Your Local Library
by DICK CHENEY
A Bundle of Trouble: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery
dir. Kevin Fair
Candace Cameron Bure, 41, is a somewhat puzzling choice for a female sleuth. Because of her inner religious convictions (someone, perhaps an angel, told her she and she alone came out of God’s love if I’m not mistaken), she does not do any onscreen nudity. “No problem,” I thought as I curled up with my wife Lynne on what I believe is referred to as a settee. “Was I really expecting her to go topless like Alison Brie on basic cable? This isn’t every single Anna Kendrick movie.” I began to enter full-blown panic mode roughly the same time I realized that not only does Bure not become startlingly nude in A Bundle of Trouble, she never moves the romance beyond a chaste kiss on the lips.
When the boyfriend (Yannick Bison) of Aurora Teagarden (Candace Cameron Bure) stays over for the night, A Bundle of Trouble makes one thing very clear: this is a man who sleeps in the guest room. I had to close my eyes and pretend that in the middle of the night, Aurora tiptoes down to the tiny bed her man sleeps in and envelopes her guy, who is a former federal agent named Martin, in a foul embrace.
Aurora’s previous boyfriend was a writer of murder mysteries. This seemed to suit her better, but he sort of subtly implied that no sex before marriage was a Puritan impulse and left the small Georgia town where Aurora makes her home. Aurora is the founder of the Real Murders Club, where each week one of the members presents the case of a famous killer. Even though this true crime group seems like a lot of fun to me, Aurora’s mother (Marilu Henner) finds her daughter’s impulse rather macabre.
Aurora often is at odds with the local police chief Lynn (Miranda Frigon) who feels that she meddles into the particular details of homicide investigations where it is inappropriate for a civilian to be involved. Aurora’s best friend, a reporter named Sally (Lexa Doig), is also single and appears to be harboring a deep crush on her friend, but it never comes up, reportedly because Candace vetoed this storyline.
In A Bundle of Trouble, Aurora once again finds a body at her house. This time it is the husband of Martin’s dear, sweet niece. Instead of feeling upset or concerned, Aurora has an emotional reaction that could charitably be described as the quiet ripples on a placid, sociopathic lake. When she is not amateur sleuthing, Aurora works at the local library, where she has a combative and eerily flirtatious relationship with the head librarian, a reserved woman named Lillian (Ellie Harvie). At first I was rather sad that none of these unconventional relationships could be consummated becaus of the lead actress’ religious fervor, but then I realized it was at least opening the door for a shitload of fan fiction.
I fell in love with Nancy Drew because of the meaningful relationships she had with men. They supported her, especially that Ned fellow. She went all the way with Ned several times, but he never intruded on her well-deserved spotlight. After all, she was the daughter of a very rich man. Hold on for one second while I confirm that’s all true. Aurora Teagarden prefers to hold her suitors at arm’s length, making for a very frosty five TV-movie series.
Aurora finds herself investigating a private adoption/baby sale gone wrong. The amount of money involved to secure the child appears to be around $10,000, which results in this humorous, thoughtful image of the protagonist:
Aurora has to take care of the baby through much of A Bundle of Trouble, which has an important double meaning which reflects both the hard cash and the presence of the human child. She does not really like children and often forces the people around her to change the baby’s diaper. Among Lynne’s friends, this is the main characteristic of a mother.
This entire adoption storyline seems to set up a way that Candace Cameron Bure can reproduce without actually having sex, since her boyfriend sleeps in the guest room. Having a child will probably take away substantially from her crime-fighting, but then again a part-time librarian typically has a lot of hours in a day. I would not recommend the Aurora Teagarden series to anyone, since there is almost never a person of color involved, even in subplots, and Candace Cameron Bure’s outfits look like they were purchased at the K-Mart in Sacramento.
Hallmark has other series which have white women detectives in a similar vein. One has Courtney Thorne-Smith playing an archaeologist, another has fellow Full House-alum Lori Loughlin as an amateur sleuth. It is apparently against Hallmark Channel directives to make any show about an actual police officer, since women can only solve crimes in their spare time. I resent this. ITV recently released Prime Suspect 1973, a period drama about Helen Mirren’s hot youth. She got it on with almost everyone at the station, and when her sexist bosses asked her to make the coffee, she did it, but she did not like it. At least she was able to solve crimes as part of her actual job. You know things are rough when you find yourself agreeing with Jessica Chastain.
Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.