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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Morse does it again
"Service of All The Dead" brings Inspector Morse into the murder of a churchwarden where nothing is what it appears to be.
As usual Colin Dexter conjures up a magnificently twisting plot that starts out simply and revolves into another complex mystery that only Morse can solve.
Although the plot of the novel is quite complex, Dexter manages to ensure...
Published on 6 Sep 2000 by themarquisdecarabas

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2.0 out of 5 stars Poor read
It is a cliché to say the book is always better than the film or TV-series it inspired. Not here. But I must be cautious, because this is the first CD book (from 1979) I ever read about Inspector Morse, which also/even won the prestigious Silver Dagger award.
Enjoyed watching the quintessentially English TV-series about murders in Oxford, often at one its many...
Published 1 month ago by Alfred J. Kwak


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Morse does it again, 6 Sep 2000
"Service of All The Dead" brings Inspector Morse into the murder of a churchwarden where nothing is what it appears to be.
As usual Colin Dexter conjures up a magnificently twisting plot that starts out simply and revolves into another complex mystery that only Morse can solve.
Although the plot of the novel is quite complex, Dexter manages to ensure that the reader is not too confused and brings the action along at a speedy pace which encourages prolonged reading. The character of Morse shines through the novel in a way that it never does when watching the television version. There is a wealth of supporting characters with well plotted histories and one of the best aspects of a Dexter novel is seeing Morse discover their involvements with the central murder of the novel and this one is no exception. Their motivations are always believable, as are their characteristics.
The actual details of the how and the why are a little more obvious than usual in this particular novel, but there is still a great detective story at the heart of this novel.
"Service of All The Dead" is a solid detective novel with wit and thrills in abundance. Highly recommended, if not the best in the series of Morse novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can you keep a secret, Inspector ?, 21 Mar 2011
Colin Dexter was born in 1930 and, over the course of his writing career, has won CWA Gold Dagger and Silver Dagger awards. "Service of All the Dead" was first published in 1979 and is the fourth book to feature the famous Inspector Morse.

Morse's investigation centres on St Frideswide's Church, a historic church that proves popular with the tourists. It's a while before Morse makes his first appearance, with the early part of the book setting the scene and introducing the key players. The Reverend Lionel Lawson has been the church's vicar for around ten years, and is well educated - and pretty well-off - individual. There has been some speculation about the Vicar's personal life - some believe that one of Oxford's down-and-outs in his brother, while others gossip about his alleged sexual preferences. However, he does have a very healthy bank balance...although he has suspected for a while that someone has been helping themselves to the collection plate. When the book opens, he knows his suspicions are correct - and that the pilferer is Harry Josephs, the church's Warden.

Harry is an ex-soldier who joined the Civil Service after he left the forces. He'd been made redundant two years previously, and has since only briefly worked in a pharmacy. (His redundancy is something he's still a little bitter about). Harry's wife, Brenda, works as a nurse and he suspects - correctly - that she's having an affair with Paul Morris, the church's organist and a music teacher. Morris is a widower, and his son, Peter, sings in the church choir. He and Brenda have only been "together" for around three months, but he'd be very keen for Harry to conveniently disappear. (In fairness, Harry isn't exactly the innocent and wounded husband - he's been playing away from home with the church's cleaner, Ruth Rawlinson).

The book's opening section concludes in August, with the Rev. Lawson calling on Paul Morris; it then picks up again with Morse, the following April. In between times there have been two deaths at the church : Harry is dead, stabbed in the vestry and the Vicar subsequently threw himself to his death from the church's tower. Paul and Peter Morris have both left Oxford - very abruptly - and, oddly enough, so has Brenda Josephs. Despite being officially on holiday - never mind the fact that it was never his case to begin with - Morse starts poking about...

For me, this instalment is definitely better than the three previous books in the series : it has an interesting storylone and Dexter's writing has improved dramatically from "Last Bus to Woodstock". Morse's main hobbies remain drinking beer, listening to classical music and leering over the ladies - however, despite his occasional grumpiness, there's still something quite likeable about him. A quick and easy read overall.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Service of all the Dead - Colin Dexter, 30 Sep 2014
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Service of all the Dead (Inspector Morse) (Paperback)
I don't think I've read any of the Morse novels since The Remorseful Day in 1999. More than half my life ago. I saw an episode on TV and had a hankering to revisit them, so I picked this one up, as I remembered particularly grappling with it when younger, thinking I would get more out of it this time.

