February 11, 2020  (Web Review)

Queens of Mystery

Acorn, 3 discs, 284 min., not rated, DVD: $39.99

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

Newly-promoted Det. Sgt. Matilda “Mattie” Stone (Olivia Vinall), a young woman reared on murder mysteries, takes a new position that brings her back to her rural England hometown of Wildemarsh, where she was raised by three doting aunts. Bubbly Beth (Sarah Woodward), serious Jane (Siobhan Redmond), and rebellious Cat (Julie Graham) also happen to be successful mystery authors and when Mattie embarks on her first case, they can’t help but get involved, despite admonitions from Mattie’s commanding officer (Martin Trenaman). Queens of Mystery presents three mysteries over six episodes from 2019. In the first, Beth is a suspect when a fellow author is stabbed to death at a book fair; in the second, Cat’s rock and roll past catches up with her when the lead singer of her old band is murdered; and in the final mystery, the leading man in a play adapted from one of Jane’s novels is killed in rehearsals. Meanwhile, the aunts keep their own secrets concerning the mysterious disappearance of Mattie’s mother over two decades before. Produced for Acorn TV, this lighthearted entry in the genre of cozy mysteries set in rural British villages leans on quirky characters, offbeat humor, and a self-aware style, from the dry wit of the omniscient narrator (Juliet Stevenson) to asides by Mattie’s humorless boss expressing his repressed feelings for Jane. Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette. Recommended. (S. Axmaker)