The Way Through the Woods Hardcover – 1 Apr 1993
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'Quietly, rather movingly, Strange was making his plea: "Christ knows why, Lewis, but Morse will always put himself out for you". As he put the phone down, Lewis knew that Strange had been right... in the case of the Swedish Maiden, the pair of them were back in business' --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
'Morse's wickedest, twistiest case . . . prepare for last gasps of outraged admiration' Sunday Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product description
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Morse sees the letters and is, of course, intrigued. Back from vacation, he manages to get assigned to the case along with his faithful sergeant, Lewis. From the clues in the paper, Morse determines where the body must be. Sure enough, searchers find the remains of a body but from that point on, things become even more baffling than they were before.
It soon appears that Ms. Erikksson was very short of cash and may have been willing to make some compromises in order to get some money. Morse discovers a cast of creepy characters who may have been involved in her disappearance and slowly sorts things out to a startling conclusion.
This is one of the better books in this series, and Morse continues to be a very appealing protagonist, especially when he's got a pint in his hand and his thinking cap on. As usually happens, there's a randy woman or two who will come his way, brightening his day and the reader's as well. Fans of the series will not want to miss this one.
On holiday in Lyme Regis [despite his thinking that a ‘A perpetual holiday is a good working definition of Hell’ he is enjoying visiting locations associated with Thomas Hardy and Coleridge], Morse reads an article in the Times about Karin Eriksson, a Swedish hitch-hiker, who disappeared a year ago. It contains a poem sent to the editor that, it is assumed, provides clues to the young woman’s fate. Over the course of the next few weeks it spurs readers to write letters suggesting places where her body may be found.
Initially Morse’s interest in the correspondence is shared with his attraction to a woman he meets in the hotel but the former takes over when Morse is given responsibility for reinvestigating the ‘Swedish Maiden’ case. Soon a long buried body is uncovered. However, this is not the last he sees of this woman.
Opinions within the Thames Valley police are divided about whether the body may be buried on the vast Blenheim Estate or in Wytham Woods, Morse’s thinking. This book was published in 1992, and with hindsight, Dexter’s rather two-dimensional characterisation of women is even more apparent. Here the plot revolves around pornography and the men in the book, excepting Lewis, seem to regard any woman as fair game whilst the women, whatever their profession, seem disappointed when men do not pursue them. This extends to one character who initially takes umbrage ‘I am not your "dear". You must forgive me for being so blunt: but I'm no one's "luv" or "dear" or "darling" or "sweetheart". I've got a name.’
Gradually the author builds up a series of convoluted sub-plots that involve Oxford academics, birdwatchers and rangers, models, leering men and the Mikado. Before the book ends much guilt is expressed [not all believable], tears shed, a suicide, a murder and the identity of the writer to the newspaper is revealed. There are also the usual unresolved relationships that help to weld individual books into a very impressive series.
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