The sale of a previously unknown painting by an 18th century painter sends Barnaby into an investigation of murders as well as art forgery.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Felicity Law
Anthony Prideaux
Matilda Simms
Graham Spate
Alan Best
Sarah Badel ...
Patricia Blackshaw
Paul Ridley ...
Neville Blackshaw
Paula Jennings ...
Yvonne Best


An elderly woman discovers an old painting in her house. It turns out to be a previously unknown painting by Hogson, a famous 18th century painter. It's sold at an auction for 400 000 pounds to a collector. The same night, the woman who found it is found murdered in her home. As more and more bodies turn up, Barnaby uncovers an art forging business among Midsomer's art society. Written by J. Rieper

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Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

5 August 2009 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


This episode was first shown in the UK as the third episode of series 12 after the actual episode 3 Midsomer Murders: Secrets and Spies (2009). Although each episode is an individual story-line, it can be noticed that after being promoted to a plain-clothes Detective Constable in "Secrets and Spies" shown on ITV the week before, WPC Stephens, played by Kirsty Dillon, in this episode she is back in regular police uniform again. See more »


When Alan Best fires his shotgun at the fleeing thief, there is no recoil. See more »


[first lines]
Anthony Prideaux: Can I help you, madam?
Felicity Law: Oh, yes; hello. I'm so sorry to bother you, but I was just clearing out my loft when I found this.
[unwrapping a painting]
Felicity Law: I don't know how it got there, but it's rather nice.
Anthony Prideaux: I don't generally look at paintings found in people's lofts, madam. There are several house clearance firms locally if you'd like to try there.
Felicity Law: Yes, I know. I'm so sorry, but it is rather nice. I've got no space on my walls, but I thought someone might like it.
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User Reviews

Barnaby in the art world
26 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Barnaby ventures into the world of fine art in "The Black Book," from season 12.

The episode starts with little old lady Felicity Law (Ann Firbank) bringing a painting into an antique store run by Prideaux (Anthony Bamber) who doesn't want to look at it. When he does, you can see clearly he thinks he's got something, so he offers her 50 pounds for the frame. Oh, she's thrilled. Then she says she's going to get an estimate from Causton Gallery.

Unable to dissuade her, Prideaux keeps upping the money, to no avail. He finally has to tell her she has a Hogson - he was an 18th century painter who painted a lot of scenes from the area. At auction, it brings 400,000 pounds, to the disappointment of the head of the Hogson Society, led by Patricia Blackshow (Sarah Badel), with Joyce as a member. They were prepared to pay up to 120,000 pounds.

Felicity announces that she will take a 2000 pound trip and the rest of the money is going to Matilda Simms (Susannah Harker), the daughter of an artist, who runs an art school for truant youngsters, and whose funding has just been cut off.

Then the murders begin, and Barnaby and Jones investigate. One of Matilda's ex-students, a known troublemaker, is immediately suspected of the first murder, but what the detectives uncover are people desperate to keep secrets and a frenzied search for a black book.

Really good story, with Barnaby quite funny as Matilda teaches him about art, and Barnaby and Jones see a nude female model posing.

Very good.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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