Midsomer Murders

Wednesday, 9 January 2013, 8:00PM – 10:00PM

The Sicilian Defence:

Neil Dudgeon and Jason Hughes return in a new series of three two-hour episodes of Britain’s best-loved detective series, made by Bentley Productions.

Harriet Farmer wakes up after being in a coma since the night she tried to elope. Soon afterwards, a killer strikes members of a chess club. Could the attack which left Harriet for dead a year ago be linked to moves on a chess board? And where is her boyfriend Finn?

Coma victim Harriet Farmer, who was attacked on the night she planned to elope, wakes up. Her father David hears the news in the middle of a chess tournament. Harriet’s boyfriend Finn Robson has been missing since the couple tried to run away together a year before.

At the chess tournament, hosted by hotelier Arthur Potts, Olivia Carr is putting pressure on her son Jamie to win. The 13-year-old has already beaten Finn’s father Alan, a software boss and fitness fanatic, who made millions from a computer game, ‘Chess King’.

Hotel owner Arthur berates his wife Caroline for spending their meagre income on charity work, while hoping to win backing for his business from writer and chess society president Edward Stannington. Later that day, Stannington is found dead in a lake with an ice axe in his back. His damaged car is nearby and Kate finds a clue in his mouth – a chess notation known as the ‘Sicilian Defence’.

Olivia admits she met Stannington and rammed his car when he refused to help Jamie get to the top in chess – divulging that he’s the boy’s father. David Farmer begs Caroline to come to supper, although Arthur has also booked to take her out for an anniversary meal. Meanwhile Jamie is being scared by loud noises at his house, when he is alone.

Jones finds that Stannington was digging into Alan’s chess software company Black Knight and received a letter from a disgruntled ex-coder on the day he died. Stannington’s aunt Vivian wants to celebrate her inheritance with Arthur – but he’s only interested in business.

Caroline angrily leaves Arthur at the restaurant while Farmer prepares supper for her. But when he goes out to fetch a gift he’s strangled. The killer leaves another chess code. Arthur gives Caroline an alibi, but – after the death of an elderly resident – Vivian tells Jones she suspects Caroline is poisoning the old people with her meals on wheels.

A lip-reader reveals that Finn’s mother Wendy knew that her son and Harriet planned to elope. Alan followed them that night and now he’s gone suddenly to London. Barnaby suspects his chess company has secrets. Then Jones finds Arthur with a cat in his freezer.

Harriet comes home from hospital but Caroline barges in, attacks Harriet’s neurologist Laura Parr and drags Harriet away. Under questioning, Arthur reveals that Caroline may have unwittingly poisoned the villagers with food from the hotel. Meanwhile Caroline is forcing Harriet through the woods, pleading for information about Finn. The police find them and it’s apparent that Caroline is obsessed.

Alan returns to Midsomer tight-lipped. Then he recognises the chess notation in the incident room – it was written by another programmer, Jason Winters, who committed suicide soon after beating
a world champion at chess. But why is the killer using his code now?

Realising Finn’s disappearance is key, Barnaby takes Harriet back to the woods. She calls out Jamie’s name – but he’s not the only one involved. As the truth about Jason Winters is uncovered, danger lurks at the hospital. Jones makes an astonishing discovery but the killer is one move ahead. Can Barnaby’s psychological skills save the day?

Tuesday, 25 September 2012, 8:00PM – 10:00PM

Written in the Stars:

As darkness covers Midsomer Stanton during a total eclipse of the sun, amateur astronomer Jeremy Harper is killed by a blow to the head with a meteorite. Barnaby and Jones soon discover intrigue, sexual tension and academic rivalry are rife among the star-seeking community.

A man is struck dead by a blow to the head as darkness covers Midsomer Stanton during a total eclipse of the sun. Jeremy Harper was a leading light in the village – an amateur astronomer who was passionate about preserving Moonstone Ridge, a Bronze Age heritage site which houses a 1930s observatory.

