I have got an addiction and I am here to confess.
I am addicted to those Hallmark movies and mysteries.
I have always had a thing for mysteries – mystery novels, mystery plays, mystery movies, mysteries on the radio. Anything with a detective I could relate to, a twist at the end and The Great Reveal.
It began, as all addictions do, with one simple book, “The Tower Treasure,” featuring Frank and Joe Hardy, the Hardy Boys. Oh, how I wanted to be Frank. Or was it Joe. I’m not sure. The brothers were interchangeable.
Regardless, I was enthralled. Frank and Joe lived in a small town. I did, too. They had a dad who was a detective. I had a dad, he wasn’t a detective, but I thought dad was awfully smart, just like Frank and Joe’s dad.
By the time I was in high school, I had advanced to Agatha Christie and Earle Stanley Gardner – much more adult reading without being too adult. And they had the basics that I required – a detective I could relate to, a twist at the end and The Great Reveal.
I’m not sure how I discovered the Hallmark channels. There are three of them on Suddenlink but only one shows the mystery movies I love. No doubt, while strolling through the TV channels one day – I found it waiting to entrap, ensnare and enmesh me in what I love best. A detective I can relate to, a twist at the end and The Great Reveal.
I love to watch those Hallmark mystery movies although they are so darned predictable. Come to think of it, the Hardy Boys were predictable. So was Miss Marple. Even Perry Mason.
Let me set the predictable scene. It is Sherlockian Holmes-dark as the movie begins. The ominous sound of a bass is teasing me softly in the background. Something nefarious is about to happen.
Nothing like what you would see on the 70-foot movie screen. No blood. No guts. Not even an explosion. Just a bop – a killing bop – to the head. Or a quiet, bloodless gunshot. This is Hallmark, after all.
The intro credits roll, letting me know who is starring this week and I can relax and go back to one of the seemingly tens of stories I write each week.
That is the joy of “watching” Hallmark movies and mysteries. You don’t really have to watch it. I keep an occasional eye on the big screen TV above my desktop while I compose a piece that may make The Tribune’s front page.
Often, I don’t even have the sound on. You don’t need sound for the middle part of the movie. A glance at the big screen tells me how the story is progressing. If need be, I can unmute quickly.
In the Hallmark formula, as in all good mysteries, there are red herrings, misunderstandings, arguments, occasionally a second murder, bloodless as always, all of it building up – Hallmark movies are so good at creating the buildup – a faux reveal and, at the 1-hour, 45-minute mark, the crescendo, when in The Great Reveal, the detective finds himself/herself perilously confronting the one-who-dun-it.
Hallmark resolves the clash at the 1-hour, 55-minute mark, just in time for a couple of commercials, a teaser for an upcoming mystery and, when we return to the story, maybe, just maybe, a kiss.
In researching this topic, yes, I sometimes research what I am rambling about, I discovered that learned scholars have really and truly researched why Hallmark movies – specifically those Christmas movies – are so addictive.
I have no idea what those academicians discovered. I haven’t read what they wrote because I do not want to know. I am retired, kind of. I can watch them and still get my stories to Adela and Cynthia on time and with few typos. I want to revel in my Hallmark movies and mysteries addiction.
So, now you know. If you want to persuade me, keep me alert and have my full attention, give me a detective I can relate to, a twist at the end, and The Great Reveal.
Or just turn me toward a Hallmark movie mystery.