Hallmark Mystery Series: Ranked!

Spoilers

Audiences of all ages adore cozy mysteries.

Within the genre, Hallmark mysteries have reigned supreme for years.

The question is which Hallmark mystery movie franchises are the best.

The best cozies contain idyllic settings, well-established characters, and elements of romance and humor. They also need staying power, which is why the multi-movie series are usually the most popular.

With those points in mind, here’s how several of them compare.

11. Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries (2020–2021)

Jesse Metcalfe plays Jeff Jackson, a medically retired police detective living in the picturesque setting of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. He solves crimes with the help of a doctor and medical examiner, played by Sarah Lind.

This is one of the worst Hallmark mystery franchises in terms of believability. Characters repeatedly get away with things real-life doctors and cops could not do, such as freely sharing confidential information with multiple other characters.

Another problem is the overarching storyline of Jeff trying to figure out who shot him in Boston, forcing him into early retirement. That question has yet to be answered, and the franchise seems unlikely to continue. Nevertheless, the beautiful setting and detailed puzzles have gained this series many fans.

10. Curious Caterer Mysteries (2022–Present)

Nikki DeLoach stars as a single mom running a catering business in this ongoing series of four movies. Her partner is a detective played by Andrew Walker.

The series seems to be going strong, and Hallmark has greenlit a fifth installment supposedly focused on a crime at a rock concert. However, fan reactions have been mixed.

Most fans adore the combination of DeLoach and Walker, but many feel the writing on some previous movies has been lackluster. Some also complained about the endings, which we won’t spoil here, being too predictable.

9. Crossword Mysteries (2019–2020)

This five-film collection stars Lacey Chabert and Brennan Elliot and puts a great spin on the cozy mystery.

Lacey plays a crossword puzzle editor who realizes puzzle clues relate to local crimes. Of course, in Hallmark fashion, she pairs with a detective played by Brennan, who also becomes her love interest.

These mysteries were more nuanced than several other Hallmark mysteries. The puzzles were interesting, and the crossword connection gave them added depth, making them favorites of armchair detectives everywhere.

8. Gourmet Detective Mysteries (2015–2020)

In a somewhat unusual detective gender reversal for a Hallmark mystery series, Brooke Burns plays the female detective in this charming five-movie whodunnit series. Dylan Neal stars opposite her as a culinary consultant with excellent deduction skills.

Neal is always charming and witty. He also pulled double duty for this franchise by writing the scripts for each film with his wife, Becky Southwell.

The whodunnits in this series were satisfying, and it developed a good fan following.

The Gourmet Detective Mysteries seemed done after the fourth film aired in 2017, but Hallmark executives had the good sense to bring it back for another installment in 2020. That’s why fans still hope another film might materialize in the future.

7. Morning Show Mysteries (2018–2021)

Hallmark produced six Morning Show Mysteries movies based on the novels by famous weatherman Al Roker. They starred Holly Robinson Peete as a restaurant owner and morning show host.

Peete’s performance as Belinda “Billie” Blessings was great, and the mysteries were intriguing. That aspect also seemed quite realistic, thanks to Roker’s experience on morning shows.

The first four movies in this series were good, but a fan-favorite character was killed off in the fifth, and then things continued to go downhill with movie six.

Fans, including the one writing this, almost all agree that replacing Detective Ian Jackson (Rick Fox) with Detective Tyrell Price (Colin Lawrence) in film six was not a great move.

6. Murder, She Baked/The Hannah Swensen Mysteries (2015–Present)

Alison Sweeney plays a small-town baker who teams up with a police detective, played by Cameron Matheson, to solve local crimes in this sweet series.

As of May 2024, it is a nine-film series that began as Murder, She Baked until it was temporarily suspended in 2017. Then, it became the Hannah Swensen Mysteries. The most recent is One Bad Apple: A Hannah Swensen Mystery.

This series is so lighthearted it’s almost silly, but that seems to be its appeal. It’s a guilty pleasure. Chronicle Mysteries (2019–2021) may be more appealing for those who like watching Sweeney in more serious mysteries, but these are great for anyone wanting to relax and not overthink.