Barnaby and Jones discover that plumber and extra-terrestrial obsessive Peter Groves saw Jeremy argue with Lawrence Janson, director of the University observatory, before the eclipse. Local mystic Mags Dormer believes Moonstone Ridge is cursed – the sister of Jeremy’s widow Catrina was found dead there years ago.

Jeremy was working on a secret project with an unlikely group of villagers – academic prodigy and PhD student Gagan Dutta, Peter and Mags’ unemployed husband George. Meanwhile, Gagan’s tutor Dr Adrian Sharp reveals the murder weapon was a meteorite.

Lawrence plans to close the old astrodome and build a new site on Moonstone Ridge. An angry Jeremy had threatened to campaign against his plans, which could jeopardise the Observatory’s funding by solar energy company Panelsun International.

Mags pens a piece in the paper, claiming she predicted the murder, based on a reading with Catrina. Gagan’s father Harry, a chemist and yogi who was married to Catrina’s sister Mary, fears the astronomers are closing ranks, as they did when his wife died.

Harry tells Catrina he loves her but she confesses to an affair with Lawrence. Later, a spear-head and ancient sundial known as the Moonstone Disc are stolen from the heritage site. Red fibres from the scene match those on the rock which killed Jeremy.

Lawrence rubbishes Gagan’s thesis, which in turn dismisses his published scientific work, and he’s angry when journalist Tanya Walker quizzes him about the funding crisis. Then Peter is killed when the stolen spear-head is thrown like a javelin into his heart. A nervous George tells Barnaby that he suspects Harry. George is next to be killed, his throat his slashed by a throw from the Moonstone Disc.

Gagan calls for help, terrified she will be next to die. She, Jeremy, Peter and George believed they had discovered a new planet using stolen university data – and now all the others are dead. She’s convinced Lawrence is the culprit. Meanwhile Harry is shocked to see her kissing Adrian.

Barnaby realises that the killer has been leaving a sign – the constellation of Scorpio. Both Mags and Lawrence are Scorpios. Barnaby knows Mags is hiding something but when Jones discovers Lawrence is also a decathlete – an expert at shot-put, javelin and discus – he’s convinced he’s found his man. But then Gagan goes missing…

Wednesday, 11 January 2012, 8:00PM – 10:00PM

A Rare Bird: 

A row between keen birdwatchers in Midsomer-in-the-Marsh turns nasty when their president is killed. Patrick Morgan met his death while hoping to sight a rare bird, but is his obsession with ornithology to blame – or something more sinister? 

Members of the Midsomer-in-the-Marsh Ornithological Society (MMOS) fall out when Ralph Ford claims he’s spotted a blue-crested hoopoe. The sighting means he’s the winner of this year’s list competition, but other members including president Patrick Morgan say the bird would never be seen in Midsomer as it’s not native to these shores. 

Ralph storms out of their meeting and the next day, Patrick is found dead in Swansdown Lake – scene of the alleged bird sighting. His body is entangled in a mist net used to catch birds for ringing and he has a head injury. The dead man’s wife Nina, a former Russian prima ballerina, is shocked at the news, especially as she’s just discovered she’s pregnant. But, unbeknown to the detectives, Patrick had accused her of sleeping with another man. 

Patrick was lured to his death by a bird alert sent from Ralph Ford’s phone. Ford, a professional taxidermist, claims his phone was stolen. Birdwatcher Tim Whitley unwittingly captured the sound of Patrick’s attack on tape, on the stroke of midnight. 

Olivia Carter, secretary of the MMOS, seems traumatised by Patrick’s death, while belligerent farmer George Napier is glad to be rid of the former city financier with his grand ideas about saving the wetlands when Napier wants to drain and farm them. 

Dr Kate Wilding reveals that Patrick had a vasectomy – Nina’s child cannot be his. Nina says she had a drunken fling at a party in London, but Jones is sure her lover is a local man. Could he be a member of the MMOS or even Dave Foxely, a petty criminal? 

