I always imagine that Tom Barnaby’s heart must sink into his hush puppies when his wife comes home and announces “I’ve been shopping today in Chaffing-on-the-Arse, darling.” He must immediately think “Well, there goes my day off ”.
She should be banned from joining any sort of book reading group, amateur dramatic society or knitting circle. In fact Barnaby should just lock her up for everyone’s safety. If you saw her in your local library you would run a mile in case you came a cropper from a heavy Maeve Binchy. She falls into the category of cursed women who seem to have the knack of leaving a trail of dead bodies in their wake. Imagine having dear old Miss Marple round for tea. I’d want to employ a food taster to make sure the food wasn’t laced with Cyanide. I’d definitely have to refuse the offer of a spot of light gardening from Rosemary and Thyme for fear of a hideous crime being committed in my clematis.
I imagine there is a carousel somewhere in TV land, similar to those at the airport where you grab your suitcases after your holiday, full of old, has-been actors, going round and round waiting for producers from shows such as Midsomer Murders, Lewis or any Agatha Christie adaptation to come and pick them up. The same old actors appear in these programmes over and over again, doing the rounds and usually ending up getting bumped off, or caught while trying to kill their tenth victim of the night.
Apparently the Americans love Midsomer Murders. I’m sure it just reinforces their belief that we are all slightly mad, living in houses with thatched roofs because it makes them easier to burn down if we want to kill the occupants for stealing our secret recipes for our prize winning jam.
In the last gripping episode of Midsomer, the murder of the local suit-maker (pronounced syuit by the plum-in-the-mouth tailor) had everyone talking. It took at least six visits to the suspect’s house to get all the information Barnaby and his sidekick needed. Why can’t they just ask all the questions in one interview and have done with it? Though I suppose the programme would only last an hour instead of the long drawn out two hours, made longer by all the suspicious sidelong glances, sighs, stilted conversations and unanswered questions.
The detectives leave the house then ponder why the suspect hadn’t given clear answers then decide to go back the following day, by which time four other people have met a grisly end. The murders in this lovely little picture postcard village are not your average run-of-the-mill murders either. They are the most hideous, violent and gruesome ways to kill somebody. A pitchfork through the back of a deckchair stands out in my memory, and that was all because of a rare orchid.
The background to the story was that the lord of the manor owned all the local property and the locals were worried he wouldn’t be renewing tenancies in the houses or the shops, including the tailor’s. As Barnaby’s wife (AKA the kiss of death) walked into the shop, she was followed by a mysterious hooded black figure, just at the time when some young thugs (teenagers to anyone outside Midsomer) came in to try on some trainers. This was truly disturbing: a shop selling trainers in Midsomer! Whatever next? Crack dealers in the tea shop? With customers dwindling, probably because the population of the village gets halved every week with all these murders, the son of the owner of the suit shop decided to trendy the shop up and sell ripped jeans and trainers.
All hell broke loose when one of the young lads, who looked perfectly decent to me (but what do I know, I’m not from those parts) was accused of shoplifting. He got thrown out of the shop and so became a suspect when owner of said shop was found dead in the churchyard. Victim number two was the vicar, who also came to a nasty end in the
churchyard when someone very nearly decapitated him. The third victim was saved from the chop by Barnaby and Jones heroically opening a door and rescuing her from the mad lord of the manor, who, it turned out, spent his time either bonking or bumping off the tenants of his land.
It all ended up with the detectives having hideous plaid suits made for them with an amusing twist of tweed at the end.
Sometimes I think it would be nice to live in a picturesque village, with a village green, a summer gala, vegetable growing competitions, pony shows and morris dancers (strike that one). Cottages with roses round the door and country pubs for Sunday lunch.
Idyllic. If they could just lower the crime rate I’d move there tomorrow.
Posted by the lovely Nicola