Kellie Martin returns as Samantha Kinsey, the owner of the Mystery Woman Bookshop and part-time snoop. The Mystery Woman series has a charming quality about it because the murders aren't heinous or particularly violent. My wife appreciates that fact about them, and I get to play detective with her as we watch.
The pacing is both familiar and relaxed enough that we get to take turns pointing out clues (some we get, and some aren't clues at all but are our overactive imaginations) and put in our votes for who we think the killer is prior to the solution. The cast of characters are likewise familiar, but they're well-rounded and just deep enough that watching them work together is fun.
As owner of the bookstore, Sam seems to know everyone in town. Philby (Clarence Williams III) has a mysterious background of his own. Sam thinks he was once a spy, and everything in the series seems to indicate that as well. He maintains a small office space inside the bookstore and keeps a clandestine group of friends.
In this mystery, a folk rock group from the 1970s called The Ramblers have reunited for a series of fund-raising concerts that will help fight world hunger. They're managed by a young PR guy who ends up getting killed, setting the murder investigation into play.
Before the dust has settled on the murder, the band members are fighting among themselves, and Carly — one of the members — confesses to the murder. However Carly has a long history of mental breakdowns and is soon ruled out — at least for the moment — as the murderer.
In the meantime, Philby is pursuing a case of his own. Bank robbers have started hitting banks using cutting edge technology. Even though he's retired from whatever it was that he used to do, he's brought in to consult. Before long, Sam and Philby discover that all the cities that had bank robberies were also on the tour list of The Ramblers. What's the connection? And who committed the murder?
Granted, some of the writing and characterization is simple, but simple is what you need so you can work on figuring out whodunit. I love watching the characters go through their familiar routines as they work out the puzzle. The town, though I've never heard it named, seems like a great place to live (except for the periodic murders!) and I'd love to wander through the aisles of the Mystery Woman Bookshop.
If you want a quiet mystery filled with dialogue and a little action, a fiesty grown-up version of Nancy Drew, and without the romance element that can get in the way of the puzzle, the Mystery Woman DVDs are great. I've bought and watched all three that have been released so far and have enjoyed all of them.