Barnaby and Jones investigate a series of murders linked to the death of a beauty queen which occurred several years previously.

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(screenplay) (as Peter J Hammond), (characters)
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Ursula Gooding
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John Starkey
Claire Askam ...
Marion Slade
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Rob Pride
Richard Cant ...
Alistair Gooding
Jenny Jackson ...
Vicki
Tom Georgeson ...
Ron Chalk
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Ruth Chalk
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Dr. Wellow
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Grace Starkey
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April Gooding
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Storyline

Oak Apple Week is an autumn festival held every year in the picturesque village of Midsomer Barton. After the festival queen died tragically from food poisoning seven years earlier, that particular part of the celebration was discontinued. Shortly after the reinstitution of the contest, however, the dead girl's mother is found drowned in a shallow stream under suspicious circumstances. Barnaby and Jones are faced with many suspects, a plethora of unfaithful spouses, and more dead bodies. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

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Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

TV-14
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Release Date:

26 February 2006 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Two actors from this episode starred in the classic romantic comedy "Four Weddings and a Funeral": Simon Callow and Sophie Thompson. See more »

Goofs

At the Oak Apple fairgrounds, the sign at the gypsy fortune-teller's booth reads "Katina". When she goes into the booth, the man next to the booth addresses her as "Katrina". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Voice: You know you've got to do it. She'd want that, wouldn't she? You know she would. So, now's the time, isn't it? You must do it now, for her sake. You know she's waiting for you. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting for you to join her. So don't keep her waiting too long. Waiting. Waiting for you to join her. Do it now. Do it now.
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User Reviews

 
Interesting if unexceptional second episode to the ninth season
5 February 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

After starting with a bang with "The House in the Woods", which was also the viewer's introduction to Jones, the high/solid quality continues with "Dead Letters", even if it is a couple of steps down from the previous episode.

Starting with the great things about "Dead Letters", the production values as always are top notch, with to die for scenery, the idyllic look of it contrasting very well with the story's grimness, and quaint and atmospheric photography. The music fits perfectly, with some lush jauntiness and sometimes an ominous quality, and the theme tune one of the most memorable and instantly recognisable of the genre.

Meanwhile, the script is smart and thought-provoking with some nice quirky humour, a grimness and with characters that are colourful and eccentric. The story is absorbing, never simplistic, sometimes creepy in atmosphere, never confusing and the maturity that 'Midsomer Murders' has when on form is more than evident here, though with a couple of parts that needed to be elaborated upon or weren't needed.

"Dead Letters" has some nice references to the very first episode of the show "The Killings at Badgers Drift" (the shock on Barnaby's face mirrors the viewer and we are as stumped as he for a while until it is explained) and blink and miss them ones (found in the library) to "Sins of Commission" and "A Tale of Two Hamlets". It's also interesting for the truth to come out after a statement from a witness and the murderer being caught red handed rather than the following of clues or Barnaby methodically adding it all up together.

The acting is fine, with John Nettles a joy and Jason Hughes being appeal and nice wry humour to Jones. The two work very well together. Elizabeth Spriggs, Richard Cant and Sophie Thompson fare strongest of the supporting cast, but Simon Callow agreed feels out-of-kilter here and considering his role in the story miscast considering he is meant to have this appeal but comes over as unintentionally creepy somewhat instead.

Not everything works. The second murder is agreed shoe-horned in and didn't feel necessary, the motive is not as strong as for the other killings too. The local landlady subplot also feels like padding, hastily introduced, doesn't amount to anything and completely neglected, that irrelevant subplot could have been completely scrapped and it wouldn't have harmed the episode at all. There aren't enough red herrings, twists or suspects to me, and some of the episode plods as a result of some material not being as interesting or necessary as ought.

All in all, interesting if unexceptional. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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