BALLAD OF MIDSOMER COUNTY
© ITV/Mark Bourdillon
It's the day of the Little Crosby Folk Festival and organiser Toby Winning is found dead, drowned in a bowl of eggs and live eels. Toby spent his last evening at the George Hotel, run by Tom and Claire Asher, where he announced plans to move the festival away.
The murder seems to have been inspired by a folk classic, The Ballad of Midsomer County, made famous by the late, lamented Johnny Carver. The song just happens to feature on the debut album of Toby's estranged wife Alice. Toby's laptop is missing and phone records show he'd received a call from a phone box located near an abandoned cottage.
Local entrepreneur Frank Wainwright has most to lose if the festival moves away. At his pub The Captain Farrell, Melody Carver is about to perform when she spies her controlling father Danny and flees the stage. Frank tells Barnaby that Danny blames the music industry for the suicide of his brother. Later Toby's assistant Brian Grey finds the missing laptop and Frank goes to the rundown cottage.
Alice's fingerprints are found on the bowl of eels and she admits she went to see Toby - but found him already dead. Toby's business was in trouble, thanks largely to his partner Brian Grey who was courting potential business partners. Police discover Danny owns the mystery cottage but hasn't been there for 25 years as it was the site of his brother's suicide.
Armed with Toby's laptop Brian arranges to meet someone but he is crushed by a huge speaker and roses are stuffed in his mouth, echoing another lyric from the ballad. His last call was to Frank at the Captain Farrell.
Danny goes to search the cottage but what he's looking for has gone. Angry, he attacks Frank as he performs at Toby's memorial. Danny admits there was an old audio tape at the cottage - music recorded by Johnny before he died. Frank knew about it too, but swears he didn't take it. He has another admission to make - staying at the cottage is Danny's wife Heather, who left Midsomer when Melody was a young child. She wants to make amends.
Festival headliner Jay Templeton takes an uneasy Melody to the cottage and quizzes her about the tape. Meanwhile Nelson discovers Toby was funding studio sessions for Melody, and in return managed to persuade her to give him the reel to reel tape. He made a copy on his laptop and Barnaby suspects there was more than music on the missing recording.
That night, Frank is speared through the stomach with a parasol. A juniper bush - another motif from the song - has been left nearby. Barnaby discovers Frank was buying the George Hotel and Claire was planning to use the money to leave Tom. Gunshot residue is found at the cottage, revealing Johnny's death was murder. Was the killing recorded on tape?
Danny reveals that Johnny was a ladies' man who had an affair with Heather. She was gutted to find out he had other lovers and ran away. Detectives go to find Heather, but she's already told a shocked Melody that she's her mother - and Danny is not her real father.
At the George, Claire has vanished and so has a shotgun. Barnaby heads for theabandoned cottage to discover the killer.
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