Queens of Mystery is an Acorn Original comedy mystery series from Britain that I think will please a lot of cozy mystery lovers – it certainly seems to have been made with the intention of giving off that “Cozy” vibe!
Matilda Stone (played by Olivia Vinall in Season 1, Florence Hall in Season 2) is a newly promoted Detective Sergeant, who has just been posted to her hometown of Wildemarsh, England, where she quickly reunites with her three quirky aunts – all three of them mystery authors! Cat (played by Julie Graham) is a former rocker now writing mystery graphic novels, Beth (played by Sarah Woodward) is the most motherly, a conventional mystery writer, and Jane (Siobhan Redmond), a bookstore owner and author of a sci-fi mystery series.
The first season of Queens of Mystery is a six episode run, broken up into three two-part episodes, each more centered around one of the aunt’s personal endeavors – the first two centered around Beth’s potential earning of a prestigious mystery award, the second set around Cat’s former rock career, and the third around a play based on one of Jane’s works. These selections of episodes allow each of the aunts to play a more important part on the episodes “featuring” them, and each in turn lets the show bring in a larger-than-life cast of eccentric authors, rockers, and actors who can then serve as both murder victims and suspects. Each episode is about 45 minutes, so each two-parter combined runs to about 1 hour 30 minutes.
In keeping with the more light-hearted tone, it’s worth noting that the cinematography of Queens of Mystery is far more colorful than most other mystery shows out there. It might just be that I’ve been watching too many dour, gritty police procedurals lately, but I really appreciated the bright, saturated colors of Wildemarsh and in the costumes of the cast.
Woven throughout are little tidbits of a bigger mystery (arc) centered around Matilda, whose mother disappeared when she was a small child. However, this was unfortunately my and my husband’s and my least favorite part of the show – it didn’t really go very far, and only served to break up the flow of the specific episodes. We also weren’t as fond of the presented romantic interest, handsome but boring coroner, Dr. Daniel Lynch – the actor playing him seems perfectly competent, but there just isn’t much meat for the role beyond Matilda occasionally making puppy-dog-eyes at him. Inspector Thorne (played by Martin Trenaman), Matilda’s grumpy boss who is always telling her to keep her aunts out of police business is particularly funny when he has his imaginary asides that contrast sharply with his rather gruff exterior.
Overall, I would call Queens of Mystery perhaps the “Coziest” mystery television series I’ve seen in a while, and despite the small issues I mentioned above, I’d still strongly recommend it to anyone who loves Cozies! In addition to the first series aired in 2019 that I have discussed above, there is a second 6 episode run from 2021 also available, and at least at the moment, both are streaming on Acorn.