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MIDSOMER MURDERS Set 12 (2008)


Producer: Brian True-May
Directors: Sarah Hellings, Richard Holthouse

Writers: Elizabeth-Anne Wheal, Andrew Payne, David Harsent, and David Hoskins
Inspired by the novels of Caroline Graham

Starring: John Nettles, Jason Hughes, Jane Wymark, Laura Howard, Barry Jackson...

Guest stars include: Richard McCabe, Clare Holman, Peter Capaldi, Saskia Wickham, Dominic Jephcott, Siobhan Redmond, Juliet Aubrey, John Shrapnel, and Guy Henry...

Studio: Acorn Media
Rating: Not rated
Run time: 400 minutes (4 discs)

Genre: Mystery/crime

Available on DVD

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Long-running British mystery series based on characters from the novels of Caroline Graham. Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby returns with Detective Sergeant Ben Jones as they investigate murders in the English villages of Midsomer.

There are only four episodes in this set. (Yes, it is a bit confusing. The series is not being released as a complete "season" or year's worth of programs. Instead, four are released and then later another three or four from the same year are released, and each are called a set. At this rate, the fans in the U.K. have seen several "sets" more than we have in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. These episodes are actually from "Season" 9 -- Episodes 5-8)

"Four Funerals and a Wedding" -- Death comes to the Skimmington Fayre. Each year the villagers pit women versus men in an age-old battle of the sexes in Broughton. DCI Barnaby must figure out if the first death is murder and as the body count mounts, if there is more than one killer.

"Country Matters" -- A modern new supermarket is planned for an old contaminated piece of land. Not all of the villagers are in favor of the project. When a mysterious man turns up murdered on the storeís proposed site, DCI Barnaby must uncover the victim's identity, sort out why the man was killed, and who the killer is. There are plenty of suspects in the small village...

"Death in Chorus" -- An upcoming choral competition seems to have brought out a nasty, murderous side to someone in the village. More is at stake than just a prize.

"Last Yearís Model"--Annie Woodrow is on trial for murdering her best friend. DCI Barnaby considers whether she is really guilty and whether she had an accomplice.

These are not the strongest or best episodes in the overall series but I don't expect each episode to be great. My favorite in this set is "Last Year's Model." It is very interesting to follow DCI Barnaby as he rethinks his conclusions during the trial, when all of the available evidence still indicates that Annie is guilty as charged.

FYI: If you are new to this series, each episode stands alone but throughout the course of the series DCI Barnaby has been partnered with three very different sergeants. Some viewers much prefer one partner over another. I've grown accustomed to all three because I repeatedly watch the episodes from time to time. Originally I wasn't as fond of the second partner.

Midsomer Murders Set #13 is available for pre-order through online stores. It is scheduled for release on September 29, 2009.

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