DVD review: “Queens of Mystery: Series One” (2019)

“Queens of Mystery: Series One” (2019)

Television

Three Episodes

Created by: Julian Unthank

Featuring: Julie Graham, Rebecca Grant, Andrew Leung, Siobhan Redmond, Martin Trenaman, Olivia Vinall and Sarah Woodward

“Queens of Mystery” concerns Matilda Stone, a young detective who has been assigned to the constabulary in her fictional hometown village of Wildemarsh in England. There, Matilda is also reunited with her three crime novelist aunts Cat, Beth, and Jane, played by Julie Graham, Sarah Woodward, and Siobhan Redmond. From here one can imagine what happens, there are murders to be solved with all manner of plot twists that have become the staple of UK based amateur sleuthing detective shows, of course like many of them there are women at the centre who are able to solve what the professional authorities are unable to.

Of recent pedigree thing “Agatha Raisin” (2014-2019) but with a more feminine bent which considering the amount of female actresses is a welcome thing. It is odd to consider that many of the high profile shows based around actual Detectives solving crime, think “Foyle’s War” (2002-2015), “Lewis” (2006-2015) and many more, they are mostly men, whereas the amateur side is almost all women, possibly an honest reflection but maybe it would be a bit more realistic with women crossing over.

The entry to the show is the character Matilda played straight by Rebecca Grant who is very good in her role especially when cast against three super experienced and professional actresses in Julie Graham, Sarah Woodward, and Siobhan Redmond who play varying levels of different people, they are smart, funny, successful but are loyal to each other and most of all show their emotions when required. The three of them are also loyal to a fault which again is nice to see, there are no arch relationships or real squabbling over anything, men are also not their driving force.

That is not to say the show is perfect in its execution, the show gets off to a bang with the first two parter but tension as well as character development take a back set in the final two full length stories which was a real shame in my eyes and a missed opportunity. This is not the end of the world however and I believe with some smarter writing this could become a very good series that runs for some time, after all with four strong women shows have gone further on less.

If you enjoy eating a series that is not all doom and gloom, in fact is anything but, except for the odd murder, then this is the show for you. It is more or less violence free with a healthy does of humour and could be considered family viewing as it is on the low end of scary or offensive. It tells a story that is becoming more popular that is people leaving high stress jobs, busy cities for a quieter life, which some would argue does not really exist.

Episodes

Murder in the Dark: First Chapter: When newly promoted Detective Sgt. Mattie Stone is assigned to her hometown of Wildemarsh for duty, her boss strictly warns her that her job will not require the help of her three crime writing aunts, Beth, Cat, and Jane.

Death by Vinyl: Death by Vinyl gives an insight into Cat Stone’s years in an 80s new wave girl band and her love affair with Nikki Holler, its lead singer. “Volcanic Youth” and their entourage have been invited to record a reunion album at an exclusive retreat not far from Wildermarsh – but it’s not long before one of them is found dead. Matilda begins her investigations and soon becomes aware of motives for murder buried in the band’s past. Only by teaming up with veteran ex-band member, Aunt Cat, can Matilda piece the fragments of these scattered lives together. 

Smoke and Mirrors: The stage adaptation of Jane’s book endures numerous snafus before opening night; electrical problems, and a notorious arts critic writing a potentially bad review. Meanwhile, Mattie searches for new clues in the case of her missing mother, but an onstage murder brings her to the theatre.

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