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"Midsomer Murders" Garden of Death (2000)

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Good murder mystery.

Author: Paul Andrews ( from UK
6 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Midsomer Murders: Garden of Death is set in the small village of Midsomer Deverell & starts as Tom (John Nettles) & Joyce Barnaby (Jane Wymark) are visiting the public gardens of a large manor house owned by Elspeth Inkpen-Thomas (Belinda Lang) who has created a lot of resentment amongst the local residents with her plans to dig up a much loved memorial garden & build a teashop there. Later that night there is a heated exchange of views in the local village hall where Elspeth faces the locals, the next morning while walking her dog Susan Millard (Anna Calder-Marshall) finds the dead body of Fliss Inkpen-Thomas (Sarah Alexander), Elspeth's daughter, lying in the middle of the memorial garden. DCI Barnaby & Sgt. Gavin Troy (Daniel Casey) are on the case & they have plenty of suspects to choose from...

Episode 1 from season 4 & originally broadcast here in the UK during September 2000 this was directed by Peter Smith & is a good solid Midsomer Murders episode although by no means a classic of the series. The script by Christopher Russell takes a while for the first murder to happen but it still has all the intrigue, red herrings & mystery you expect from from this show but my favourite types of episodes are when there's some outrageous over-the-top motive. In the case of Garden of Death I must admit I actually figured out who the killer was & while their motives aren't made clear until the every end I felt they were a bit, well, dull & forgettable. There's nothing wrong with Garden of Death but at the same time there's nothing outstanding about it either, unless you count the blonde teenage babe Sarah Alexander who plays Fliss since she is very outstanding & I don't mean her acting skills... The best aspect of Garden of Death was the neat little sub-plot where Baranaby & Troy solve a five year old murder on top of the murders currently taking place, I thought they would all tie in together but they don't really & it's just a co-incidence. The ending is also rather downbeat, many people's lives are left in tatters & seemingly everyone ends up throughly depressed in some way! As usual you need to watch & listen carefully from beginning to end otherwise it won't make as much sense as it should since it's a very exposition heavy series.

I watched this on DVD last night & the scenery & locations look fantastic. I think Midsomer Murders is one of the few TV show's made here in the UK that is actually shot on proper 35mm film & it really shows with great colour depth & clarity, this series really needs to be filmed in HD (high definition). Anyway, Long Crendon & Nether Winchendon both in Buckinghamshire were the main real life locations used for this episode & jolly nice they look too. This one has four murders & an attempted murder, there's a strangulation, forced poisoning & someone has their head bashed in with a spade but none are overly graphic. The acting is very good as usual but the character's seemed a little restrained & a bit lifeless in this one.

Garden of Death is another top Midsomer Murders mystery for all armchair sleuth's out there & anyone interested in a good whodunit, at almost 100 minutes it's long but worth the effort. Not the best Midsomer Murders but still very good more than watchable.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

early Midsomer Murders entry

Author: blanche-2 from United States
27 June 2012

From the one of the early seasons in this long-running show, "Garden of Death" (2000) stars John Nettles as IDCI Barnaby and his original partner, Sgt. Troy, played by Daniel Casey.

For a small, quaint English village, this place is crawling with murder and secrets. This time, the community is fighting over a garden that is to be turned into a tea room by its wealthy owners, the Inkpen family. The family has two daughters, Fliss (Sarah Alexander) and Hillary (Victoria Hamtilton), half-sisters, one of whom was taken in by her mother Elspeth Inkpen-Thomas (Belinda Lang) as an adult. The night after a town meeting that erupts in anger, Fliss is found dead.

Barnaby is perplexed - if this murder concerns the garden, why was Fliss killed and not Elspeth. Well, soon enough, Elspeth is killed, too. And there is no shortage of suspects: the man who designed the garden, his daughter, who is opposing the tearoom, the gardener, who has a history with the women of the family; and Hilary, whom Fliss hated.

Elspeth's murder isn't the last as Barnaby and Troy attempt to figure out the motive and the murderer.

Very neat mystery, not as it seems. Good entry into the series.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

At Inkpen Manor Garden, Barnaby and Troy investigate when a young girl is hit over the head with a spade.

Author: ingsley from Western Australia
22 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At Inkpen Manor Garden, Barnaby and Troy investigate when a young girl is hit over the head with a spade.

Barnaby and his wife Joyce, make an afternoon visit to the Inkpen Manor Garden in Midsomer Deverell. This village garden has been the talk of the village ever since the owner, Elspeth Inkpen-Thomas, decided that with the popularity of the garden, they need to have a tea room. What has upset the villagers most, is that they are going to take away the beautiful Memorial Garden to build the tea room.

Inkpen-Thomas family originally owned the manor, but they were forced to sell, but now they have regained the ownership of their ancestral home. The family now consists of Elspeth's mother, Naomi, her first and quite overbearing daughter, Fliss, and her younger daughter, Hilary. Hilary has only just traced Elspeth and her family, she was adopted with an unknown father.

Barnaby catches and then arrests Rodney Widger, for firing shots at the tyres of those cars, that have blocked the lane and the entrance of his small cottage located in front of the manor.

The Bennett family is particularly incensed and lead the opposition, as they had previously owned the manor for a few years, and originally founded the Memorial Garden.

