Midsomer Murders is a fine example of British cozy mysteries (inspired by the novels of Caroline Graham), without going over the top on the gore factor. Set in the bucolic English villages in Midsomer County, the murders that occur here(at an alarmingly high rate, one might add) are in stark contrast to the serene beauty of the English countryside. The murders can be grisly, but this is often offset by the scenic country setting, and the witty dialogue (Amazon Prime members are able to view Midsomer Murders' episodes via instant download for free).
DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) leads a relatively contented life with his wife Joyce (Jane Wymark) and works for the Criminal Investigation Department. Assisted by his detective sergeant Gavin Troy (Daniel Casey), the pair find themselves going all over the county investigating the strangest and at times grisliest murders in little hamlets with innocent sounding names. Tom is a meticulous investigator and an astute observer of human nature. His methodical investigative methods and keen eye contrast with DS Troy, who is prone to making politically-incorrect statements and often blunders to the wrong conclusion regarding the identity of a particular murderer.
The episodes in Season 5 are:
Tainted Fruit - a spoilt rich brat named Melissa Townsend ends up dead, but given the victim's nature, the list of suspects is long. Barnaby and Troy investigate and make some interesting discoveries.
Market for Murder - one of my favorites. Someone is picking off the members of a women's only book club. Turns out, the book club was not about reading at all, but something else entirely.
A Worm in the Bud - Barnaby and Troy investigate the murder of a woman who was assumed to have killed herself.
Ring Out Your Dead - only in Midsomer Murders would you find an entertaining plot where bell ringers are targeted for murder.
Murder on St. Malley's Day - when the son of a prominent alumni of Devington School is killed, Barnaby and Troy investigate, and discover that the death may be linked to The Pudding Club at the school, where membership is exclusive and highly coveted.
There is a Gothic feel to many of the crimes, which is enhanced by the unique music chosen to accompany a particular episode. At times, certain scenes seem overly exaggerated, but to me, they only add to the charm of the show. This is a great example of atmospheric crime dramas with a wonderful ensemble cast and riveting storylines. Midsomer Murders will appeal to fans of British cozy mysteries, where blood and gore take a backseat to wit and humor, and the focus is on investigations set amidst a bucolic, close-knit setting.