MIDSOMER MURDERS. BBC-TV; two from Season 11. John Nettles (DCI Tom Barnaby, Jason Hughes (DS Ben Jones), Jane Wymark (Joyce Barnaby), Barry Jackson (Dr Bullard). Based on the characters created by Caroline Graham.


   In “Left for Dead” (24 May 2008), Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby investigates the death of a couple in an isolated house.

   They had totally cut themselves off from the surrounding community — no one had been invited into the house in years, and there was no electricity or running water. The woman appears to have died of natural causes, but the man seems to have been pushed down the stairs.

   Barnaby’s investigation becomes intertwined with a protest movement against highway construction, and the disappearance of a child 19 years before. This is the best one of these I have seen in awhile — harking back to the earlier movies in this series (these are too complex and well produced to be called episodes). It also reminded me a little of Jack Vance’s Bad Ronald.

   In the earlier “Shot at Dawn” (1 January 2008), a feud between two families going back to WWI results in the murder of the elder statesman of one of the families. But when Barnaby investigates he finds that the feud may not have been the cause of the murder — instead it may be the result of a disputed piece of land that can be developed into homes for a fortune.

   One of the better of the more recent ones, but the murderer is obvious. Still there are a lot of twists and turns getting to the end. If you don’t mind that the characters are more than a bit eccentric, I suspect you will like both of these.

Rating: B minus (both).