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Midsomer Murders is a wonderfully entertaining series. It is set amongst rural villages. It is not as gritty as some of the other series, but the plots are intriguing and the characters are interesting. The main characters are Chief Inspector Barnaby and Detective Sergeant Troy. The writers have worked Barnaby's wife and daughter into many of the story lines which is perfectly plausible because they live in the same small community where the stories take place. The mysteries can be very complex which attracted me to this series. Barnaby is played by John Nettles.
As a side note, I have received a number of e-mails from visitors to the site asking where Midsomer is located in England? According to the information I have, the filming takes place in the English counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey. They are located West and Southwest of London. Also, people have asked what type of car Barnaby drives. He drove a MG Rover 75 through season 8, but now he drives a Jaguar X-Type.
"The Killings at Badger's Drift"
An elderly villager is found dead in her cottage after witnessing something unsettling in the woods.. Her old friend is convinced that her death was not from natural causes. She persuades Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby and Detective Sergeant Troy to look into the matter. and then hunt down the killer.
1st Series 1998
"Written in Blood"
A writers circle in Midsomer Worthy invites bestselling novelist Max Jennings to attend a meeting despite the curious opposition of the group's secretary, Gerald Hadleigh. The morning after the meeting, Hadleigh is found dead, the victim of a brutal beating. Barnaby discovers that Hadleigh was a man of mystery with no National Insurance number, no relatives and no marriage certificate to match the wedding photo on display in his house. When another body is found, they have a double murder on their hands.
"Death of a Hollow Man"
In a village, an elderly resident is found drowned after a violent attack. Barnaby, his wife and daughter all pitch in to help with an amateur theatrical production and encounter more intrigue and passion backstage than on stage. Then there is a second murder.
"Faithful Unto Death"
In a tiny, gossipy village, the beautiful wife of a wealthy businessman has disappeared in what appears to be a kidnapping for ransom. Barnaby finds the village awash in suspects who hold the businessman responsible for investment losses.
"Death in Disguise"
Barnaby investigates the suspicious death of one of the founders at the Lodge of the Golden Windhorse, a local commune full of mystics and misfits. When the other founder is mysteriously murdered in front of a roomful of people, the first death looks like it may have been deliberate too. One cult member is an heiress who intends to leave her fortune to the commune, much to the dismay of her father.
2nd Series 1999
A successful theatrical director arrives in the village of Badgers Drift. He is his disturbed by childhood memories. Then, soon after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, a property developer in the village is savagely murdered with an Indian sword belonging to a vicar. Barnaby investigates the crime, trying to discover if it was motivated by ill-feeling in the village about his plans for property development or some longer buried secrets.
The body of a young Brazilian woman is found strangled with a tie in a wood where three similar murders occurred several years previously. Barnaby visits the now-retired police officer who was in charge of the investigation of the earlier crimes and who has since become obsessed with them. The trail leads them to a local cigarette and tobacco company and two of its employees in particular. The Portuguese au-pair of one of them is then murdered.
"Dead Man's Eleven"
Shock ripples across a village of when a prominent businessman's wife is bludgeoned to death with a cricket bat. The bat belongs to the businessman's son. Barnaby gradually find himself caught up in a succession of sinister murders.
"Blood Will Out"
Barnaby is enlisted to keep the peace when the arrival of two feuding clans of travelers disrupts the tranquility of a village. A local magistrate and Falklands War veteran gets fired up about the interlopers and unwisely marches into the fray. The magistrate is found shot dead in his house.
3rd Series 1999/2000
"Death of a Stranger"
As the Upper Marshwood hunt heads off into the woods, a filthy tramp runs for cover, stumbles and falls into a pit. Later he is found beaten to death. A local young man is quickly arrested but Barnaby suspects that he is innocent which is only reinforced when there is an apparent suicide at the same spot.
When a lifeless body is found late one night in the elevator at Lawnside, a home for the elderly, everyone assumes she died of natural causes. But when another seemingly healthy woman dies after having changed her will, rumors of fraud and murder terrify the remaining residents.
