I like to group my Hallmark Mystery movies together. They technically fit all my rules for tracking movies (self-contained stories longer than an hour), but even they know they're pretty much the live-action equivalent of Cheetos. Like most Americans, I enjoy an empty-calorie snack between meals, but I can't really recommend anyone eat them.

30. (1889.) Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: How to Con a Con (2021)
It's amazing how thin some of these mystery plots are. This one is heavily padded with a romance subplot which I will generously blame on COVID-era filming restrictions limiting the number of characters who could be on set at one time. (Two people talking about marriage is a lot easier on contact tracers than half a dozen people accusing one another of murder.)

34. (1893.) Mystery 101: Killer Timing (2021)
The protagonist is a college professor of creative mystery writing in a very small college in a very small town, yet somehow she keeps stumbling into murder mysteries on her own campus. This one actually gets clever and finds a way to mix three smaller mysteries into one bundle. Not the worst entry in this series.

47. (1906.) Crossword Mysteries: Riddle Me Dead (2021)
Despite the involvement of legendary puzzle editor Will Shortz, I didn't like the first one of these or the second... or any of this series, really, including this one. The longer these series go on, the more pressure they feel to be less murder mystery, more Hallmark romance. In this one the murder feels like nothing more than a shallow excuse for a love triangle between two detectives and a suspect.

50. (1909.) Matchmaker Mysteries: The Art of the Kill (2021)
Speaking of the traditionally Hallmark romance, yeah. This. This was like a very, very bad Remington Steele episode. Ugh. I know these filmmakers are working in a very difficult time, but dreck like this isn't helping anyone.

More to come.

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To be continued...


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