5. The Jane Doe Mysteries (2005–2008)

Jane Doe, a nine-movie franchise, was an early long-running Hallmark movie mystery series. Lea Thompson of Back to the Future and Switched at Birth starred as Kathy Davis, an average mom who covertly worked as Jane Doe, a secret agent.

The hidden identity angle and Lea Thompson’s magnetic personality make this a fun series that many fans still enjoy rewatching today.

The Jane Doe films were helmed by veteran producer Dean Hargrove, who might as well be dubbed the King of Mystery Production. He produced episodes of classic TV mystery shows such as Matlock, Columbo, and Perry Mason.

The Jane Doe series is a good choice for those seeking a less campy mystery than some of the more modern Hallmark mystery incarnations.

4. Hailey Dean Mysteries (2016–2019)

The Hailey Dean Mysteries was the second Hallmark mystery series starring Kellie Martin. Mystery Woman (2003–2007) lasted for 11 films and made Kellie the sweetheart of Hallmark mysteries early on, so we fans were glad to see her return for nine Hailey Dean Mysteries films.

Kellie playing an ex-prosecutor turned therapist was an odd but exciting concept that somehow worked. We all loved seeing what adventures Hailey and her friends would get up to next.

There was so much love for this series that the only major complaint fans have expressed is that it was suddenly and quietly canceled with no warning or explanation. None of us wanted to see it go.

3. Mystery 101 (2019–2021)

The seven-film Mystery 101 series starring Jill Wagner as English literature professor Amy Winslow and Kristoffer Polaha as Detective Travis Burke is one of the most beloved Hallmark mystery franchises released so far.

The chemistry between the pair was excellent, and most of the mysteries were quite detailed and enthralling.

Unfortunately, Hallmark saw fit to end the series suddenly in 2021 with little explanation, causing a fan uproar that still hasn’t stopped as of 2024. We all still want to see Amy and Travis return.

The biggest issue is that the last film ended on a cliffhanger that was never resolved, which feels like a massive letdown to those of us who followed the pair’s exploits over seven movies.

2. Garage Sale Mysteries (2013–2020)

Kellie Martin was the sweetheart of the Hallmark mystery for years, but Lori Loughlin was the queen. She starred in an impressive 16 films (15 aired, one extra filmed and available on DVD).

Lori became a staple as Jennifer Shannon, an antique shop co-owner and garage sale enthusiast who solved crimes relating to garage and estate sales. The premise was fun, and the mysteries were well-developed.

Much like Mysery 101, the only major complaint about this series is that it ended. Fans were saddened when Hallmark dropped her due to her involvement in the 2019 Varsity Blues scandal. Even today, we all want a new Garage Sale Mystery.

1. Aurora Teagarden Mysteries (2015–2023)

Another queen on the Hallmark mystery was Loughlin’s former Full House and Fuller House costar, Candace Cameron Bure, who played librarian and amateur detective Aurora Teagarden in the movie series based on books by Charlaine Harris.

The first 18 films in the series had everything we could want as Hallmark cozy mystery fans. The small town setting of Lawrenceton, Washington, was beautiful. As a librarian, Aurora also had a believable reason for being such a good amateur sleuth.

Aurora Teagarden Mysteries tops the list because the longevity gave us time as fans to see actual character development. We became attached to the town and each of its characters. As the series progressed, Aurora even fell in love and married.

When Candace Cameron Bure suddenly left Hallmark and moved to GAC, the network tried to keep the series going with Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Something New. However, it’s unclear whether the prequel series might continue due to its lukewarm reception when released in 2023.

Where Will Hallmark Mysteries Go From Here?

Those listed above aren’t the only Hallmark mystery series. Older franchises like Matchmaker Mysteries (2019–2021) have delighted cozy mystery fans for years.

Recently well-received Hallmark mystery releases like Family History Mysteries: Buried Past (2023), Cut, Color, Murder (2022), and The Cases of Mystery Lane (2023) seem to indicate that the network’s mystery series production is not slowing down.

The Jane Mysteries: Inheritance Lost (2023) was also a massive hit with fans, which is interesting because it may allow Jodie Sweetin to join the ranks of former Full House and Fuller House stars turned Hallmark Mystery queens.

Is there a Hallmark mystery series you want to see more of or one that made you cringe? Let us know why in the comments below.

Jessica Kosinski is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow her on X.

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