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Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other Stories Paperback – Mar 16 2007
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About the Author
Colin Dexter has won many awards for his novels including the CWA Gold Dagger and Silver Dagger awards. In 1997 he was presented with the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for outstanding services to crime literature. Colin's thirteenth and final Inspector Morse novel, The Remorseful Day, was published in 1999. He lives in Oxford.
Here are 10 short mysteries solved by Inspector Morse and several other top-notch sleuths, including Sherlock Holmes. The smooth narration by James Nelson keeps listeners awaiting further deductions and surprising conclusions. Nelson shifts from British to Scottish to quasi-American accents seamlessly (although the American accents slip from time to time). His slow cadence provides time for listeners to try to solve the mysteries before Inspector Morse does. Engrossing till the last, the performance is marred only by bleed-through recording ghosts on several of the tapes. M.B.K. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Each of the stories begins with a famous and familiar quotation, is a very quick, enjoyable read, and displays a series of twists demonstrating the quick wit of a criminal or the inscrutable logic of Morse. Morse's Greatest Mystery begins with a quote from A Christmas Carol because this investigation is one where Detective Sergeant Lewis is feeling that Morse is giving a good impression of Scrooge. When he picks him up early one Tuesday morning before Christmas, Morse is arguing on the phone with the bank manager, quibbling over a minor charge. Listening to his boss's ill tempter, Lewis is moved to comment that Morse "sound[s] more like Scrooge every minute".
Lewis was starting to become irritated with Morse's cheapness, the expectation that he would have to treat Morse to a pint or two, and the fact that, since Morse's old Jag was in the shop again, Lewis would have to "ferry him around" all day. Once in the car, Lewis brought Morse up-to-date on the events of the previous day at the George, a pub run by Mrs. Michaels and her husband. It seemed that the patrons had been collecting for the Littlemore Charity for Mentally Handicapped Children as a Christmas gesture and had raised £400. Rather than presenting a "phonily magnified cheque", Mrs. Michaels had opted for genuine notes and had brought them home from the bank in a "long white envelope tucked into her shopping bag along with her morning's purchases". Hearing the phone as she entered the pub, she "had dumped her bag on the counter and rushed to answer it".Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Overall not a stellar collection, but easily an enjoyable lazy afternoon's read.
With the exceptions of "Evans Tries an O-Level" (1977; Macavity Award, 1996), "At the Lulu-Bar Motel" (1981), and "A Case of Mis-Identity" (1989), I've basically been unable to discover dates of earlier publication for these stories. ("Morse's Greatest Mystery" was included in a 1992 mystery anthology I own, but its original date was not listed by its editor.)
Essentially this book contains four kinds of stories: four Puzzle Stories, where the reader gets to match wits with a detective and the author; five Premise Stories, each built around some unusual "What if--?" idea which is disclosed, usually at the end; one Parody; and one Ironic Successful-Adventure Story.
In my judgment, the BEST story in this collection was the wonderful PARODY of Sherlock Holmes, Mycroft Holmes, and Doctor Watson, titled "A Case of Mis-Identity." (Anyone reading it with the mistaken assumption it's a PASTICHE will probably find it very unsatisfying.)
The WORST story is the first one: "As Good as Gold." It is the Ironic Successful-Adventure Story, where far-fetched coincidences abound and SHEER LUCK is the sole bacon-and-face-saving factor at the end. It is almost as if Colin Dexter had decided to write a cruel Parody about Inspector Morse and Sergeant Lewis, showing them capable of despicable evidence-tampering. Morally speaking, I found this story deeply disturbing and disappointing, despite its numerous "clever" touches in construction.
One further story of special note is "At the Lulu-Bar Motel," which is the only "modern" story told in the first-person AND the only story set in the United States. It has, like most of the stories in this book, a Triple-Twist Plot.
While reading these eleven stories, I assigned letter grades to each of them. In my judgment, three deserved an "A", six deserved a "B", one deserved a "C", and one deserved an "F"; averaging these grades (if that seems a fair thing to do) provides this collection with an overall solid "B" grade.