Amid the excitement of preparations for the Perfect Village Competition in Midsomer Mallow, a local rogue is found brutally murdered. Barnaby discovers a wealth of suspects-- all of whom appear to be lying -- and a determination by the villagers to keep his investigation quiet so as not to jeopardize their chances in the competition.
"Beyond the Grave"
The slashing of a 17th-century painting in a museum appear to herald the start of a series of ghostly manifestations.
4th Series 2000/2001
"Garden of Death"
When the owners of Inkpen Manor announce plans to turn the memorial garden on their grounds into a tea room, the villagers of Midsomer Deverell are outraged, and members of the Inkpen family are murdered.
The owner of a hotel has recently died and left the establishment to four people. One of them is also the local Punch and Judy man who goes missing shortly afterwards. When his severed hand is discovered in a nearby wood a murder enquiry is launched. There is soon a surfeit of deaths for Barnaby to investigate.
"The Electric Vendetta"
In Midsomer Parva, a gentleman farmer finds a naked, mutilated body in a crop circle. A local UFO expert suspects the involvement of extraterrestrials. Barnaby has other ideas, particularly when another body is found under very similar circumstances.
"Who Killed Cock Robin?"
Plans for a wedding in Newton Magna are interrupted when the best man's father is found murdered. Turns out the whole village knew the victim was having an affair with the groom's mother.
A local postman is brutally murdered, many women in Goodman's Land are bereft. Since the postman had bedded them all, a jealous husband or jilted lover might be the culprit. Then another body is found.
Death threats against beautiful but spoiled woman bring Barnaby and Troy to the affluent of Midsomer Malham. Some villagers blame her for causing the death of an elderly villager by refusing to fix the leaking roof of his cottage, a family property under her management.
5th Series 2002
"Market for Murder"
In the picture-perfect village of Midsomer Market, a murderer is knocking off the members of a ladies reading group, one by one. Barnaby and Troy discover the ladies were up to something more risky than discussing fiction.
"A Worm in the Bud"
When her body is discovered in Setwale Wood, villagers assume that Susan Bartlett killed herself in despair over her infertility. But Barnaby soon discovers he has a murder investigation on his hands and that the village is seething with deep-seated resentments. Barnaby soon finds himself in the midst of witchcraft, ancient potions, infidelity and land feuds.
"Ring Out Your Dead"
A murderer is targeting the members of the church bell-ringing team in Midsomer Wellow and leaving behind puzzling clues that quote nursery rhymes. One clue alludes to a crime committed in the village long ago. Barnaby has to solve the riddle of the connection with the past to stop the killer's progress.
"Murder on St Malley's Day"
After a student at the Devington School in Midsomer Parva is murdered, suspicion falls on villagers resentful of the school's snobbery. But Barnaby and Troy are more interested in the code of secrecy surrounding an elite student club.
6th Series 2003
"A Talent for Life"
The double murder of a feisty pensioner and a local Casanova lead to a plethora of suspects. When the prime suspect is found frozen to death, police assume the case is closed. But Barnaby realizes something just doesn't fit.
"Death and Dreams"
In Midsomer Worthy, debt-ridden man is found shot to death having apparently rigged up a way to trigger a shotgun with his toe. When rope mysteriously goes missing and two more victims are hanged, Barnaby follows the string of suspects to a horrifying conclusion.
"Painted in Blood"
Barnaby's wife is enjoying an outdoor watercolor class in Midsomer Florey until she discovers a fellow student, who has been stabbed to death. The more that Barnaby into her background, the more mysterious she seems. Two National Intelligence Squad agents quickly take over the case which intersects with Barnaby's purse-snatching investigation.
"A Tale of Two Hamlets"
Wealthy young man is killed in an explosion, leading Barnaby into a centuries old feud between the villages of Upper and Lower Warden Manor. The detectives begin to wonder just how far will this family go to protect its money and power?
