Murders Most British
Murders and More Murders, Good heavens!
At our house, my husband and I are working our way through a new-to-us series, Midsomer Murders.
Yes, I know, this show has been around since 1997. My sister tells me that she has 20 years of Midsomer Murders on DVD, and it was a family favorite. Probably, we were too busy watching more gruesome series like the Sopranos or Game of Thrones, you know, those really violent shows…
Except, ye God! Who knew there could be so many brutal murders in the countryside of a nation that prohibits guns! As of almost four years ago, The Telegraph reported these series statistics:
Since Midsomer Murders first aired in 1997, 222 murders (an average of nearly three per episode), plus 11 accidental deaths, 11 suicides and seven deaths from natural causes.
Bizarre and gruesome murder implements include a cricket bat, a fire iron, a saucepan, a faulty microphone, the cord of a camera light meter, a candlestick, a doped horse, a pitchfork, a Celtic spear, liquid nicotine, a syringe, toxic fungus, a necktie, a slide projector, a switchblade razor, a drinks cabinet, a plough, a hammer, hemlock, vintage claret, bottles of relish, a poisonous frog, a longbow arrow, a French guillotine, a prop theatrical knife, King Neptune’s trident, a hatpin, an Iron Maiden… and alien abduction.
Some of our takeaways from the series:
- Under the peaceful exterior, English villages are teeming with all the Seven Deadly Sins, especially pride, envy, lust, and wrath.
- In the face of a physical threat, villagers will put up no fight. A desk about to tumble from on high and crush you? Stand there and watch it fall. Someone raises a pruning hook at you? Don’t run or block their arm, let them slice you with it.
- On the other hand, even the village busy-bodies take risks in the face of danger. They’re like the heroines of horror movies who go down to the basement to check out a noise when they ought to just call for help.
In these villages, red herrings abound, plot bunnies poke their pink noses in willy-nilly, and plot threads fray every which way. It’s a good thing the pacing is slow!
Honestly, though the “black humor” is pretty funny at times. In true Cozy Mystery fashion, dear old Barnaby and his wife take the brutality in stride.
And there are some pleasant surprises when old friends show up. Midway through one episode where Barnaby was trying to solve
a murder a series of murders in a remote village staffed with only one young policewoman, I realized: that young constable was Michelle Dockery! (Who like any sensible police officer, fought back against her would-be murderer.) In the episode we watched last night, a youthful Hugh Bonneville appeared. No one made an attempt on his life, though. [Spoiler Alert] He was one of those red herrings I mentioned above.
The surprise appearances of Lady Mary and her father are good reminders to check out the playing times for the new Downton Abbey movie.
Are you a fan of Midsomer Murders? Let me know in the comments!
Images credits: Bunny, Depositphotos; Midsomer Murders poster, IMDB; All the rest are from Wikimedia Commons.