Midsomer Murders (1997– )
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Death of a Stranger 

Fox hunting, taxidermy and Oscar Wilde are part of the backdrop as Barnaby and Troy investigate a series of murders, beginning with that of a tramp in the woods.


Peter Cregeen


Douglas Livingstone (screenplay), Caroline Graham (characters)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Nettles ... DCI Tom Barnaby
Daniel Casey Daniel Casey ... Sgt. Gavin Troy
Jane Wymark ... Joyce Barnaby
Laura Howard ... Cully Barnaby
Richard Johnson ... James Fitzroy
Jennifer Hilary ... Sarah Fitzroy
Dominic Mafham ... Grahame Tranter
Diane Fletcher Diane Fletcher ... Marcia Tranter
Sarah Winman Sarah Winman ... Kate Tranter
James Bolam ... Ron Pringle
Janet Dale Janet Dale ... Betty Pringle
Jeanne Hepple Jeanne Hepple ... Linda Wagstaff
Peter Bayliss ... Tramp
Jane Wood Jane Wood ... Cathy Gurdie
Fred Ridgeway Fred Ridgeway ... Ben Gurdie


While Barnaby is away on holiday his replacement, the soon to be retired Ron Pringle, arrests Billie Gurdie for the murder of a tramp who lived in the woods near the village of Upper Marchwood. When Billie's father is also found dead in the same woods some three weeks later, an apparent suicide, Barnaby seriously questions the coincidence. When the post-mortem reveals the second death to also be murder, Barnaby is certain that both murders were committed by the same person. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tramp | boy | poacher | taxidermy | suicide | See All (59) »


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

31 December 1999 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bentley Productions See more »
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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Richard Johnson plays James Fitzroy in this episode. He returns in episode 10.2, Midsomer Murders: The Animal Within (2007), in the role of Rex Masters. See more »


Midsomer Murders
(Theme Song)
Written by Jim Parker
Performed by Celia Sheen
See more »

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User Reviews

A great mystery, with some mighty fine characters.
25 February 2019 | by Sleepin_DragonSee all my reviews

Death of a Stranger is a truly great early episode. I can remember this one when it first went out on New Year's Eve 1999, the opening scenes of The Barnaby's sat enjoying lunch, they had cemented themselves as firm favourites. The mystery that followed was particularly good. For me, it's the show at its best, some huge characters, a poignant story, a dramatic conclusion, and some fun at the expense of Joyce's cooking.

We get some huge characters, Linda Wagstaff, Ron Pringle and James Fitzroy. The performances are terrific, James Bolam was great as the slightly bumbling ex Detective desperate for a different life, and to pull one over on Barnaby, Jeanne Hepple is wonderful also as Linda Wagstaff, the very zany woman living in a Railway carriage.

I think they hit on the exact perception many people outside of the UK have about middle England, Range Rovers, infidelity, Fox hunting, poachers, and slightly odd people living in strange forest dwellings. It showcases some wonderful eccentric characters, when in reality here, the killer comes from an unlikely source, someone who seems normal throughout.

They don't make them this good anymore sadly. 9/10

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