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  • Warning: Spoilers
    I am actually a fairly big fan of cozy murder mystery books series, so I am certainly not against the Hallmark Channel adapting them for TV. However, one would assume that they would make certain that the series in question is a good fit for the channel. The Flower Shop Mysteries (with Brooke Shields) and the Bake Shop Mysteries (with Alison Sweeney) are a fairly good fit. Hallmark's modus operandi seems to be taking a fairly innocuous book series with a hopefully built in audience, hiring a familiar actress of a certain age who can play cute with some familiar veterans in the supporting cast, and usually pairing said actress opposite a blandly handsome borderline asexual love interest (the Flower Shop mysteries Brennan Elliot is actually an exception here in that he seems to have a pulse and sex appeal) in the quest to find out whodunnit.

    By contrast, Charlaine Harris's Aurora Teagarden mysteries are most definitely a questionable fit for Hallmark. Centering on a likable heroine with a morbid hobby of researching and sometimes getting embroiled in real life murders, the series is often ghoulish with its violence, motives and supporting characters. The first in the book series focuses on very gruesome murder perpetrated on members of a Real Murders research group. When watching the TV version, red flags that this series will be an adaptation failure crop up almost immediately. First, gruesome murders that happen to likable characters in the book are prevented in the film to give it that homey feel that Hallmark loves. Second, Aurora's family background is changed around to give her a much more traditional family presentation to make her more cuddly to Hallmark viewers.

    Last, but certainly not least, is the complete misfire in casting. Aurora's mother is supposed to be a society doyenne realtor and force to be reckoned with. The books likens her to Lauren Bacall, the film series gives us a distracted Marilu Henner (probably wondering how to wring her agent's neck and get away with it). Robin Dunne is cast as the love interest here, a visiting novelist who is either the killer or a target. Naturally, he shares absolutely no discernible chemistry with the leading lady and has apparently been directed to play everything in such a low wattage fashion so that viewers can be assured that nothing but the most chaste of flirtation is happening.

    The worst decision is the miscasting of Candace Cameron Bure in the lead. I am completely puzzled as to how anyone in the sublimely talentless Cameron family keeps scoring acting gigs. The Aurora Teagarden of Harris's novels is described as a short, pleasingly plump, bespectacled librarian-type with a lusty sex drive and a borderline unhealthy (but fun) morbid curiosity. There is not one characteristic of this character that comes through in Bure's performance. Physically, she is completely wrong for the role as she bears absolutely no resemblance to Harris's character. Indeed Bure's performance sanitizes pretty much anything that would have given Aurora flavor as a character and replaces it with an over-caffeinated, hyper-cute nonsense performance that seems more like Bure's audition reel for the Full House reboot than anything that demonstrates an actual performance or an attempt to prove she can...well, act at all.

    Just when you think it cannot get worse, the climax where Aurora outsmarts the villain(s) arrives (which is completely different from the book by the way) and you realize just how utterly clueless and foolish this whole endeavor was from the start. Aurora seems less like a resourceful and brave character, then a childish moron with the IQ of a 12-year-old with ADHD and some highly questionable luck.

    A complete disaster, even by Hallmark standards, and a total waste of time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Candace Cameron Bure is back as Aurora Teagarden in another Hallmark movie adapted from Charlaine Harris' series of crime novels. I've never read any of the books but I did see the first Aurora Teagarden movie and liked it a lot. The plot to this one has members of Aurora's book club being targeted by a killer who is mimicking famous murders. Aurora investigates (mostly in purple jeans) with a mystery writer newly arrived in town and eager to help.

