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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2009
For Oxford, the arrival of 27 American tourists is nothing out of the ordinary ... until one of their number is found dead in Room 310 of the Randolph Hotel. It looks like a sudden - and tragic - accident. Only Chief Inspector Morse appears not to overlook the simultaneous theft of a jewel-encrusted antique from the victim's handbag. Then, two days later, a naked and battered corpse is dragged from the River Cherwell. A coincidence? Maybe. But this time Morse is determined to prove the link ... .

That's the book in a nutshell and I am not giving anything away here because this is what it says on the back of the book. You can read it before you read the book.

Even though one can rather quickly establish an idea why the old lady is dead and who stole the antique and who might have done her in, all this does not seem to be important to Chief Inspector Morse. He completely ignores the old lady and her jewel and concentrates solely on the other corpse. In the end, he solves that murder and it does make sense in a way. He also solves the death of the old lady and the possible whereabouts of the antique, but these really do appear as an unimportant side-affair.

What I didn't particularly like about the book is that because of so many people involved - some of whom entertain rather interesting relationships amongst themselves - there are too many potential plots, which made it rather difficult for me to figure out what is happening. And because of that I found it almost impossible to follow Inspector Morse's train of thought. If it wasn't for his great reckoning at the end of the book, I would be left in the middle of nowhere.

On a positive note, the title of the book is excellent. The reader may have an idea what is meant by `The Jewel' but towards the end of the book it becomes quite clear that there is more than one possibility.

If you are new to Colin Dexter I would recommend one of his earlier books to begin with instead because this one might put you off Colin Dexter altogether. And that would be a shame.
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Featuring a large assortment of characters, most of them Americans on a tour of England, the ninth Inspector Morse mystery is heavy on details and complications and more difficult to follow than most other mysteries in this series. Laura Stratton is on the trip to donate the priceless, bejeweled Wolvercote Tongue to the Ashmolean Museum, which already has the ancient Wolvercote Buckle to which it belongs. Laura's death in her bathroom, the theft of the treasure, the subsequent murder of museum curator Dr. Theodore Kemp, a suicide, and a pedestrian accident in which a woman on the tour is run down by a car provide more than enough turmoil and mystery to keep Inspector Morse, his trusty Sgt. Lewis, and the local police force busy, full-time.

Morse must decide whether these events are all related and, if they are, if one person is responsible for all the mayhem. Because of the large cast of characters, there is little opportunity for individual character development, making it more difficult than usual to keep track of the many characters. In addition, some of the tourists, tour agency employees, and Oxford lecturers are having relationships with each other, further complicating the stories. All the characters have alibis. Many will vouch for each other, and those who appear guilty of some parts of a crime could not possibly have committed other parts of the same crime.

As Morse becomes frustrated by the complexities, many readers will also become frustrated--with the undeveloped characters, the red herrings, and lack of linear progression in the cases. In the conclusion, Morse draws the tour group together and outlines his case, step by step, telling them (and the reader)about what has happened, instead of showing the action while it is happening. Though Morse solves the case(s), the author keeps the reader at arm's length and prevents him/her from being part of the excitement as the mysteries are solved.

Because the development of Morse's character and relationship with Lewis, usually a high point in these novels, is sacrificed to the complexities of the cases, readers new to the series will gain little understanding of these two men and how they work together and apart. One of the most complex novels in the Inspector Morse series, The Jewel That Was Ours is filled with a large number of seemingly interchangeable characters, all of whom have unlimited potential for evil in a plot overly filled with red herrings.
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on 5 March 2015
Like all the Morse books this is an excellent and very enjoyable read. However, it is somewhat spoilt by "facsimile" copies of handwritten notes at several points in the text which simply do not work at all on a Kindle. These notes and letters may add to the dramatic effect in a printed text, but are shown in such microscopic form on the Kindle that they are illegible, unless you have a magnifying glass to hand, and even then it's difficult. What a shame, and surely something that could be easily rectified by reproducing those passages as text instead. Come on Amazon, this shouldn't be beyond your capabilities!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2010
Brilliant story by Colin Dexter fantasically read by Kevin Whately. Loved it. Wish it was longer! :-)
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on 4 June 2013
The usual morse books promise eat deduction and good thinking and some credible situations. This one however, was a bit Chrstie-esque, with a coach load of Americans and a gathering and show-style explanation at the end. Still a good read, but not up to the plots of others
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on 16 March 2015
I never did see any Inspector Morse on the TV, so I'm coming to the Colin Dexter stories from the other direction. They are very good. Sometimes a little confusing, but they will make me watch the TV series as a critic. Will I enjoy them as much as the books?
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on 23 January 2015
Today this seems a familiar story since the plot is almost echoed in the TV episode made from the book. But the original Morse books remain stimulating to read and the dialog is lively and fascinating.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 1999
Having read the other review I don't agree that the plots confusing. The characters are well introduced, though he cheats a bit toward the end in dragging us toward the convuluted conclusion. Nice interplay with Morse and Lewis, more of the (slightly unbelievable) irresistible sexual allure of Morse - and Dexter obviously testing our grammatical accuracy (becomes distracting). Other than that excellent Sunday afternoon reading - pour yourself a wine, the number of references to drink in the book it's almost compulsory.
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on 16 June 2013
Colin Dexter deserves all of the awards he received for his creation. Morse is such a complex character that it becomes fun to reread them an concentrate on his development.
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on 6 November 2014
I really enjoy this authors books, his (inspector Morse) collection is gripping and very good to read. If you like the Murder mysteries I would recommend.
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