GP Ian Markham claims his relationship with Nina was purely professional, while fellow twitcher and former orchestral performer Michael Hipman says he was playing his oboe at midnight. Later Nina visits the surgery in tears and is comforted by the doctor. Pictures of them together are delivered anonymously to Barnaby. 

Ralph meets Foxely in the woods and demands money. At midnight, Dr Markham is also in the woods – where he is shot dead. Nina finally admits the GP was her lover. 

A meeting of the remaining members of the MMOS falls into disarray. Cartridges from Foxely’s gun match ones found by Dr Markham’s body but Foxely says they’re from shooting vermin. However, he reveals Ralph did find the rare hoopoe but only after Foxely shot it down in error. The detectives go to Ralph’s workshop and find the hoopoe – stuffed. But Ralph is vegetarian and says he couldn’t hurt another living creature. 

As Nina leads her ballet pupils through their end of year concert, Sarah shows Barnaby footage of the ballerina in her prime. In the theatre, Barnaby spots a familiar face and realises the extent of the murderer’s obsession. Can he stop Nina from meeting a similar fate as the swan in the famous ballet? 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011, 8:00PM – 10:00PM

A Sacred Trust: 

The cloistered world of Midsomer Priory is forced to open its doors to 21st century policing when a nun is strangled to death. Teenage liaisons, missing antique silver and holy orders add up to make a complex investigation for Barnaby and Jones. 

Teenage vandals smash a stained glass window at Midsomer Priory but the Prioress Mother Julian doesn’t want the police involved. But when Mother Thomas Aquinas is strangled to death, Barnaby and Jones must enter their cloistered world. 

The Order of St Mathilde was celebrating its first new recruit for 30 years, but the murder leaves just three nuns. As well as Mother Julian and wheelchair-bound Mother Jerome, there’s Sister Catherine, a novice in her 20s. 

In Midsomer Malham, Father Behan, chaplain to the Priory, complains to Barnaby that the nuns are reluctant to modernise, even though they have no money. Barnaby discovers the Order has a 200 year-old deed of trust, made by landowner Sir Anthony Vertue, which allows them to stay at the Priory for as long as a community exists. 

Jones visits The Vertue Arms run by landlord Barry. Katy the barmaid reveals she saw a woman in old-fashioned clothes acting strangely on the day of the murder. Jones also learns that teenage couples sneak into the Priory grounds for romantic liaisons. 

The nuns are shocked to find that their 17th century French silver altar set worth £60,000 has vanished from the safe. Mother Thomas wanted to sell the silver to help their finances. Did a dodgy dealer kill her? 

Rich kid Duncan Hendred admits having sex in the convent grounds. He tells police that his trousers containing his new driving licence were stolen by a nun, but he denies stealing the silver. The Hendred family home is opulent, owned by his father Matthew. Hendred’s wife Lauren and Father Behan both seem nervous about the police investigation. 

Sister Catherine is visited by her mother and step-father as she prepares to take her final vows. Barnaby learns Catherine’s late father was a descendent of Sir Anthony Vertue. If the Priory closes, Catherine would inherit it all anyway. 

Lauren finds Father Behan dead, apparently strangled by Mother Thomas’ killer. At the Hendreds’ home, Barnaby and Jones find 100g of cannabis in Duncan’s room, but Lauren helps her son run away. Meanwhile, the missing silver is traced to an antique dealer in Oxford but it wasn’t stolen – Mother Thomas sold it on the day she died. 

Barnaby realises Hendred’s years overseas hold a clue to the killings – he was a mercenary at the same time as Mother Julian was working as a missionary. Could an event from 30 years ago be the reason a nun and priest were killed? And is the killer about to strike again? 

Wednesday, 12 October 2011, 8:00PM – 10:00PM

The Night of the Stag: 

When a missing tax inspector turns up dead in a vat of cider, Barnaby and Jones must hunt for a ‘giant’ killer within a Midsomer village steeped in bizarre local traditions, where residents have a fondness for illicit hooch, known as The Beast. 

