Midsomer Murders (1997– )
8 user

Dead Letters 

Barnaby and Jones investigate a series of murders linked to the death of a beauty queen which occurred several years previously.


Renny Rye


Peter Hammond (screenplay) (as Peter J Hammond), Caroline Graham (characters)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Nettles ... DCI Tom Barnaby
Jason Hughes ... DC Ben Jones
Jane Wymark ... Joyce Barnaby
Barry Jackson ... Dr Bullard
Elizabeth Spriggs ... Ursula Gooding
David Bamber ... John Starkey
Claire Askam Claire Askam ... Marion Slade
Tom Bennett ... Rob Pride
Richard Cant ... Alistair Gooding
Jenny Jackson Jenny Jackson ... Vicki
Tom Georgeson Tom Georgeson ... Ron Chalk
Tracy Brabin Tracy Brabin ... Ruth Chalk
Simon Callow ... Dr. Wellow
Caroline Goodall ... Grace Starkey
Sophie Thompson ... April Gooding


Oak Apple Week is an autumn festival held every year in the picturesque village of Midsomer Barton. After the festival queen died tragically from food poisoning seven years earlier, that particular part of the celebration was discontinued. Shortly after the reinstitution of the contest, however, the dead girl's mother is found drowned in a shallow stream under suspicious circumstances. Barnaby and Jones are faced with many suspects, a plethora of unfaithful spouses, and more dead bodies. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery








Release Date:

26 February 2006 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bentley Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR


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Did You Know?


In the last seconds of Dead Letters we see, on a book rack in the small lending library, a copy of Chromosome Wars by Jezebel Tripp, the author we met in Midsomer Murders: Sins of Commission (2004) from season 7. See more »


At the Oak Apple fairgrounds, the sign at the gypsy fortune-teller's booth reads "Katina". When she goes into the booth, the man next to the booth addresses her as "Katrina". See more »


[first lines]
Voice: You know you've got to do it. She'd want that, wouldn't she? You know she would. So, now's the time, isn't it? You must do it now, for her sake. You know she's waiting for you. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting for you to join her. So don't keep her waiting too long. Waiting. Waiting for you to join her. Do it now. Do it now.
See more »


Midsomer Murders
(Theme Song)
Written by Jim Parker
Performed by Celia Sheen
See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting if unexceptional second episode to the ninth season
5 February 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

After starting with a bang with "The House in the Woods", which was also the viewer's introduction to Jones, the high/solid quality continues with "Dead Letters", even if it is a couple of steps down from the previous episode.

Starting with the great things about "Dead Letters", the production values as always are top notch, with to die for scenery, the idyllic look of it contrasting very well with the story's grimness, and quaint and atmospheric photography. The music fits perfectly, with some lush jauntiness and sometimes an ominous quality, and the theme tune one of the most memorable and instantly recognisable of the genre.

Meanwhile, the script is smart and thought-provoking with some nice quirky humour, a grimness and with characters that are colourful and eccentric. The story is absorbing, never simplistic, sometimes creepy in atmosphere, never confusing and the maturity that 'Midsomer Murders' has when on form is more than evident here, though with a couple of parts that needed to be elaborated upon or weren't needed.

"Dead Letters" has some nice references to the very first episode of the show "The Killings at Badgers Drift" (the shock on Barnaby's face mirrors the viewer and we are as stumped as he for a while until it is explained) and blink and miss them ones (found in the library) to "Sins of Commission" and "A Tale of Two Hamlets". It's also interesting for the truth to come out after a statement from a witness and the murderer being caught red handed rather than the following of clues or Barnaby methodically adding it all up together.

The acting is fine, with John Nettles a joy and Jason Hughes being appeal and nice wry humour to Jones. The two work very well together. Elizabeth Spriggs, Richard Cant and Sophie Thompson fare strongest of the supporting cast, but Simon Callow agreed feels out-of-kilter here and considering his role in the story miscast considering he is meant to have this appeal but comes over as unintentionally creepy somewhat instead.

Not everything works. The second murder is agreed shoe-horned in and didn't feel necessary, the motive is not as strong as for the other killings too. The local landlady subplot also feels like padding, hastily introduced, doesn't amount to anything and completely neglected, that irrelevant subplot could have been completely scrapped and it wouldn't have harmed the episode at all. There aren't enough red herrings, twists or suspects to me, and some of the episode plods as a result of some material not being as interesting or necessary as ought.

All in all, interesting if unexceptional. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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