Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Movie Review: More Bitter Than Death - An Emma Fielding Mystery

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery; fun characters
Cons: Light dose of Hallmark cheese
The Bottom Line:
Conference murder
Along with theft and arson
Make for fun movie

“You’re Like Indiana Jones.”  “Yes, I Am.”  “Where’s Your Bull Whip?”  “I Left It In My Classroom.”

There are certain tropes used in cozy mysteries because they are a perfect way to bring the main character into contact with a new victim and group of suspects.  One that I’m a little surprised isn’t used more is a conference or convention.  It seems like a natural one no matter who the main character is.  It’s the one that is used in More Bitter Than Death, the third Emma Fielding mystery movie.

In this case, Emma (Courtney Thorne-Smith) is the one running the conference.  Her college is hosting the annual ASAA meeting, and Emma is in charge of the week long event for archeologists.  She’s even gotten her friend, FBI special agent Jim Connor (James Tupper), to come give a lecture on forgeries.  There is extra attention this week since Emma’s friend, Dr. Harrison, is stepping down as president of the organization and is expected to name her replacement at the opening banquet.  Since this is one of the pinnacles in the archeology field, everyone is trying to get some of Dr. Harrison’s attention to plead their case for why they should have the position.

Unfortunately, the opening banquet gets off to a rocky start, and it is all from things beyond Emma’s control.  First, a truck transporting an artifact that one of her colleagues has recently found catches fire.  Then, the antiquities museum on campus is broken into.  Things get worse when Dr. Harrison gets up to speak only to die moments later.  What is happening?

As you can see, there is plenty here to keep us guessing as we go from one suspect and motive to another.  Yes, everything does tie together in the end.  I should have seen the ending coming, but I was surprised when everything was explained.  I did think one red herring was dropped, and I was wondering how it didn’t point to that character being guilty.  Overall, that’s minor.

Emma’s ex shows up for the conference, which not only allows us to see another side of the character but also brings some clarity to her relationship with Jim Connor.  I’ve enjoyed watching their relationship over the course of these three movies, so I wasn’t complaining about that at all.  All of the characters were enjoyable, and I had fun watching them interact.

Yes, this is a Hallmark movie, so my usual Hallmark movie cheese warning applies.  It’s a light dose here, but it is definitely present.  It comes across in some of the acting as well as some of the writing.  Overall, it didn’t keep me from enjoying the movie.

More Bitter Than Death is a fun, light mystery.  If that’s what you are in the mood for, you’ll enjoy digging up clues with Emma.

This movie is included in the Emma Fielding Mysteries DVD Collection.


  1. I love the Emma Fielding Mysteries and really enjoyed the 3rd installment

  2. I really enjoy this series on Hallmark though it's not my absolute favorite (that'd be The Garage Sale Mysteries). I read a number of the books years and years and have really been wanting to reread them!


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