Several of the ladies of Midsomer Market belong to the Midsomer Market Reading Club, a selective reading group. The women include the recently widowed Marjorie Empson. Ginny Stockton, a glamorous divorcee, Tamsin Proctor, the wife of a mean stockbroker, and Lady Lavinia Chetwood. Actually being a cover and rather than reviewing books, the women meet to invest in the stock market and, thanks to some inside information, they are rather successful. When the club organiser is found battered to death, Barnaby and Troy investigate and discover that many of the villagers had secrets, however, would any of them be motivated to murder?
Death threats against the daughter of the manor, Melissa Townsend, bring Barnaby and Sergeant Troy to the affluent village of Midsomer Malham. Melissa is blamed by some for causing the death of a local poacher.District nurse Sally Rickworth, is found in a confused state at the wheel of her crushed car, on the same day that a quantity of barbiturates and syringes are discovered stolen from the veterinary surgery. Later that day the detectives find Melissa dead, with a syringe in her stomach.
The ancient Setwale Wood has provided remedies for the people of Midsomer for many decades. Now it is the subject of court action by villagers to prevent the impecunious owner of Abbey Farm, James Harrington, from cutting it down to raise finance. Leading light of the 'save the wood campaign' is neighbouring farmer, Simon Bartlett.The case goes before Causton Crown Court and, after the ruling, a fight breaks out between the two farmers. The next day the body of Simon Bartlett's wife is found in Setwale Wood. Barnaby and Troy investigate.
The bell-ringers of Midsomer Wellow are preparing for the local Striking Competition which is due to be hosted at their church. Not everybody sees this as a great honour for the community, some of the villagers find the noise made by the ringers as the bane of their lives.When the bell-ringer and womaniser Greg Tutt is shot dead, Barnaby and Troy are called in to investigate, But what is the motive for the murder? A jealous husband? A disgruntled villager? Or a rival team from the competition?Other murders follow and as Barnaby and Troy investigate they uncover seedy goings on in the village.
There is trouble at Devington school in the village of Midsomer Parva. During the annual St. Malley's Day race, Daniel Talbot is stabbed. Daniel is a member of The Pudding Club, a secret society which comprises of elite students from the school. Who committed the attack? Was it someone from the local village who had a grudge against the school or was the assault motivated by activities at the school?If Barnaby and Troy are to unravel the mystery they must first break the silence that shrouds the club.