Hallmark Movies & Mysteries: Aurora Teagarden Mysteries Something New

Jun 24, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze, TV

by Kathleen Costa

Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has found a creative way to continue its Aurora Teagarden franchise without its original, iconic star Candace Cameron Buré. The young Aurora, however, is not Buré’s daughter, Natasha, who played the high school version in the flashbacks in Haunted by Murder, but instead Skyler Samuels has been cast as the college graduate. Samuels is not a stranger to acting with a long list of roles, among them her reoccurring stint on Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverley Place. Samuels coloring, mannerisms, and personality provide some continuity, but time will tell if fans of the original will get on board. For me, I have an open mind.

Step into the Time Machine, Sherman!

It’s 2008, Aurora Teagarden (Skylar Samuels) has returned home to Lawrenceton after graduating from college, and while finishing her Master’s thesis, she’s working as a teaching assistant for a crime fiction class and supplementing her income as a waitress at the local diner. Like many returning grads unsure about their road to independence, Ro moved back into her childhood home. Her mother, Aida (Marilu Henner), again takes on the “mother hen” role, but is also busy with her budding real estate agency; her best friend Sally Allison (Kayla Hellas) is excited about her upcoming nuptials to Matt Walker (Madison Smith); and Arthur Smith (Evan Roderick), also a close friend, is a new police officer. It seems that the cast of characters are all here for a mystery.

Aurora is excited about Sally’s wedding, but a few odd incidents turn her excitement to suspicion. She sees a strange woman outside her house she believes is following the groom, at a kick-off celebration guests witness an angry confrontation between the groom and an unknown party crasher, and outside the party, the same woman is seen driving away. All of this might be easily dismissed until Sally calls and says she can’t find her fiancé.

Ro has always been good at finding things, Sally reminds her, so she can’t decline Sally’s plea to find her fiancé. Arthur, a major part of the group, joins Ro on her search for the groom. At Matt’s apartment, however, they find he is not there, a blood smear on his keyboard, and a body, a dead body, lying face down in the bushes below the balcony. Matt? No, but, with the victim’s identity, it doesn’t look good for Matt. The dead body is the young man a room full of guests saw yelling at him, and with Matt missing, the police have only one theory. Ro, spurred on by Sally’s adamant denial her fiancé is not involved, enlists Arthur’s help. He has to work within police protocols, but because he disagrees with the official theory, he helps Ro the best he can.

Something New Earns 5/5 Flashbacks! I am glad to have kept an open mind. I find I enjoyed the new direction of the Aurora Teagarden franchise more than I thought I would. I always enjoy flashback-style programs that provide a look into the evolution of a favorite character, answering some why-s and how-s about a character’s ultimate perspective, relationships, and skillset. We see Ro’s thought process as she reviews her studies of mystery novels, which will direct her future, to devise an investigative plan along with organizing a murder board that would be on of her go to techniques. Arthur shows his own critical thinking skill and initiative as well as respect for his mandate as a police officer that would one day lead him to becoming a well-respected, successful lead detective. Sally? Well, she hasn’t been my favorite character in the franchise, now or the original, and here, it was nice to not have her shadowing Ro and whining about all the dead bodies. She’s too busy with her “stand by her man” and “the wedding will go on” attitude which is understandable, however, we all know the wedding is destined to be cancelled; why is the mystery revealed at the end. I do look forward to more!

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Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.


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