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The Killings at Badger's Drift

(Chief Inspector Barnaby #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  8,874 ratings  ·  735 reviews
Badger’s Drift is the ideal English village, complete with vicar, bumbling local doctor, and kindly spinster. But when the spinster dies suddenly, her best friend kicks up a fuss loud enough to attract the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby. And when Barnaby and his eager-beaver deputy start poking around, they uncover a swamp of ugly scandals and long-suppress ...more
Kindle Edition, 265 pages
Published October 15th 2014 by Felony & Mayhem Press (first published 1987)
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DustyP Yes but without the massive edits that turned a great book into a 90 minute TV show.
Jan Yes, but I think the TV series is better, and clearer than the book. If I hadn't already seen it on TV, I probably wouldn't have gotten the whole plot…moreYes, but I think the TV series is better, and clearer than the book. If I hadn't already seen it on TV, I probably wouldn't have gotten the whole plot at the end. I agree with Mio.(less)
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May 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

- Alfred, Lord Tennyson

In the bucolic centre of Badger's Drift a Black Spider weaves her web of deathly duplicity, after looking into her glasses' magic sights - sharpened to a deadly focus on undetected sin
A very solid and enjoyable 4 star ⭐️ mystery

More on my return to England tomorrow, just saying αντιο to Greece.

Well needless to say I forgot that I hadn't reviewed this on my return, so I need to get my "wassname in gear" and get it written. (I already have reviews still to write from my holiday 2 years ago, agh).

So, let's be honest any Brit knows Midsommer Murders, its been on British TV for 20+ years, and whilst people of a certain age will remember John Nettles as Detective Bergerac, most k
I’ve been a fan of the British detective series, Midsomer Murders, for almost two decades. I love the stark juxtaposition between brutal murder and idyllic country settings. For years I’ve known that Midsomer Murders is based on Caroline Graham’s Inspector Barnaby series. However, I never picked up the books. I didn’t want to muddy the waters between text and screen. On a recent rewatch of Midsomer Murders, I decided to throw caution to the wind and read the first installment. Am I happy I did? ...more
Janete Fabricio on hiatus
I gave up on the book when 11 pages were missing. There are many completely useless scenes and descriptions in the book, which could be 80 pages shorter. The final explanations of the first murder struck me as quite far-fetched. And besides, throughout the book, I didn't connect with any characters. In fact, the author tries to make some jokes to relieve the tension, creating some very caricatured and exaggerated characters and describing them in an offensive way because they are not pretty. ...more
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, village
I hunted down a copy of this for a monthly read of the English Mysteries Goodreads group; I'd never read any of the Midsomer Murders novels before, and somehow never even saw any of the PBS Mystery! series made from them, so it was all new and different. (Really, though, I don't know how I managed to miss these all these years.)

The plot summary: an elderly woman is found dead in her cottage in a lovely-seeming English village, and because her best friend will not back down from her assertion th
Jul 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A good, solid crime story. My first book by this author.

This is an interesting and complicated small town murder mystery. With all the traditional elements of it. What initially seems to be a simple case - the suspicious death of an elderly lady, soon turns out to be a complicated plot. Not only do more crimes appear, but the murder may somehow be linked to the death of one of the prominent towns citizen many years ago. Each person has their own secrets, many people behave suspiciously. Complica
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Where I got the book: my local library #2.

Octogenarian Miss Simpson is hunting orchids in the peaceful woods around the village of Badger's Drift when she sees something that deeply shocks her. Before the day is out she is dead, and her old friend Miss Bellringer calls on Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby to investigate her demise. The result is an unfolding revelation of the murder, adultery, jealousy, blackmail and--but I can't say what--that you would expect in any idyllic English village dep
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have never seen, "Midsomer Murders," before, John Nettles, who played DCI Tom Barnaby in the TV series, assures me in the foreward to this edition, that the books have more depth (no surprise there, the book is almost always better than the television version). I was also pleased to see that this was dedicated to Christianna Brand, one of my favourite Golden Age authors.

