Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Movie Review: A Very Foul Play - An Aurora Teagarden Mystery

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great characters, fun mystery
Cons: Light dose of Hallmark cheese
The Bottom Line:
Gang goes out of town
With murder sure to follow
Which is fun for us

Staging a Murder During a Play

Somehow, August is flying by faster than normal.  It just hit me that we only have a week and a half left in the month already.  But, if I stop and think about it, that makes sense.  After all, we’ve now gotten our third and final Aurora Teagarden Mystery of the month, A Very Foul Play.

This movie finds Aurora (Candace Cameron Bure) and the rest of the gang heading out of town to a true crime conference.  And I do mean the gang.  While very few of the Real Murders Club members show up, all the main characters do.  Chief of Police Lynn Smith (Miranda Frigon) is supposed to be one of the speakers, as is Aurora.  Meanwhile, Aida (Marilu Henner) might have been under the impression that it was a librarian conference, something she’s not happy to learn she was wrong about when she arrives.

One tradition at this conference is that all the speakers participate in a mystery play the night before the conference officially opens.  Some of the others who aren’t speaking also get into the act, including Aida and Aurora’s cousin Phillip (Dylan Sloane).  They’ve barely begun when the lights go out unexpectedly.  When the lights come back on, one of the actresses who is normally in the play is dead on stage, and Phillip is holding the murder weapon.  Obviously, the police begin looking seriously as Phillip, but Aurora and the rest of the gang knows that he is innocent.  Can they prove it?

I really enjoyed getting to see Lynn out of her chief of police mode and working with Aurora, albeit very reluctantly.  As soon as I realized just how this movie was being set up, I fully expected this, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable.  And, while Lynn and her husband, detective Arthur Smith (Peter Benson), fully believe that Phillip is innocent, they do defend the police’s actions against him, which I also appreciated.  As much grief as the police take in these Hallmark mystery movies and many of the mysteries I read, they very rarely are actually acting without good reason, and it was nice to see that acknowledged.

Something else that was fun in this movie is that we got to see more of Lillian (Ellie Harvie), Aurora’s co-worker at the library.  She’s gets more than her usual two or three scenes here, and I enjoyed getting to see a different side of her.  Okay, fine – a slightly different side of her.

I’ll confess, I was sure I had the killer pegged early on, but I turned out to be wrong.  Even if I had been right, I wouldn’t have complained too loudly since I was enjoying the ride.  We get the usual clues, red herrings, and twists until we’ve finally proved that Phillip is innocent.  Yes, a couple of elements are obviously set up early on, but I didn’t mind since I was still wondering how they’d get incorporated into the story overall.

Yes, this does come with the usual light Hallmark cheese warning, but as long as you know it going in, you’ll be fine.  And I’m not talking about the scenes of our characters in the play, which are delightfully cheesy on purpose.

A Very Foul Play might have been our final Aurora Teagarden movie of the year, but it will leave fans happy.  Hopefully, we’ll get more visits with these characters next year.

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