Pros: A good, twisty mystery
Cons: A certain level of cheese
The Bottom Line:
A deadly secret gives us
The Skull in the Window Seat
One of the reasons I switched cable companies this year was so I could get the Hallmark Movies and Mystery channel. (Yes, it was also a little bit cheaper.) They’ve started making some movies I was anxious to see based on cozy mystery series. Within a couple of months, I’d recorded a bunch of them, and there they sat on my DVR waiting for me to watch them. I finally got around to watching the first Aurora Teagarden mystery, A Bone to Pick, and I enjoyed it.
Aurora (Candace Cameron Bure), Roe to her friends, is a librarian in a small Georgia town who is obsessed with real life murder. In fact, she’s a member of the local Real Murders club, which is how she had kept in touch with former librarian Jane Engles (Barbara Wallace) who has always seen a lot of herself in Roe.
When Jane dies due to health problems she’d kept secret from all but her closest friends, Roe is shocked to learn that she has inherited everything, including Jane’s house. When Roe heads to the house, she interrupts a burglar. Then Roe finds a skull in the window seat. A note from Jane convinces Roe that her friend didn’t commit the murder. But who is the victim? And is one of her new neighbors a killer?
This sets up a great mystery as Roe must not only figure out who the victim might be but then figure out who had motive to kill this person. The twists and turns were pretty good and kept me guessing until the end.
This movie is based on a book by Charlene Harris (and if the name is familiar, that’s because she wrote the Sookie Stackhouse books that were turned into the TV show True Blood). I have never read the books this film is based on, but I do know that, while this is first movie made from the books, this is actually the second book in the series. I don’t know why they chose to do that, but I’m not too surprised based on how they are constantly changing the order for the series of movies based on the Hannah Swensen series. Fans of the books will recognize any changes they had to make as a result, but I just went on what I saw here.
I will say I was overwhelmed a bit by the number of characters near the beginning. In addition to meeting the suspects, we also get the characters that make up Roe’s life. However, by the time the movie was over, I had everyone straight.
Hallmark has a reputation for a certain feel from their movies which includes a certain amount of cheese. That is here in full force, and it seeps into the acting a bit. It’s certainly acceptable for a made for TV movie, but there is nothing here that will win any awards. Aside from Candace Cameron Bure, the only other name in the cast I recognized was Merilu Henner who plays Roe’s mother Aida.
I’ve got to admit, I also had a problem with the premise of the story. Jane is really little more than an acquaintance of Roe, yet she leaves her entire state to the main character? Yes, it’s so Roe will find the skull and solve the mystery, but it still seemed a bit farfetched. Having said that, once I let that go, I really enjoyed the film.
So no, this isn’t great cinema. But it is a diverting made for TV movie. If that sounds appealing to you, then you will enjoy A Bone to Pick.