In the latest Aurora Teagarden mystery, Nick and Aurora are finally married and gearing up for their honeymoon in Paris.
When their trip is delayed, Aurora’s friend Lizzie encourages them to spend a few days at her aunt’s secluded lakeside cabin, a “pre-honeymoon” of sorts. But, as usual, Nick and Aurora are in the wrong place at the wrong time and stumble upon a dead body during their romantic getaway.
Although “Honeymoon, Honeymurder” begins with a familiar inciting incident, the rest of the film is refreshing, even poking fun at the formula of other Aurora Teagarden films at times. With compelling characters and a couple of suspenseful sequences, “Honeymoon, Honeymurder” is a movie that fans can watch again and again.
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This article will have SPOILERS for “Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Honeymoon, Honeymurder.” Do not keep reading if you do not want to read spoilers.
Everyone Has a Motive
When Nick and Aurora find the body of Cliff Minton, the main suspect is his ex-wife, Teri Hall. The divorce was messy, and Teri openly admits to Aurora and the police that she’s glad Cliff is dead. Her son from a previous marriage, Jacob, says the same.
Right from the beginning, Detective Liggett Smith suspects Teri. After all, she has a clear motive. Other suspects pop up as well. There’s Donald Heller, the boat rental shop owner who was heard threatening Cliff shortly before the murder. There’s Russ Slocum, who worked with Cliff and was said to have shady secrets that only Cliff knew about it.
And there’s Cliff’s former stepson, Jacob. Before his death, Cliff claimed that Teri was hiding money in Jacob’s name and took her to court. He ended up getting half the money, which was rightfully Jacob’s. It was left to him by his late father.
Everything Is Not As It Seems
Detective Liggett Smith finds security footage of a boat belonging to Teri Hall’s company leaving the dock shortly after Cliff’s boat and returning shortly after the murder took place. When Detective Liggett Smith shows up to question Teri, Teri flees.
Although Teri repeatedly told authorities that she didn’t own a gun, Detective Liggett Smith finds one in her house. Cliff was shot with the same type of gun. Just when it’s looking like an open and shut case, Aurora protests.
“It’s the perfect case,” Detective Liggett Smith says. “Does it strike you as a little too perfect?” asks Aurora. It’s a fun moment where the film seems to acknowledge a familiar Aurora Teagarden trope: the killer is never the most obvious suspect!
At first, Aurora thinks Teri might be intentionally framing herself to protect her son Jacob, the potential real killer. This gives us the amazing line delivered by Detective Liggett Smith, “It’s a premeditated frame job in advance of a premeditated murder.” Only Aurora could come up with that convoluted theory!
The Killer Was Hiding in Plain Sight
Of course, the killer wasn’t Teri or her son Jacob or any of the other obvious suspects. It was Sharon, an assistant at Slocum Securities where Cliff worked. Sharon spent the film working with Aurora’s mother Aida to clear up some issues that Cliff’s shady business dealings had caused with the Real Estate Association.
Sharon seems sweet and innocent, but really she’d been having an affair with Cliff and helping him dig up dirt on his ex-wife to ensure he kept getting his huge alimony checks. And Aurora was right about the killer trying to frame Teri.
“Honeymoon, Honeymurder” acknowledged another major component of the series: Aurora’s excessive involvement in murder cases despite being a librarian, not a detective. Detective Arthur Smith, who doesn’t appear in this film, is normally pretty gentle when he tells Aurora to back off. It’s a little unrealistic at times.
By contrast, Detective Liggett Smith is more firm. In “Honeymoon, Honeymurder,” we finally get a proper blowup, where Detective Liggett Smith lets Aurora have it, and explains why she can’t afford to have Aurora snooping around. Aurora and Lizzie are forced to admit that she “makes some good points.”
It’s nice to see the Aurora Teagarden movies acknowledging that a citizen would never be allowed the access Aurora has in a real murder investigation.
Are Aurora’s Parents Getting Back Together?
In the last Aurora Teagarden film, “Till Death Do Us Part,” we got to meet Aurora’s father Charles for the first time. Charles and Aida Teagarden, who are divorced, rekindled their connection in the film, even sharing a kiss.
Although Charles didn’t appear in “Honeymoon, Honeymurder,” he was mentioned. Apparently, Aida is planning a trip to visit him in Florida soon. Maybe Aurora’s parents are getting back together? Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of them together in the next movie.
If you missed the premiere of “Honeymoon, Honeymurder,” you can catch it again on Thursday, August 26 at 9 p.m. Eastern on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.