The Art of Murder
Former detective, Joanne Kilbourn (Wendy Crewson - Sleeping Dogs Lie), visits an art exhibition as it features work of her childhood friend, Sally Love (Caroline Goodall). But at the exhibition Joanne sees that there is plenty of conflict in the Love family as the acid tongued Sally clashes with her mother, Nina (Claire Bloom - Remember), and her former husband, Stuart (Rüdiger Vogler), over her daughter who lives with Stuart. But when Stuart is murdered and Sally ends up the prime suspect in Inspector Philip Millard's (Victor Garber - Invisible Child) investigation, Joanne must work out whether or not her friend is guilty or not and if not who is? But it leads to Joanne to think back to her and Sally's childhood and the suspicious death of Sally's father all those years ago.
From what I can make out "Love and Murder" was the first of six Joanne Kilbourn movies based on the novels written by Gail Bowen. But I have to admit that before getting to watch "Love and Murder" I had already watched three of these other movies, doing that doesn't actually doesn't mess things up too much when it comes to the character reveals in this, basically I already knew that Joanne gave up being a detective to look after her children after the death of her husband which is what we learn in this movie. As such one side of "Love and Murder" sets about establishing the situation with Joanne, including her friendship with Inspector Philip Millard.
But of course at the centre of "Love and Murder" we have a murder and in many ways this feels classic in structure as we have a social gathering where many people witness an altercation between the suspect and the victim. But on top of this we also have a historic death which then becomes possibly connected to the present day one, which again feels like some thing which has been done before but works to make the plot thicken. As does that layer we get as being drawn back in to crime solving brings back not only memories for Joanne of when her husband was killed but gives us some conflict between her and the people she use to work with. All of which comes together to make "Love and Murder" an intriguing little thriller with interesting characters, some of which are quite surprising.
What this all boils down to is that "Love and Murder" is a nice little made for TV movie and a good introduction movie to the character of Joanne Kilbourn. But this does have a distinctly classic structure with the set up scene of a public altercation followed by a murder, which makes it feel a little familiar, maybe a little too familiar for some.