*** 

A VAT inspector goes missing as he hunts for an illicit cider still responsible for brewing The Beast, a potent local hooch. At the Midsomer Abbas spring fayre which celebrates its friendship with Midsomer Herne, Barnaby and Jones sample the local cider, while temperance preacher Norman Grigor calls on residents to repent of their drunken ways. 

Suddenly, Barnaby is violently ill as the body of missing man Peter Slim is found floating in the cider vat. Pathologist Kate Wilding says the victim’s injuries look like he was shaken to death by a giant. 

Slim had arranged to meet an informant on the night he died, and beekeeper Byron Street tells Barnaby the woods were mayhem as farmers lit ‘smudge pots’ or oil burners to stop frost from damaging the apple blossom and ruining their cider crops. 

Orchard owner Silas Trout, a giant of a man, is discovered distilling The Beast but before the detectives can discover who else is involved, the temperance mob arrives. Silas is arrested, and Barnaby discovers Rev Grigor is an alcoholic, once addicted to The Beast. 

Slim’s car is found near a blood-covered staff and a satchel containing statements from a Swiss bank account. Nearby is a cider mill owned by Anthony Devereux complete with a tree shaker – a large hydraulic arm used to harvest apples. It’s the murder weapon. 

Dyed-in-the-wool countryman Samuel Quested, of The Stag pub, tells fellow publican Will Green of The Apple Tree in Midsomer Herne that he wants to restore an ancient rite – ‘the Stag’. Chloe Baker, who runs dog kennels with her daughter Esme, agrees. 

Jones links the Swiss bank account to Devereux and he admits import fraud but denies murder. His assistant Alice Quested, Samuel’s daughter, says she copied the bank documents for Slim. Meanwhile, Silas visits Rev Grigor and offers him a drink of The Beast. Grigor succumbs to temptation and goes on a drunken rampage. 

Barnaby discovers Slim and Esme were secretly married – only Alice and local vicar Rev Walker knew. Then Barnaby finds some frost-damaged blossom at Quested’s orchard. In prison, Quested offers Devereux an alibi in return for partnership of his cider mill. 

It’s the night of the Stag – when men go in search of women from another village in order to ‘refresh the gene pool’. The detectives discover Rev Walker dead in his vestry and their car tyres punctured, meaning they’ll have to chase the stag party by foot. 

Quested, agricultural workers Smudgepot and Wilberforce and the rest of the hunting party head through the countryside in search of women but when Quested arrives at Chloe’s cottage it’s not her that he’s after. Can the detectives cross the hill in time to stop him carrying out his final act of violence? 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011, 8:00PM – 10:00PM

The Sleeper under the Hill: 

When the body of a farmer is found in the middle of a stone circle in Midsomer Mow, suspicion points at local druids. The murdered man, Alex Preston, had planned to plough Gorse Meadow, making Crowcall Circle inaccessible to the group led by high priests Ezra Canning and Leticia Clifford. 

Barnaby and Jones are joined in their investigation by new pathologist Kate Crawford. The body left on the bloodstone is her first assignment, but Kate doesn’t shock easily. 

Local copper Sgt Gibson brings Jones up to speed with local gossip – Ezra had been cautioned for issuing threats against Preston. 

Meanwhile, the dead man’s widow Eleanor has disappeared. Bloodstains at her home indicate Preston was killed in his bedroom. Later that night, a gutted hare is left on the bloodstone and down-at-heel historian Caradoc Singer tells Barnaby it’s a warning. A brooch found at the scene is identified as an awen – the symbol of New Age Druidism. 

Eleanor returns, claiming to have been with friends. But Sgt Gibson says he saw her car in Causton. Her phone calls link her to fencing coach Aidan Hardy. At her cottage, Leticia shows Barnaby that sacred ley lines run through the stone circle. Later, she phones Ezra, convinced she has made an exciting discovery. But before she can share her theory, she is stabbed to death. 

Evan Jago, a poacher and petty thief, attacks Sgt Gibson and disappears after a charity box is stolen from the village pub. He confronts Gibson and Jones at gunpoint but Gibson saves the day and Jago vanishes into the woods. 

