Why would a sniper shoot suburban physiotherapist Rachel James as she sips her morning coffee? Inspector Morse's hunt for answers kicks off with a tabloid journalist, winds through the strip clubs of Soho, then returns to Oxford, where two senior dons and their wives battle for a plum promotion. Then, on the personal front, Inspector Morse receives intimations of his own mortality. And while Morse muses on life, he reveals his first name at last. . . . From the Paperback edition.
The latest Inspector Morse yarn from the redoubtable Dexter (The Way Through the Wood, etc.) might well be subtitled "Morse Meets C.P. Snow," because part of the plot-about the machinations at an Oxford college to succeed the retiring Master-owes a good deal to Snow's The Masters (Morse even mentions the book in his one-uppish way). There is, however, more than academic politics to this tale involving two murders on a quiet Oxford suburban street, one of which was apparently a case of mistaken identity, and an alibi created with truly fiendish ingenuity. As usual with a Morse mystery, the Inspector's offbeat personality and his odd relationship with his earnestly lowbrow sidekick, Sergeant Lewis, provide much of the pleasure; the plot is entirely workmanlike. Here Morse, who seems to be drinking more than ever, has a nasty diabetic episode, slows down for a while, has a gratifying flirtation that actually ends up in bed and is ultimately forced to pen a touching missive to Lewis that reveals, in that stiff-upper-lip British way, a degree of affection for the man. A treat for buffs, this is also a good introduction for newcomers to an addictive detective. Author tour. (Mar.) FYI: In March and April, PBS will air new Morse episodes on Mystery! During 1997, Ivy Books will reissue five Inspector Morse novels in paper. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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July 12, 2011
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