The cozy villages of Midsomer County reveal their most sinister secrets in these contemporary British television mysteries. Inspired by the novels of Caroline Graham, modern master of the English village mystery, the serie... more »s stars John Nettles (Bergerac) as the unflappable Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby with Daniel Casey (The Wingless Bird) as his eager young assistant. Guest stars include Honor Blackman, Susan Wooldridge, Isla Blair, Christopher Good, Phoebe Nicholls, Trevor Cooper, and Neville Phillips.
A Talent For Life?Sordid affairs and financial secrets boil silently beneath the surface in the village of Malham Bridge until a double murder stirs the waters.
Death and Dreams?Investigating a string of deaths in Midsomer Worthy, Barnaby follows a trail of strange clues, nearly to his own demise.
Painted in Blood?When Joyce Barnaby finds a fellow painter from her Midsomer Florey watercolor class stabbed to death, two National Intelligence Squad agents take over the case.
A Tale of Two Hamlets?Someone is decimating the ancient Smyth-Webster family, and the bad blood between the villages of Upper and Lower Warden is renewed with a vengeance.
Birds of Prey?Investment in a secret invention leads to an apparent suicide in Midsomer Magna, and a plan to steal valuable falcon eggs leads to another death. Can Barnaby and Troy find the link?« less
"What I find so amazing about this series, is the ability of the production crew and actors to maintain the high quality of the plots and acting. These mysteries are mysterious. They have grown more violent over the years, and several of these episodes are downright heart-breakingly sad, but entertaining nevertheless.
Shot all over England, the locales are to die for, and the actors introduced in each episode are familiar faces we've seen before. Isn't that woman playing the jaded wife the same actress who played Sebastian Flyte's youngest sister? And, wasn't she the mother of a murdered child in 'Second Sight'? And, isn't that Harry Kumar's lost love? My husband and I play the guessing game with each new entry.
As has been the case with the earlier episodes, each mystery is tied to an historical conflict (a device Agatha Chrisie used successfully), or an uncomfortable truth, such as the birth of an illegitamate child whose identity has not previously been revealed. The plots are deconstructed so you cannot always determine who is/are the culprit(s) before the detectives do so. And,(shades of Ngaio Marsh) the stories almost always have an art angle featuring Jane Wymark (Mrs Barnaby) or daughter Cully who seems to have formed an attachment to Barnaby's sidekick (the chemistry is good).
I recommend this series for Anglophiles and Barnaby fans."
Midsomer County in Set Six, where the corpses accumulate fas
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 09/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby were ever to compare notes with mystery writer Jessica Fletcher, the combined number of corpses they've encountered would probably make both of them turn pale. There seems to be something about a cosy village, whether it's called Cabot Cove or Midsomer Worthy, that turns the residents' minds to thoughts of murder. There certainly are bodies aplenty in the cosy, peaceful villages located in Midsomer County, where DCI Barnaby (John Nettles) and his sergeant, Gavin Troy (Daniel Casey) are charged with finding the murderers.
All of the little picture-perfect villages and small towns in Midsomer County have a wide and varied assortment of English citizens, ranging from wealthy magistrates and high Church of England prelates to milkmen and shopkeepers, wives and lovers, thieves and...a lot of murderers. The corpses are just as varied as the living. Barnaby must apply all his experience, skepticism, persistence and unflappability to catch the culprits.
In Set Six, Tom Barnaby and Gavin Troy deal with two cases which are uncommonly complex and satisfying. In Death and Dreams, set in the village of Midsomer Worthy, Barnaby encounters deeply disturbing psychotic behavior from unexpected sources. In a Tale of Two Hamlets, set in Upper and Lower Warden, he must deal with the complicated, intertwined secrets of two families. And in one mystery, Birds of Prey, set in Midsomer Magna, we have an uncommonly polished, subtle and touching performance from Richard Todd, a major British star in the Fifties and Sixties. He was 84 when he filmed this production. For the record, Set Six's other two mysteries, each also first-rate, are: A Talent for Life, set in the village of Malham Bridge, and Painted in Blood, set in Midsomer Florey. Each program runs about 100 minutes.
The charm of this series lies partly in its setting. Midsomer County is a very pretty place, green and cared for. The towns are tidy, filled with competent and knowledgeable tradesmen; the villages tend to have a few eccentrics and a lot of thatched roofs. This could be much too cosy except for three things. First, the performance by John Nettles. He's a fine actor who is completely at home in the role. Watching his Barnaby think his way through clever mysteries, unfailingly polite and unfailingly unintimidated, is a pleasure. Second, the mysteries themselves. This series has been going on through eight seasons. DVD sets are out for six of them so far. The mysteries are almost always real puzzlers; not flashy, but well disguised. They are consistently interesting and well written. Third, the quality of the production and the actors. I suspect a substantial budget has been allocated for each episode. The series looks first-rate. The actors are first-rate, too, which is typical of British productions which find their way over here. Daniel Casey does a fine job as Barnaby's assistant. He respects his boss and is smart enough to learn from him. But he also can be exasperated at Barnaby's penchant for not sharing everything. And he occasionally gets put out when an apparently important car trip (Troy almost always drives them) turns out to be a trip for a bacon sandwich Barnaby's been thinking about. Barnaby's wife is played by Jane Wymark, and it's a pleasure to observe how much at ease the two actors are with each other. They play a long-married couple, still in love and with a comfortable kind of middle-aged affection for each other. All the actors do outstanding jobs, and there usually is a sprinkling of well-known names.
