DI Frost is an old-school no-nonsense copper who believes in traditional policing methods. Assisted by several officers including the ever-able DS Toolan, Frost uses what he knows about the... See full summary »
After a serial killer imitates the plots of his novels, successful mystery novelist Richard "Rick" Castle gets permission from the Mayor of New York City to tag along with an NYPD homicide investigation team for research purposes.
Molly C. Quinn
Madeline Magellan, an investigative journalist, is the kind of journalist that generally sticks her nose in where it isn't wanted. While writing a story about the murder of a famous Artist ... See full summary »
Nine years ago, the village of Midsomer Worthy became the stalking ground of a serial killer who raped his female victims before strangling them with a striped neck tie. However, after the third victim, the killer stopped... In the present day, another young woman has been found in "Strangler's Wood", strangled with a striped neck tie. She, however, has not been raped... Has the psychopath started again, or is there a copycat killer on the loose? Written by
"First class murder mystery with all the intrigue and thrills we expect as well as the added depth of a subplot."
In the deceptively tranquil village of Midsomer Worthy, a group of schoolchildren discover the body of a young woman whom has been strangled with a tie in Raven's Wood. Reminded of another case from ten years ago, in which three young girls were strangled in the same woods with ties, Barnaby and Troy go through the files of that case as it looks as if the unmasked killer has struck again after a ten year break. Barnaby visits the former investigating officer of that case, George Meakam (Frank Windsor), but he isn't too helpful remarking that the killer got the better of him three times and that he will elude Barnaby as well. A Rolex watch was found near the latest victim and it is traced to John Merrill (Nicholas Farrell) whom is the Marketing Director of Monarch Tobacco. It then transpires that the victim was the glamorous Brazilian model Carla Constanza whom was hired by Merrill to promote the company's top selling brand of cigarettes, which incidentally is called "Carla". The list of suspects is now beginning to grow as it turns out that Merrill was the only person in England that she really ever came into contact with. In addition, Barnaby and Troy soon learn that George Meakam (though retired) is still obsessed with the case he was unable to solve prone to wandering off into the woods late at night telling his wife that he is trying to get into the mind of the killer. But the most likely suspect is Merrill because there is a lot of circumstantial evidence piling up against him. In addition to his watch being found next to the victim, his wife, the agony aunt Kate Merrill (Phyllis Logan), has discovered a shirt belonging to her husband that happens to be smothered in the victim's lipstick. In addition, Merrill's life isn't a happy one as his marriage isn't a happy one and he doesn't get on with his young son David either. Matters are complicated further when the Merrill's Au-pair Anna is murdered by a lethal injection of liquid nicotine. Barnaby begins to suspect that the double murder has something to do with Monarch Tobacco rather than the home life of John Merrill. And could the link with the murders from a decade before be merely coincidental?
Strangler's Wood was first broadcast on ITV on 3 February 1999 following up the excellent Death's Shadow. Director Jeremy Silberston and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz (the establishing writer-director team of the series) were retained from that film and once again a superb supporting cast was assembled to support John Nettles and Daniel Casey whom by now were really living their roles as Inspector Barnaby and Sgt Troy. They include Frank Windsor who offers a first rate performance as the retired police inspector George Meakam whom is still obsessed with solving the murders that he couldn't all those years ago much to the chagrin of his wife played by Anne Stallybrass. Windsor has been a familiar face on British television for more than forty years most notably playing police detective John Watt in the popular Z-Cars and Softly Softly series'. Also of note is Phyllis Logan who is excellent as Kate Merrill and Peter Eyre offers a suitably creepy performance as involved hotel manager Leonard Pyke at whose establishment two of the victims stayed before they died.
Overall, Strangler's Wood is another first class entry into this wonderful series with fine performances right down to the smallest part, masterful direction by Silberston and another impeccable script by Anthony Horowitz, which delivers all the intrigue and thrills we have now come to expect from Midsomer Murders. In addition, the story is given an added depth here with the subplot about Barnaby trying to spend some quality time with his daughter Cully (Laura Howard) whilst his wife Joyce is away caring for her mother whom has taken ill. We see a side to Barnaby that we haven't seen before. He clearly loves his family but he allows his work to take him over. For instance, every time he and Cully arrange to do something such as a night at the theatre, a development occurs in the case and Barnaby totally forgets that he has arranged to meet his daughter and goes off to interview a witness or suspect in his own time. This has been charmingly worked out into the script by Silberston and Horowitz and Laura Howard and John Nettles are both a joy to watch here. In addition, all technical aspects such as lighting, music and editing are all up to their usual high standards.
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