"Birds of Prey"
Investment in a secret invention leads to an apparent suicide in Midsomer Magna. Then a villager who was stealing peregrine falcon eggs from the inventor's wife turns up dead. Barnaby begins to investigate the possible link between the two strange cases.
7th Series 2003/2004
"The Green Man"
A local canal tunnel collapses while undergoing restoration revealing ancient human bones with a recent skeleton hidden among them. As Barnaby investigates this suspicious death, Troy is sent to the woods near Midsomer Worthy where a wild man has been attacked by a group of youths. Then one of the teenagers is caught in a mantrap and shot dead. Immediate suspicions fall on the man.
Barnaby and his new partner are thrown into a murder investigation in Midsomer Mallow. A noise heard near the scene of woman's bloodstained body lead police to suspect an handy man. But when the murder toll rises, Barnaby becomes concerned for his daughter who is organizing a 10-year school reunion.
"The Fisher King"
Thirty years ago, Roger Heldman, notorious in the locality as a womanizer, died one night at the site of an archeological dig on the ancient mound of Midsomer Barrow on his land. Now his only legitimate child is killed by a violent blow from a Celtic spear that was taken from the mound's central chamber. A local antiquities author who is widely known to be an illegitimate son of Heldman's asks his widow for permission to hold a midsummer ceremony on the mound, invoking the possibility of an inheritance claim on the land to persuade her. Barnaby's investigation stirs up a maze of twisted relationships, professional jealousies and lies festering within the picturesque village community as they discover other illegitimate children of Heldman's.
"Sins of Commission"
A prize-winning author is murdered on the eve of the 12th Annual Midsomer St Michael Literary Festival. Despite the tragedy, sponsor is determined that the event should go ahead. The organizers have persuaded a best-selling author to attend and be part of the judging panel for the Festival's lucrative literary prize. She rapidly begins to have second thoughts about being there. When a blackout at the reception event creates an opportunity for a second murder, Barnaby begins an investigation that uncovers a hotbed of corruption, sexual scandal and financial mismanagement.
"The Maid in Splendour"
A bartender at the Maid in Spendour inn is in love with a beautiful barmaid at the pub. He believes the girl is seeing someone else and she is meeting her lover at an abandon cottage. He decides to go out and see if his suspicions are true. The next morning the young bartender is found died near the cottage. He was killed by two blasts from a shotgun. Who has the girl been meeting in the woods? Barnaby and Sgt. Scott are called in to investigate.
"The Straw Woman"
In an attempt to teach her students about injustice in the past, a teacher stages an old traditional festival. The local curate is burned alive inside a straw effigy of a woman. Shortly after the gay lover of the curate also dies a horrible death. Many in the village believe the deaths are due to witchcraft and they blame the teacher and a local herbist. Others blame a local manor owner who is hedonist and throws lavish parties (orgies) at his mansion. Barnaby and Sgt. Scott are called in to investigate. Barnaby not only has to solve the crime but also has to deal with the villagers who are becoming increasingly more hostile. Sgt. Scott continues to have a problem separating his private life from his professional life.
8th Series 2004/2005
"Things that Go Bump in the Night"
Barnaby's suspicions center on a local spiritualist group when a series of grisly murders rock the village of Fletcher's Cross, starting with that of undertaker. When Barnaby's wife's friend also dies, Barnaby suspects a link between the funeral parlour and the spiritualists.
"Dead in the Water"
A body is found in the River Thames during the annual Midsomer Regatta. Ladies' man Guy Sweetman appears to have been killed after arguing with his friends from the rowing club. When Barnaby digs into the lifestyles of the members, he discovers a tangle of money problems and sexual jealousy.
"Ghosts of Christmas Past"
At the run-down historic home of the Villiers, the family gathers for their Christmas some nine years after the suicide of one of their members. The atmosphere becomes more and more tense as the family tries to keep its dark secrets hidden. When elderly aunt dies after a fall, the apparent accident is discovered to have been murder. Barnaby is called in to investigate.
