Most helpful positive review
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An Edit too Far
on 28 September 2014
Four stars mean that "I like it" and five mean that "I love it". Actually, I love it. Colin Dexter writes with the the superb English that one finds in the Sherlock Holmes and the Father Brown stories. I find myself going back to those occasionally, and re-reading simply to enjoy the wonderful language: good grammar, variety, and (something which Clive James pointed out in one of his celebrated reviews) sufficient description to enable the reader to exercise imagination and fill in the gaps; the gaps are necessary. This is the secret of involving the reader in the story. I shall be returning to Dexter's stories for the same reason.
And now to a fault with the story "Last Bus to Woodstock" in this edition of the book. What follows might be considered a spoiler, so be warned. It is a spoiler about something which has been spoiled(!), and I hope that the editor will correct it in future editions.
In chapter 15 of "Last Bus", Morse notices that the phrase "Yet it is not improbable" occurs in two documents that he has read. This is important to the plot. But, in the kindle edition, this litotic phrase has been rendered as "yet it is probable" in both those documents. This makes a nonsense of Morse's observation and denies the reader the chance of observing the repetition. it has been thus rendered, I would think, by a word processor offering a simpler syntax and by an editor accepting it. This is not something to be done lightly when producing editions of detective stories written by an author who is so interested in words as is Colin Dexter.
Editors, please take note.