If you're in the mood for civilized British television mysteries, where the mean streets have more cobblestones than crushed beer cans, where the occasional drug user is not a grubby petty thief but an upper-class wife, where the chief copper has a happy home life and no angst to share with the viewers, Midsomer Murders might be just the thing.
The DVD picture is excellent. There are a few extras such as a map of Midsomer County showing the towns and villages, cast filmographies of the major players and a biography of Carolyn Graham, the author of the books the series is based on."
Midsummer Murders set 6
M. Rhodes | Bay Area, Ca. | 10/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As with all the Midsummer Murders before, they still keep the audience guessing till the last minute. As I have been to the areas where the series was filmed, I know how believable the towns and people are. This makes the series a real pleasure to watch."
Atheen M. Wilson | Mpls, MN United States | 03/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this collection in its entirety after realizing how wonderful it was. Now I wait impatiently for new seasons to appear in DVD format! The characters are wonderful and original: for one thing they aren't as dysfunctional as those of other murder mysteries seem to be. Furthermore the cases are often delightful and ingenious.
Inspector Barnaby (John Nettles) and his wife and daughter are delightful individuals. I enjoy spending time with them and catching up with what they're doing. The characters are well balanced people with personal issues, but they deal with the ups and downs of their lives rationally and cooperatively.
When I saw the first film, I was afraid that Joyce would be a forgotten wife. Barnaby was called away in the middle of a lunch date with her, and I thought, "oh good grief; now we'll have marriage issues!" Not so; she was upset but philosophical about his departure, in short obviously used to it as part of being married to a policeman who is as devoted to his work as Barnaby is. Later in the series she tells another character that at their wedding instead of saying "I do," the inspector said "I've got it" and dashed out of the church to solve a case. Here too she repeats the tale wistfully, not angrily.
The young Collie, their daughter, has evolved from an attractive add-on character whose main purpose seemed to be to give this couple a "history," into a wonderful personality of her own; she compliments her parents and has a life that is wonderfully integrated into the story and sometimes into the mystery. She is a nice blend of the characteristics of her parents and looks so like Joyce that they could easily be mother and daughter. In short, she fits perfectly, and the three characters make a believable family.
I enjoyed the young inspector (Daniel Casey) Gavin Troy very much. He has a freshness, youthful enthusiasm, naivety that is a perfect foil for the more mature, proven, and more realistic Barnaby. By this set, however, it seemed as though he was less respectful of his mentor and a bit irritable. I suspect this was intended to reflect his growing self confidence and need to progress "up the ladder,"--as well as the need for the actor himself to work out of the series and into one of his own, so I was informed--but he was less fun as an "up-and-coming" rather than as a naive newbie.
The mysteries themselves are terrific. I don't know much about the writers doing the work except that they have some of the most inventive minds doing TV stuff I've seen in ages. While not all the plots are entirely believable--at least once you've given it some thought--they are entirely wonderful. For one thing, the victims and suspects are frequently very eccentric. Certainly their propensity and motives for murder are impressive. One imagines a Merrie Olde England and villages filled with truly crazy people; and not icky crazy either, fun crazy. By the time one of the stories is completed, the body count is amazing, and the viewer is left to wonder if there is anyone left alive in Midsommer! What makes the thing especially wonderful is that the inspector notices this fact himself--both the eccentricities and the murders--and occasionally remarks upon it. I suspect he wonders what his living and working in the area says about him. (I remember thinking that some of the individuals I worked with in Saudi Arabia were pretty "peculiar;" then I realized since I was there too, the fact might say something about me also!)
All of these delightful personalities are portrayed by many of the same actors. One might see the Midsommer series as actually more of a repertoire company performing at a theater like the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. These actors are some of the most skilled I've seen in ages. They manage to create a separate, unique and believable personality for each of their characters. While familiar faces are easily spotted in the series, one is never mistaken over the individuality of the character that the actor is portraying; he or she IS that person, no matter who they were in earlier episodes. Truly impressive and very professional. I've actually become a fan of some of them and enjoy watching the styles they cultivate in different episodes.
A very enjoyable series.
Evil at a Garden Tea Party
Janet Riehl | St. Louis, MO | 07/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""What evil lurks beyond the well-trimmed hedges of Midsomer?" asks the DVD jacket. That's the underlying tension, isn't it? All these well-dressed people, beautiful houses and countryside, drinking endless cups of tea--YET--evil still lurks there. And, there is such a competent duo to sort it out in Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby and Seargant Troy.
Cozy enough, framed with the harmonious domestic life Barnaby shares with his wife Joyce. Yet, four out of five of these episodes feature multiple murders, not just one. The advantage of this, in mystery terms, as in chess, is that you can detect a pattern and it keeps the story going and more intricate. Each episode is 100 minutes, almost like a complete movie...such extraordinary generosity.
--Janet Grace Riehl, author Sightlines: A Poet's Diary"