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Erupting in Murder is the first episode of Series 6 of Death in Paradise.

The death of a scientist on the side of a live volcano proves a difficult case to crack for Humphrey and his team when everything appears to point to a death from natural causes.
―BBC

Synopsis Edit

The death of a scientist studying volcanic activity on Saint Marie appears to be victim of a heart attack. But DI Humphrey Goodman has his doubts, leading him to conduct a murder investigation.

Plot Edit

Scientists Stephen Langham and Victoria Baker of the Saint Marie Volcano Observatory check a seismometer on the side of Saint Marie's volcano, Mount Esmee, which has been giving anomalous readings indicating that the volcano may be entering an active period. Returning to the observatory, Victoria tells the team that there are no malfunctions, but Stephen believes that it could be the passing of a nocturnal animal. Since it is his turn on the night shift, he decides to spend the night on the volcano to check his theory. The next morning, just as Mayor Joseph Richards arrives to discuss funding for the observatory, he finds the team worried that Stephen has not been in contact. Scrambling the emergency helicopter, they find Stephen dead on the side of the volcano.

DS Florence Cassell arrives at Humphrey Goodman's house to inform him of the death to find him standing in the surf talking to Martha Lloyd via the internet since his wi-fi signal will only work where he is standing.

Arriving on the volcano, Dwayne Myers and JP Hooper brief Humphrey on the death. The paramedics believe that it was a heart attack, and the deceased had a history of heart problems. However, Humphrey finds that there is no torch at the scene. If Stephen walked up to the volcano after sunset, then he would have needed one. Humphrey goes to see the rest of the volcanologist team, which includes Mayor Richards. Stephen's brother, Daniel Langham, informs Humphrey that all entry into the building is via a swipe card log. The log shows that after Stephen left at just after 9pm, the door was not opened again until Victoria Baker greeted the arrival of Mayor Richards. Humphrey finds it unlikely that Stephen simply forgot to take a torch, meaning that someone was on the volcano with him, and used the torch to get back. Checking Stephen's quarters in the observatory, Humphrey finds containers of phenolphthalein, a chemical used to check soil acidity.

At the Honoré Police Station, the team first Commissioner Selwyn Patterson with reporter Justine Tremblay, who is doing a story on him for The Saint Marie Times. Commissioner Patterson inquires about the case, and advises Humphrey to not rule out the Mayor as a suspect just because he was not even on the island when the death occurred. A review of the CCTV confirms the sequence of events as laid out. While reviewing the potential suspects, Dwayne notes that there is no record of geology intern Megan Colley arriving on the island. After a check with the Irish Passport Office, it is discovered that Megan Colley is on a sixth month work visa in China. Humphrey decides to question "Megan," but finds that she has arrived at the police station to come clean about her identity. She is Emer Byrne and she knew the police would find out. Emer and Megan had been college friends, and she used Megan's name to get an internship on the island after failing her degree.

As Humphrey leaves to meet Martha at the airport, she arrives at the police station because he got the time wrong. Florence and Martha get drinks at Catherine's Bar. As Dwayne closes up the police station, Justine arrives looking for her camera bag. During a conversation, which Dwayne believes to be off the record, he compares Commissioner Patterson to his grandmother's bossy goat. Humphrey and Martha finally meet up, and he shows her to her lodgings before agreeing to meet the next day. In the morning, Dwayne arrives at the police station to find a copy of The Saint Marie Times with the headline "Commissioner Is A Goat!"

Further details of the case emerge. The official cause of death for Stephen Langham is reveal: hypoxia. Which could mean natural causes, but could also mean murder. Humphrey still isn't convinced, and can't get the missing torch out of his head. Financial records show that Daniel Langham is in minor financial trouble, and that Stephen regularly drew out 400 dollars in cash every week. Phone records showed that calls from the observatory were being sent to a pay-as-you phone number in the early hours of the morning. A paper sent to Dr. Klein at the Carrington Institute by Victoria Baker appears to have been the original work of Stephen Langham.

Questioning Victoria, she admitted that the work was Stephen's. She had worked with him, and he had given her permission to publish with sole credit. Victoria also revealed she had been sleeping with him.

Commissioner Patterson collects Dwayne from the station. Initially, Dwayne believes it to be in connection with the story that appeared in the paper. However, the Commissioner relays information that the Mayor and Stephen Langham had been meeting at the Yacht Club recently, and their discussions had become heated. Mayor Richards had applied to build a hotel on a beach ceded to the observatory for research purposes. However, now Richards owns the land. Mayor Richards arrives, and Dwayne questions him. The Mayor puts Stephen's anger down to budget cuts, and that he did not care about the beach since there were other sites for the observatory to study.

Daniel Langham is assaulted at the observatory, by assailants claiming he owed them money. Humphrey realises that Daniel is a drug user. While Stephen could not understand why Daniel had turned to drugs, he supported his brother's habit. The 400 dollars that Stephen constantly drew were for Daniel, although he wanted the "allowance" to be upped to 500.

Investigating the Mayor, Dwayne covered his financials while JP looked into the hotel plans. Humphrey goes over the timeline of events again. Humphrey uses two whiteboards: Stephen Langham on one, representing Mount Esmee, and the suspects on another representing the observatory. When JP suggests that the Mayor needs his own whiteboard, Humphrey has an inspiration. Dwayne then finds out the reason that Mayor Richards was on Guadeloupe was to withdraw 4 million East Caribbean Dollars in cash. Humphrey now knows who did it, and requests that the suspects be convened.

Humphrey accuses Victoria, Daniel, and Emer of killing Stephen together and staging it to look like a heart attack. The errant phone calls were to a mobile phone that had been placed near the seismograph to create false readings. When Victoria and Stephen checked the equipment, she pocketed the phone. Back in the observatory, the three scientists used carbon dioxide, pumped into Stephen's bedroom to kill him. The phenolphthalein in Stephen's room was clear, indicating it had been exposed to an acidic substance. Posing as his brother, it was Daniel who appeared on the CCTV. Daniel and Emer took the body up the volcano, then waited outside until Victoria opened the door in the morning to greet Mayor Richards, moving out of sight before he saw them. The motive was that Mayor Richards need the observatory to sign off on the beach hotel planning permission. Stephen had refused to sign off on it, so he had enlisted Victoria's help in persuading him. She had then convinced the others to join her in the plan – Daniel through his drug habit, and by finding out about Emer's identity fraud. The three scientists are arrested for murder, and the Mayor as an accessory after the fact.

Commissioner Patterson arrives at the police station to congratulate Dwayne and JP. He also reveals he is aware of the article the previous day, but elects to forgive Dwayne as long as it never happens again. Humphrey and Martha finally kiss while drinking at Catherine's Bar.

Quotes Edit

Cast Edit

Guest Stars Edit

Music Played Edit

Gallery Edit

External Links Edit

Discussion Edit

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Death in Paradise
Series 6

Erupting in Murder
The Secret of the Flame Tree
The Impossible Murder
Stumped in Murder
Man Overboard - Part One
Man Overboard - Part Two
In the Footsteps of a Killer
Murder in the Polls

Series 1Series 2Series 3Series 4Series 5Series 6Series 7Series 8

Notes Edit

  1. BARB, 7 day data
  2. BARB, 28 day data