Sunday, October 08, 2017

Service of All the Dead: Morse gets most of it right.

     Colin Dexter. Service of All the Dead (1979) The rector falls to his death from St Frideswide’s tower. Not too long before that, the church warden was murdered. The cursory investigation concludes that the rector murdered the warden, then repented and killed himself. Morse doesn’t buy it, and sets off on one of his typically convoluted and hare-brained searches for the truth. The case ends when the body count reaches 5, and Morse interrupts the murderer’s attempt to raise it to 6. Morse gets most of case right, carefully hides part of it from the perjury trial of one of the witnesses, and never finds the final clue that lets the reader know the complete solution.
     A typical Dexter, with a good puzzle, soft and not so soft porn tossed in, careful descriptions of Oxford, and better than average characterisation and ambience. But Dexter has an irritating habit of the “little did he know” tip-off to the reader, along with the knowing wink about somebody’s peccadilloes. A good enough read, but the TV series is much better. **½

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