When one of the members is initially suspected of the murder, but later murdered a short while after she is cleared of suspicions, Barnaby discovers the second victim was having secret affairs, leading him to believe the killer is privy to secrets within the village. Barnaby suspects he is working with an accomplice — until Grady himself is targeted in an arson attack. But soon things go from bad to worse when tragedy strikes and Barnaby is called into action to catch a murderer with an apparent penchant for local brides. However, Barnaby, who had been in France on holiday during the investigation, is not convinced that the local poacher Pringle arrested, who pleads he is innocent, is the true culprit. The detectives soon have to delve into a world of rock music, drug use and greed, to find the truth. Barnaby and Jones soon find themselves delving into the occult, magic, and ancients books of power, to determine what happened, and soon sense a mixture of both might be the motive for the murder, when a book shop owner is killed with shattered glass, laced in the same poison.
And where is her boyfriend Finn? When a note in a Christmas cracker proclaims that two members of the family will be dead by midnight on Boxing Day, everyone assumes it to be nothing more than a joke until Aunt Lydia, the eldest member of the family, nearly dies from smoke suffocation before falling down the stairs during the night. She was born in April 1978 and is 40 years old. It's not long before secrets, affairs and blackmail begin to surface from within the two villages. Toby's estranged wife Alice also comes under suspicion, before two further killings take place, echoing more lyrics from the song. Their investigation soon turns up a web of sex, blackmail and lies, and the possibility that the murder could be connected to a shooting accident two years ago, which claimed another woman's life. When a re-enactment of a Victorian boxing match gets heated, and Kinsella's manager is found dead in his home's gym, the pair attempt to determine who is responsible, although Barnaby's judgement seems to be clouded on this one. From those lonely bones and with the help of a necklace, Barnaby discovers that Jacob was definitely not what he seemed and leads to the true but surprising killer.
Matters soon become complicated, when the body of the best man's father is found in a well that was being renovated, whom the detectives soon discover had disappeared on the day he was planning to run away with a local farmer's wife. As Barnaby and Troy reopen the murder case, they soon find themselves dealing with the village's upper classes, who are none too willing to give much away. It soon becomes clear that things are not so simple, and the detectives soon have to shift through varying motives, layered by lies, hidden truths, and a possible robbery to be committed. Not long after their investigation begins, a retired doctor, whom she had worked for, is murdered in his home during the village's open day with an apple left beside his body. The detective is left wondering who had wanted to turn Esslyn's final act into a true coup de theatre, as he and Troy try to determine what the motive was behind the two murders. Will Jack Purdy's quick temper lead to violence? When Agnes' cousin, Esslyn Carmichael, inadvertently cuts his own throat during the final act, it's quickly discovered that the tape on the prop blade he had used was removed without anyone knowing. The case is complicated by a rivalry between the Midsomer Worthy and Aston Wherry choirs, due to compete in an upcoming competition, and suspicions that an art scam is to be conducted, and soon Barnaby and Jones become concerned about a local woman, who they fear may become a victim herself.
As the detectives investigate, they slowly uncover greed, snobbery, illegitimacy, mourning and violence, before Elspeth is soon found dead in what appears to have been suicide. Tommy's son Lionel and grandson Dave, mayor of Causton and whom Barnaby does not like owing to dodgy building work by the mayor's company , are thrilled, but the snooty Hammonds are decidedly less pleased. The next morning they are found strangled in their own car. But in order to investigate the matter further, Jones is forced to work undercover, and infiltrate the local group of Freemasons in the village. When one of them, a spear, is used to kill his son Gareth, a womaniser like his father, Barnaby and Scott delve into a world of falsehoods, rituals, lies and hidden interrelationships, to uncover the truth. The production values cannot be faulted as usual.
When they discover that Barrett was an expert blackmailer, his victims become prime suspects for his death - from a local pub landlord, a cleaner, a prominent member of the police board, to a former marine geologist. But Grady has a solid alibi. The case takes Barnaby and Jones to a donkey sanctuary, a heritage steam railway and a pub run by an ex-copper and former brothel madam. As he and Troy attempt to find out, they soon encounter a hotbed of corruption and property feuding occurring within the village as the body count rises and the mystery deepens. As they investigate the mystery, Barnaby encounters an old adversary who is working to help renovate the village and whose daughter is getting married to a local boy.
As Barnaby tries to determine if the ability is real, he soon encounters tensions between the two families, an unlucky bookmaker, a priest attempting to save the local church, a man who he swears he saw before, and more murders. The denouement is far too rushed, crammed in with just over ten minutes to go with no signs of how the conclusion was gotten to, with the identity of the killer and motive feeling like they were thrown in at last minute with little thought as to whether they made sense and properly explored neither of which the case. There are certainly dark secrets to uncover, and Barnaby has to determine whether the victim's part in a scandal years earlier at Causton police station, is key to the mystery behind his death. But soon, another murder occurs and this time, the poison spreads further than the intended target. Things soon come to a head when independent environmental supervisor, Frank Hopkirk, is found stabbed to death at a Jubb's Timber Yard, the site of the new supermarket, by a pair of children.
Beneath the tranquil surface of sleepy village life, there exist dark secrets, scandals and downright evil. Although there was uncertainty as to whether it was the result of an accident or murder, Barnaby and Troy find themselves having to determine which it was, when Ian Craigie, the commune's leader, is stabbed to death with a carving knife a few days later, while attending a spiritual seance with the rest of the commune and the parents of one of its members. Beneath the tranquil surface of sleepy village life, there exist dark secrets, scandals and downright evil. Even though her parents don't believe her, Julie Fielding is adamant she saw the woman's body. The first season aired on June 28, 1998. Jones can't work out whether it was a suicide pact or murder.
It's not long before legal documents, resentment of the family, and odd sightings, add to the mystery of the investigations. He soon realises the paintings are not what they seem — but the death toll is rising. A local philanthropist and his social-climbing wife are planning the annual Frobisher night - but will it go without a hitch, and can they identify the killer? All is not as it seems. As they try to establish whether Ron and Libby Wilson were murdered or died of natural causes, their attention is drawn to a dispute raging between a local builder and road protesters nearby. As Barnaby and Scott investigate, they wonder who wanted him dead when the pub's new manager, Stephen Bannerman, seemed a more likely target after they find that he was thoroughly disliked and was threatening to tear the Splendour down. It isn't long before he finds that Eddie Marston is attempting blackmail, and soon murdered as a result, and that Lord Holm is in love with Jack's wife, psychotherapist Gina.
When it transpires that his neighbour, Jack Wilmot, has disappeared shortly after his death, both Barnaby and Scott begin a search for answers, and soon turn up rumours that Nick had lost money he had stolen from his clients' accounts. Pathologist Kate reveals the drink was laced with slug poison, but how is the attack connected to the death of a child in a hit-and-run? After robbing a retired actor's mansion of valuable goods, Mr Drinkwater is stabbed with a pitchfork at the local farm he is using as a base. Young local, Richard Tanner, had been stabbed in the side and his corpse tied down like Gulliver in Lilliput. His father, Anthony Talbot, insists that someone from the nearby village of Midsomer Parva was responsible, but things are not as straightforward for Barnaby and Troy, when they slowly discover that Daniel had wanted to run away during the race. With the help of an old friend, can they catch the culprit before another victim is found? The victim was a member of the council who was strange and weird, but someone seemed to have quite a grudge on him, and so Barnaby and Jones delve into his background, and the village, attempting to determine who might have wanted him dead, finding ghosts, grudges, and more beneath the village's surface. It's not long before they discover hidden truths about the commune's founding and some of its members.