Most fans of British mysteries will be familiar with the Midsomer Murders TV series. With 25 years and more than 20 seasons of episodes, it's a phenomenon unto itself. After all, where else can you see small villages packed with old feuds and sexual deviants, all running around killing each other with wheels of cheese and antique weaponry?
As we approach season 23 of Midsomer Murders, we thought it would be fun to take a look at the book series that started it all.
All of Caroline Graham's Inspector Barnaby (Midsomer Murders) Books in Order
In 1988, playwright and author Caroline Graham introduced the world to DCI Barnaby and the Midsomer village of Badger's Drift – though strictly speaking, it was Sergeant Troy who appeared first, getting yelled at by a villager called Miss Bellringer after she decided her friend's death was suspicious.
If you love the show but you've never read the books, you're missing out. They're every bit as light and wonderful as the TV series, even though there are far fewer of them. Below, we take a look at each book in the series – along with a variety of the available purchasing options for each.
Midsomer Murders Book 1 | The Killings at Badger's Drift (1988)
Badger's Drift seems like the perfect English village, but when a kindly spinster dies suddenly, her friend makes enough noise to attract the attention of DCI Barnaby. Along with his deputy, he'll soon discover an array of secrets and scandals simmering just beneath the surface of village life.
*Note: The audiobook version of this one has an exclusive foreward with John Nettles, so you may wish to consider that format for this one (even if you're not normally a fan of audiobooks).
Midsomer Murders Book 2 | Death of a Hollow Man (1989)
Everyone is shocked when the leading man is killed during a performance of the Causton Amateur Dramatic Society. Fortunately, Inspector Barnaby is in the house that night, and he's just the man to track down the killer.
Midsomer Murders Book 3 | Death in Disguise (1992)
In Compton Dando, the Lodge of the Golden Windhorse has always given locals plenty to speculate on. When the commune's leaders are murdered, however, the rumour mill kicks into overdrive. It's up to Inspector Barnaby to separate fact from fiction and catch the killer.
Midsomer Murders Book 4 | Written in Blood (1994)
The Midsomer Worthy Writer's Circle has never had great luck when it comes to attracting interesting guest speakers. Everyone is surprised when bestselling novelist Max Jennings accepts their invitation – but they're even more surprised when the club secretary, Gerald Hadleigh, objects.
The morning after Jennings' visit, Hadleigh is found dead. Barnaby will soon find that the key to solving the murder lies with Jennings.
Midsomer Murders Book 5: Faithful Unto Death (1996)
When a bored, flighty young housewife misses bell-ringing practice, nobody is too surprised. Even Barnaby is relatively unconcerned – until her body is found. Soon, Barnaby is uncovering all sorts of passionate entanglements and dirty secrets – including some that could jeopardise his career.
Midsomer Murders Book 6 | A Place of Safety (1999)
Nobody in Ferne Bassett liked Charlie Leathers, but not many people seemed likely to kill him, either. When Barnaby arrives on the scene of Charlie's death, he doesn't realize that shortly before his death, Charlie witnessed the death of a young woman. With everything going on, the town is in chaos. It's up to Barnaby to set it right.
Midsomer Murders Book 7: A Ghost in the Machine (2004)
When a body is found pulverized beneath an antique torture device, Barnaby is called in to investigate. There, he'll find himself tangled up in a web of possible suspects – from a crooked business partner to a teenage seductress to a couple of would-be publishers who've inherited and lost millions.
Will Caroline Graham Write More Midsomer Murders Books?
It's been nearly 20 years since the last Inspector Barnaby novel was released, and Caroline Graham is now in her nineties. Though we wish her many more good years and we'd love to see more books, these two facts make it somewhat unlikely that it will happen.
On the bright side, the Midsomer Murders television series continues – and season 23 of Midsomer Murders is currently in production.
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