Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Last bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter

A beautiful, young blonde is found raped and murdered outside a bar in Woodstock. It is discovered that the victim and a friend had earlier hitched hike to the bar in Woodstock in a red car. but neither her friend nor the
person who gave the ride are to be found, and with no witnesses to the crime The murder in Woodstock becomes an enigma.

The case is handled by the eccentric Inspector Morse and the scrupulous Sergeant Lewis. The two work meticulously to uncover modicum clues and secrets and found out that the murder could have been committed by a perverted voyeur, a cheating husband, a depressed house wife or even by one of the staff at the office where she worked.

After hearing a lot about Inspector Morse and the writing prowess of Colin Dexter, I decided to give this one a try and I chose the first book in the series. There are in total 13 books in the Inspector Morse series and a very popular and successful TV show which its acolytes swear by.

How did I find the book?

Not as good as the hype. Critics have called it the rebirth of the English Detective. I can't help but I have to disagree. Don't get me wrong the book is very eloquently written, the identity of the murderer is very hard to figure out and comes as a complete surprise, and the Detective Morse he is unlike HM or Poirot, with Morse you know what he is thinking and what he is doing. He does not irritate you like the supercilious detectives of the past with their clandestine deductions and ideas, Morse shares his thoughts with the reader and keeps on feeding you double cheese burgers and not morsels. I especially enjoyed the part about Morse Deciphering a hidden message in a letter; that was very clever.

so where did the book failed? first and foremost the mystery itself, it is such a prosaic mystery. It is so based on how a real life murder would be. Please tell me where is the ambiance of a cozy mystery with the least likely suspect like a Christie or the conundrum of a locked room like a Carr. The book I felt was somehow like the daily rigmarole of the police in solving a crime. Add to that the conspicuous  promiscuousness of the various characters involved and you get another reason to relate the book to daily life where sex is almost always the reason for all crimes and malevolence. For me reading books is a way to get away from the mundane and boring sources of entertainment. I like to be fascinated, surprised  and perplexed when it comes to books or any sort of entertainment anything but the ordinary for me, not infidelities of bored married men.

sorry for my rant but I can also say that I totally understand why people love this novel maybe it's not up my alley but is something which a lot of people would enjoy as it is very well written, has interesting characters and a fine mystery. who knows maybe I will go back to the series one day. and yeah oh by the way I hate the book cover.

Where can you buy it: flipkart dude, its around 280.

Morse's Debut gets 3 stars, watch out for the 25th post on my humble little blog soon.

Submitted this as part of the


  1. Yeah...that's not the best cover in the world. Earlier editions have had much better cover art. I'd also have to say that this isn't one of my favorite books by Dexter. I like The Riddle of the Third Mile and The Wench Is Dead much better.

    I enjoyed your review very much. Maybe you'll find another Dexter novel that you like better.

    And, I'm sorry to have to say...but the original copyright date for this is 1975--to count for the Vintage Mystery Challenge, books must have been written before 1960. An arbitrary date on my part, but it is definitely the cut-off. So, I'm afraid I'm going to have to remove your review from the Vintage review posts.

  2. oh thanks for pointing that out Bev, apologies for the inconvenience. I'll make sure that I don't mess up again.


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