Midsomer Malham has a significant orchid growing community including a retired teacher who is found murdered at her home. Barnaby discovers her notebook. Written in Latin, it records all the illegal sales of her collected specimens including a rare one to a local for large sum of money. The notebook also includes some imaginative details of sexual exploits. Then a series of other people who have owned the orchid are also murdered.
A successful racehorse, Bantling Boy, has been left to a syndicate of four people in the will of its owner, Hartley of Bantling Hall. The four are: his son, his doctor, his nurse, and his former gardener. When a local businessman offers them £500,000 for the horse, Hartley's son opposes the sale. Later that night he is found dead. Then, one-by-one, the others die in almost identical attacks and the horse sickens.
John Ransom is found dead in Midsomer Mere, his head covered in scorch marks. Barnaby finds that the villagers seem to have the ability to predict future events. Was Ransom's death the result of his brother's research into second sight? Was it caused in a pub brawl with his brother-in-law over plans for a baptism? Was he a casualty of some strange psychical experiment? In the battle between faith and science, even Barnaby thinks he has seen one of the villagers somewhere before. He has to delve deep into the village's history in his investigations.
When a local lawyer falls to his death from his house roof, it is not clear whether it was murder or suicide. His death is followed by the bizarre death of a neighbor known for his involvement in various scams. Barnaby discovers some faked vintage wine labels in neighbor's safe and begins to suspect that an elaborate fraud underlies the two killings which are soon followed by another bizarre murder.
"Sauce for the Goose"
A visitor on a tour of the famous Plummer's relish factory disappears. His naked body is discovered dumped in a vat, having been crushed to death. It turns out that he was an executive with a rival company that had been trying to buy Plummer's relish. The family that owns the factory are dysfunctional at best. Barnaby needs to discover the true motive for this crime.
9th Series 2005/2006
Joan Alder, the local composer of a very successful piece of music, 'Midsomer Rhapsody', died twenty years ago, leaving bitterness among her family. Barnaby knows her mother, Peggy Alder, who is about to remarry. A local man is murdered, and Barnaby realizes that he was her music teacher. Then a valuable manuscript shows up among the murdered man's effects that appears to be an early draft of the work as a collaboration by two hands, but Barnaby suspects it is a forgery, by someone who hopes to gain a share in the continuing royalties. Then Joan's long-lost daughter, Sarah Douglas, appears, followed by the revelation that her boyfriend, who was thought to be dead, is living close by. As the number of people with an interest in Joan Alder's work increases, the number of those interested in her work decreases as further murders occur.
"The House in the Woods"
A couple who have been searching the Midsomer area for a property to renovate are found brutally garroted in their car outside a supposedly haunted dilapidated old cottage in the woods. There are several other people interested in buying the house but are they desperate enough to murder potential rivals? To add to the mystery, a young boy has befriended a mystery man who the boy claims lives in the house. Barnaby discovers that there is something odd about the person selling the cottage. Barnaby is joined in the investigation by a new partner, PC Ben Jones.
A village is celebrating Oak Apple Week when a local single mother is found drowned in the village stream. It looks like suicide and that she was driven to it by grief over the death, eight years before, of her daughter. The medical examiner finds evidence that the woman could have been murdered. When another body is discovered there is no doubt that there is a murderer in the village. Barnaby's investigation reveals adultery, contempt, unrequited love and revenge all as possible motives for the crimes.
The elderly Baron has invited both his ex-wives to stay with him and his current wife. He had told everyone he had a announcement to make. During dinner, he drops to the floor and dies. He appears to have died of natural causes but Barnaby feels something is wrong. When a second person dies in a fire which is ruled arson, Barnaby knows his intuition was right. To solve the mystery, Barnaby must unravel paternity questions about some of the residents of the hall and find the legendary missing emeralds.
"Down among the Dead Men"
A man is found shot to death in his kitchen. Barnaby discovers that the man was a blackmailer. He is certain that if he discovers who among the victims has the most damaging secret, he will have found the killer. The blackmailer has many victims who could be potential suspects. Things become more complicated when one of blackmail victims gets another demand. Did the murder victim have an accomplice?