Aidan Hardy admits that he and Eleanor are lovers – but he’s angry with her because she rejected his marriage proposal. Could they have left their hotel to kill Preston? 

Jones is nearly run over by Ezra but Gibson saves him again. Barnaby is suspicious about Gibson’s helpfulness, telling an incredulous Jones that the sergeant is manipulating the investigation. They go to question him, but find him drowned in the water butt. But he’s not simply another victim – Leticia’s drawings are at his house. 

Singer is burgled but claims nothing was stolen. Barnaby realises he is lying and takes him to Crowcall Circle to show him an artefact found on the land. Singer seems upset when Barnaby reveals the stones could point to a major archaeological discovery. 

Dressed in his robes, Ezra goes to the circle at night but is attacked by Singer wielding a knife. Barnaby arrests him and discovers a hoard of stolen art at his house. It appears that basic human greed – not spiritualism – is the real motive for murder. But how did the secrets of Gorse Meadow lead Singer and Gibson to become unlikely accomplices? 

Wednesday, 25 May 2011, 8:00PM – 10:00PM

The Oblong Murders:Jones goes undercover at the Oblong Foundation after one of the cult’s young female members disappears suddenly. But he and Barnaby soon start digging into an old case involving the death of a couple in a boat explosion. What really happened to the Lamberts – and does it have a link to the missing woman? 

Bullard asks Barnaby to investigate the disappearance of Lucy Oliver, the daughter of some friends. Lucy was a member of the Oblong Foundation, a new age cult based at Malham Hall. Jones returns from leave, with a beard, and Barnaby seizes the opportunity to send him into the cult, undercover, as new recruit Cosmo Jones. 

In return for the favour, Barnaby and Sarah ask Bullard to help them secure a place for their dog Sykes with Bullard’s sister Millie. She’s a dog minder but is very particular. 

Ruth Lambert inherited Malham Hall when her parents Jeremy and Carolyn died in a gas explosion aboard their boat. At the local pub run by Paddy and Claire Powell, Barnaby hears various conspiracy theories about how the Lamberts met their death. 

At the cult, led by the charismatic Dominic, Jones is befriended by Blaze, who seems equally ill at ease. Jones fears his cover will be blown when he takes Ruth to the village to pick up a letter, and he’s even more worried when Ruth seems much taken with him. 

Freddie, spokeswoman for the Foundation, is away and Blaze persuades Jones to go snooping in her bedroom under the guise of visiting the ‘love room’, but they get locked in and have to call on Barnaby for help. 

The Lamberts’ lawyer Susan Crane reveals her clients withdrew thousands of pounds from their account, supposedly for gambling. But she also gave Jeremy Lambert advice about the use of a promissory note or legal IOU. Meanwhile, Barnaby learns the dead couple had been banned from the pub by Paddy, against Claire’s wishes. 

Barnaby tries to find out who might have borrowed money from the Lamberts. Carolyn was an avid smoker and everyone knew she lit up while on the phone. Did a phone call cause a spark which triggered the explosion – and was it deliberate? 

Freddie returns to the Foundation and tells Dominic she has identified an imposter. Dominic calls a meeting and announces that Blaze is an investigative journalist, then Blaze claims that Jones is a private detective. Suddenly Lucy appears – with the news that Freddie is dead. They were lovers and had had a row. 

Freddie was counting money and Ruth admits she knew about a hidden safe containing money, gold and documents. But when the police uncover existence of a promissory note they find the man who witnessed it died the same night as the Lamberts. 

Can Barnaby and Jones find out who borrowed money from the Lamberts – and who would kill to stop them calling in the loan? The trail leads them to the pub, where they walk into another potential gas explosion… 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011, 8:00PM – 10:00PM

When a young woman is dressed like a bride and drowned in a bath, it triggers a spate of ghoulish wedding-themed murders in Great Worthy. The case takes Barnaby and Jones to a donkey sanctuary, a heritage steam railway, and a pub run by an ex-copper and former brothel madam. Could history be repeating itself?

