by Kathleen Costa
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries experienced some changes with the departure of a few established stars, but they didn’t just sit around pining for the good ol’ days; they started looking forward. Their newest Signature Mystery, The Cases of Mystery Lane, just aired starring Aimee Garcia, known for many roles including Dexter and Lucifer, and Paul Campbell, a popular Hallmark lead actor with many roles including the recently aired Three Wise Men and a Baby. Together they portray a crime-solving couple.
Some married couples try to put the “magic” back into their marriage, but Alden and Birdie Case are putting in the “mystery.” Birdie is an ambitious attorney, working at a firm headed by her mother (although she’s not mom during work hours). Alden is struggling to find a stable career after a serious crypto debacle which still impacts the couple’s finances, so he promised his wife he’d take advanced accounting classes at the local community college to become a CPA. However, they are both keeping something from each other: Birdie has yet to tell her husband she loves online poker at which she’s pretty good, and Alden has yet to tell his wife he’s really taking PI classes at which he’s pretty good.
Alden’s first field assignment is surveillance: pick a subject, monitor said subject, and log activities while maintaining the utmost secrecy. Alden’s bright idea is to follow Kyle, his wife’s co-worker and one with whom he harbors a bit of jealousy. The evening is going well as he follows Kyle to the cleaners, the gym, and back to the law firm’s offices, but after only a couple of minutes pass, he sees Kyle running out of the office. Curious about what could have spooked him, Alden sneaks into the offices. The answer might be the body of Tim Grant, one of the law firm’s partners, hanging from his office ceiling, dead. Alden is not convinced of the official determination of suicide, so he starts his own investigation to uncover the truth. Is he looking at some extra credit marks in class?
Learning her husband lied about the type of classes he was taking, is acting as a private investigator, was tailing her friend and colleague, and found a dead body, effects the couple’s marital bliss, but soon, they start to discover some enjoyment working together to find answers. Their efforts reveal some lies, secret relationships, gossip and rumors, threats (even to themselves), and several legal issues that could be motives for murder. Birdie’s job is in jeopardy with all her extracurricular activities and resulting tardiness at work, which greatly frustrates her mother/boss, but their success is undeniable … can you say “You’re under arrest?”
Hallmark is going forward with several new signature mysteries, and for me, The Cases of Mystery Lane earns 5/5 PI Notebooks! The actors, main and supporting, were well cast in their roles: from snarky to meek, demanding to acquiescing, secretive to bold as brass. I am not familiar with Aimee Garcia, and despite her petite appearance, she did do well to portray strength in the starring role. The murder mystery circled around several interesting scenarios, all with legitimate evidence and suspects: the discovery of a mob boss’s body, keeping secrets secret, retribution, or stopping the victim’s participation in a legal matter. The amateur manner the two employed was realistic, bumbling at times, but the couple found their strengths worked well as a team, but of course, their partnership was not devoid of husband/wife disagreements and a night sleeping on the couch. The two come to the same conclusion from different directions resulting in one in a ‘tied to the chair’ confrontation. But, all’s well that ends well, and the final, final twist sets up the premise of the next movie.
Nothing, however, is perfect. There were some incidents that had me rolling my eyes. The twirling, fake mustaches, accents, and a little too immature with puns at inappropriate times. Birdie’s mother is…wow, a boss-zilla, demanding a lot of her employee/daughter, but not really showing an equal amount of a mother’s concern. But, I recognize that it is a cozy mystery and quirky humor and amateur foibles are legitimate elements. It does work itself out, and I was entertained and looking for more.
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sounds terrific. Glad I dvr-ed it. Now I know I will definitely watch it! Thanks!