Indeed, this is very much in the Golden Age tradition. It begins with the suspicious death of an elderly lady, who saw someth
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I may have watched every season of Midsomer Murders in the last 4-5 years, not once but twice. One of the benefits of having an abysmal memory is the ability to watch/read the same murder mystery series multiple times, and still not fully remember who actually did 'it'. But this was the first time I'd read one of the books. Not sure why I waited so long really as it's exactly what I want to read right now. A cracking murder mystery that focuses on the 'mystery' element, rather than insisting on ...more

There are lots of people out there who are big fans of Midsomer Murders, the long-running British television program based on this series. I'm not one of them. Not that there's anything wrong with it; it's just that I've never been attracted to murder-in-the-village television dramas.

Had I been a Midsomer Murders fan, I'm pretty sure that I would have enjoyed this book much more, as I would have had an investment in the characters. However, for me the characterisation is what lets the novel dow
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally published at Reading Reality

True confession, totally appropriate since this is a murder mystery. I picked up The Killings at Badger's Drift because we're watching Midsomer Murders. I'm enjoying the show so much that I wanted to read the original.

But that means it's not quite fair to judge the mystery on how well the author kept me from figuring out "whodunnit" because I already knew perfectly well who did it. I'd just watched it!

And I still enjoyed every page of the story, even knowin
I really enjoyed this book. This particular story was really fun to read. The characters were interesting and a bit quirky, which made you to keep reading to see what happens next.
Rachel (not currently receiving notifications) Hall
3.5 stars

After hugely enjoying the homage to golden age crime fiction element of Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz and having had several recommendations for Caroline Graham’s novels that are the inspiration for the Midsomer Murders television series, I tentatively opted to test the water. Having only ever caught glimpses of the television adaptation I have much derided the popular series for its lurid plots, melodramatic action and unlikely characters Thankfully Caroline Graham’s first instalm
I am a huge fan of Midsomer Murders and I have enjoyed watching those episodes. So it is no surprise that reading these books by Caroline Graham has been on my to-do list for a while. This is the first book of the series, of which there are only seven books! The Killings at Badger's Drift is also the first episode of the show. So it's easy to compare. I preferred the show!

It all starts off when old Ms Emily Simpson goes mushroom hunting and chances to see something in the woods. The next thing
Sep 11, 2021 rated it liked it
My first exposure to the written series that led to production of Midsomer Murders. I don't think I will read anymore of the books, but it was interesting to see how it began.

Kindle Unlimited
DeAnna Knippling
It starts out with a friendly competition over orchids between friends. It ends in...death!

A fun read, although I did figure it out pretty early due to writer cues (rather than logical puzzle-solving). Good characters; the plot went a lot darker than I expected without being hateful about its setting, which was nice. Clear writing but for a few transitions between characters near the end, but that may have been a formatting/line break issue in my edition. P.D. James lite? A good read.
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I liked this, perhaps more than I had expected. Several years ago we watched Midsomer Murders on TV, the Barnaby series. I did not remember the actor's name (have since looked it up: John Nettles), but it was he I pictured throughout the novel. I freely admit I have only snapshots of various scenes logged into my memory and absolutely no episodes. When I mentioned the opening scene to my husband, he immediately said "Oh, I know who did it." Fortunately, he had no intention of spoiling the book f ...more
Nancy Oakes
The opening book of the Inspector Barnaby series featuring Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, the first episode takes place in a small village setting (I LOVE these) where murder is afoot. Miss Emily Simpson, an octogenarian, has had an ongoing competition with her friend Lucy Bellringer for years. It seems there is a particular type of orchid that grows only every so many years, and the two of them vie with each other to find it first, the loser being treated to a formal, high tea. This year Emily's ...more
Jay Fusco
May 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am continuing my tour of British mystery authors. After watching many of the tv shows, I decided to read the books. I have read Ian Rankin, Elizabeth George, Colin Dexter and Martha Grimes so far and now Caroline Graham. The Midsomer Murders has been one of my favorite mystery series. I enjoyed the book as much as the tv show. Ms Graham deftly painted life in a small village in rural England. The characters were quirkly as you would expect. The desciptions of the countrysides, especially the g ...more
Ann-Marie "Cookie M."
Fun and a bit naughty. The things people get up to in English villages.
A tip of the hat to my friend Fergus for pointing out that this series is tv's "Midsomer Murders," which I am also now enjoying.
I had a lot of fun reading the first book in Catherine Graham's Chief Inspector Barnaby series along with other members of the Mystery, Crime and Thriller group. This series of just seven books spawned twenty-one seasons (and counting) of the very popular Brit tv show Midsomer Murders, one of my very favorites! Who knew so many murders could take place in these idyllic village settings?