A 23-year-old woman is drowned in a bath wrapped in net curtains and made to look like a bride with a chilling lipstick message on the mirror. She wears a ring and a bouquet of cheap flowers is placed on the toilet seat – but Dianne Price had no plans to marry. 

Jo Starling, who shared a cottage with Dianne in Great Worthy, tells Barnaby that her friend split up with her boyfriend a few months ago. Their landlord Bernard Flack seems a bit creepy. Vet Fran Carter recognises the flowers from Jugg’s Lane filling station, run by Malcolm Merryman, who’s a slave to his elderly parents. 

Barnaby questions Dianne’s friend Sam Tomlin, who runs a donkey sanctuary with his mum Liz. He discovered that Liz retired as village registrar after getting disillusioned with people breaking their marriage vows. 

Kindly teacher David Orchard was giving Dianne French lessons in his free time, while cop turned publican Matt Rowntree seems disturbed by a visit from Jones. Flack and his bitter wife Yvonne are also uneasy when Barnaby calls at their hardware shop. 

Barnaby tells his wife Sarah about a case from 1912 – the brides in the bath murders – while Jones is still struggling with his new boss’s love of psychology. 

Jo is packing to stay with Fran and refuses Sam’s offer of help. Sam goes to the Signalman pub instead where Rowntree’s wife Nikki, a former brothel madam, is looking gorgeous amid the misery. Later, she cheers up her husband by dressing like a bride. 

The next morning, Frank Bertram arrives at the heritage steam railway site to find an antiquated trunk decorated with a bouquet and white ribbon – and a pool of blood underneath it. It’s Fran. She’s been strangled, dismembered and covered with confetti. It reminds Barnaby of another old case, from Brighton railway station in 1934. 

Ever-helpful Orchard, who has a fiancée in South Africa, is doing jobs for the elderly Merrymans and Liz. Yvonne warns Flack to be careful. Liz tells the detectives that Fran once had plans for a civil partnership. Sam is angry with his mother and worried the past is catching up with them. 

Malcolm goes home from the pub and finds one of the garage cars decorated with wedding ribbon and tin cans. His aging parents have been viciously killed and lipstick writing on their bedroom mocks them with the words ‘Bridal Suite’. 

Then, as Flack spies on Jo in the cottage, there’s the sound of a person whistling “Here Comes the Bride’. A terrified Jo is confronted by someone she thought was a friend – can Barnaby and Jones get there on time? 

Wednesday, 30 March 2011, 8:00PM – 10:00PM

The reclusive life of elderly eccentrics William and Mary Bingham comes under police scrutiny when a social services investigator is killed. Barnaby and Jones must unearth generations of family secrets and decipher astronomical charts to find the murderer. And Barnaby’s wife Sarah arrives in Midsomer. 

Irritating jobsworth Gerry Dawkins from social services calls on elderly eccentrics William and Mary Bingham, but he’s sent away rudely by their daughter Selina and her husband Eddie Stanton. Dawkins is also humiliated at the nearby artists’ colony run by Maggie Viviani and her partner Adam Grace. He angrily demands a police investigation. 

Barnaby’s wife Sarah arrives in Midsomer as new head of Causton comprehensive school but deputy Josie Parker seems annoyed at the appointment of an ‘outsider’. 

The Stantons run a stud farm with Maggie’s son Ben – who is in love with Eddie’s daughter Verity. Next door, the Binghams live as recluses in upper class squalor, surrounded by towering piles of newspapers and empty pizza boxes. They only communicate through solicitor Laurence Fletcher. 

Dawkins phones Jones, claiming he has urgent information but Jones fobs him off. Then his body is found in the river near his canoe. A guilty Jones learns Dawkins was planning to meet Maggie and Adam. He’d also printed off a map of the moon. 

Maggie – who has a gift with horses – visits the stud farm to soothe a nervous stallion, while Selina forces a protesting Ben to take her to bed. Later, Verity announces she and Ben are getting married. Selina is shocked and slashes Maggie’s paintings with a knife. 

