The Wench is Dead (Inspector Morse Mysteries) Paperback – 16 Mar 2007
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Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel – ‘Dextrously ingenious’ Guardian
From the Back Cover
That night he dreamed in Technicolor. He saw the ochre-skinned, scantily clad siren in her black, arrowed stockings. And in Morse's muddled computer of a mind, that siren took the name of one Joanna Franks . . .
The body of Joanna Franks was found at Duke's Cut on the Oxford Canal at about 5.30 a.m. on Wednesday 22 June 1859.
At around 10.15 a.m. on a Saturday morning in 1989, the body of Chief Inspector Morse - though very much alive - was removed to Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital. Treatment for a perforated ulcer was later pronounced successful.
As Morse begins his recovery, he comes across an account of the investigation and trial that followed Joanna Franks' death, and soon becomes convinced that the two men hanged for her murder were innocent . . .
Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger award for Best Crime Novel of the Year
'Dexterously ingenious' Guardian
'Morse solves a 130-year-old mystery in delightful style' Mail on Sunday--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Dexter keeps the two stories going superbly in a novel which fully deserved its Gold Dagger.
For most of the story Morse is to be found in hospital with a perforated ulcer and an enlarged liver, and it is there that he comes across a short history of a 19th-century killing, ‘Murder on the Oxford Canal’. Dexter’s story is based on a real case but here the victim is Joanne Franks, found dead in the Oxford Canal in June 1859. At first Morse reads the story simply to pass the time but soon finds himself doubting the jury’s verdict which led to two bargemen being hanged and one transported.
Helped by DS Lewis and a librarian from the Bodlean Library who was visiting the ward to see her father, Morse investigates this earlier case within the familiar structure of Dexter’s stories – short chapters introduced by a relevant quotation, references to crossword puzzles, obscure words, Morse’s love of music and poetry, and his concern for correct punctuation and spelling. There are also the swarm of women, mainly nurses, who seem to be attracted to the middle-aged, balding and somewhat overweight policeman. Morse is frequently short-tempered and it is Lewis who generally suffers. However, Dexter makes the detective’s guilt and regret very clear whilst the positive effect on Lewis of a gruff muttered apology is electric.Read more ›
Anyway, the actual mystery involved here begins to develop when Morse begins to read one of his fellow patients’ write-up of a century-old murder case. It turns out, he has a few doubts about whether the official version of events, which led to the execution of several men, was ever the case at all.
And so, in between reading ‘blue‘ novels when he thinks no-one is looking and trying to recover from his illness, Morse’s mind begins to unravel the problem like one of the crossword puzzles that he’s fond of.
This is one of the quickest Morse novels to read, and it was also a gripping story, and so it’s a pretty good introduction to his work. That said, I’m yet to read most of the rest of the rest of Dexter’s work, and I’m willing to bet that there’ll be a better introduction to his stuff in there somewhere. Bear with me while I look into that, for you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Morse solving an historical case - very different, but one of Dexter's best.Published 9 months ago by John E Hiley
Morse. A great read. I'm a huge fan and will continue to read and re-read again and again.Published 11 months ago by SusanP
Was received very quickly. I have played it several times and enjoyed it very muchPublished 11 months ago by Isobel Sinden