Nothing is what it seems behind the well-trimmed hedges of the picturesque cottages in the idyllic English county if Midsomer. Beneath the tranquil surface of sleepy village life, there exist dark secrets, scandals, and donright evil. John Nettles stars as the humorous, thoughtful and methodical Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby and Daniel Casey is Sergeant Troy.

The Midsomer Murders first hit UK TV screens on the 23rd March 1997 when the pilot, The Killings at Badger's Drift, was investigated by DCI Barnaby and Sgt. Troy. A gentle stroll in the woods for Miss Emily Simpson ends in tragedy. to the village doctor, Miss Simpson's death looks natural enough, but her dear old friend, Lucy Bellringer, is unconvinced and eventualy draws the unwilling Chief Inspector Barnaby into the case. Barnaby's investigations reveal old rivalries, old loves and new scandals, and then a second horrifying killing shocks Barnaby into running the murderer to ground.

A year later the first series of four stories were broadcast on Sunday evenings between 22nd March and 6th May, with the first of these, Written in Blood. Gerald Hadleigh, secretary of the Midsomer Worthy's writers circle had never wanted to invite best-selling novelist Max Jennings to one of their meetings. When Gerlad is found dead the next morning form a brutal battering, the other members of the circle wish they had heeded his reluctance. Barnaby soon discovers that Gerald is a man of mystery. A man with no past. When another body is found, Barnaby has a double murder on his hands.

The next was Death of a Hollow Man. At the corn exchange, preparations are in full swing for the forthcoming production of Amadeus, unaware that nearby the body of local resident, Agnes Gray, is about to be found floating in the river. Barnaby sets out to discover who has perpetrated the crime, however, before he can conclude his investigations ther is trouble at the theatre.

This was followed by Faithful Unto Death. A project to redevelop the Old Mill is struggling financially and many of the inhabitants of Morton Fendle believe that they have been conned out a considerable amount of money. When the wife of the wealthy mill owner goes missing, Barnaby suspects that she has been kidnapped and sets out to unravel the mystery.

The final instalment of the first series was Death in Disguise. Someone is killing the residents of the local commune, The Lodge of the Golden Horse, and Barnaby investigates.

The second series only consisted of two episodes, broadcast on 29th January and 3rd February 1999. The first of these was Death's Shadow. A successful theatrical director, Simon Fletcher, arrives in Badger's Drfit, his head filled with disturbing childhood memories. Shortly after his arrival, Richard Bayly, a wealthy property developer is brutally murdered. Bayly, who had recently been diagnosed as having a brain tumour, was planning to redevelop a local estate in the village, much to the anger of the residents. Barnaby and Troy arre called in to investigate. This episode has a welcome guest appeareance by Richard Briers.

The second story of the second series was Strangler's Wood. The beautiful young Brazilian, Carla Constanza, is the face of 'Carla' cigarettes. A very popular brand of South American cigarettes in which Monarch tobacco, a compnay based in Midsomer Worthy, has a significant stake. When the body of a young Brazilian woman is found in Raven's Wood, strangled with a striped neck tie, Barnaby and Troy are called in to solve the crime.

Following on from earlier success, the third series was back on screen by the end of 1999, with Dead Man's Eleven broadcast on 12th September. The village of Fletcher's Cross is astounded when a rich businessman's wife is found bludgeoned to death by a cricket bat. Whilst the victim had now apparent enemies, her husband, Robert Cavendish, was hated by all and sundry. Robert's arch-enemy Frasier, who worked for Cavendish until a quarry explosion killed his partner; Cavendish's son Stephen, who despised his father; Zelda, the sprightly, sly spinster who abhorred Cavendish because of his plan to fence off crossing her land:- all had reasons for wishing harm on Robert, but why would anyone kill his wife?

Next came Blood Will Out. Barnaby and Troy are called in to help keep the peace on the vilage of Martyr Warren when, to the extreme anger of Falklands veteran Major Hector Bridges, two rival clans of travellers arrive. the caravans keep coming and then, on the afternoon of a pony chariot race organised bu the travellers, Major Hector is shot dead. Barnaby is convinced that there must be a link bewteen a cetain traveller's arrival and Hector's murder, and begins to investigate Hector's past.

