A Book Considered Too Dangerous to Keep: The Magician’s Nephew, Midsomer Murders (2008)


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He lists some well-known Medieval texts. Then the page is torn. The next page is missing. He saw a man burned at the stake, along with a book…a book considered too dangerous to keep. 

So this year it has been hard selecting TV episodes. I had quite a few I was going to cover, trying to decided between Grimm and Supernatural, but then I thought I have already choosen an episoide from both those TV shows. It is time to select one from a show I haven’t covered yet. So I settled on Midsomer Murders.

Midsomer Murders is a Britsh TV series based off a book series of the same name. How their Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) teams works is that they have a county in which they travel all over investigating, similar to the Sheriff’s department. Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) is head of the Midsomer unit and is extremely intelligent and excellent at his job. The series is still ongoing, but I stopped watching after Tom Barnaby retired.

How each episode works is someone is murdered, of course. Tom and his assistant, (in this episode Tom has currently been working with his third assistant, Ben Jones, and who I think is the best of the bunch) and they go around meeting different people and we are told their back stories. Typically more than one person dies, with Barnaby & Jones figuring out who the killer is, connecting every dot, and solving the crime.

So Halloween night is approaching. Everyone is getting ready, including a coven of witches who are currently bringing another woman into the fold.

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As part of the ceremony, people around the woman entering hold an knife, arrow, axe, and sword. They also call up demons to their Temple of Thoth.

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The next day, the coven leader, Ernest Balliol is watching an interview of Aloysius Wilmington on his new book. Back in the ’70s, Aloysius was a leader of The Temple of Thoth and claimed to have The Book of Thoth. He lead a huge group of witches and warlocks. However, in his new book he claims everything was a lie. He took a bunch of different ancient religions, cut and paste them, and combined it with drugs, sex & rock ‘n roll.

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He also goes on to call everyone who has ever followed him to be a gullible and stupid idiot.

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Ernest is incensed, telling his wife Estelle he will never be able to get over what Aloysius says,at least not until he is dead.

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Meanwhile, someone has taken poison off of poison dart frogs, broken into the community hall and tampered with a magic box. Who would do this and why?

suspicious Hmm

Aloysius’ nephew Simon, has been working in the library on Aloysius’ estate. Everything will eventually go to him, so he is in charge of deciding which books need to be fixed and which need to be rid of. There are all kinds of books from Wilmingtons through the ages, along with strange ones that Aloysius bought in his youth.

What Aloysius doesn’t know, is that Simon is looking for the famed Book of Thoth.

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He needs it to pay back a debt to Hugo Cartwright. Simon used to work for Hugo’s antique bookshop, but stole money to feed his drug habit. Now he is clean, but Hugo is blackmailing him to steal books from his uncle for him to sell, telling him the only way to make his tab clear, is if he can find the book.

And he’s not the only one who wants it. Ernest also is after the book desiring it to make him more powerful, so he has his daughter Isolde romance Simon, and convince him to hand it over. She too wants the book, but for a different reason. She wants to use it for her mentally unstable mother, who is convinced that she is possessed by demons. So far, Simon has yet to find it, but the pressure is definitely on.

The next day, Ernest decides to confront Aloysius  about what he said on TV. Aloysius  continues stating that Ernest is an idiot.

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And Ernest becomes so angry he charges at Aloysius’ car, breaking the open door.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the girl who was just brought in the coven is Christine, the caretaker of Isolde and her brother Tristan’s mother Rosemary. As I have said before Rosemary is completely mad, believing that she is possessed with demons. She went through the coven ceremony over thirty years ago and it completely took her over the edge, haunting her. Christine only “joined” the coven so she could see what the ceremony was like, and better understand what ails Rosemary.

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Christine is in love with Tristan, but he only focuses on his mother and job as a lawyer.

That day is the day for the magic show, the one the Midsomer Magic Circle puts on every year. The members are Aloysius, Hugo, Jean Wildacre, Anton Thorneycraft, and Felicity Brand. They are doing a wonderful job when it is time for the assistant to go into the Cabinet of Death!.

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While Aloysius is getting everything set up, Jean tells Hugo she knows what he and Simon are doing. He tells her to watch out, poking her big nose in everything will get her into trouble one day.

Jean goes in, and they close the cabinet. When Aloysius goes to open it up, he finds her dead.

Tom and Ben are on the case.

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They investigate and discover that the blades have been tampered with. Instead of retreating back, someone stuffed them with wood so they would stay out, killing Jean. But that wouldn’t have been enough to kill her, so they run a tox screen and discover she was killed from the poison of the poison dart frogs.

They also find the hilt of a knife in the cabinet.

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No one knows why someone would murder Jean, everyone seems to love her. When they question about the cabinet, everyone tells them they performed it three times, and nothing went wrong.

Tom goes to Aloysius and ask him abut the knife hilt they found. He tells them it is a ceremonial knife. He gives Barnaby a book, detailing the other objects used: an arrow, sword, and axe.

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Meanwhile, Ben has been questioning the rest of the Magic Circle, and discovered that Anton and Felicity did not go to the bar with the others after rehearsal, like they told him they did. When they put a little pressure on them, it turns out that the two love Gilbert and Sullivan, meeting secretly (as Anton’s wife would be very upset) to sing show tunes together.

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They aren’t murderers.