    As I said, I liked the last Aurora movie but I wound up liking this one even more. Candace is as lovely and engaging as ever. I was happy to see the cast of supporting players from the first movie has returned here, most notably the delightful Lexa Doig as Aurora's best friend. In this movie she doesn't get to play sidekick, though, as that role is taken by Robin Dunne. She does get plenty of enjoyable scenes, including one particularly amusing one with her parents. For his part as investigative sidekick and potential love interest, Robin Dunne is charming and fun. I was pleasantly surprised by this as the last time I saw him in a TV movie he was remarkably wooden and seemed bored by the whole thing. Here he steals the show and has a playful chemistry with Candace that I enjoyed a lot. He's a vast improvement over the forgettable minister love interest from the first movie. Again, I'm not familiar with the books but I hope if there are more of these movies made that his character is a part of them.

    On the negative side, the movie is darker in spots than it probably needed to be. It's hard to do a story where your lead character's friends are being murdered while still keeping things light and frothy. The movie doesn't always maintain that balance well, especially in the first half. There are also some issues with the sound quality at points, such as the grocery store scene where it appears dialogue may have been dubbed for whatever reason. Not a big thing but it is a tad distracting. Another nitpick would be the gruff police captain who is nothing more than an irritating cliché. He exists just to show up and yell about Aurora's meddling. Finally, the solution to the murders is a little too similar to the first movie.

    The complaints I have are minor, ultimately. For a made-for-TV movie, it's well done and very entertaining. It keeps your interest throughout with good characters and a decent murder mystery. If you liked the first one, I'm sure you will love this one. If you didn't like the first one, I doubt this will win you over. Candace fans will, of course, find lots to enjoy here.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Although this is the second movie in the Aurora Teagarden Mystery series, the storyline actually follows the first book in the series. Knowing this, I don't think it matters that they switched around the order.

    Once again, Candace Cameron Bure, does a wonderful job in portraying the main character. I love that she is so intelligent, as well as being a bit sweet, but with nerves of steel. The new love interest in this movie, a mystery writer, balances her out perfectly. He's intelligent too, but uses a bit more caution when it comes to heading into a dangerous situation.

    I enjoyed the mystery itself as well, although I knew early on who the killer was, because of a remark that was made, and it just seemed really out of place. But since there was so many deaths/crimes it was interesting to try to figure out how each one was accomplished. And the twist at the end really made up for figuring out who the killer was early on.

    Aurora's relationship with her old boyfriend's wife changed a bit by the end of this movie, and I'm glad it did. Although there's still some tension, it wasn't as catty as it had been. I was also amused again by seeing books by Charlaine Harris during a scene that took place in the library. If you weren't aware, this series, along with Sookie Stackhouse series (aka True Blood), and the Midnight, Texas series which is coming to TV later this year (you can read my reviews here, here and here) were all books written by Charlaine Harris.

    If you enjoy reading Cozies, or like watching mysteries without blood and gore, then you should give the Aurora Teagarden mysteries a try.
  • blanche-25 June 2016
    Candace Cameron Bure is Aurora Teagarden in "Real Murders: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery" from 2015.

    In this film, someone is using famous murders from the past to knock off people in the murder mystery club to which librarian Aurora belongs. She gets to work trying to solve the crimes, coming up against her nemesis, Detective Lynn Smith (Miranda Frigon), the wife of Aurora's former boyfriend. In the last film, Aurora delivered Lynn's baby so I don't see how it is she's still hostile.

    Anyway, I didn't like this one - I thought the denouement was pretty dumb. I guess Candace Cameron Bure is an acquired taste. She's way too perky and childish for me. Marilu Henner plays her mother, and I believe the rest are Canadian actors.

    I love all mysteries, which is why I'm checking out the Hallmark movies.
  • There wasn't much on TV so I gave Aurora Teagarden a go and couldn't believe how annoying the main character was!

    If you enjoy childish, simplistic women who act like 10 year olds, then this is the show for you! Aurora is suppose to be 28 years old, but it seems as if they are trying to appeal to young teens because any self respecting adult would find Aurora annoying as hell!

    I don't see the point in outlining the flaws and faults in the actual story line, which are too many to list, when the main character is so unbearable!

    For a mystery show, this one is full of insultingly stupid scenarios and murders, which I assume are aimed at simple children!

