We love mystery!

Hallmark Mysteries and More with Eric Rutin (part 2)

Eric Rutin from Hallmark Mysteries and More joins Brook and Sarah to share his expertise on favorite Hallmark mysteries adapted from books. Second of a two-part conversation.


Gilded Newport Mysteries: Murder at the Breakers (2024) Hallmark

Murder at the Breakers (2014) Alyssa Maxwell

Mystery 101 (2019-2021) Hallmark

The Gourmet Detective (2015) Hallmark

Case of the Mystery Lane (2023) Hallmark

Curious Caterer Mysteries (2022-2023) Hallmark

Murder She Baked/Hannah Swensen Mysteries (2015-2023) Hallmark

Chronicle Mysteries (2019) Hallmark

True Justice (2024) Hallmark

About Eric Rutin and Hallmark Mysteries and More

Website: https://hallmarkmysteriesandmore.com/
Instagram: @hallmarkmysteriesandmore

For more information

Instagram: @cluedinmystery
Contact us: hello@cluedinmystery.com
Music: Signs To Nowhere by Shane Ivers – www.silvermansound.com
Sign up for our newsletter: https://cluedinmystery.com/clued-in-chronicle/
Join the Clued in Cartel: https://cluedinmystery.com/clued-in-cartel/


This transcript is generated by a computer and there may be some mis-spellings and strange punctuation. We try to catch these before posting, but some things slip through.

