Midsomer Murders (1997– )
7.8/10
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6 user

The Black Book 

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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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Dr Bullard
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WPC Gail Stephens
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Matilda Simms
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Alan Best
Sarah Badel ...
Paul Ridley ...
Neville Blackshaw
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George Arlington
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Christine Miller
Paula Jennings ...
Yvonne Best
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Storyline

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

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TV-14 | See all certifications »

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5 August 2009 (UK)  »

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Trivia

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 »

Goofs

When Arlington finds the letter telling him to pay £2,000,000 for the incriminating Black Book, the words 'Leave the trolley at desk nine of the reading room...' are clearly visible. However, Barnaby and other characters all read 'desk three' when referring to the letter. See more »

Quotes

[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

 
'Midsomer Murders', art and forgery
15 February 2017 | by See all my reviews

As has been said by me a number of times, 'Midsomer Murders' is one of my most watched and most re-watched shows. It is nowhere near as good now and the Tom Barnaby-era wasn't alien to average or less episodes, but when it was on form or at its best boy was it good.

Season 12 got off to a decent start with "The Dogleg Murders", and this promising standard continues with "The Black Book". "The Black Book" is not a 'Midsomer Murders' classic like ("The Killings at Badgers Drift", "Written in Blood", "Death's Shadow", "Dead Man's Eleven", "Judgement Day", "Ring Out Your Dead", "The Green Man", "Hidden Depths" and "The House in the Woods". It's also not one of the worst like "Second Sight", "Shot at Dawn", "The Electric Vendetta", "Blood on the Saddle" and "Night of the Stag" (remember disliking "Incident at Cooper's Hill" too).

"The Black Book" does suffer somewhat from too much padding, enough of it drawn out enough to make some of the pacing drag badly, and while most of the exposition is revealing and interesting not all of it is necessary. The killer's motives are agreed rather mundane, the motives for some episodes did become quite toned down in later seasons, and will probably the first person to feel that the killer's identity was not that much of a surprise due to a couple of foreshadowing moments (like at the auction).

However, the production values as always are just great, 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.

There are some thoughtful and humorous moments in the script, which is generally well structured and crafted with a great balance of humour and drama. The supporting characters are pretty good. The story has enough twists and turns, that keep coming even at the end, to make it absorbing. The intricacy of the atmosphere was nice on the most part and things don't get too confused thankfully.

John Nettles and Jason Hughes are both superb, individually and together (their chemistry, and the chemistry with Daniel Casey and John Hopkins before Hughes, being a huge part of their episodes' charm). Can't fault the supporting cast either, particularly Susannah Harker.

Overall, another decent episode to Season 12. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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