Dead Over Heels: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery (2017)

To be clear, I watched this movie twice – without managing to write a review because, you know, life – and I still had no idea what it was about. Google quickly reminded me it was the one where a dead body falls out of a plane, and right into Aurora’s front yard. The drama! I will say the campier these movies are, the more I tend to enjoy them, and on third viewing, I found some laughs that I hadn’t noticed before.

The body is that of Detective Burns, a stern guy with few social graces. Aurora (Candace Cameron Bure), librarian by day and Nancy Drew by, well, all the time, is totally nonplussed by his manner of death. I mean, this isn’t even the second corpse that’s appeared on her new property but the third, so this is old hat. Instead of going into shock, she goes straight into investigative mode.

There are plenty of leads for her to pursue. First is the detective’s odd behavior the night before he became a lawn ornament. Burns gave cryptic warnings to Aurora about her boyfriend, ex-CIA operative Martin Bartell (Yannick Bisson), indicating that he might be hiding a dirty past. After Burns’s death, she visits his widow, Bess (Leah Cairns), and notes her unusually calm, even sunny demeanor. Bess’s decision to immediately sell her house also raises eyebrows. Most shocking though is an attack on Lillian (Ellie Harvie), Burns’s sister-in-law and Ro’s sour boss. I don’t advocate violence, but loopy Lillian, the result of getting knocked out, is the best thing to happen to this character.

Meanwhile, the police department tries to piece itself back together. Lynn (Miranda Frigon), Ro’s sometimes rival, is named the temporary head and immediately has to deal with a contentious new officer, Pete Lambert (Jim Thorburn). Pete is one mean looking dude, and if he’s not the killer in this movie, then he’s escaped from another Hallmark mystery where he most certainly is.

Ro gets a little more help in solving this case. Martin’s visiting friend, Tim (Jeremy Guilbaut), is also ex-intelligence, and he tries to play detective too. He’s also pretty cute and makes a perfect date for Ro’s friend, Sally (Lexa Doig). But three’s a crowd, and in fact, two might be pushing it as well. Ro suspects Martin is about to propose, and it’s not the best time. The guy is so overprotective – and for once I agree with Candace Cameron Bure! Lay off, mildly attractive law enforcement guys. This is like a Murder, She Baked redux wherein an independent but admittedly reckless woman solves all the crimes but constantly has a worried man trailing her just in case. How about this, Hallmark – don’t make your female leads so careless around a crime scene.

Anyway, this relationship gets resolved, obviously. We’re too invested in Martin/Detective Murdoch to swap him for another strapping white Canadian guy. The highlight though was the trial of another couple, Lynn and Arthur (Peter Benson), Ro’s ex and also a detective on the police force. We’re used to seeing Arthur being the passive one, whether in a relationship or a murder investigation. But the elevation of his wife leads to some surprising consequences that make me enjoy watching these two far more than our other romantic pair.

Released: 2017
Dir: Terry Ingram
Writer: Shelley Evans
Cast: Candace Cameron Bure,Yannick Bisson, Marilu Henner, Lexa Doig, Miranda Frigon, Bruce Dawson, Peter Benson, Scott Lyster, Ellie Harvie, Jeremy Guilbaut, Jim Thorburn, Leah Cairns
Time: 83 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Movies and Mysteries
Reviewed: 2017