Customer Review

27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dexter continues his Morse code!, 2 Mar 2002
This review is from: The Riddle of the Third Mile (Pan Crime) (Inspector Morse Mysteries) (Paperback)
It's certainly a crime of the most perplexing sort--so perplexing (and convoluted) that it
would take an Inspector Morse to separate the "facts" from "fiction"! In Colin Dexter's
Morse novel, one of a long series, the erswhile policeman finds himself "drowning" in a sea of clues,
lies, innuendos, red herrings.
A dismembered body is fished out of the Oxford Canal--only the torso remains and
Morse and Sergeant Lewis are up to the challenge. As if often the case, Oxford
University is involved. A don has disappeared, leaving about a plethora of clues. It's the
long and winding road down the halls of academe for the Thames Valley police and the
trail bounces back and forth to London and some of its seedier spots.
The scenario seems set with an opening scene out of World War II, when the
Gilbert brothers (local boys from the Oxford area) face the horrors of the battle of El
Alamein, the youngest of the three dieing. The company commander, a Lt. Browne-Smith
just happens now to be a don in question at Oxford.
Dexter pulls on punches as he permits Morse and Lewis to take on this
bizarre--certainly macabre--case. With his usual erudite style, the author's clever, at times
witty and ascerbic, plot and character development takes the reader for a great ride (and
read). Written in 1983, long before, one presumes, Dexter had envisioned Morse's demise
("The Remorseful Day"), "The Riddle of the Third Mile" is carefully orchestrated, with
the climactic results rushing in with a top crescendo! (The reader must be a bit careful as
the facts and events come almost as an onslaught!) The tone of this episode, despite its
shocking crime scenario, is one of greater levity than some of his later books ("The Wench
Is Dead," for instance),but it was written some 15 years before "Remorseful Day," and the
tone and atmosphere are naturally different. This one gives additional insight into Morse's
earlier (younger) days, of his stepping down from Oxford and of the first love of his life
(Morse is ever the eternal optimist when it comes to beautiful women!). Dexter also fills
this one with his usual literary allusions, clever references, and an incredible vocabulary
(probably only equated by Dame P.D. James or William Buckley, themselves!).
I found this one probably to be the most delightful and intriguing of the Morse series,
perhaps because of the levity he chooses to exhibit. Regardless, readers of the Morse code
will find this episode in fine keeping with the others. A good read!
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