Mystery 101: Playing Dead – Solve a Fun New Whodunit on the Stage!


Returning to their respective roles, Jill Wagner and Kristoffer Polaha are back as our favorite professor and detective. Amy Winslow (Wagner) is working on a stage play that the local theater is putting on.More impressive, their small town books a popular silver screen actress Bella Brightman to play the lead. What begins as a fun project quickly spirals when an attempt on Bella’s life changes the dynamic.

Enter Detective Travis Burke (Polaha). He’s slowly become accustomed to the nosy Amy questioning the clues and evidence; and he even finds a friend in her father. But then things take a dangerous turn, and contrary to her protests, Travis wants her to leave the detecting to him.

Mystery 101: Playing Dead (2019) Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Review

Mystery 101: Playing Dead - Solve a Fun New Whodunit on the Stage! A review of the followup to the signature series "Mystery 101." Text © Rissi JC

Most of the same characters return for this mystery. This includes Amy’s father and Claire (who both seem to play lesser roles than previously); Bud and even Lacey. Like anything, this helps to create a kind of community within the story. It also makes it more fun to follow characters you may have liked from the get-go.

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I said this back in my review of the inaugural installment (simply titled Mystery 101), this franchise is easily a new favorite. I love that it’s a “grown up” story (in terms of its characters, not content) and yet it still engages the viewer. It comes across as a fun little mystery, and is building towards a solid character driven story.

It may only be the second mystery, but I do really like these characters. Of course, it helps that the actors playing the professor and the detective are both favorites. They’re also two familiar-to-Hallmark faces. You’ll know both, whether you’re just a Hallmark-at-Christmastime (casual) or any-time-of-year (committed) fangirl viewer. This is the third pairing between these two, the second being their debut mystery, and the first a summer romance called Pearl in Paradise.

If you enjoy any of the mystery series, these actors or Mystery 101, it’s very likely you too will enjoy ‘Playing Dead.’ There’s fun puzzling clues, and the right balance between just-enough-but-not-too-much banter. In other words, for this frequent Hallmark-er, this series is one of the best.

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Photos: Hallmark / Crown Media Press

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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