‘A Christmas Mystery’ Ending Explained: Who Stole the Bells?

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Welcome to the Ending Explained for A Christmas Mystery, the newest Christmas movie to arrive at HBO Max. Unlike Netflix, HBO Max doesn’t release five or six Christmas movies every week, so for those members of the audience waiting for this type of content on the platform, this is a welcome addition. The film is directed by Alex Ranarivelo and stars Violet McGraw, Eddie Cibrian, Oscar Nuñez, Leonardo Cecchi, Lauren Lindsey Donzis, and Beau Bridges.

The film tells the story of a small town known for having an item of almost magical proportions. This item, a couple of bells, is part of the town’s identity, and when they get stolen, bad things start happening. The film combines the classic thematic set up of a Christmas movie, involving talking about friends, family, and love, with a mystery involving the fate of the bells and who could have dared to steal them in the first place. The movie is very basic, and that is part of its charm. In the end, the film feels like a little simple escape from all the complications of modern life.

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The following paragraphs contain spoilers for A Christmas Mystery. Read at your own risk.

Why Is Mr. Bottoms Accused of Stealing The Bells?

The film begins with the introduction of the setting, a town in middle America with strong roots and a passion for its traditions. Among the traditions, we can find the ringing of the bells. The bells are considered to be magical, and they bring prosperity to the town after being rang every year close to the Christmas season. We could say it is a power superstition that still manages to live among the town’s residents, even to this day. As the movie starts, the moment of ringing the best is closer than ever.

We meet our main character, Violet. She is an eleven-year-old kid and the daughter of the town’s sheriff, Pierce. Violet is best friends with Kenny, his neighbor from next door, and they have a wonderful friendship. Each of them has an older sibling; Violet has Maddie, and Kenny has Harrison. Maddie clearly likes Harrison, but he doesn’t know how to behave in front of a pretty girl. Maddie tries to make contact, but it doesn’t really work. Harrison also has a strained relationship with his dad, who works as the custodian of the town’s museum, and also sometimes as the custodian at school.

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Harrison seems to be ashamed of his dad, but Kenny loves him. Mr. Bottom is a nice guy, and being a custodian doesn’t make him lesser than others. We meet deputy Terry, who works under Pierce, and his father, Mayor Donovan. Their relationship is also strained. Terry has had many jobs, but the Major doesn’t seem to like his son very much. Terry is clearly looking for affirmation from his father, but he cannot get it. The morning after introducing all the characters, something bad happens.

The bells have been stolen. However, this is the only thing that was stolen from the museum. The money from the donations was left intact. It is clear that whoever committed the crime was looking specifically for the bells. The police start the investigation and see that none of the doors were forced open. The only thing broken was the glass that encapsulated the bells. The evidence points out to Mr. Bottom, as he is the only one with a key apart from the museum’s director. Mr. Bottom has a prior, and it seems like he has fallen into stealing once again.

Who Stole The Bells?

Mr. Bottom has a money problem, so this also seems to be pointing at him as the robber. However, Kenny believes he didn’t do it. Violet supports his friend, and she starts her own investigation. She admits that Mr. Bottom has a motive, and opportunity for having committed the crime, but they need to find someone else with those same elements if they are to prove that Mr. Bottom is innocent. Violet tries to follow the museum director, and he sees him acting suspiciously when handling the donations.

Violet receives help from Terry to investigate the museum’s director, but it doesn’t lead anywhere, The director’s alibi is rock solid. Pierce wants her daughter out of the investigation, she is only eleven years old. She doesn’t know what she is doing. However, Violet has very powerful observation skills, and she manages to see something suspicious in the video evidence. She discovers that Mr. Bottom doesn’t use white sneakers; he only uses black work boots. However, in the video, the person everyone seems to think is Mr. Bottom is wearing white sneakers.

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Violet presents this evidence to Kenny, Harrison, and Maddie. They confirm that their father doesn’t use white sneakers, he doesn’t even have a pair. Violet reveals her theory. The only person she knows who has a pair of shoes like that is Deputy Terry. Violet theorizes that he stole the bells to get attention. Because he has stolen them, he knows where they are, and he is just incriminating Mr. Bottom. Terry wants to be the town’s hero, and make his father feel proud of him.

Violet and her team follow the clues they find in Terry’s house to the town’s school. There they find the bells inside a trophy with Mr. Bottom’s name, this would only incriminate Mr. Bottoms even further. The ringing of the bells is the next day, so they clash with Terry, who has come looking for the bells and says he found them. Violet makes him confess while she is recording with her phone, and Harrison, Kenny and Maddie manage to trap him behind a door. They call the sheriff to provide their results.

In the end, the town is saved and the bell ring, bringing prosperity to the town.

  • Nelson Acosta

    Nelson Acosta is a professional writer and translator based in Caracas, Venezuela. He is also a member of the Caracas Circle of Cinematographic Critics, a film critic association in Venezuela that aims to preserve and educate audiences on worldwide and Venezuelan cinema. He studi...