10th Series 2006/08
"Death in Chorus"
The Midsomer Worthy choir is entered in a choral competition. Barnaby's wife is a member of the choir. There is an intense rivalry between the Worthy choir director and one of the other directors. When one of the choir members is murdered and the rest receive death threats, Barnaby is called in to investigate. Then a local estate manager is murdered. He has no connection to the choir. What is motivation behind these crimes?
The village of Elverston is divided on the whether a new supermarket should be built. Many believe it will destroy village life. When a man working for the supermarket developer is found murdered, Barnaby is called in to investigate. His investigation uncovers that several of the local women were engaged in another business that also attracted the victims interest.
"Last Year's Mode
The trial of a woman accused of killing her best friend is beginning. Barnaby had done the investigation of the murder and the evidence against the woman is overwhelming. However, Barnaby is beginning to believe the woman is innocent. The facts are the same but he feels there is something about this case that was not uncovered by the original investigation. This episode does not follow the usual format. Many flashback scenes are used to tell the story.
"Four Funerals and a Wedding"
Barnaby, his wife and mother-in-law attend the Skimmington Fayre. This annual event involves the humiliation of Broughton's men by the village women. The men have been plotting a way to bring an end to this yearly ordeal. Barnaby had just arrived when an elderly woman who had returned to the village for a funeral is found dead. The local doctor declares that the woman died of natural causes but Barnaby is suspicious and begins an investigation. A short while later a man is shot dead right in front of the inspector leaving no doubt in Barnaby's mind that the annual rivalry may have turned deadly.
"Dance with the Dead"
Barnaby is called to an abandon air force hanger where the body of a young man has been found. It appears to be a suicide until the medical examiner finds that the victim had been hit in the head before being placed in the car with the exhaust piped in the window. The young man's mysterious girlfriend is missing. Barnaby needs to find this girl who charisma seems to have captivated many in the village.
"The Animal Within"
A woman arrives from the U.S. to have a reunion with an uncle she has not seen since she was a child. Her mother and the uncle had been estranged for 40 years. When she goes to his estate, everyone she meets is shocked to meet her. They were all told by the uncle that his niece was dead. The uncle is nowhere to be found.
The King brothers and their accountant are over in China on a business trip when one of the brothers is killed in a mysterious car crash. When the surviving brother and accountant return to England, they quickly begin the process of liquidating the business. The workers cry foul when they find out the money to fund their pensions is gone. Then when after six months the surviving brother marries his widowed sister-in-law it infuriates her son who becomes estranged from his mother and his new stepfather/uncle. When one of the two men who returned from China is found murdered, Barnaby becomes involved.
"The Axeman Cometh"
A Blues/Rock band concert is being held in the village to raise money for a new church roof. Barnaby is excited because one of his favorite bands from the 70s will be there. Barnaby himself was a member band in his youth to the complete surprise of his daughter. However when there is a murder at the concert, he begins to learn more about the real lives of these rock icons.
"Death and Dust"
A doctor is found died along a rural road. At first it a pears to be a tragic accident. Further investigation of the scene leads Barnaby to believe that a murder has been committed.
" A Picture of Innocence"
A man who Barnaby had just met is found murdered. The man belonged to a camera club that recently prohibited digital photography from being displayed at a local exhibition causing a confrontation. It is at that event that Barnaby met the victim. Also at the exhibition, someone displayed a picture of Barnaby kissing an unknown woman. He shrugged it off as a prank until items found on the victim made the Superintendent appear to be a suspect in the crime.
"They Seek Him Here"
A man is murdered in a novel way on the set of a movie being filmed on a local estate. The man had many enemies. He had been a womanizer and had been difficult to work with or for. While investigating, Barnaby finds that two career criminals had also appeared recently in this small village and are in contact with people from the estate and movie company. Is there a tie in between the two men and the murder? Many suspects and motives.
