The Manuscript Murder
Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury - Mrs. Santa Claus) is a guest speaker at the Speakers Incorporated, an event attended by a wide variety of authors. One of those authors is Uri Malenkovitch (Duncan Regehr), the former head of the KGB who is there to promote his book about his time in charge. When Malenkovitch is murdered a struggling young author is accused of the murder leading Jessica to try and prove their innocence.
One of my fondest memories from my childhood during the 80s was sitting down to watch Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher in the series "Murder, She Wrote", well that and the fact I always had a hot chocolate whilst watching it. Since then I have caught bits of the old shows when ever they are repeated on TV which thankfully here in the UK is quite often yet somehow I had never caught a single one of the TV movies which came after the series had ended. Well the good news is that "Murder, She Wrote: A Story to Die For" is as good as any of the old TV shows and hot chocolate is also just as enjoyable.
Now to be honest "Murder, She Wrote: A Story to Die For" doesn't really need a great deal written about it as it is a typical mystery movie which follows the formula of a murder being solved. That means during the first twenty minutes we meet the various characters who are attending the conference, then there is the murder and the arrest of the innocent man followed by Jessica Fletcher snooping and uncovering the truth. But running to a recognizable pattern is certainly not a weakness as it makes it an easy to watch movie with Angela Lansbury charming us as the wholesome Jessica Fletcher. Plus there is also the humour of two young authors who try to solve the mystery before Jessica does.
In many ways "wholesome" is why "Murder, She Wrote: A Story to Die For" and the old series worked because they were simply clean fun for those who want to be entertained without being confronted by swearing or sex. But whilst I am sure there are many fans out there who will enjoy "Murder, She Wrote: A Story to Die For" it does also mean that it won't be for everyone especially those who find the simple wholesomeness all a little corny. In truth if it wasn't for the fact that Angela Lansbury delivers warmth as Jessica Fletcher I might also have found this movie a little corny.
What this all boils down to is that "Murder, She Wrote: A Story to Die For" is simply a 95 minute episode of "Murder, She Wrote" but it works thanks mainly to the charm of Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher rather than for the details of the mystery that Jessica Fletcher solves.