Later an open village meeting is held in the village hall, to debate whether or not the tea room should go ahead. First to speak in Jane Bennett, whose father Gerald created the Memorial Garden. During the meeting there is an murderous attack on one of the Inkpen-Thomas. Fliss is beaten to death with a spade in the Memorial Garden, with her skull smashed in, and her body is found the next day by Susan Millard, one of the persons responsible for the village meeting. Barnaby and Troy move their investigations slightly towards Daniel Bolt, a gardener, both involved with Elspeth and Fliss.

That evening, another Inkpen-Thomas family member is force fed pasta, poisoned with aconitine (aconite) as obtained from the plant Aconitum Napellus (Monkshood), which is one of the most toxic plants known.

Troy also realizes a possible connection to an unsolved "cold case" missing person case from that village, upon learning that Mrs Bennett disappeared mysteriously some years before.

Barnaby is determined to discover the dark secrets of the Inkpen-Thomas's family history.

Barnaby investigates these deaths, and finds older and more deep-seated ancient motives for these murders.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Forgotten Daughter

Author: Hitchcoc from United States
18 February 2016

We are led down the garden path, so to speak. A woman from a very rich family has decided to take down a garden that has graced a small town form many decades. She is part of the Inkpens, a snobbish group that feels above the entire community. One young woman in particular lords it over everyone, including other family members. Her mother is a virago and her grandma a tyrant. She also has a half-sister, the product of her father's dalliance, apparently. She is a sober young woman who plays the Cinderella role to her blonde entitled sibling. One day the former is murdered from a blow to the head with a shovel, while the townspeople attend a meeting to air their anger over the destruction of the garden. Soon other bodies are in evidence. The person who built the garden is dying and his daughter has taken up the cause. She becomes a suspect as well. So many possibilities. There are even more. It is another nicely done episode but a bit contrived.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Plenty of suspects with plenty of motives

Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
18 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When the owners of a local manor propose to build a visitor centre on the site of a memorial garden built by the previous owner there are strong feelings for and against the actions of the family concerned; there are also strong feelings within the family as the matriarch clearly doesn't approve of the way her daughter and elder grand daughter carry on and the illegitimate younger grand daughter, who appears to be the only nice person in the family, is treated like a skivvy. When the elder granddaughter is murdered there are plenty of suspects for Barnaby and Troy to interview and as the episode progresses more motives appear. The bodies start to pile up too, including one of a woman who went missing several years previously; perhaps the two cases are connected or maybe it is just a coincidence.

This was a fairly entertaining episode populated with many characters that had motives to commit murder or were candidates to be the next victim. The acting was solid throughout, something that makes the rather far-fetched stories favoured in the series so enjoyable.

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Enjoyable while it lasts

Author: SandVis from South Africa
28 May 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although it starts off promisingly, the identity of the killer is a let down as your first guess and their motive turns out to be correct and rather straightforward.

SPOILERS FOLLOW: I'm writing down who the killer is because I sometimes want to go back and check the solution but I can never find this information on the internet and I don't feel like rewatching the whole episode.

At the start of the story you're on the side of Hillary, the daughter who was given up for adoption. I kept hoping she wouldn't be the killer and that she'd end up with the estate after the deaths of her horrid half-sister, mother and grandmother. But in the end it turns out she killed Fliss and Elspeth because she found out she was the child of Elspeth's childhood friend Bishop Richard Deverell. Elspeth and her mother, Naomi, had used this fact to blackmail Richard's father, Augustus, to give them the funds to buy back their manor house. Elspeth and Naomi didn't want Hillary there because they loved her but because she was insurance and she imagined them and Fliss laughing behind her back. Augustus was desperate for Richard to become a cardinal, which wouldn't happen if the fact that he had an illegitimate child got out.

The only real twist, which is quite a good one, is that the disappearance of Cynthia, the wife of Gerald Bennet, who bought the manor house from the Inkpens and later sold it back because it became too much work, had nothing to do with the Inkpens' murders. Cynthia was sleeping around so her daughter, Jane, killed her because she didn't want her father, Gerald, to find out. Jane buried Cynthia in the memorial garden Gerald was creating so when the Inkpens decide to dig up the garden to build a tea shop Jane isn't opposed because it would ruin her father's garden but because she feared Cynthia's body would be found. So when it was dug up she killed her father to spare him from learning the truth.

So there were two killers whose crimes had no connection except proximity. It all ends as a bit of a downer as everyone is either dead or in prison

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Neil Dudgeon's debut appearance in Midsomer!

Author: Parker Lewis from United States
21 January 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Garden of Death" was first screened in 2000 but I've watched it for the first time only a few days ago, and it's a pleasure to see one of the early season episodes (season 4, ep 1 to be exact). The episode missed the eerie opening theme music but that didn't detract from the mysterious opening scene, the meaning of which was revealed towards the end of the episode in one of those "oh yeah, that makes sense" moments.

This episode also saw the appearance of Neil Dudgeon as the lecherous and womanising estate gardener, and it was amusing sharing the scenes with Barnaby, now realising that over a decade later he'll be the lead of the show!

This episode had the usual elements of a Midsomer murder...a stately family, upset villagers, a manor that will undergo development, so many suspects. At the end the two plot lines merge to provide an entertaining episode of Midsomer Murders.

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