" Death in a Chocolate Box"
Barnaby is upset because one of his best friends from his early days on the police force will not speak to him. In fact, the friend has not spoken to him in years ever since he resigned because of a sex scandal. The man now works at a halfway house for recently released prisoners along with his wife who is also a former police officer. When a murder occurs, it appear that it may be related to the earlier scandal.
11th Series 2008
"Shot at Dawn"
For 80+ years, two families have been feuding because of a World War I incident. During the war, a shell shocked soldier wandered away from the battle and was court martialed for cowardice. He was sentenced to death. The execution was botched and the officer in charge of the firing squad had to complete the execution. Both men were from the same village but different classes. Now more than 80 years latter, a member of one of the families is murdered and Barnaby is called in to determine whether it was precipitated by this almost century old feud.
" Blood Wedding"
After the wedding party of the eldest son of an old British family, a woman is found brutally murdered on the estate where the party was held. When Barnaby arrives to investigate, he finds the groom and his family to be very arrogant. There is a feeling that they are a members of the aristocracy and somehow above the law. Barnaby will have none of it.
"Left for Dead"
An older couple is found dead in their cottage. The woman had died of natural causes while her husband appeared to have been murdered. They had lived as recluses since the tragic death of their son 20 years before. He had been struck and killed by a car while riding his bike. Barnaby begins his investigation. Within days of the murder, a man is found stabbed to death. A man who's father had been the driver of the car that had killed the couples son years before. All this takes place in a village that is in turmoil about the building of a new highway.
A man's body is found in the woods by some off road driving enthusiasts. The victim had been dead for some time. The woods were not far from the home of the man's wife's ex-husband, a local magazine owner and unpopular fellow. Barnaby is called in to investigate. It is not long before one of his suspects is also dead and Barnaby believes there might be a contract killer on the loose in this small town.
"The Magician's Nephew"
When someone dies at a Halloween magic show, at first the death appears to have been caused by the malfunction of a stage prop. Further investigation reveals that it was murder. Barnaby's investigation leads him to a group of towns people involved in magic and witchcraft. The group has been involved in these practices since the 1970s. Has something from the past triggered the current events?
"Days of Misrule"
While attending a team building exercise organized by Barnaby's new boss, a much younger man on the fast track, Barnaby is called in to investigate an explosion at a local company. The company is owned by a man who is commander of the local army reserve unit. During the investigation, Barnaby meets the man's son who it turns out is despised by a number of local people including his grandmother. When a body is found in a pond, the investigation leads back to the son.
"Talking to the Dead"
Two couples who live and work on a local estate have disappeared without a trace. Barnaby is called in to investigate. During his investigation, a self proclaimed psychic and author appears and starts leading groups into the estate's woods in an attempt to contact monks who were slain in there centuries before. This irritates Barnaby greatly because he considers the woods as a possible crime scene and the man a charlatan. While leading a group into the woods the psychic and his followers stumble upon a body.
12th Series 2009/10
"The Dogleg Murders"
A golfer is found beaten to death on a notorious hole at a private golf club. The victim was killed with a golf club. Barnaby's investigation uncovers tensions between the club's snobs and local towns people. The investigation also uncovers a strange hold the club staff has over the members. To complicate matters more, Barnaby's new boss is a club member.
"The Black Book"
"Secret and Spies"
Barnaby reveals that as a young man he worked for MI-6. It turns out that MI-6 has established a safe house within his jurisdiction. When a crime is committed at that house, Barnaby is barred from the investigation. He is told by old friends that anything that happens in that house falls under the jurisdiction of MI-6 and national security. He has no right to question anyone. Barnaby refuses to end his inquiry even though he has been ordered to stay away.
Barnaby finds himself fielding a number of complaints from two groups in a local hamlet. One group is a local bicycle club and the other is a group of sports car enthusiasts who work at a local software company. When one cyclist is killed in an apparent hit and run accident, Barnaby is quick to determine it was murder. The investigation uncovers that there are more than right of way issues between a member of the cycling club and the software company owner.
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