SarahWelcome to Clued in Mystery. I’m Sarah.
BrookAnd I’m Brook and we both love mystery.
SarahHi Brook.
BrookHi Sarah. We’re back for Part 2 of our conversation with Eric Rutin.
SarahThis is such a great conversation, and we didn’t want anybody to miss. So we’ve broken it up into two parts. The first part aired last week and this is the second part of that conversation.
BrookEnjoy, everyone.
BrookSo, Eric you mentioned the Gilded Newport Mysteries and as far as I know this is the first time that hallmark has done a historical is that right?
Eric RutinIt is.
BrookYeah I really liked it I. I watched it? I dvr’d it and then watched it when I knew that I could be alone in my home and just enjoy because I’m like you and I have a spouse who couldn’t care less about ah Hallmark Mysteries. But I was really excited to see historical what are fans of Hallmark saying about it so far?
Eric RutinIt’s been interesting because this one has had sort of a polar reaction. It seems like some people really loved it and other people really hated it, and nobody is really in the middle. And I think with a lot of the people who disliked it. It came down to more they just didn’t seem to be fans of the casting or maybe some of the direction that the movie took whereas the ones who loved it.
Eric RutinReally they’re probably people who like you know Bridgerton or like Downton Abbey and they just really loved the period piece. They appreciated for what it was they understood its Hallmark. You know it doesn’t have this big huge budget that some of these other productions that we’ve seen have. And they really appreciate for what Hallmark did. I’m one of the ones who I enjoyed it I would like to see more I think there is room for improvement, but like say I enjoyed it I think one of this ones that for me personally having read the book and knowing that they have to cut it down to that hour and twenty-four minutes some of the decisions that they made. It’s funny when I talked to Andrea, my co-host like she didn’t understand but since I had read the book I understood like oh well that character the reason they did that because I was able to reference the book whereas in the movie. It didn’t provide that reference point. So, she was clueless I understood. So I think reading the book I actually really enjoy now reading the book along with the watching the movies.
BrookYeah, Sarah and I both read the book. And as I was reading it I was like this is really long like this is going to be hard to compact into a show. But um I think that they found some interesting ways. To do that and and I’m with you I I think it would be fun to see some more of it.
Eric RutinYeah I think so when you will digress a little bit when you read the book. It seemed to me when you said it was really long that it did have maybe that like middle or not middle like maybe from the halfway point to the quarter point just kind of dragged for me. It started out really good then got kind of slow and then it finished good but I had this like chunk where I’m like you could just take that and your editor could lose 50 pages and we’d be okay. I don’t know what you guys thought.
BrookWell, I was interested in your interview with Alissa Maxwell this was the first mystery she ever wrote. And then to have it get picked up. You know I mean a lot of years later right? But I imagine, just having written a mystery myself I bet they get better and better over the series. So some of that you know middles are hard aren’t they Sarah.
SarahThey definitely are.
Eric RutinI’m not an author but it seems like a mystery too of trying to keep that tension going and you’ve got to keep it going for a little while longer. But um I do know if you go to Jericho. That you get a good long from beginning to end with no lulls just my opinion there though.
BrookAh, thank you? Thank you.
SarahI haven’t watched any hallmark mysteries so Eric where do you suggest that someone start?
Eric RutinI would say that the gateway to get people hooked is always going to be Mystery 101. It’s a really well-written mystery There’s 7 episodes. I’ll give a spoiler. It does end on a cliff hanger which a lot of people like say just stop it 5 minutes before the end and then you’ll be happy, but it’s very good because each of the mysteries stand alone and you can you can watch them. But John Christian Palmer did a really good job I think of developing characters and developing their relationships that progress and one of the things in the cozy realm or we’ll call mark cutesy here in Hallmark is sometimes you look at some of these and you’re like why is the baker involved in that they just there’s no right? You have to do a lot of suspension. You have to really jump into the whole genre and say okay, the baker can go around and and you know be smarter than the entire police force. But with Mystery 101, it’s pretty smart in that way where it does make sense. And like say that progresses really well great acting Kristoffer Polaha is in my opinion the best actor in the entire Hallmark universe. His range is just fantastic. He’s been in things off outside of Hallmark and he’s the main detective in this and he’s just brings it 100 percent. So you’ll you’ll watch it and I think it’s pretty easy to realize how people get hooked in the series and then you can expand.
Eric RutinNow personally, I would say Gourmet Detective. It’s got a little more fun to it. Henry Ross who’s he’s a blogger who writes about food who just knows everything about food, and he can the Gourmet Detective he can figure out things for like oh what’s that spice in something that someone wants to do. But he ends up getting involved in a murder in the shenanigans. And the thing about this one that’s so great is it also has a female detective, which you don’t see in Hallmark very often, with the male nosy body there and I think they play very well. So I would go with Mystery 101 and quickly follow it up with Gourmet Detective, which was my path and then you’ll be like me and you’ll be saying hey can I be a co-host on you know Hallmark Mysteries and More next season.
BrookWell Eric since you have had the inside scoop with writers and actors from the channel can you share with us maybe of what’s in store in the future?
