The Killings at Badger's Drift

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The Killings at Badger's Drift
The Killings at Badger's Drift.jpg
First edition cover
Author Caroline Graham
Country England
Series Chief Inspector Barnaby series
Genre Mystery
Publisher Century
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover & Softcover)
Pages 264
ISBN 978-0-917561-41-2
OCLC 15521305
Followed by Death of a Hollow Man

The Killings at Badger's Drift (1987) is a mystery novel by English writer Caroline Graham, the first in her Chief Inspector Barnaby series.[1] In 1997, it was adapted as the pilot of Midsomer Murders, a popular ITV television series based on Graham's books.

Plot summary[edit]

In the fictional village of "Badger's Drift", the elderly Miss Bellringer insists that her friend, Emily Simpson, did not die of a heart attack as her doctor claims, but was in fact murdered. An autopsy soon proves her right, as a mix of red wine and hemlock is found in the dead woman's system. While the village descends into panic, the murderer strikes again, claiming the life of Mrs. Rainbird. She is discovered by her son Denis, a local undertaker.

As Barnaby investigates, aided by Sgt. Gavin Troy, he uncovers a connection between an older crime and the current killings at Badger's Drift.

Differences in television adaptation[edit]

On the screen, Emily Simpson's death is made more violent. Instead of being poisoned, as she is in the novel, her neck is broken with a crowbar.[citation needed] Also, in the novel, only Mrs Rainbird is killed and her son Dennis discovers her body. In the adaptation, both are murdered.[citation needed]



The Killings at Badger's Drift was well received by the mystery community. It was named by the Crime Writers' Association as one of "The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time".[2] It also won the 1989 Macavity Award for "Best First Novel" and was nominated for the same honour at the 1989 Anthony Awards and the 1988 Agatha Awards.[3][4][5]


  1. ^ Eldridge, Cat. "Caroline Graham, The Killings at Badger's Drift". Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Hellicar, Michael (27 June 2008). "Midsomer marriage: Daughter's wedding promises toughest case yet for Detective Barnaby". Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "Mystery Readers International's Macavity Awards". Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Bouchercon World Mystery Convention : Anthony Awards Nominees". 2 October 2003. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Malice Domestic Convention - Bethesda, MD". 23 August 1988. Archived from the original on 12 April 2010. Retrieved 19 March 2012.