Midsomer Lifestyle

Have any of you ever seen the show Midsomer Murders? It a great show from England about two detectives, The Barnabys (first there is Tom, played by the incomparable John Nettles, who lasted for 14 seasons and then Tom’s younger cousin John, played by Neil Dudgeon, who takes over when Tom retires) and their varying Sergeants who assist in their crime-solving routines. If you haven’t seen it yet here’s the basic premise: Set in the fictional county of Midsomer, the Barnabys take on and solve murder cases, which are never in short supply given the area’s shockingly high murder rate. I. Love. This. Show. I’ve been binge-watching (or rather, re-binge-watching) this week to my daughter’s dismay.  To say she isn’t into languid, picturesque British detective shows is an understatement.

the cousins Barnaby

The villages of Midsomer — many named Midsomer something, as in Midsomer Florey or Midsomer Worthy, or perhaps something as delightful as the jaunty Badger’s Drift — are so tranquil and charming that I don’t see how anyone would be angry enough to commit murder there. But murder they do, and the perpetrators never seem satisfied with just one, either – more often than not, there are multiple per show.  It’s like potato chips with these people. There was only one episode in the history of the series that had zero murders, and from what I understand, fans were outraged with that singular murder-free storyline…go figure. Who knew there were such rabid viewers addicted to rampant violence running amok amid an idyllic backdrop?  If you’re a fan of fun crime dramas this is for you. There’s no shortage of material. The show started in 1997 and as of right now 19 seasons have already aired.

If you’re a fan of breathtaking English countryside, this is also the show for you. The locations in which they shoot are always beautiful, historical, and quaint little hamlets. They’re so quiet and comfortable-looking that I’ve daydreamed about buying a little cottage in one of these villages and living that Midsomer country life. You may be asking, “But what about, you know, all the murders that happen there?” I’ve thought about it and while it would be a disadvantage if my neighbors were getting iced all the time, it just might be worth the view. These towns are REALLY pretty. And you know, the violent crime rate does give everyone something to talk about down at the local pub. So there’s that.

Amazingly enough, while from the outside, these locations seem about as far away from modern technology as one could be, everyone (in the later episodes of course) have a laptop and a smart phone. Flip phones were all the rage in the earlier shows. It’s not just the “old-money” rich, either, in their truly opulent homes, and who seem to outnumber the middle-class residents of the area by a landslide. No, everyone from the farmer down the lane to the Lord who renovated that castle up the street have electronics that make me envious…and the data to back it up, despite nary a cell tower cluttering up the landscape. I mean, I can’t even get service in my local grocery store, let alone when travelling between towns on our rural backroads.

Outside of the steady flow of homicide, I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to live in Midsomer. If it existed, that is. With the lovely to-die-for (ha!) scenery AND the possibility of unlimited data, I think I could ignore the rampant carnage.

Seriously though, how is Wi-Fi not an issue in Midsomer? That’s the real mystery I think the Barnabys should spend some time investigating.

15 thoughts on “Midsomer Lifestyle

  1. I remember a few of these episodes when I used to visit my mum for Saturday dinner or Sunday tea (Sunday dinner, not midday one!) These type of shows are always on a Saturday or Sunday evening. I don’t think though you can beat Inspector Morse with the spin off Inspector Lewis, Prime Suspect, Luther, Touch of Frost, Dalziel and Pascoe, Taggart, Sherlock or Cracker. All great, addicting UK detective murder series! And it’s nice to see UK TV out in the great USA!

      • I loved Luther. Kinda dark, but most UK detective dramas are. I think you’d like Inspector Morse when Lewis was his second. Lots of vistas of Oxford! Cracker if I remember was kinda dark physiological drama. I learnt if someone doesn’t wear a wristwatch they automatically look around for the time from Cracker. I forgot to add Miss Marple. A seemingly gentle old lady who solved crimes in floral print dresses! Hetty Wainthropp was another crazy British older ‘housewife’ solving crimes!

      • I’ve seen all of the Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot shows. Agatha Christie is a favorite author. I really enjoyed Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect as well — but then, it’s Helen Mirren. I’d like her in anything.

  2. English Crime series such as Midsomer Murders, Morse and Lewis have always been a favourite in our family, even though they may be a season or two behind in Aotearoa New Zealand. We have a local series called Brokenwood Mysteries, which is in a similar style, although there’s typically only a single murder each week.

    We often joke about never wanting to visit Midsomer if we ever get to visit the UK (yes, i know it’s a fictional place) simply because of the high murder rate. The odds of being the next victim must be exceedingly high. And as usually one of the victims is known personally by Barnaby or his wife I’d want to make sure that I didn’t move in the same circle as they do. When you think that quiet countryside sees two or three murders every week, while here in NZ we get about one murder per week for the whole country, it’s a wonder the inhabitants haven’t fled to somewhere safer, like Baghdad or Aleppo.

    • That is an excellent point about the Barnabys! I would just need to avoid being friends with them. Of course Joyce belongs to every club and group they’ve got going for miles around, so that makes things difficult. But still, so long as one doesn’t have money AND they’re not the deep, dark secret-keeper for someone else, should be it safe. 😀

      • Yes, there isn’t much that Joyce isn’t into, is there! Her interests seem to have no bounds, although they tend not to be in the sporting arena, so something like darts at the local pub might be safe.

        On second thoughts a dart is a potentially lethal weapon, so it’s probably not such a good idea after all. Best just to avoid Midsomer all together. The more I think about it, the less attractive the rural English setting becomes.

        Brokenwood is just as attractive but in a NZ rural setting, also populated with many fascinating characters, and the murder rate is only a quarter of that of Midsomer. I know it’s somewhere north of Auckland, but darn it, I can’t seem to find it on any map.

  3. And as usually one of the victims is known personally by Barnaby or his wife I’d want to make sure that I didn’t move in the same circle as they do.
    We often joke about never wanting to visit Midsomer if we ever get to visit the UK (yes, i know it’s a fictional place) simply because of the high murder rate.

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