Nothing is as it seems behind the well-trimmed hedges of the picturesque cottages in the idyllic English county of Midsomer. Beneath the tranquil surface of sleepy village life exist dark secrets, scandals and downright evil. John Nettles stars as the humorous, thoughtful and methodical Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby. David Heartley-Reade, the son of a local Archaeologist, has written a book which tells of a golden chalice and ritual spear found in Midsomer Barrow. David is also eager for a festival of summer solstice to be held at The Barrow. The landowner, Anne Heldman, will not allow the celebration to take place and Anne's son Gareth points this out to David at a book signing. Later, when David finds Gareth's lifeless body by the riverbank, Barnaby and Scott investigate.