The special, Death of a Stranger was broadcast on New Years Eve, 1999. As the Upper Marshwood hunt heads off into the distance with the unforgettable sound of the horses and hounds in pursuit of the fox, a filthy tramp runs for cover in the woods, stumbles,a nd falls into a pit...screaming. Barnaby is on holiday when he learns of the death and is surprised to hear that Chief Inspector Pringle has arrested Billy Gurdie, a local, well known for petty crime. Barnaby isn't convinced, however, whent he body of Billy's father is discovered it looks as if the Chief Inspector was right all along. Barnaby decides to find out more about the villagers.

Season four kicked off on the 22nd January 2000 with Blue Herring Barnaby's favourite Anut, Alice, is recuperating at the Lawnside Rest Home, when one of her fellow residents dies. There doesn't seem to be any suspicious circumstances and it is assumed to be just a case of old age,but anut Alice is not so sure. Alice complains of hearing footsteps in the corridor in thedead of night and claims to have spotted a stranger sneaking around the place. When another resident is found dead, followed by another, Barnaby and Troy take notice and set out to uncover the truth.

A week later was Judgement Day. Preparations are well under way in Midsomer Mallow for the Perfect village Competition. However, when the body of the local rogue Peter Drinkwater, is found with a ptchfork protruding from his chest, the cillage people are determined to keep this quiet. After all, he was hardly popular int he village. Angry parents, jealous husbands, victims of crime believed to have been perpetrated by the deceased, digruntled lovers - all had reason to want to see the back of Drinkwater. Meanwhile, as the Perfect Village Competition gets underway, one of the judges is poisoned in view of the entire village. Barnaby and Troy must unravel the web of lies if they are to solve the murders.

The season came to an end a week later with Beyond the Grave. When a portrait of Jonathon Lowrie, a wealthy royalist who was killed by a Roundhead musketeerm is slashed at the Aspern Tallow museum, Barnaby and Troy are called to investigate. A strange series of events follows the act of vandalism. The local art restorer is convinced that the picture resembles her recently departed husband, the church bells start ringing out in the middle of the night, a packing case in the museum catches fire whilst the two detectives look on and the body of Marcus Lowrie, a distant relative of the man in the portrait, is found beaten to death in his ancestor's grave.

Garden of Death was the last special, broadcast on 10th September 2000. The Inkpen-Thomas family, owners of Inkpen Manor in Midsomer Deverell, announce that their memorial garden will no longer be open to the public. The villagers are furious, however, are any of them angry enough to kill? When members of the Inkpen family are found murdered, closure fo the gardens looks like a possibel motive, however, Barnaby and Troy uncover many family secrets during the course of their investigations.

Tainted Fruit takes place in the affluent village of Midsomer Malham. Death threats against the daughter of the manor alert the two detectives to peotential trouble, however, this is just the start. As Barnaby and Troy investigate, they uncover seedy goings on in the village.

In Market for Murder it is the ancient Setwale Wood which provides the focus. The wood has been the source of herbal remedies for many decades and now it is the subject of court action by villagers to prevent the impecunious owner from cutting it down to raise finance. Barnaby and Troy get involved when the wife of the leading light of the Save the Wood campaing is found dead. Are the two connected?

All the episodes of The Midsomer Murders are avilable on video from Acorn Media priced 12.99.
Midsomer Murders Tainted Fruit: This story takes place in the affluent village of Midsomer Malham. Death threats against the daughter of the manor alert the two detectives to potential trouble, however, this is just the start. As Barnaby and Troy investigate they uncover seedy goings on in the village. Market for Murder: It is the ancient Setwale Wood which provides the focus for this story. The wood has been the source of herbal remedies for many decades. Now it is the subject of court action by villagers to prevent the impecunious owner from cutting it down to raise finance. Barnaby and Troy get involved when the wife of the leading light of the Save the Wood campaign is found dead. Are the two events connected? Each of these videos is available direct from Acorn Media or Blackstar priced 12.99.