Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Movie Review: Garage Sale Mystery - The Art of Murder

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Fun, especially the sub-plots
Cons: Mystery too obvious; usual Hallmark cheese
The Bottom Line:
Body in attic
Mystery is too simple
Movie is still fun

“I’m a Police Detective and I Don’t Stumble Over as Many Dead Bodies as You.”

Of all Hallmark’s current mystery movie franchises, the Garage Sale Mysteries seem to be the most uneven.  Of course, even when a movie is only average, it is still fun to watch, which was the case with The Art of Murder, the latest in the series.

Jennifer Shannon’s (Lori Loughlin) daughter Hannah (Eva Bourne) gets her involved in the mystery this time.  Hannah and her sorority sisters from the local college are planning a garage sale as a community service project to raise money for the local animal shelter.  Even though these young women are college age, their mothers are quick to get involved and Hannah asks Jennifer to chair the mothers since she knows what she is doing.

At the first meeting of the moms, Jennifer meets Sydney, the step-mother of one of the other college women.  Sydney is nice and very enthusiastic, even going through her mother’s attic to find things that could be donated for the sale.  However, not too long into the planning, Sydney goes missing.  Jennifer is the one to find her – dead in her mother’s attic.  It looks like Sydney simply tripped and hit her head on an exposed pipe.  Yet Jennifer isn’t buying the obvious solution, and the more she learns the more certain she is that someone is getting away with murder.  Can she prove it?

Some of the movies is this series suffer from the lack of enough suspects.  I had this one nailed down as to killer and motive very early on.  Since we were supposed to be wondering who done it until the killer was revealed at the end, that’s a definite weakness.  However, I still had fun watching Jennifer track down leads and figure out exactly what was happening.

Part of that fun came from the sub-plots as well.  Jennifer’s husband Jason (Steve Bacic) is about to celebrate a milestone birthday, and he’s having a bit of a mid-life crisis as a result.  It doesn’t tie into the main mystery at all, but it is a lot of fun.  Meanwhile, Jennifer’s best friend and business partner Dani (Sarah Strange) is taking a cooking class at the local college.  It’s unique to say the least.  I never quite understood her motive for taking this class, but the sub-plot was very fun.

Of course, this comes with my usual Hallmark cheese warning.  It’s there, but it doesn’t make the movie unwatchable.  In fact, I’m getting to the point where I hardly notice it.  The regular cast members were all great, and among the new cast members, I enjoyed seeing Keegan Connor Tracy since she pops up regularly as the Blue Fairy on Once Upon a Time.

Hallmark has announced that we will get four new movies in the Garage Sale Mystery franchise in August.  I will be tuning in then for the fun, although I do hope the mysteries are strong than the one was in The Art of Murder.

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