Every now and then, something comes along that captures your imagination and admiration. Such is the case for me with Acorn TV’s new series Queens of Mystery. As a fan of cozy mysteries, I’m always on the lookout for ones I haven’t already seen. This quirky little mystery series is an unexpected pleasure which fits the bill perfectly.
QUEENS OF MYSTERY: WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Matilda Stone has returned home to her village of Wildemarsh to take up her new position as a Detective Inspector with the local police force. Mattie is also returning to her three single aunts who raised her after her mother’s mysterious disappearance.
Beth, Cat and Jane Stone are all crime mystery writers. They can’t seem to help but to get involved in Mattie’s cases, much to the frustration of her boss Derek Thorne. Though Mattie takes her job seriously, she has a hard time setting boundaries with the women who raised her. To make matters worse, she falls hard for the local doctor and pathologist, Daniel Lynch. She finds herself frazzled every time they work a case together even though he already has a girlfriend. In the meantime, her aunts can’t help but set her up with every eligible man they meet.
Together the Stone women are a crime-solving team to reckon with. But the mystery Mattie most wants to solve is the one her aunts don’t want her to. What happened to her mother?
Within the first ten minutes of the first episode, I was already hooked on Queens of Mystery. This may largely be in part because it reminds me very much of another beloved and unique drama which left our television screens too soon. With its socially awkward but adorable main character with a missing parent, a faceless narrator, and a host of other unique characters, it immediately brings to mind Pushing Daisies. While comparisons are inevitable, Queens of Mystery also stands on its’ own two feet.
In the first season, there are three different mysteries to be solved in six episodes. Each one personally affects one of Mattie’s aunts. This gives the series an opportunity to delve more deeply into the aunts’ characters while Mattie remains the focus of the show. While each mystery kept me guessing, they really serve as a vehicle for the people populating Wildemarsh.
THE STONE WOMEN
Mattie is absolutely adorable as played by Olivia Vinall (The Woman in White). In appearance, Mattie is easy to dismiss with her blond page boy, diminutive stature and brightly patterned buttoned-up shirts. But she is persistent, observational, curious and very willing to remain impartial even when her aunts might be implicated in a murder. She is also every awkward teenage girl who ever yearned for a boy that left her tongue tied and weak-kneed. The irony is that Dr. Daniel Lynch is equally as awkward and appears to be very much interested despite his gorgeous girlfriend.
Mattie’s aunts are rather interesting themselves. One is a very strait-laced, bookish sort. Another is the earth mother, granola type, while the other one is an aging wild-child. But what they all have in common is their love for Mattie and a determination to keep her in the dark about her mother.
One of the things I really appreciate about Queens of Mystery is its’ strong female cast with the Stone ladies. Not only are they successful and smart, but they are also loyal and loving. I appreciate how accurately it captures the complexities of female relationships, especially for those related by blood.
ROOM TO IMPROVE
Unfortunately, I was not able to maintain my initial level of interest for this series as it progressed. The first two episodes showed much promise. But the remaining ones just didn’t keep my attention equally. Also lacking was the level of tension needed for a mystery series. There wasn’t much in the way of character development for the Stone women. The final two crimes of the series involved weird setups and people, causing them to fall flat. I really didn’t care who was guilty. Not to mention the question of the most interest, the disappearance of Mattie’s mother, was not advanced at all. Maybe next season?
Despite season one’s weaknesses, I plan to continue watching if further seasons are produced. Queens of Mystery does show promise, particularly if it focuses on the quirkiness of its’ characters and the relationships among the Stone sisters and Mattie. Of additional interest is whether a relationship will develop between Mattie and her equally awkward counterpart Daniel Lynch. Hopefully, we will also see more of the history of Mattie’s life being raised by her eccentric aunts.
Though this isn’t my favorite cozy mystery to be released in recent years, it still has its’ charms. Those who appreciate unique characters and female-driven mysteries should appreciate Queens of Mystery.
Content Note: Aside from crime scenes typical of cozy mysteries, there is nothing else to worry about.
Where to Watch: Exclusive to Acorn TV, a subscription channel for British and Australian series.
Have you seen Queens of Mystery? What is your favorite cozy mystery series?
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Acorn TV
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