Force on the Case !,
This review is from: The Dead of Jericho (Inspector Morse) (Paperback)
Colin Dexter was born in 1930 and, over the course of his writing career, has won CWA Gold Dagger and Silver Dagger awards. "The Dead of Jericho" was first published in 1981 and is the fifth book to feature the famous Inspector Morse.
"The Dead of Jericho" opens with Morse at a party. Not only is the thirsty lothario making the most of the hospitality, he's also trying it on with a significantly younger lady called Anne Scott. Presumably stuck for company, Anne quite happily chats to him for the rest of the evening and even suggests he calls to see her at some point. Unfortunately, Morse's evening is cut short with a phone call from Lewis and - suspecting a husband stashed away somewhere - takes six months to actually make it to Anne's house. Although someone appears to be in the house, nobody answers when he calls round...so he takes the hint and leaves. He's back that evening though, when news breaks that Anne has apparently killed herself - the news leaves Morse feeling a little suspicious and badly regretting a missed opportunity. His presence is only marginally official, given that DI Bell is in charge of the investigation. Of course, that isn't likely to stop Morse unofficially sticking his nose in.
I had hoped "Service of All the Dead"- the fourth Morse book - had seen the series finally hit its stride. Unfortunately not. While much is made of Morse's genius and his refined tastes, he seems to spend most of his time leering over the ladies and drinking prodigious amounts of beer. (It's well beyond the book's halfway point before Morse officially takes over the investigation and he barely seems capable of turning up for work sober. Five books into the series and it's become very easy to see how Armstrong and Miller came up with Jack Force). Dexter's writing is occasionally difficult to take seriously too : "He was drinking too heavily, he was smoking too addictively, fornicating far too frequently...Oh God, how he hated himself occasionally !" (Steady on, old chap. Next thing you'll be telling us that Oxford's schoolboys can call into a backstreet pub for a lunchtime pint and a spot of go-go dancing). Easily enough read overall, but it really isn't that difficult to find something a good deal better.