A visit to his convalescent aunt prompts Barnaby to investigate a series of suspicious deaths at the nursing home where she is staying.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Casey ...
Jane Wymark ...
Phyllis Calvert ...
Alice Bly
William Smithers
Geoffrey Bayldon ...
Arthur Prewitt
George Watson
Gudrun Ure ...
Celia Armstrong
Angela Down ...
Pru Bennett
Colin Tierney ...
Mungo Mortimer
Clive Wood ...
Dr. Clive Warnford
Hilary Richards
Carolyn Pickles ...
Sister Lovelace
Miranda Kingsley ...
Nurse Bartlett


While taking a week off to move into their new home, Barnaby takes time to visit his aunt, Alice Bly, who is staying at a local convalescent home for a few weeks. She tells him that a resident died there the previous evening and at least one other resident believes it was murder. When the home's administrator tells Barnaby that residents' personal effects are going missing, he gets Troy to look into the goings on at the manor. When a second resident is found dead soon after, Barnaby begins to suspect that something is amiss. Written by garykmcd

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

22 January 2000 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


Last TV role of 'Phylis Calvert'. See more »


Sergeant Gavin Troy: Who wants to live to be 89?
D.C.I. Tom Barnaby: Somone who's 88.
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A String of Pearls
Written by Jerry Gray
Performed by Glenn Miller
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User Reviews

Red (and blue) herrings abound
28 June 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As some of the others have commented, this is also one of my favorite episodes. The plot involves rumors of fraud at a nursing home where Barnaby's aunt (Phyllis Calvert) is temporarily convalescing. Are residents being coerced into changing their wills in favor of the home and then being bumped off or not? The viewer does have to pay attention to keep track of all the threads, but at the end everything is sorted out.

There were several interesting things of note in this episode. First, whatever filming technique was used, the result is a gray gloom cast over the interior of the nursing home that creates an atmosphere of finality and loneliness. The scene with Barnaby and Phyllis Calvert in the rose garden is charming and the bright pink of the flowers highlights the gloom of the other scenes to lend to the idea that while the residents are cared for and happy they also feel forgotten and useless. Or, as Nigel Davenport puts it, invisible. One of the sweetest scenes is that of the nurses dancing with the residents to big band music, and Nigel Davenport having one last ride in a sports car was priceless. There may not be enough action for some, but I enjoyed the departure from the more normal (if such a word exists in Midsomer) murders.

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