I certainly did - I remember being a bit puzzled by it the last time I read it, and certainly the solution is quite complex (I'm still not sure I'm absolutely clear on the motive for the first murder...), but I completely loved the experience of re-reading this. It was like returning to a favourite holiday destination after many years and finding it's still as beautiful as you remember. Dexter writes wonderfully slyly, and plots exceptionally well. The whole thing is gripping, mysterious, fun, witty, intelligent. Blah blah blah. I'm keen to re-read a few more, now.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Poor read, 10 Nov 2014
This review is from: Service of all the Dead (Inspector Morse) (Paperback)
It is a cliché to say the book is always better than the film or TV-series it inspired. Not here. But I must be cautious, because this is the first CD book (from 1979) I ever read about Inspector Morse, which also/even won the prestigious Silver Dagger award.
Enjoyed watching the quintessentially English TV-series about murders in Oxford, often at one its many colleges investigated by Inspector Morse and his assistant Lewis. They move about in Morse's red Jaguar and question in hallowed halls and studies full of books, their academic suspects. Breaks are used to drink inspirational pints of casket ale. Morse is single with an eye for feminine beauty, Lewis married with children. More than the crimes, the atmosphere of brilliant privilege and ancient surroundings made the series (and its sequel 'Lewis' and now its prequel `Endeavour' about Morse's early years as crime fighter) so successful abroad.
Found this book also very English, but not in a thrilling way. At times it reads like a primer on the Anglican faith and church, its rituals and cast of characters, their contumes and traditions.
A church in Oxford is the epicenter of a series of murders and disappearances, perhaps a suicide as well. As a police procedural, it is not good. There is no evidence of note-taking, report-writing or serious forensics. Rather, Colin Dexter taxes the reader with plenty of conjecture, arguments and red herrings. Also, it is hard to bond with anyone, except perhaps with the calculating wheelchair-bound mother of the woman who took Morse's fancy, Ruth, who only recently lost her virginity at the tender age of 42. A Victorian touch?
Finally, the dialogues are blandish and the book lacks urgency, irony or humor. It makes a dated, almost Victorian impression and I gave up 70 pages from the finish. But not before scanning the final page. Yes, Victorian is the word. Or Barbara Cartland? Will next choose a CD crime novel plotted amongst murderous professors to see if any more of his books are so badly composed, giving readers the idea they wasted their time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Service of all the Dead, 6 Jun 2012
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Really enjoyed the book. It was my first Colin Dexter and my first Kindle read..! The book has a good twist at the end. Problem I did find with the Kindle version was that the text had not been split into chapters 'electronically' so what is supposed to move from chapter to chapter takes you to the beginning or the end. But enjoyed the book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Light Read, 10 Dec 2014
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I read this out of curiosity (and attracted by the cheap price!). I'm not a regular reader of crime fiction, so I can't judge how it compares with others of the genre. As a novel, it was readable and engaging, though with minimal descriptions and stereotypical characterisation for the most part and, of course, a quite ludicrous plot. Certainly, it cuts it as an easy read. The set-up is familiar from Sherlock Holmes - the brilliant but flawed detective with his dumb but brave and faithful sidekick, the local police missing the clues and the Machiavellian villain.

And in its own terms, it manages to introduce the requisite number of false trails and red herrings to keep the 'whodunnit' guesswork going. I did manage to guess the outcome about two thirds through, but without really knowing why, and other possibilities were still open. Good fun is had by all.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Inferior Holmes and Watson, 21 Dec 2014
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I have only recently got round to reading the Morse books and I can't say I'm impressed.Each one, so far, including this one, has been rambling, tedious, repetitive and barely credible, with a tacked-on, unconvincing ending, as though the writer had run out of ideas. Unusually I find the TV adaptations superior to the feeble novels with their stereotypical caricatures and the TV plots, however modified, are far more engaging. Some might find the crude, dirty old man Morse of the novels a turn on and regard his vulgarity compensated for by his erudition. Just inferior Holmes and Watson stories.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Why such a complex plot!, 3 Mar 2014
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The main characters are the church, Morse and Lewis. All others described perform out of character behaviours, do not stand out from the page as memorable or believable and leave the reader not caring if they are murdered or the murderer. Also homophobic in parts.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tale!, 2 Feb 2014
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Love Inspector Morse books - Mr Dexter pens an excellent read! Thank you Mr Dexter for taking the time to produce such an excellent novel!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a disappointment, 22 Jan 2014
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I've been reading Morse post Christmas and have enjoyed the previous books. This one is less interesting with long and quite boring passages that almost convinced me to give up. The crimes were confusing and the explanation for them, given in long testimonies was tedious . There was less of Oxford and more of the church than I care for. The only good point really is the fact that Morse seemed willing to lie on oath which gives an interesting insight into his character.
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Service of all the Dead (Inspector Morse)
Service of all the Dead (Inspector Morse) by Colin Dexter (Paperback - 16 Mar 2007)
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