CURSE OF THE NINTH
© ITV Pic/Mark Bourdillon
Shock waves rocket through Thassingham Festival when Jacob Wheeler is awarded the Falconer Bursary instead of the supremely talented Zac Sowande - but shock soon turns to horror when Jacob is found murdered, strangled by violin string.
Barnaby's initial investigation begins by focussing on Jacob's fellow musicians and their charismatic maestro Michael Falconer, who is using the festival to debut his Ninth Symphony while simultaneously belittling his own musician son, Dan. Almost immediately Barnaby realises Jacob's Stradivarius is missing and that Jacob might not have been the completely dedicated musician his sister Natalie claims him to be when they search his bedroom and uncover some illuminating clues&ldots;
It becomes clear to Barnaby though the Thassingham Arms landlady, Audrey Glenhill and her musician lover, Vernon de Harthog, that Michael has ruffled many feathers when he changed the once community centred festival into an altogether more corporate affair.
And it's no secret to anyone attending the festival that Zac was the better musician, with whispers suggesting that Michael rigged the vote so his favourite, Jacob, could win. With Zac's classical music career looking scuppered without the essential bursary money to pay for tuition , Rafferty Distillery worker and determined dad Warwick Sowande resolves to try and get the money for his son - he makes a call, but to who?
Jacob's fellow aspiring violinist, an emotional Candice Rafferty is revealed to have the stolen violin - but unknown to her she's being watched as she starts to play it&ldots; It's not long before she confirms to Barnaby that she and Jacob were lovers and that was the reason she took it. Unfortunately it has been stolen by someone else&ldots;
With Kam back on board, taking charge of Jacob's autopsy and doing a little flirting with Winter, Barnaby notices an unconventional necklace with a French inscription plus Kam offers some interesting information that leads Barnaby to music shop owner Ivo Baxter, a dedicated video blogger of the Thassingham festival. Might there be some information on Ivo's footage? Tellingly, Jacob is seen with a woman Barnaby has met before&ldots;
Barnaby discovers that musicians tend to think of a ninth symphony as being cursed which is being linked to Jacob's death as he would have been the lead violinist on Michael's composition. Michael pretends he's not concerned with the Curse and secretly demands the return of the loan he gave to his sister Janey to start the Rafferty Distillery in order to ensure the Festival and his symphony go ahead as planned. Janey is forced to sack Warwick leaving him very angry and confused. Barnaby confronts Janey with the footage he's identified from Ivo's video blog - she was the woman with Jacob that night. Janey admits they had a brief relationship but denies foul play. As does Ivo who has the stolen violin. But there's a cloud of suspicion over both of them.
As tensions grow, Michael confronts Vernon unhappy with his attitude. But Michael is placated and spontaneously offers him his place back in the ensemble which shockingly results in Vernon's death by poison. More information is unearthed confirming that Vernon knew Jacob and that there was something very suspicious at the heart of their connection. Barnaby shines a spotlight on Vernon and then consequently Audrey due to their relationship and Audrey does seem to have things she needs to hide&ldots;
As Barnaby and Winter dig deeper into the mystery they discover a vital piece of information from a mysterious teenager's skeleton that turns the case on its head. 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.
Kam finally follows through with her plan to leave Midsomer despite her emotional connection with Winter but Sarah is sure that it's for the best.
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