Nettles is excellent; there's a hint of Bergerac still, now heavier of jowl and broader of beam, though the chasing is necessarily limited and the DCI enjoys the home comforts of an understanding wife and a spirited daughter. "Every time I go into any Midsomer village, it's always the same thing", he huffs. "Blackmail, sexual deviancy, suicide and murder." Ain't it the truth? The murders are astonishing. Family feuds, jealousy, incest, industrial espionage, all erupt at regular intervals leaving a trail of bodies with throats slashed, limbs dismembered and blood absolutely everywhere. Rivers of sheer nastiness run deep beneath the superficially pastoral perfection of Midsomer. Thank goodness there are still men like dependable Barnaby to get to the bottom of things. Eventually.
Sure of Barnabys eventual success, Midsomer Murders make for a cosy, even comforting, couple of hours curled up in front of the television. And they make a great showcase for star turns from the great stable of British character actors, too, from Celia Imrie and Elizabeth Spriggs to Imelda Staunton and Duncan Preston, who invariably turn this whimsical stuff into the tastiest possible ham.--Piers Ford
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