Eric RutinWell one of the exciting things is I was just talking to Hallmark Corporate with the with the big news as you had mentioned um that they’re repositioning Hallmark Movies and Mysteries to become just Hallmark Mysteries and in doing so that means they’re going to need a lot more content. I would assume. But their PR department is trying to arrange an interview with either Lisa Daly who’s the head of Hallmark, which would blow my mind if we get her or Elizabeth Yost who’s the head of original programming, so I can ask ah those diving questions about what’s in store. But we have had a few leaks. One of them is a fan favorite from last year which was called ah Cases of Mystery Lane stars Paul Campbell and Amy Garcia. It’s kind of a fun kooky mystery, which if you want to watch just one mystery dive into that one because that’s just a ton of fun. If you want to see a series, go the other route. But, word just came out that they are going to be releasing two more of those so that’s exciting. One of ah my big things I think with the mystery genre that’s different than the rom-coms with Hallmark, is with the mystery you get to know the characters and that’s what I when I said with Mystery 101. You get to know them. You see them develop their relationships develop. And I think it’s always just great when you can at least get three of a series because you do see the characters develop and you kind of when you talked about like Alyssa writing her first novel there. Her first mystery you kind of learn as you go, and you get better. I think if you watch most of the mysteries, you’ll see that like oh they’ve gotten better. The characters are better. There’s more depth to them. In Curious Caterer certainly that case. And so it’s really exciting to see two more of the Case of the Mystery Lane. There’s two more Curious Caterers that are going to be coming out which are um, they’ll make it five total. Hannah Swensen there’s a new one with that and this one is huge news in the Hallmark universe because um, Cameron Mathison, who had always been Detective Mike, her love interest. He was engaged to two movies ago. They broke it off and kind of a little controversial thing and then he now has left the network and they’ve replaced him with Victor Webster, which I’m happy about. Victor Webster is great. But it’s going to be interesting to see in the next episode there how they detour that way. Some of the there was an interview that Alison Sweeney just did where she said that the network’s very behind the Hannah Swensen because she also started another mystery series called Chronicle Mysteries.
Eric RutinAnd said that’s probably Chronicles is pretty much put to bed, whereas the emphasis is going to be on um more Hannah Swensen. So you’ll be seeing some more of those. I also know that there’s a couple others that are going to be coming our way but I can’t. I’ve been sworn to secrecy and I tell you what that kills me. I just want to say it but I can’t but it’s exciting news that it really does show that Hallmark is definitely committed to starting to create more of the series of it. They call it a mystery wheel. Then just have the one-offs. There’s a couple of them we still want them to do but um, it’s it’s exciting that they definitely are committed to it and like I say they’re going to just need the content. So in that aspect, I expect it to be a lot more mysteries coming up in 2024 going forward. Especially coming summer this year already. They’ve had um I don’t know when this is airing but probably around this time they’ll have aired four brand new mysteries in the first two months whereas they had eleven total for the year last year.
Eric RutinAnd we already know that there’s three of the other remakes that are or continuations that are coming. So they are way ahead of schedule in that in that capacity. It’s very exciting if you’re a sleuther.
BrookThat’s exciting.
SarahVery and I think it’s great, this relationship that you’ve developed with Hallmark. Did you have any idea when you started your podcast that you would be able to forge those connections?
Eric RutinNo, it’s the the Hallmark universe is really interesting because I got into it and it was funny. My wife was traveling, and I was just watching Hallmark TV and I thought “you know what I’m going to create this hallmark blog” and it’s called Hallmark Movie Reviewer and it was focusing more on the rom coms and I’m like no one’s going to read it because I’m pretty much probably the only person who’s like this hallmark fanatic out there. Whatever I’m just starting it because it’s something to do and I’m bored. And I started my Instagram and then I started connecting with some people. And then before you know it, there’s like I found this whole community and then I found that like actors actually engage back with their fans here way more than they do in other places. And like I had dm conversations with some of the biggest names. Out there and they’re like such nice people and like I can’t this is a story I always use. The example is like I can’t imagine going and sending Tom Cruise a dm on ah like hey really loved Mission Impossible 6 those stunts were fantastic.
Eric RutinAnd him respond oh you liked it? What was your but you know your favorite part and then getting in a lengthy conversation about it whereas Hallmark ah, whether it be the actors whether it be the directors whether it be the writers whoever the costumers they’re super open and engaging. And then I started talking like I say started talking to some of the people corporate and they’ve been and everything you know beyond belief as far as being supportive. One of the big things that was interesting was we did get it when we sort of got on the radar. We did get a little note from. Them saying you know what we’ve got a little issue with your name because we’re Hallmark Mysteries and More they’re homework movies and mysteries and there is a lot of that confusion and I’m like “here it comes. We have to change our name. They’re going to ruin it.” And they’re like “totally can keep your name. We just need you to put a little disclaimer in your podcast saying that you’re you know you guys are fans and not associated with Hallmark directly” and that was it and then if I keep doing what you’re doing It’s great and I was what seriously because I I work in marketing myself.