In this one, a beloved octogenarian community member and former teacher is found dead in her cottage. She had b
Tom Mathews
An entertaining mystery that largely follows the script of the first episode of the TV series. The main difference is that in the book, Sergeant Troy is a total twat.
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, detectives
I really liked reading this one! I also really like watching the episodes, I must have seen at least 50% of them, though admittedly I often fall asleep whilst watching... Which is probably why they keep being entertaining. I've never read any of the books though, and the writing certainly is more colorful and explicit than the tv show. Even though I could remember outline of this case I was still taken in by it and severely shocked about 70% in. The remainder of the book I read in a breathless f ...more
Eustacia Tan
Jun 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to the BBC Player, I found out about this murder mystery series called Midsomer Murders. Since I love a good cosy mystery, I really enjoyed the episodes that I watched and wanted to read some of the books that inspired the show! The Killings at Badger’s Drift is the first book in the Detective Barnaby series and honestly, it reminds me of a much darker Fairacre village.

The Killings at Badger’s Drift actually starts of pretty cosily. Miss Simpson is in the woods hunting for the spurred cor
When I started this novel, I found the writing style a little old-fashioned, and had to stop and re-read a new sections to get the meaning. But after 100 pages or so, the story became very intriguing and I went quickly through the rest. This is the first novel in the Chief Inspector Barnaby series (which went on to become the TV series Midsomer Murders). I enjoyed reading about Barnaby's home life, where his wife had every talent her husband could ask for but the ability to cook a decent meal. B ...more
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's like an edgy English village mystery. Like something Agatha Christie might have written the morning after finding out her husband was having an affair and having spent the night drinking only to wake up to an empty house, a hang over and a bitter heart.

Only she writes better than Agatha, her detective isn't vain or prissy, the suspects motivations are difficult to determine and the murder(s) can be messy. On the other hand the solution will still give you a head ache.

Considered by some to b
Jack Heath
Synopsis: a spinster dies suddenly in Badger's Drift. Her friend kicks up a fuss which attracts DCI Tom Barnaby. The first Midsomer Murder. ...more
So, writing: 4.5 stars - she can write. Flows well - good tempo with no boring parts.

Plot: The mystery itself wasn't that clever and seemed overly complex as far as murders go. It wasn't believable.

Other annoyance.. There are a lot of words that needed to be looked up. Needlessly so. I'll admit some might be due to being an older book - and a British one at that. But I read a lot of British authors, written far earlier than this and I can't remember ever needing to look up so many words for a
Abigail Bok
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our tale opens with a delightful old lady hunting a rare orchid--what could be better? But unfortunately, her search leads her to discover something she was not meant to see, and soon enough she is in serious trouble. Thus opens The Killings at Badger's Drift, and considering the title it is immediately understood that she will not survive long, and other deaths are sure to follow.

The story is set in the late 1980s in rural England, and the investigation techniques are charmingly old-school (th
Regina Lemoine
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For years, my favorite mystery series has been Ruth Rendell's brilliant Inspector Wexford novels. Of course, I've read them all, and more than once. I've spent a lot of time trying to find something comparable. I think perhaps I've come close with Graham's Inspector Barnaby. There's even a Rendell allusion in this novel. I'll definitely continue this series, with the full realization that it will take a great deal to come close, much less surpass the perfection of Rendell. ...more
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Caroline Graham is an English playwright, screenwriter and novelist. She attended the Open University, and received a degree in writing for the theatre from the University of Birmingham.

* Chief Inspector Barnaby


Other books in the series

Chief Inspector Barnaby (7 books)
  • Death Of A Hollow Man (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #2)
  • Death In Disguise (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #3)
  • Written In Blood (Chief Inspector Barnaby #4)
  • Faithful Unto Death (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #5)
  • A Place Of Safety (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #6)
  • A Ghost In The Machine (Chief Inspector Barnaby, #7)

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