am only familiar with Jewel’s singing career, not that I’ve even followed that for a decade or so.  I wasn’t sure how she’d do as an actress, but I was pleasantly surprised.  She brought Shannon to wonderful life.  When you’ve got an actress like Jewel, it’s not surprise that they found a chance to get Shannon singing, which was wonderful.  The rest of the cast is just as strong.

And yes, my normal Hallmark movie warning comes into play here.  There is a certain level of cheese to the movie, both in the writing and the acting.  Just know that going in, and you’ll soon be lost in the story.

Truly, Framed for Murder is a fun movie.  I’m going to have to dust off the books and make time to read them so I’ll be ready for more movies in this promising new franchise.

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