Eric RutinAnd I know I would not be giving up my brand so you know loosely like like they they do, but it’s been amazing that you know the the access you have to this community like say across the board. It’s just crazy how open it is.
BrookI think that that really though says a lot about your podcast though Eric because they recognize that you are helping with their marketing and if you know the quality is there. Your knowledge is there and if that weren’t the case. That might have been a different kind of email that you got so I think that it just speaks to how good good your podcast is.
Eric RutinI’ll say I just recently got a um after True Justice aired and um, we did a review of that it was crazy because. All of the actors, the main actors including Nikki DeLoach all sent a dm saying ‘hey I listened to your podcast. Glad you loved it,” which afterwards Andrea and I are like oh thank god we like that movie because it’s the first time we’ve ever had literally the entire top 6 characters from the from the movie all independently send us dms that they listened to the podcast and liked what we did and then Nikki even said. “Hey I’m busy,” because she was getting ready to go shoot next Curious Caterer. “I’m busy going about to do some filming.” But and the funny thing is that hadn’t been announced yet that she was going to do curish cater and she just sort of let it I don’t know if she was aware what she’s doing but let it slip that she was off to go film it and she’s like. But when I’m back, let’s nail it and I totally want to be on your podcast and that was one where I did have to go get my wife and go “you will not believe what just happened,” and she’s like who’s that I had a pull up her pictures like oh I know who that is. Yeah, so it has been exciting and thank you very much I Hope you give some good content and we’re interesting. I think we’re fun.
BrookDefinitely and I enjoy the fact that you know you don’t pull any punches. You guys say it like it is. Like if you enjoy a show, you are honest with that and if you don’t and if you have like suggestions for how it could be better. You know you share that and um I don’t know they’re a lot of fun.
Eric RutinI do think one of the things and not to get into a whole different thing about um the hallmark podcast that are out there with the reviews but one of the things we try to do is we try to stay positive and we know that nobody is out there to make a bad movie. And when we you know we don’t like something we’re not just oh hated and they’re terrible people. You know, whatever tear it apart. We sort of say we understand what they’re trying to do don’t think they quite did it. You know the way they wanted to you know like our Gilded Newport Mystery. We’re mixed on that one and we thought you know when we’re starting to stand is they didn’t quite deliver in these certain aspects of it but they did do it here so we try to you know, remain somewhat positive and not get too derogatory so you’re not going to get a big whole you know slam of something, you know in that aspect.
SarahWell and I I haven’t watched any of the Hallmark mysteries but I have listened to your podcast and I do think it’s great.
Eric RutinOh. Thank you now? Do you have? Well you do you have the Hallmark Channel? Do you have access to it?
SarahI don’t know. I have to I I have no idea actually.
Eric RutinYou can always well you can always ah get a 7-day trial of the Hallmark Movies Now app which has all of the mysteries on there and you could just binge away in a weekend and say you know what. Okay I do like the genre I think it’s fun or you can watch and go no I like I like the books better I don’t I don’t I don’t need to I don’t need to get into this whole little cutesy version of the cozy mystery. So that’s like an easy way to start to test it out if if it’s for you.
SarahWell I will definitely take a look at that and I was looking it up a lot of them are actually filmed near me. So um, that’s always fun to see something that’s I’m in Vancouver.
Eric RutinWhere where are you at? Oh they’re all film near like most should say all but almost almost all of them are yeah yeah, like oh we’re we’re in France. No, you’re not, you’re in, you’re off the coast of ah of Vancouver.
SarahYeah, so and I you know I watch anything that’s filmed here. So, I’ll have to check it out.
Eric RutinYou know what’s gonna happen. You’re going to watch it and then you’re going to like be at know the grocery store and I’ll see and go wait a minute you’re from Hallmark I know you because half of them lived there too.
BrookSometimes Sarah spots scenery when she’s ah out and about and will snap a picture. Um, so that may happen after she starts watching these hallmark shows and then I can fan girl over it.
Eric RutinThere’s a there’s there’s a house in um, an Aurora Teagarden and a Mystery 101. They use it in both It’s Julia’s house and Aurora Tea Garden but that’s a house that’s up there. That’s apparently some famous mansion-type house that you probably. Being a resident know it and you’ll be like oh okay.
SarahYeah, well I’ll have I’ll have to keep an eye out for that.
BrookWell Eric this was lovely I am so happy that you said yes to join us on the show to talk about hallmark movies. Um, let’s say I’m so happy that you said yes to join us on the show to talk about hallmark mysteries.
Eric RutinIt does not take much to get me as you can tell to talk about Hallmark Mysteries. It’s more of a challenge to get me to stop.
SarahWe’ll put your a link to your show in our show notes so that listeners can can find and and learn more about Hallmark Mysteries.
Eric RutinI great appreciate that they can also find us on their Instagram which we’re very active on which is ironically enough @hallmarkmysteriesandmore. Not too hard to find.
BrookWell thank you, Eric and thank you, listeners for joining us today on Clued in Mystery. I’m Brook.
SarahAnd I’m Sarah and we both love mystery.