The next day, Isolde is doing inventory when she notices certain ceremonial things are missing. Her father tells her not to worry and sends her after Simon, to put some pressure on him to get that book.

Meanwhile, while Aloysius is at church, Hugo decides to head to the Wilmington estate and threaten Simon. Simon wants to stop everything, but Hugo tells him that not only will he reveal everything to Aloysius, but also tell the police that he had motive to kill Jean.

Hugo storms out and doesn’t realize he is being watched by Isolde. That night he receives three ceremonial arrows. He’s next!

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The next day, Tom and Ben head over to the magic shop. Ernest doesn’t want to give them any records, stating he is a priest and they should be confidential. He calls Tristian who tells him he has to comply, giving the records needed and showing them to be little help. The only orders for the knife have been online, and no place near Midsomer, a dead end.

Simon has urgently been searching when he’s found a manuscript. It isn’t the book, but may lead to it.

Simon Wilmington: The writer was a monk, working for the Inquisition in the 16th century. Hw was in charge of books that the Catholic Church had prohibited. 

Isolde Balliol: Books about magic?

Simon Wilmington: He lists some Medieval texts. Then the page is torn. The next page is missing. He saw a man burned at the stake, along with a book, before he wrote this. A book considered too dangerous to keep. 

Later Isolde goes to see Hugo, and warns him to stay far away from the book.

Tom has been reading book Aloysius gave him, and sees that Aloysius spent time in South America, living with the Native Americans and learning their ways of capturing the poison dart frogs. Could he be the murderer?

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That night Hugo is walking home after drinking in the pub. He trips in the alley, falling on glass and bleeding.

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They find Hugo’s body, same poison as Jean.

Meanwhile, Simon finds a book in which the pages feel strange. When he opens up the page, he finds three pages hidden inside. They are pieces of the New Testament William Tyndale printed.

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What a find! Aloysius is pleased, but Isolde most certainly won’t be.

That night, Aloysius is thinking about everything that has happened, with the murders and ceremonial items left behind. He figures out that it is involving the ritual that he made up, the initiation one.

Aloysius Wilmington: It was one of those daft Temple of Thoth ceremonies that I’d invented. Part of the initiation ritual. North is the knife, South is the arrow, West is the axe, and East was the sword.

It turns out that they were all there the night Mrs. Balliol was initiated. Jean had the knife and Hugo the arrow. He has more, so Tom plans to go over to his place the next day. Too bad the killer has something else in mind.

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Yes, that night Aloysius  hears a noise outside. Thinking it is Simon, he goes out, spots an axe on the ground and is murdered.

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Tom and Ben go there and find his notes, trying to piece it together.

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Jean was north and had the knife during the ritual, that is why there was a knife found at the scene. Hugo was south which was the arrow, West was the axe and where Aloysius was. E must me Mrs. Balloil, but why was she out of the circle? And who is “R”?

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They question Simon and he reveals the book stealing. He tells them he never killed anyone and about the new book he found.

Anton goes to Tom and reveals that he saw someone the night Hugo was murdered. He saw Isolde there. Did she kill him? She did threaten him.

suspicious Hmm

They try to find her, but she is not home. They hurry to see Simon.

Isolde has confronted Simon. She is yelling at him for keeping the book from her. She slept with someone she doesn’t even like for nothing. Simon yells at her that the book doesn’t exist. He shows her the Tyndale manuscript and she becomes enraged that all her work and killing Hugo was over a BIBLE! She throws it in the fire. Simon tries to get it, but Isolde grabs the fireplace poker and starts beating him, she is arrested by Ben and Tom just in time.

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Back at Tristian’s. His mother is being taken away, to be locked up once more. He is very upset, nothing Christine can say or do will make him feel better.

Tom and Ben have started to question Isolde.

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She claims to have used magic to kill Hugo, but did nothing to the others. Ben goes to the house to check her room, making her father Ernest angry as he goes for Tristan’s help. There Ben finds nothing, but a picture of her and a poison dart frog. He brings it back and they find out that on her trip to South America, Tristan accompanied her. She also reveals that Estelle is her step-mother and she was after the book to heal her mother, Rosemary.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

So that means Rosemary is “R”, then who is E? Isolde tells them her father Ernest. And if Isolde isn’t killing them, that leaves only one other to avenge their mother…Tristan. And where did Ernest go, the last one needed to be killed? To see Tristan.

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They rush over to try and save him.

Ernest has gone to see Tristan who has knocked him out with a shovel. He tied him up and placed him in the backyard, cutting shallow cuts for the frogs to stick their poison in. Before he can do it, in comes Ben and Tom, Ben knocking him down; and accidentally into the frog’s glass cages. Tristian is killed by the very thing he has been using for justice.

The next night is Halloween, and Ernest has seen how Thoth has torn apart his family, turning his back on the coven and leaving.

Tom and Joyce are throwing the party, Tom trying to have a happy Halloween amid all this craziness.

Happy Halloween jack-o-lantern

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to There’ll Be Somebody With My Name…But She Won’t Be Me!: The Stepford Wives (1975)

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For more on Midsomer Murders, go to Please Excuse My Dear Fan Lady

For more on witches, go to What Have You Done to Him?: Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

For more mysteries, go to There are Thirteen Chairs at the Table…And That’s Unlucky: Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943)

For more books turned into TV series, go to A Haunting We Will Go: The Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

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