Friday, May 3, 2019

Movie Review: Death by Design - Morning Show Mysteries

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery with a bit of added depth
Cons: Light dose of Hallmark cheese
The Bottom Line:
Friend’s twin is murdered
Adds depth to mostly light film
Fun with good puzzle

Murder of a Twin

One thing I’ve noticed on TV mystery shows (and I’m including Hallmark’s mystery movies in this) is the sudden appearance of a best friend we’ve never heard of before.  Not that I truly mind; I just find it funny.  That’s what we encounter in Death by Design, the final entry in April’s Morning Show Mysteries movie event.

Billie Blessings (Holly Robinson Peete) is thrilled to have Marian (Keegan Connor Tracy) back in town to do the redesign of the Wake Up West Coast studio for two reasons.  Marian is one of the best designers in the country, but she also happens to be Billie’s best friend.  Marian also has a twin sister, Jasmine (also Keegan Connor Tracy), who has stayed in the Seattle area, but is a bit on the difficult side.  In fact, we meet her at her birthday party.  Never mind the fact that Marian is also in town and the two obviously share a birthday, this is Jasmine’s party.

However, when Jasmine is leaving her party, someone tries to run her down with a car.  That fails, but a couple of days later, Jasmine has been strangled.  Detective Ian Jackson (Rick Fox) is on the case, but with all the secrets Jasmine had in her life, the list of suspects is long.  Marian begs Billie to look into what happened to her twin, but can Billie figure anything out?

Once again, the writers have crafted a fantastic mystery.  While I eliminated one or two people, I still had plenty of suspects it could have been and I was left guessing until the end.  There were some good twists along the way to the logical solution.  One thing I enjoyed about this movie was that we saw more of Ian and his investigation.  Don’t get me wrong, we also still see plenty of Billie and she is the one who figures things out in the end, but it was nice to see more of his character.

Speaking of which, his romance with Billie is still on track, although they hit a bit of a bump here.  I’ll leave it for you to see more about that.  Honestly, I continue to enjoy my time with all these characters.

As a fan of Once Upon a Time, it was fun to see Keegan Connor Tracy, who recurred as the Blue Fairy, show up here and have such a large part.  She fit right in with the rest of the cast.  Also fun to note is that Al Roker, whose books were the (loose) inspiration for these movies, has a cameo here.

Yes, there is the usual element of Hallmark cheese, but you didn’t really need me to tell you that, right? 

Since some of the characters were so close to the murder victim, there is a more somber tone at times as the characters deal with the death.  Yes, Jasmine was a pain in the neck, but Marian and others still loved her.  I appreciated seeing this played out, and I applaud the writers and cast for finding this balance.  This adds depth to the characters and the story but does it without making the movie too dark.  This is a Hallmark mystery movie after all.

Morning Show Mysteries continue to give us entertaining mysteries.  Death by Design will please fans of the franchise or anyone looking for a pleasant distraction for a couple of hours.

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