    I must say that there were a couple of actors that I do like normally, which was the only reason I gave the show a go, but to my dismay, even they were annoying! I am disappointed any self respecting actor would agree to be in such a stupid show!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was in the mood for a light night without lots of drama and heartbreak. Instead, I got heart burn! Let's face it, we don't expect heavy drama or even great acting from the Hallmark Channel, but occasionally I will see a movie that is entertaining. This was not one of them.

    Candace Cameron Bure is incredibly annoying, acting so childish with her little girl tics. She actually bounces when she walks! Her dialogue is worse, and nonsensical...cutesy to the point of nausea.

    She must come cheap. I can't see any producers paying good actor salaries for anyone so ill equipped to act. Everyone else seems to be just as stilted in their roles. There is only one professional..a female detective who they have turned into a bitter, backbiting shrew. They must do it because Teagarden has to look smarter and better than the most intelligent person in this town.

    How to improve the show?? Get this chick some adult education classes before she turns 40, which is very, very soon.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I enjoyed the first Aurora Teagarden (and I love her name!) Hallmark movie and looked forward to this one. The staple characters are likable and Candace Cameron Bure's "Roe" is delightful (I never saw the TV series that made her famous, "Full House," or anything else in which she has appeared). This movie concentrates on the Real Murders Club of which she, her best friend, Sally (a newspaper reporter), and her mother's romantic interest, John, are all members. It appears that a serial killer is loose in Aurora's charming town, mimicking real-life infamous murders that the Club has discussed. As clues began to surface it becomes clearer that the murderer could be one of the Club members. This really is too close to home for Aurora, who first suspects then allies herself with a best-selling (and good looking) author of mystery novels to solve the mystery and reveal who the murderer is.

    I enjoy a few of the series on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel, but this is my favorite because it is closer to a true "cozy" environment and presents some interesting puzzles and mostly charming and likable characters. For the most part, the main characters are well cast; it's a treat to see Marilu Henner again, for example. However, not having read the books I cannot comment on how close the movies or actors reflect the plots and characters in the books, and perhaps that's just as well.

    Although the denouement was a bit far-fetched, it lends itself to the wackiness that can make a cozy truly endearing.
  • "Real Murders: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery" wasn't a movie that I had any particular hopes for, but I still decided to sit down and watch it, as I like watching a diversity of various movies.

    Turns out that "Real Murders: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery" actually was enjoyable. Sure, this felt like a televised and updated version of "Murder, She Wrote" or something akin to that particular type of entertainment. It was actually a wholeheartedly enjoyable family-friendly 'who done it' murder mystery.

    Initially I was a little bit skeptical about the movie with Candace Cameron Bure in the lead role. But it turns out that she actually carried herself and the movie quite well. Talk about breaking ties with the roles of yonder - thinking about the Full House era here.

    "Real Murders: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery" is something that the entire family can watch together, so you shouldn't be expecting anything ghastly or graphic here, for better or worse. It actually worked out well enough, because the incidents in the movie work well to the advantage of the movie, and the audience know what happened without having to visually look at the events.

    The characters in the movie were as you'd expect from a movie such as this. And they had a handful of talented actors and actresses to perform the various roles and characters. I've already mentioned Candace Cameron Bure, but the movie also has the likes of Lexa Doig and Marilu Henner on the list.

    I am in no way familiar with the Aurora Teagarden character, and this was my first introduction. But it has come to my knowledge that there are more movies available, so given the chance I will also sit down to watch those.
  • The second film in the Aurora Teagarden film series, based on the first book. I liked it better than the previous one. That film was a little simpler, like everything happened in a small circle of setting. In this, there's no a major leap, but slightly extended, either it be characters or the story that takes us to the places. Lived up to the expectation, but as I always say, for the television standards and in particular keeping in mind the women audience. Because Hallmark might be exploring the crime related themes lately, but it always remains a women's favourite channel.

