|Index||6 reviews in total|
Actress Kellie Martin makes her TV directorial debut on this fun detective series, after the 2004 short film Frenching. I hadn't noticed this series before, not being a big Hallmark Channel watcher, but I was intrigued by the book angle. The Mystery Woman series is part of revolving trio of detectives shows that fill a two hour time slot. I haven't seen any of the others, but I think two hours is a great time period, lots of room for stuff to happen, room to flesh out the story. I enjoyed the fun interplay between the main group of characters, played by Kellie Martin, Nina Siemaszko, Casey Sander, and Clarence Williams III. In Vision of Murder Kellie and Nina visit a spa so Kellie, who's also a photographer, can take pictures for their new brochure. At least these writers know it's really hard to make a living from just selling books. These are all good actors, and everyone does a good job bringing their characters to life. Nothing new or strikingly original about the show, it kind of reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, without the fighting or monsters, and if Buffy was about 30. In a bookstore rather than a library, Kelly spearheads the chase, Clarence does the research, Assistant DA Nina is the law-talking' gal, with Casey as the cynical chief of police. Puzzles to solve, lots of computer work,and lots and lots of talking but not much action, get the bad guy caught, after a smidge of suspense. There is some book talk, Clarence telling a possibly psychic woman about some fictional psychic detectives. It's nice to encourage book reading. Watch a movie, read a book, that's my motto, and this low throttle thriller has people talking about books, so what's not to like. A good solid piece of entertainment, nicely directed.
In order to bring in a bit extra money to cover up for the fact that
few people every seem to use her bookstore, Samantha Kinsey takes on a
photography assignment at a spa. Despite being cynical about all the
new-age talk and hard selling of surgery, Samantha takes along Cassie
to enjoy the facilities while she works. At the first meal of the
visit, two other guests fall out because it transpires that one of the
women (Debbie) has been sleeping with her friend Alice's husband. The
next day one of the staff, a weirdly inward girl called Emily, tells
Sam that Debbie is dead and leads them to a place in the woods that she
claims she has seen in a vision. There they find Debbie's body
putting Emily at the top of the police's suspect list. Samantha
however, believes Emily's claims of being psychic and knows that the
real killer is still at the resort.
Having seen a couple of the Mystery Woman films I already knew that the films were quite undemanding and glossy mystery fare. So I didn't hope for much from this film otherwise than a bit of movement forward and enough to fill a grey Sunday afternoon. On that level the film does the job with a rather unconvincing plot that is played out pretty well. It is very much daytime television stuff and fans of the other mystery shows that clutter Hallmark will find it easy going and enjoyable.
As director Martin proves that she is as capable as anyone else working on similar material, but she doesn't do anything that made her standout. Likewise in the lead she is cute and has charisma but isn't anything that amazing. Support is the same from Siemaszko, who doesn't really convince in her character but makes a good friend for Samantha. Sander is pretty poor and isn't helped by his character being one big block of wood. Williams continues to take the money for the series in return for doing very little; however he seems to enjoy his "mysterious" character without ever having to do anything to justify it! Overall then a fairly basic mystery tvm but one that does enough to distract and will please fans of the series and other daytime TV movies in the similar vein. Nobody does anything that special and the plot relies heavily on the weak tool of Emily's psychic visions even if it manages to get past it by building the case well.
Kellie Martin's Mystery woman series runs on Hallmark, and this is one
of the better installments. She (a book store owner) and her friend
Cassie (a district attorney) take time off to attend a health spa joint
that employs some controversial off beat quackery methods to help
patrons attain beauty. (When you see Sam and Cassie, you'll wonder why
they feel they need to improve anything, but I digress.) A girl dies
mysteriously at the spa. And so amateur sleuth Sam is on the case, with
Cassie right beside her. Suspects are too few in number, but the course
of the story makes this TV film a nice diversion. Kellie Martin's
spunky character is somewhere between Murder She Wrote and Columbo,
although she's more spunky than Jessica and not nearly as eccentric as
the cigar smoking Lt. Columbo. Cassie makes a good counterpoint, being
more down to Earth, but just as determined to catch the killer. When
spa attendees start to get sick, the situation intensifies.
Not bad at all for an evening in, if you like the easy-going light hearted pace used here. Martin and her co-stars brighten things up, and there's a nice mix of interesting personalities in this one.
Kellie Martin directed this "Mystery Woman" episode, in which she and
her friend Cassie go to a spa, the Martin character to take photos for
a brochure and Cassie to be the customer photographed. While there,
they encounter a psychic, who leads them to a dead body. And we're off,
with Mystery Woman in the middle of murder once again.
Charles Shaughnessy, best known from "The Nanny," was one of the guest stars, but he didn't have a tremendous amount to do. The show had a little more energy than usual under Martin's direction, though Clarence Williams III as Philby is as introverted as ever.
I just wish the Mystery Woman Bookshop had some customers. In this episode, they had none.
Spunky Samantha Kinsey runs a mystery bookstore. It is typical of many current independent bookstores today in that no one apparently patronizes it despite its plentiful selection and a great atmospheric vibe. In her free time Samantha is a freelance photographer because after bookstore proprietor, most women fantasize of being freelance photographers, and this series is quite dutiful in attempting to appeal to its target audience. Besides, if Samantha didn't get out of her bookshop it would be hard to construct a series of murder mysteries for her to solve without them seeming extremely contrived, as opposed to semi-contrived like this one. There's a murder at a health spa where Samantha has been taking photos and she is determined to get to the bottom of it. She keeps returning to the spa to grill the suspects, and I'm not sure why none of them tell her to beat it since she's a photographer and not a cop. Luckily Samantha has her friend Cassie the D.A. who is spunky too, so Cassie can help her grill the suspects when Samantha is off following other leads. Samantha also has help from one of The Mod Squad, Linc, who has connections in the various federal criminal bureaus. He contacts them via the internet which constantly amazes Samantha. Linc, or Philby as he is known to his mystery women, apparently never leaves the bookstore for fear that the one time he is away a customer might actually show up to purchase a book. This episode featured Felicia Day as Emily who has visions referred to in the title. I really liked Felicia Day and her character, although it was too bad her vision wasn't a little clearer so that she could have helped Samantha identify the murderer a lot sooner.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This time around, there's been a murder at a spa near the Mystery Woman
bookstore, which, of course, allows the same crew to attend to solving
the crime. You couldn't have Casey Sander as the gruff, ex-Marine Chief
of Police if the crime were outside his jurisdiction.
This, in the same way it did for Cabot Cove, Maine and Jessica Fletcher, puts the Mystery Woman bookstore on the map - simply "exigent circumstances," as Lenny Briscoe might have said.
In retrospect, whoever casted this project has much the same prescience as does the character, Emily, in the film, as portrayed by Felicia Day. Why? Why because Ms. Day is the exciting new hot thing, playing "Penny" in the Dr. Horrible blogs online, as conjured up by Joss Whedon.
Emily is a psychic who *saw* the death of one of the spa guests. So we're off trying to find the killer, methodically plucking the way through a stream of suspects.
Kellie Martin did a very good job with this one, as director. It's a bit faster paced, with more immediacy and more impact.
I also enjoyed, as usual, Clarence Williams's "Philby." I like his character - 'nuff said. There's a gravitas that I admire greatly.
So, fill the bowl with popcorn, sit back and don't answer the phone. This is a fun one to watch.
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