Pros: Strong mystery, fantastic characters
Cons: A light does of Hallmark cheese
The Bottom Line:
Leads to real life mystery
Twists that entertain
“My Phone Call Was Not an Invitation to Join Me at the Crime Scene.”
Of the three new mystery movie franchises that Hallmark has debuted this year, Mystery 101 is my favorite. If my thrill at the announcement we were going to get two new movies this month weren’t proof enough, the smile on my face while I was watching Words Can Kill, the first of those movies, proved it to me.
The college where Amy Winslow (Jill Wagner) teaches is putting on the Mystery We Wrote mystery convention this year, and her father, Graham Winslow (Robin Thomas), is the featured speaker. No surprise since he’s a bestselling author and a professor emeritus of the college.
However, the convention brings some faces from Graham’s past with it, including his former best friend, who stole his first manuscript, and his first editor, who also betrayed him. However, things really take a drastic turn when a former consultant of Graham’s turns up with a warning note implying that Graham is in danger. And all that’s before a dead body turns up. When the police, in the form of Travis Burke (Kristoffer Polaha), arrest Graham for murder, Amy jumps in to prove his innocence. Can she do it?
After watching enough of these Hallmark movies, you begin to get the feeling for when key plot points will happen. I was actually surprised here when the murder took place a bit later in the movie than I was expecting. However, that wasn’t an issue since there is more than enough drama and conflict to keep us intrigued. In fact, when the murder does take place, it only heightens the drama that’s been going on around our characters. There are still several twists and plenty more revelations to come, but they all lead to the logical solution. And there were some important clues that we got before the murder took place that allowed Amy and Travis to solve it.
Yes, I did say Amy and Travis. While Amy goes out investigating on her own at times, she works with Travis plenty and keeps bringing him what she’s learned. While Amy is understandably angry when Travis arrests Graham, she still knows that he is the best chance of clearing her dad. Like I said when reviewing one of the Aurora Teagarden movies last month, the movie makes a point of explaining why Travis had to arrest Graham and how he wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t. It’s so refreshing to see a rational given for this particular familiar plot point. Of course, it helps to keep Travis sympathetic, so it serves a dual purpose.
And I do love these characters. While there are a couple of other supporting players, it really is about the three leads, and their chemistry is strong. I love watching them on screen. The rest of the cast does a perfect job bringing their characters to life as well. Yes, there is a tad Hallmark cheese in the movie, but it is pretty much worth noting only in passing.
Of course, one reason I love these movies is because of the talk about mysteries as a genre that is worked into the movie. Once again, those scenes were fantastic.
If you haven’t started watching the Mystery 101 movies yet, you are truly missing out. Words Can Kill will entertain and keep you guessing until the end.