An investigation of a car fire and a bludgeon murder lead Barnaby and Troy to investigate the members of a local reading club which has an agenda that goes beyond books.



(screenplay), (characters)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Casey ...
Jane Wymark ...
Harry Painter
Eamon Geoghegan ...
Serena Gordon ...
Ginny Sharp
Vera Hopkins
Marjorie Empson
Christopher Ravenscroft ...
Dr. Rupert Bradshaw
Lord James Chetwood
Jay Smith ...
Police Technician
Gerda Stevenson ...
Sandra Bradshaw
Lady Lavinia Chetwood


Called to the village of Midsomer Market to investigate someone's car being set on fire, Barnaby and Troy soon find themselves investigating the murder of Marjorie Empson who is found in her home bludgeoned to death. The focus of their attention is the Reading Club, a group of five women who meet regularly not to discuss books in fact, but to manage a investment fund they have established. Two of the members were hoping to cash out their investments, but were prevented from doing so by the others. There are several other suspects, all in one way or another connected to the financial and investment world, but when a second member of the book club is killed, the police realize they may need to look for an altogether different motive. Written by garykmcd

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

16 June 2002 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


The photographs of Gerald, Marjorie Empson's late husband, are,in fact, pictures of George Baker, who played DCI Reg Wexford in The Ruth Rendel mysteries (1987-2000). Christopher Ravenscroft, who plays Dr. Rupert Bradshaw, played Wexford's assistant DI Mike Burden. See more »


When Ginny Sharpe is killed in the swimming pool Blood pours into the water, however when her body is discovered there is no blood in the pool. See more »


[first lines]
Selwyn Proctor: I'm afraid I've got to drive off to town.
Tamsin Proctor: What? Now, Selwyn?
Selwyn Proctor: Bit of a panic on. Dow Jones closed two hundred points down. You go to bed. Till tomorrow evening. Honestly, this place is lit up like a damn Christmas tree; it all costs money, you know.
Selwyn Proctor: [outside, on mobile phone] It's me. We're off. Usual place.
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User Reviews

Playing the Stock Market Game
27 February 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A group of housewives and a widow gather each week at a book club. At least they say it is a book club. It is actually an investment club. They are relatively well healed and are able to sneak some money into their accounts. As of late, the leader, a surly widow, tells them that they have done very well. But there is dissension in the ranks. Each has a private life that causes conflict. One night a rich cheapskate who has a young wife gets into his classic car and the thing catches fire and explodes. Soon, thereafter, the woman who runs the club is battered to death in her house. I won't get into all the female characters, but they are pretty much nice women (though some a bit snobbish). Suddenly, they begin to be murdered in various ways. There are some secrets and some spousal abuse and an eccentric character who acts like a child. Things become quite unglued as Barnaby and Troy wade through the usual red herrings and subterfuge.

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