Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse (2019)

A Game of Cat and Mouse moves quickly, but I’m convinced an actual game of cat and mouse would enliven proceedings. Then again, I’m always trying to find new ways to enjoy this series, or at least new ways that will distract from Candace Cameron Bure’s overacting. Her character, a librarian and crime solving enthusiast, somehow finds herself in the center of everything, and Cameron Bure can’t help but exercise every one her facial muscles to show just how serious things have become.

In this latest mystery, Ro looks all sorts of shocked. She has good reason though because someone’s gunning for her. A series of thefts and vandalism, starting with the destruction of her Real Murders Club display board, grows increasingly violent and personal. Someone is taunting her by leaving crime scene photos marked with quotes from old detective stories. Her family and friends and even her snarky colleague are all victims, so Ro is desperate to solve the case before someone dies.

She gets help from her usual team, including her best friend, Sally (Lexa Doig), and sort of boyfriend, Nick (Niall Matter). Detectives Arthur (Peter Benson) and Lynn (Miranda Frigon) also lend a hand, as does Nick’s colleague and Lynn’s friend, Bree (Tammy Gillis). It doesn’t take long for them to compile a list of suspects. Almost everyone who isn’t robbed or assaulted has motive or opportunity, from the town’s cleaning lady (Juliana Wimbles) to the guy (Gerard Plunkett) who’s pissed about Ro’s refusal to add his self-published novel to the library’s collection.

This is the tenth Aurora Teagarden film, and if you’ve watched the first nine, this case won’t be too hard to figure out. It’s a snappy mystery nonetheless, full of amusing misdirection and even more enjoyable melodrama. I’ve learned to embrace the little things, like Sally’s constant look of befuddlement. Girl does not seem sharp enough to be a reporter, but, hey, make-believe. The killer gets a scene chewing reveal as well, and Ro’s last minute heroics are a welcome surprise. Might Hallmark finally be giving its detectives a chance to save themselves instead of defaulting to the boyfriend rescue?

Highlight for spoilers: So this one’s pretty easy. Everyone who guessed Bree wins…an evening with the Granchester lads instead. Turns out she’s just a jealous lover. First she killed her friend, the woman at the beginning of the show. She tried to date the fiancé but when he couldn’t get over his dead lover, she had to start anew. Bree then set her sights on Nick. They couldn’t date because of department policy, however, thus allowing Ro time to develop a relationship with the good professor. Guess Bree saw the writing on the wall and figured the best way to deal with her unrequited love was to hurt everyone around Ro and then kill her rival.

Released: 2019
Dir: Mark Jean
Writer: Teena Booth
Cast: Candace Cameron Bure, Niall Matter, Marilu Henner, Peter Benson, Lexa Doig, Miranda Frigon, Dylan Sloane, Ellie Harvie, Tammy Gillis, Cole Vigue, Gerard Plunkett, Juliana Wimbles, Nicole LaPlaca
Time: 83 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Movies and Mysteries
Reviewed: 2019