Thursday, September 29, 2011

Movie: Murder 101 - Locked Room Mystery

Murder 101: Locked Room Mystery
Written by Walter Klenhard

It's the best TV movie that stars Dick Van Dyke and features a locked room murder. I guarantee it.

But seriously. The Hallmark Channel turned out four of the Murder 101 movies between 2006 and 2008. This was the third one. They starred Van Dyke as criminology professor Dr. Jonathan Maxwell and his son Barry Van Dyke as an ex-cop who now works as a private investigator. Various other members of the Van Dyke clan turn up in the movies - a total of four of them are featured in this episode.

The setting this time around is a popular new age center headed by a messianic healer named Samuel (I didn't catch his last name - perhaps it wasn't given). He is fairly likeable and down to Earth as these messianic healer types go. The locked room murder - Samuel is shot - takes place in a sealed meditation chamber. There are only two keys and both are held by inhabitants of the chamber. When the door is broken down Samuel's four pupils are in such a deep trance that blanks fired from a policeman's gun elicit no response.

All of which could have made for a decent enough locked room mystery. Things proceeded in a relatively entertaining fashion for a TV movie, but the major drawback was the solution to the murder. I'm no expert on locked room crimes but I'd have to rank the solution to this one as a flat-out cheat.

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