Morse: the End,
This review is from: The Remorseful Day (Inspector Morse) (Hardcover)
Chief Inspector Morse, the archetypal curmudgeonly detective, music lover, functioning alcoholic who rarely buys a round, despiser of physical exercise, incurable romantic, and a constant irritant to his superiors, solves his last case in this novel by his typically unorthodox methods. It is a murder committed a year ago and initially investigated by Morse's superior, Chief Superintendent Strange, but still unsolved. Strange reopens the investigation when he receives a letter about the case saying that a prisoner due to be released `should be watched'. Morse is initially very reluctant to take the case, something that intrigues Morse's assistant, Sergeant Lewis, but has no choice when the man is murdered soon after he leaves prison, and this is followed shortly afterwards by the murder of someone else who was also a suspect at the time of the original investigation. As usual, Morse starts by getting some things wrong, while at the same time stubbornly holding to his main deductions, despite strong evidence to the contrary. Eventually his conclusions about the murders are of course proved right, although too late for Morse. Only in the final few pages is the explanation of why Morse was reluctant to take the case revealed to Lewis by Strange, and a new light is thereby shed on Morse's character.
This is a typical Morse novel (apart from the fate of Morse!), and none the worse for that. There is the usual sparring between Morse and Lewis about the minutiae of grammar and other pedantic matters, interwoven with the patient methodic detective work of Lewis and the quixotic leaps of the imagination of Morse, the latter leading to several false trails. The interaction of both with the other characters, such as Strange, the pub landlord, and the family of the murdered woman are well described, believable and not without humour. The format, many very short chapters, may not be to everyone's liking, but I found it increased the pace. Perhaps the final solution is a little too drawn out, but clever nonetheless. This may not be the best of the Morse novels, but still well worth reading.
It was pleasing that Morse's last case is published in a fine format that I am sure he would have approved - good quality paper, clear font, interesting quotations at the head of chapters, and even an integral fabric bookmark.