After Barnaby eventually meets the Binghams, he learns they were once happy 60s kids who never recovered from losing their elder daughter and son in a drowning accident. Their children crashed their speeding car into a river following a family row. 

Eddie has been spotted ‘visiting’ Josie Parker, but it turns out that she’s not his mistress but his bookkeeper and Eddie’s been fiddling his accounts. 

Mary invites Barnaby to tea as he discovers that Jennifer’s body was never found. But before he can get to Bingham House, Mary is crushed by a tower of newspapers. Could a mysterious reference to a moon crater called Bingham hold a clue? Meanwhile, the Bingham’s old family doctor confirms that Jennifer was thrown out of the family home because she was pregnant. But the old man dies before he can say more. 

With everyone summoned to the stud farm, Barnaby reveals that Maggie is really Jennifer – she chose the name Viviani after another moon crater. But there’s more shocking news – Ben’s father was her brother Robin. Selina is thrilled to be reunited with her sister, but who killed Dawkins to keep the truth hidden? 

Just then, Jones discovers William Bingham sitting atop a pile of newspapers – holding a detonator to a bomb up in the rafters…

Wednesday, 23 March 2011, 8:00PM – 10:00PM

***PLEASE NOTE: THIS EPISODE WILL ONLY AIR IF THERE IS NO FA CUP 6TH ROUND REPLAY*** 

New DCI John Barnaby arrives in Midsomer and is bemused by the quaint villages and their quirky residents. But when a local DJ is crushed to death at a traditional girls’ boarding school, he soon discovers that murder and deception are never far away. As the death toll rises, could Barnaby’s first case also be his last? 

DCI John Barnaby arrives in Midsomer with his dog, Sykes, and Harriet Wingate, headmistress at upmarket Darnley Park Girls School, soon asks him to patrol their forthcoming classic car show. Jones, a car enthusiast, wants to help but Barnaby is unused to locals asking favours. 

Jones feels wrong-footed by his new boss, but Barnaby is intrigued when he learns that the remains of famous racing driver Duncan Palmer were discovered at Darnley Park – 40 years after he was thought to have drowned in the Lake District. 

Harriet is fighting a challenge by school governor and parent Jamie Cameron to turn Darnley Park into a state school to rid it of debt. Unbeknown to Jamie, Harriet has invited his ex-wife Kate – along with her father, racing legend Peter Fossett – to the show. When Kate arrives, she has a secretive talk with her daughter Charlotte, a pupil there. 

Fossett is annoyed that his fellow judge is club DJ Dave ‘Doggy’ Day, who knows nothing about cars. But Doggy volunteers with Harriet’s daughter Jessica at local council estate Moor Park. The police question Thomas Brightwell, an estate youth who has been spotted loitering at Darnley. 

Charlotte orders her ‘angels’, boarders Nerys and Bethan, to deliver a screwdriver to Thomas. Doggy tries to start Kate’s vintage Hispano and is shocked to see Charlotte whom he knows from the club scene. Later he is crushed by the crank handle and killed. 

It’s murder, not an accident, but Kate seems more upset that something has gone missing from her car. Jamie cheers up Jessica with a sly grope and she tells him her mother is trying to oust him from the board and appoint Kate. Barnaby thinks Nerys and Bethan’s video diaries could hold clues. He’s also convinced that the death of Duncan Palmer at the school is more than a coincidence. 

Despite revelations about her affair with Jamie, Jessica bullies her mother into retiring, while Charlotte heads for the West End clubs. Thomas doesn’t arrive to pick her up and the next day he is found dead at the wheel of his expensive classic Riley. 

With the help of some classic car magazines, Barnaby guesses the true identity of Jessica’s father and realises there could be more family connections. Charlotte is arrested in London for selling cocaine and the detectives uncover a drugs ring involving Kate and Thomas. 

But they still don’t know the murderer’s identity – until Barnaby goes to meet someone at the barn where Duncan Palmer met his death. When the killer turns on him, could his first case also be his last? 

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