It is astonishingly difficult not to be influenced by 'Morse' when reading these novels. One cannot help making comparisons. Morse is snappy,conceited,more self-obsessed than truly arrogant, smokes, letches and borderline alcoholic. Yet give him real-ale, Opera, the Times Crossword and an Oxford education and lo we have our hero. Frankly, Lewis is little more than a blank sheet of paper.
The seemingly simple plot about a missing girl doesn't convince and there are more coincidences than you can shake a stick at. What is even more surprising is that Morse gets the investigation wrong so many times that he would be sacked for incompetence in any other walk of life.
The real denouement is actually given some way from the end but the book then lurches along looking for a big finish - even resorting to the use of an epilogue. It is however well-written with short punchy chapters and does feel like a novel upon which a series was based rather than a film script.
For all its flaws it does read well (we all love Morse!) but it does rather stumble over the finishing line.