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4.4 out of 5 stars29
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 8 August 2000
The Wench is Dead is a great summertime read for those English history buffs. I learned about the book recently in a reader's letter to the editor of Smithsonian Mag. Smithsonian published a lively and informative article about the locks and canals of England, particularly the Oxford Canal, which figures significantly in The Wench is Dead. The letter writer suggested the book for further interesting reading. The clues to the mystery are tantalizing as are the foreshadowing of events and character development. I especially enjoyed the teaser clues that may or may not lead to anything, but that pique the reader's interest.
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on 19 February 2008
This is a well written, cleverly plotted book, which contains a story within a story. Morse, recovering from illness in hospital, is given a pamphlet describing the murder of a woman which took place on the Oxford canal in the nineteenth century. That pamphlet is set out in full, and is interesting in its own right; on finishing it, Morse is convinced that the accepted conclusion was incorrect, and that the wrong men were hanged for the crime. He decides to solve it himself.

Dexter keeps the two stories going superbly in a novel which fully deserved its Gold Dagger.
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on 4 May 2005
This is the best of Dexter and explains why Morse is so fascinating.Using the 1839 Murder of Chritine Collins he adapts the case to Oxford and places it in 1860 and then proceeds to 'solve' the case whilst convalescing .Excellent of its genre.Really good read to take on holiday.
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on 17 April 2016
I’m probably a little predisposed towards Colin Dexter, because I’ve read all of the Sherlock Holmes books and most of Agatha Christie’s back catalogue, and so this is the natural next step. The Wench is Dead is a little different to most of the other books, in that Morse is an invalid throughout. He got hospitalised for being a middle-aged pisshead.

Anyway, the actual mystery involved here begins to develop when Morse begins to read one of his fellow patients’ write-up of a century-old murder case. It turns out, he has a few doubts about whether the official version of events, which led to the execution of several men, was ever the case at all.

And so, in between reading ‘blue‘ novels when he thinks no-one is looking and trying to recover from his illness, Morse’s mind begins to unravel the problem like one of the crossword puzzles that he’s fond of.

This is one of the quickest Morse novels to read, and it was also a gripping story, and so it’s a pretty good introduction to his work. That said, I’m yet to read most of the rest of the rest of Dexter’s work, and I’m willing to bet that there’ll be a better introduction to his stuff in there somewhere. Bear with me while I look into that, for you.
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on 25 December 1999
This book is just one you can't put down. It's intriguing twists and turns, it's mixture of characters with secrets to hide and the fact that you travel back in time to the early 1900's, makes it well worth the read.
This book is about a Victorian lady who is murdered aboard a canal boat. As Morse lays in a hospital bed seriously ill, he is given a case that captures his inquisitive nature. Upon examining the police records of the arrest made, Morse discovers that a false arrest took place.
But just who committed the murder - if one took place at all? Murder, mystery, suspense, greed and the genre of the era - all add up to a riveting read. You will not be able to put this book down!
A simple must to read. By Sarah Clark.
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on 27 December 2011
This is the original and best exactly as the book. The TV version is awful, and the story is completely changed. This is as it should be faithful to the written word. Very good.
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on 26 October 2009
Brand new product (NOT a copy) and delivered super quick. Cracking tale and a bit different to the normal Morse stories. Very enjoyable yarn.
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on 16 April 2015
I loved this book. Uniquely the author takes us into the past and we gain an insight into the lifestyle of the boatmen on the canals in the Victorian era. The flashbacks to the past really work and Morse is at his very best, albeit immobile in a hospital bed, at asking the pertinent question. You really begin to care that the truth is found, a truth which is beautifully unravelled. Dexter gives the reader clues throughout and up until the last page the reader is not left disappointed.
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on 24 June 2013
This is my favourite Morse book, probably because I am a history lover. It starts with Morse confined to bed in hospital and with only the account of a 19th century Oxford murder to read he starts to see flaws in the guilty verdict and decides to solve the murder himself. It takes him to Ireland and Derby , he gets to grips with fly-boat timetables and the sizes of women a hundred years ago, and finally sees the solution in a crossword clue. I would recommend this to anyone who is intrigued by the past and likes detecting for themselves. A different Morse book because of the setting and time the murder was committed .
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on 1 December 2013
As with all the Morse books this one albeit a long time in the past still keeps you wanting to know more because of this I usually find that I have read the whole book in one sitting
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