Sir Freddy Butler collapses during a speech. The PM suggests the death is due to natural causes, however Barnaby is not convinced. Sir Freddy's will is stolen and his lawyer's house is burned down in an arson attack.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joyce Barnaby
Sir Freddy Butler
Lady Annabel Butler (as Sian Phillips)
Sheila Ruskin ...
David Beames ...
Richard Butler
Joanna Riding ...
Sandra Butler
Matthew Tennyson ...
John Franklyn-Robbins ...
Richard Clothier ...
Simon Oliver
Hatty Down (as Carol Macready)


Sir Freddy Butler uses the occasion of a local festival to invite his extended family to an elaborate dinner at his large estate under the pretext of making a special announcement. Included are two ex-wives, his current wife, two sons, and his eccentric brother. However, Sir Freddy collapses and dies as he begins to address his guests, presumably for natural. When his last will and testament is stolen from his solicitor's office, and a duplicate copy is incinerated after an arsonist burns down the lawyer's house, Barnaby is faced with a half dozen suspects, all of whom had a motive for murder. Written by Gabe Taverney (

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-14 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 March 2006 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


Rebecca Johnson plays the part of Jenny Downs, and also played Anne in "A Tale of Two Hamlets" (S6E4). See more »


During the black & white opening sequence, the female character's period-correct brassiere is removed to show tan lines from a very period-incorrect bathing suit. See more »


Lady Annabel Butler: Mr. Barnaby, please try not to be quite so middle class. Most of the better English families breed out now and then. Just as well. Without new blood, they'd all have been gaga generations ago.
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User Reviews

A lot of fun
5 February 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Despite being nowhere near as good nowadays, and even the Tom Barnaby-era had its not-so-good episodes ("Second Sight", "The Electric Vendetta" and "The Straw Woman" being notable previous episodes in this regard), 'Midsomer Murders' is still one of my most watched and re-watched shows.

Season 9 got off to a brilliant start with "The House in the Woods", a great introduction to Jones with one of the show's most unexpected and ingenious endings and George Baker's performance being one of the show's best supporting turns. "Dead Letters" was a couple of steps down, with a miscast Simon Callow and a couple of things either not needed or needed to be elaborated upon more, but was still intriguing and had a few nice references to past episodes.

"Vixen's Run" is a lot of fun, not as good as "The House in the Woods" but a little better than "Dead Letters". It does take a bit of time to get going, by 'Midsomer Murders' standards at this particular point in the show a bit too long, with an exposition-heavy first 20-25 minutes before the episode properly comes to life during the dinner scene. The only other real faults are a slightly clumsily done first (definite) murder, a jarringly cheap-looking opening past flashback and after a very good job was done raising the question of whether it was murder or natural causes it was somewhat of a cheat for the episode to not explain, regardless of if from the sheer gluttonous spectacle of the dinner scene one can also draw their own conclusions.

However, 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 and firmly tongue-in-cheek 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. The adventure-like jewels subplot was a fun diversion and didn't feel that pointless or inconsequential and it is agreed that the second (definite) murder is one of the show's most satisfying.

The acting is fine, with John Nettles a joy and Jason Hughes bringing appeal and nice wry humour to Jones. The two work extremely well together. The rest of the supporting cast fare very well, even with limited screen time "larger than life" Joss Ackland indeed dominates.

Overall, a lot of fun. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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