    It was just a second film, but as I observed in these two, I think showing a blurred very brief crime event at the opening is its trademark. In this tale, the killing follows a pattern. The pattern of old murders, mostly from Europe. A woman got murdered at the beginning and then as usual Aurora jumps in to investigate on her own, despite warnings from the cops not to involve. It seems this time her reporter friend is on her side. Not much helpful in solving the crime, but on the reverse side, it's Aurora, whose tip off impacts her from a possible danger.

    What major change I unexpected was the romance part. I don't know what happened to that church guy she was dating, but now it's with a mystery novelist, who's also a temp university professor called Robin Daniels. They together do all the latest case related work, since it could be helpful for his future novels. The regular monthly 'Real Murders Club' members meet up and so that's where the question begins that the killer could be one of the members who just recreating the group's case study. That leaves out strangers involving in this matter. But who is it and why he/she's doing it are the remaining narration to unfold.

    ❝Is she always two steps ahead of everybody else?❞

    They had retained the same director for this film as well. I think he did well. I don't recognise Candance Cameron Bure suppose if I had seen her in any films before, but she was good so far in this film series. Looks she's one of the best television actresses. The supporting cast too was not bad. Shot in the nicest places, good dialogues and the fine scene transitions. The mystery was well maintained. I thought I had guessed, but like most of the time I was wrong. Not because I did not see it coming, but they hid that precious twisty part/character to bring on at the best section of the film, which's the finale.

    I would say the new boyfriend was one of the best things happened in this. If you watch it, you would know why. You know, in a crime- mystery, maintaining the plot is very important. At a same time revealing a few details on the other end must go on. This was a short film like nearly 80 minutes. An average runtime for any television film. Then the pace of the storytelling was good, followed by the list of possible suspects and possible future victims puzzling around. Simply to say, it was not a very intelligent crime solving film, but good enough to enjoy, especially the whole family together without restriction of age.

    Comparing the first film, it was less dramatic, but more tense, moving quickly from one scene to another. Not everything was perfectly done. There was a scene that looked intentional. It was a scene, finding an evident and then they succeeded. There's nothing wrong in it, but they simplified it, to move on to the next level of the investigation. From all, leaned too much on or you could say depended on the character Aurora. That's the title, that's what you might expect and so they gave it. Overall, a win-win kind of film for both the viewers and the makers. They did well for the second time, so I'm expecting the same for the third as well. Watch it if you had finished the first. Meanwhile, I'm getting ready for the next review in this film series.

  • 7/10 - the book was better, but still a good Candace Cameron Bure mystery
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The second Aurora Teagarden mystery came a cropper when our perky librarian with a taste for murder mysteries is nearly done in herself by someone jealous of her expertise. I kid you not that is the motive for the murders here.

    As in the first Aurora Teagarden film, Candace Cameron Bure in the title role hosts a murder mystery discussion group after hours. She's even got a professional mystery writer in Robin Dunne staying with her and mother Mailu Henner. Then someone starts bumping off club members in the same manner of some famous cases.

    I think the whole idea is silly and the film veered almost toward satire. But believe me it's well clear.
  • I'm not going to do a detailed review of any movie, but an overall of the first 3 - all I could bear to watch. No spoilers (I think), except for overall quality.

    First, let me say I'm not one of those snobs that thinks the book is always better than the movie. I enjoy both mediums. I fact, I prefer to view the video first and read the book second. That way I get the visuals in my head (how people look for instance), and often the action is better visually. Then the book adds a lot of texture and detail. That said, THESE books are INFINITELY BETTER than THESE movies. There is no comparison. The main character is tremendously annoying - really just want to see her spanked and then run out of town on a rail. I only watched the 1st 2 movies, and skimmed (with gritted teeth and determination) thru the 3rd. I will watch no more of this series. In fact, I had thought to check out more of Hallmark's mysteries, but now feel they're likely to share the same flaws.

