Sleuthers, rejoice! The popular Hannah Swensen Mystery franchise will return to Hallmark later this year with a new movie that reunites Alison Sweeney and her longtime co-star Cameron Mathison, according to an exclusive report by ET Online.
On February 27, 2023, the outlet confirmed that filming has begun in Vancouver, Canada, for a movie tentatively titled “Carrot Cake: A Hannah Swensen Mystery,” based on the novel “Carrot Cake Murder” by Joanne Fluke, who has written over 30 books featuring the mystery-solving baker since 2000.
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries adapted Fluke’s books for a series of five “Murder, She Baked” movies between 2015 and 2017, with Sweeney starring as Swensen and Mathison appearing as her fiancé, Detective Mike Kingston.
Four years after the last movie in that series, in August 2021, Hallmark wound up rebranding the franchise as “Hannah Swensen Mysteries” and released a new movie starring Sweeney and Mathison called “Sweet Revenge.” Cinema Blend reported that Sweeney blamed the delay and changes on lots of “red tape.”
“To be honest, there were a lot of behind-the-scenes complications that made it take a long time to bring it all together, and it just was so exciting once we got through all the red tape to be able to make it happen,” she said.
It’s taken another two years for the “Carrot Cake” follow-up. In October 2022, Sweeney told Us Weekly she was eager to make another installment of the series, but didn’t know yet if it was part of Hallmark’s plans.
Believe me, I am a big fan of Hannah Swensen and if I can make that happen, I will,” Sweeney said. “I love making those movies. Those are my favorites, to be honest.”
Primary Cast Returns to Film ‘Carrot Cake’ Mystery
On February 18, Sweeney posted an Instagram photo from the set without yet revealing what movie she was working on.
“First week back on set for 2023,” she captioned her post. “Excited for a new year of fun projects to film and I’m so grateful for each and every opportunity. Can’t wait to get the latest movies on your screens. More to come.”
But Hallmark’s diehard mystery fans, nicknamed “Sleuthers,” already had an idea that a new Hannah Swensen film was in the works, given that local filmmakers had already spilled the beans. ACFC West, a Canadian union for filmmakers, was among several local trades that revealed Hallmark was filming “Carrot Cake” in Vancouver beginning on February 17 through March 10.
ET’s report confirmed the news and provided fans with more robust details about the film, including the fact that supporting cast members Barbara Niven and Gabriel Hogan are back to reprise their roles in the movie — Niven as Swensen’s mother and Hogan as Swensen’s friend, whom her mom would prefer she date instead of Detective Mike.
Niven shared the ET story via her Instagram Stories on February 28, writing, “We’re back! Huge thanks to you fans for your loyalty & support, you made it happen! We’re filming now… see you soon!”
What Will ‘Carrot Cake’ Movie Be About?
According to ET Online, “Carrot Cake: A Hannah Swensen Mystery” takes place, once again, in the main character’s hometown of Lake Eden, Minnesota. The action begins with the discovery of a skeleton amid the rubble of a building undergoing renovation,” which uncovers a new mystery: one of Lake Eden’s beloved citizens is not who he claimed to be.
The synopsis continued, “Much to the dismay of her fiancé, Detective Mike Kingston, crime-solving baker Hannah Swensen begins to investigate the case on her own. As she tries to piece together the events that led to the murder and tries to learn the victim’s true identity, Hannah even calls on her mother Delores as she works to bring the killer to justice and uncover the truth.”
Sweeney is also serving as executive producer of the movie, ET said, and has posted multiple glimpses from Vancouver, which has had cold and snowy weather.
On February 22, she posted an Instagram photo of herself in one of Benjamin Ayres’ Romance University hoodies, thanking him for keeping her cozy during a cold day there. Sweeney also shared a video in her Instagram Stories on February 28 of her walking through the snow to the set.
Hallmark did not reveal a premiere date for the new mystery but said it will be released sometime this year.