Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Movie Review: Riddled with Deceit - A Martha's Vineyard Mystery

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Twisty mystery, fun characters
Cons: Light dose of Hallmark cheese
The Bottom Line:
Emeralds are missing
With murder not far behind
In great mystery

“This is a One Time Deal.  I’m Retired.”

Having completely enjoyed the first Martha’s Vineyard Mystery movie from Hallmark, released last month, I was looking forward to visiting the characters again in the second movie, Riddled with Deceit.  I’m glad I say I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.

While Jeff Jackson (Jesse Metcalfe) has hung up his detective shield and retired to Martha’s Vineyard, he can’t seem to quite leave his old life behind.  That’s why he agrees to consult for one night with the Martha’s Vineyard police, including his late father’s friend Police Chief Madieras (Eric Keenleyside).  They are beefing up security for an emerald brooch that has been returned to Britt Hill (Sunita Prasad).  The brooch was in her family for years before it was stolen, and it’s only recently been returned.  She plans to unveil it at a gala, display it at the inn she runs, and then turn it over to the Smithsonian.

Things go well at the grand unveiling, but later that night things turn dangerous.  A theft leads to an attack, and then someone dies.  Jeff may have only been hired for one night, but he can’t let it go.  Once again teaming up with his old friend, Zee Madieras (Sarah Lind), he tries to figure out what happened.  Can he make sense of all the clues?

I was very impressed with this mystery.  It twisted in all kind of fun directions, and had some plot twists I did not see coming.  They kept me confused until the end, but by then everything made perfect sense.  Along the way, there were some rather tense scenes.

The characters are fantastic again as well.  Jeff and Zee really are the stars of the show, and their chemistry is fantastic.  It’s fun watching the two of them work together to solve this mystery.  I also appreciated the pieces of their backstory we got to see.  There is obviously an attraction there, but I appreciate that they are working on reconnecting as friends.  I have no doubt that we will get to a romance if we get enough of these movies.  (And please tell me we will get plenty of these movies.  They are fantastic!)  One piece of information we get puts Jeff’s backstory in a completely different light, and I’m curious where they are going to go with it from here.

Once again, the writing and acting were at the upper end of the Hallmark movie range, meaning the cheese was kept to a minimum.

And we continue to get beautiful shots of scenery.  I don’t know where they really film these movies, and I don’t want to know.  I want to keep pretending everything is really being filmed on location.  Even if that isn’t true, I appreciate the beautiful locations they are using.

While the name is different, this movie is loosely based on the third book in the series by Philip R. Craig, Vineyard Deceit.  I haven’t read the book, but based on the description, I can tell they took the idea of an emerald brooch as the MacGuffin of the story and ran with it in a different direction, which is fine.  The result was quite good.

This really is a fun mystery with a twisty plot sure to keep you guessing until the end.  I was once again charmed by Riddled with Deceit, and I’m looking forward to visiting these characters again.  I hope it’s soon.

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