    For some reason, Hallmark decided to flip the order of the first 2 books. If you've read the books this is confusing. As I said "Roe" is an annoying know-it-all snoop who constantly sticks her nose where it doesn't belong, uses social occasions as excuses to interrogate friends and acquaintances (while often ruining the gathering) and generally makes a nuisance of herself. In the most juvenile of writing techniques, Hallmark has decided she MUST be the most amazing, sought-after and clever person in every scene, generally making the whole thing more irritating and unbelievable.

    In an early scene there's a comment like "Is she always 3 steps ahead of everyone?". In the 3rd movie she TELLS her mother to call a staff meeting of HER MOTHER'S business. (In the books, her mother is a strong, independent business woman and Roe is a bit intimidated by her.) In the movies, she has a prior relationship with a detective which is implied to have been more important to HIM than her - exact opposite in book. Of course, She MUST be the most important, desired, etc.

    In "bone", movie and book, she starts by doing something very questionable that sets up the whole movie. It's rather ridiculous on both, but somewhat understandable in the book, while just obnoxious in the movie - "Do you have to solve every crime in a 15 mile radius?" or some such. Also, there's a hiding place that's just plain stupidly obvious in the movie, but rather clever in the book. AND this also explains the very odd actions of another character. In the movie, no such luck.

    In the movies, the police are often slow, stupid, incompetent, and motivated by personal feelings - very unprofessional. This necessitates Roe solving the crimes. This is an issue in most amateur detective series, i.e. why is the NON-police person always solving the case. In the books, (and any series I'll read/watch) thiia s handled reasonably - such as her stumbling across clues through her everyday life in this small town and generally knowing the suspects/victims in her personal life. In the movies, she actively investigates. Remember, she's smarter than everyone else!!!

    Each book and movie (so far) ends with Roe in a physical struggle with the killer (SPOILER she survives :'( ). In the movies, these are generally stupid, with her instigating without backup. In the books, while sometimes questionable, you can get how it happens.

    I only recently started reading Ms. Harris. By chance started watching Midnight, Texas TV series, then read those books by her. (FYI if you enjoy supernatural/horror, I recommend both.) Because I enjoyed those books/TV, I started on these. I really like the books, but the movie adaptations are completely unfaithful. It's as though they read a short outline of each book and went from there. I understand the need to change some things when going to video - the amalgamation of the best friend and reporter for instance. Since the books are written in the first person they had to have someone for her to tell her thoughts and "reasoning" to. They also "pretty-ed" up many characters, most notably Roe. I get it, but one of the things I like in the books is that Roe isn't gorgeous and most of the men she takes interest in are not either. I get it, I just don't like it. The world has far more average looking people, but TV is a visual medium and we all like seeing pretty people. They dumb down the plots to fit into the time of a movie. Ok, I get that. What I cannot abide is the complete loss of the "feel" of the books. In the books we see a LIKEABLE, smart, modest, occasionally insecure, highly relatable small town librarian with a odd hobby that solves crimes because of inside knowledge and circumstance. In the movies, she's full of herself, obnoxious and actively - often ridiculously - investigates. Why any man would waste his time on her is beyond me. At the end of each movie, I root for the killer to finish her off so there won't be any more of these terrible movies.

    Again, I don't primarily hate these movies in relation to the books, I hate them on their own merits. If I had seen the movie first (also before any of the Midnights), I never would have read any of the books, which I'm excited to be reading the 4th. I'll also try at least some of Ms. Harris's other series as I've enjoyed her writing this far. Kudos to Ms. Harris.

    To all who enjoy these movies, sorry.
  • Obnoxious, annoying is true for this one and the series. Way beyond not believable . Cannot imagine the towns people being this immature but its fiction . Wish the author would work with the characters and bring up to a level of maturity and level-headedness . Hard to believe this berg is as backwards as it seems but then again, it's only fiction. As the series progresses, they get more annoying , especially Auroras . We all know Candice is more mature that this or is she ? Having seen her a few times on a talk show have my doubts. She is still a little girl in little girl clothing with little girl lines