THE CHRISTMAS HAUNTING
© ITV/Mark Bourdillon
Its Christmas, and DS Charlie Nelson takes up his new post in Midsomer alongside DCI John Barnaby. Furniture maker and serial philanderer Conor Bridgeman is stabbed to death with an antique sword during a ghost-hunting party at Morton Shallows manor house. Owner Simon Fergus-Johnson and his family seem shocked that their new venture has gone tragically wrong, but historian Brendan Pearce points the finger at blacksmiths daughter Rose Wilton a ghost. Conors widow Mel learns her husband was being unfaithful with her singing teacher Felicity. He was also trying to buy the manor house from Simon but negotiations were fractious. And leaflets distributed in the village show not everyone likes its image, while Ross Clymer, landlord of the Blacksmiths Arms, claims his pub is the original haunted site. Theres a ghost-like girls voice on a tape recording from the night of the murder who is it?
Meanwhile, Simons wife Tabby is in secret contact with Ross, and Brendan hopes the murder will boost the shop and café he runs with wife Libs. Valerie tells Barnaby she was her late fathers carer from the age of 13 while Simon toured the world before inheriting the manor house. But she bears him no grudge and seems content in her small but tidy cottage. The manor, in contrast, is in utter shambles as Simon and Tabby row, while ignoring their daughter Pippa. She goes in search of Dev Kardek, another student of the paranormal, but he is busy writing his PhD. Mel visits a guilt-stricken Felicity while Barnaby discovers Brendans obsession with village matters began after Conor broke his daughters heart and she left home. Despite having motive, Brendan denies killing Conor. And Mel admits producing the anti-paranormal fliers.
Meanwhile army major Ollie Tabori returns after 24 years and goes to see Valerie. Ross is angry and throws him out of the pub where Pippa and Dev are planning a vigil as part of their studies. Nelson is on hand as the lights are switched off. He sees something and traps Felicity playing a tape with a girls voice. Then they realise Ross is missing and discover him in a walk-in freezer, bludgeoned to death with a blacksmiths hammer. Nelson discovers Ollie is Mels brother and was once Valeries sweetheart. He was sent away after causing an accident but the real culprits were Ross and Conor. Now hes gone AWOL from the army, suffering from post-traumatic stress. Is he seeking vengeance? Brendan is the only man left alive on the villages Christmas appeal committee could he be at next, or be the murderer? But hes disappeared, and so has the cash.
Nelson discovers Devs tricked Pippa, as his PhD is about paranormal gullibility - hes a sceptic not a believer. Suddenly realising what is going on, Barnaby and Nelson rush to the supposedly-haunted caves on Christmas Eve, where Pippa is planning a live transmission to mark the 127th anniversary of Roses death. But will they get there in time?
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