A Beautiful Place to Die A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

Jan 18, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, TV

by Doward Wilson

A new series of mystery movies on Hallmark’s Movies and Mysteries Channel premiered on Sunday, January 12. The Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries are based on the novels by the late Philip R. Craig introducing retired detective Jeff W. Jackson and set in the beautiful, yet deadly Martha’s Vineyard. The series begins with A Beautiful Place to Die and cast in the lead roll is Jesse Metcalfe known for his roles of John Rowland on Desperate Housewives, Christopher Ewing on TNT’s continuation of Dallas, and along with a few Christmas-themed Hallmark movies, he currently stars as Trace Riley in Hallmark Channel’s Chesapeake Shores. The series also includes Canadian actress Sarah Lind whose background includes roles in Mentors, Edgemont, and True Justice, but this is her first Hallmark Movie. The veteran character actor Eric Keenleyside rounds out the excellent cast.

Welcome to Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries! Meet Jeff W. Jackson, retired Boston Police Detective (Jesse Metcalfe), whose taken an early retirement after being wounded in a shootout and a bullet lodged in his spine was his parting souvenir. He has returned to Martha’s Vineyard to settle up his deceased father’s affairs and get in some fishing. Meet Dr. Zee Madieras (Sarah Lind), a doctor at the local hospital, medical examiner, and daughter of the police chief, is also a friend who palled around with Jackson when he spent his summer’s on the island. Police Chief Madieras is waiting for the local council to approve his continued leadership, but the first dead body in a decade puts that in jeopardy and the investigation a top priority. hallmark

Jeff Jackson may be retired, but his skills seem to be well in tuned to overhear conversations, witness suspicious body language, and explore debris floating at the marina leading him to the discovery of a dead body. He is pulled back into his detective mode when he agrees to help the police chief and Dr. Zee Madieras solve the death when blunt force trauma makes this a homicide. The young man was last seen arguing with the daughter and son of a prominent businessman at a charity gala at the local yacht club. Apparently the dead man was trying to talk to the sibling’s father, and the daughter and son were preventing it.

The investigation soon involves several people connected to the charity for which the gala was being held. The charity is also being investigated by the IRS for embezzlement of funds well into a million. Was the murder victim trying to blackmail someone in the charity? Who was it, and what was the blackmail based on? The murder victim also has ties to a thug out of Boston who is on the island with his boat and his enforcer bodyguard.

Blackmail, embezzlement, and a link to the class of 1985, what else was involved in this murder? Was it the son and daughter of the businessman who prevented the dead man from talking to their father, was it someone connected to the charity who may have embezzled funds, was it the Boston tough and his bodyguard, or was it someone else?

This was a very well done murder plot that keeps you guessing right to the surprising ending. I liked how Jeff takes the lead using his veteran knowledge of homicide investigations and has the chief and Zee as his backup. Jeff and Zee’s relationship is starting over again after ending earlier. I liked how they played off each other, he the forceful detective and she the compassionate doctor. The chief worked along with them to obtain warrants and run down suspects and evidence. The three characters were well drawn and very lifelike. The scenery shots are spectacular and the background characters were well done and added to the storyline. I am looking forward to the next installment in this new series. I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a good mystery with lots of red herrings and false leads.

The next Martha’s Vineyard Mystery, Riddled With Deceit, is set to premiere on 2/23/2020.

You can check out KRL’s reviews of other mystery movies on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel in our mystery section. You can also go to the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel website to learn more and check out their schedule for more new movies coming soon.

Join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Don’t forget to check out KRL’s new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

Doward Wilson is a retired and avid cozy, paranormal, and adventure reader who can’t say no to most books. He recently moved from Independence, Missouri to Gladbrook, Iowa. Located in Central Iowa, Gladbrook (population 900+) is small town, rural farming at its best.


  1. Thanks for your review. I like Jesse Metcalfe, but am having a little trouble picturing him as a detective. After your review I am going to give it a try.

  2. Having read the books, the casting is a bit off for the main characters and minor ones. Clearly, the make everybody pretty effect was in place because the guy playing Jeff was way off. Z is wrong too as is the nonsense they do with her in heels. Phillip R. Craig was known to write her in tennis shoes and in several of the books, her footwear and practicality were topics. Those issues also crossed over into continuity issues. Pay attention when the first dead body is on the dock as the rain falls, then go to the boat when the skies are sunny, and back to the dock where it is still raining.

    Still, despite those flaws which won’t jump out if you have never read the books–other than rain/clear skies/rain deal– it works fairly well as a mystery. Enough so, I will look at the next one.

  3. Loved the movie, did not like Dr. Zee.

    No doctor on an island would dress the way she does and her shoes are ludicrous. I can’t imagine any doctor wearing open toes shoes in an emergency ward, let alone heels that could cause her to topple onto the patient.

    I am looking forward to the next movie and hope I can adjust to Dr. Zee and the producers of the costume department gain some common sense about her wardrobe. Her father is not wealthy which means she has massive student loans to pay off.

  4. loved it, waiting for the new part of the film

  5. Yes, that casting was so wrong it is funny as hell when you have read the books. They also ignored the whole cooking side of things that character does in the books. They did one very brief cooking deal and that was it.


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