This one’s for all you English murder mystery fans out there. Don’t let the Midsomer Murders Syndrome happen to you!
Mystery writers, OTOH, take notes cuz you’re about to see a template to respect!
by Katherine Tegen
It’s happened. You’ve finally taken that dream trip to England. You have seen Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Hyde Park. You rode in a London cab and walked all over the Tower of London. Now you’ve decided to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and stretch your legs in the verdant countryside of these green and pleasant lands. You’ve seen all the shows. You know what to expect. You’ll drink a pint in the sunny courtyard of a local pub. You’ll wander down charming alleyways between stone cottages. Residents will tip their flat caps at you as they bicycle along cobblestone streets. It will be idyllic.
Unless you end up in an English Murder Village. It’s easy enough to do. You may not know you are in a Murder Village, as they look like all other villages. So when you visit Womble Hollow or Shrimpling or Pickles-in-the-Woods or Nasty Bottom or Wombat-on-Sea or wherever you are going, you must have a plan. Below is a list of sensible precautions you can take on any trip to an English village. Follow them and you may just live.
PLACES TO AVOID
The village fête
The village fête is a fair, a celebration on the village green. They toss coconuts, judge cakes, drink tea, and whack toy rats with mallets. It’s a nice way to spend a summer’s day and thin out the local population, because where there is a fête, there is murder. If you enter a town while the fête is happening, you are already dead. The tea urn is filled with poison. The sponge cakes are full of glass. There’s an axe in the fortune telling tent. The coconuts are bombs. It’s like the Hunger Games, but dangerous.
Anywhere with a vat
In English villages, vats only exist for drowning people—in beer, in pickling brine, in whiskey, in jam. This is doubly true if the vat was built by 14th century monks. If anyone offers to show you a vat, say you need to get something from your car, then start the engine and run them over. The police understand this sort of thing. Tell them about the vat….