Top positive review
Inspector Morse Connect the Dots in This Complex Puzzle
on April 3, 2018
A party of 27 American tourists checks into the Randolph Hotel for a guided tour of Oxford in the following days. One of the party goes to her room for a nap and is found dead 45 minutes later. At the same time a jeweled archaeological artifact which she was conveying to the Ashmolean Museum has disappeared from her room. Is the cause of death simply a heart attack or is it a murder? And is the death connected to the theft?
Several days later a second body is retrieved from the river flowing through the University Parks, an Oxford professor who was to do an informative session with the group. In this case death appears to be a result of several blows to the head so it is highly likely a murder. Are the two cases linked? Thus begins one of the intricate puzzles for which the Inspector Morse series is famous.
“The Jewel That Was Ours” has a curious combination of humour and the seriousness which is usually associated with murder. The quirks, eccentricities and love affairs of the tourists, tour guides and the Oxford faculty who instruct them play out as comedy. As well the character of Inspector Morse himself, his verbal sparring with the forensic pathologist as to what he is able to say based on the evidence, and also the so-called Oxford Disease are quite humourus. Set as it is in Oxford, the novel is of course definitely cultured and civilized, including author Colin Dexter’s signature literary quotations and references to begin each chapter, and which somehow relate to the narrative of that chapter.
I found this combination of humour and crime somewhat distracting particularly during the first half of the book. It was like the author had not decided the identity of the book, or what genre it belonged to. However, as both genres are meant as entertainment, many readers will not be bothered by this ambiguity.