The Remorseful Day, by Colin Dexter

The final Inspector Morse book, but the first one I've read. The story concerns the investigation into the murder of a woman who'd apparently been killed and tied to her bed in a robbery or rape; the crime had been investigated previously but unsolved, and now is re-opened following some anonymous phone calls. Morse, who wasn't involved in the first investigation, is reluctanctly persuaded to get involved with this one. Although it's a crime book, it has more of the feel of an elegy, with Morse dying at the end of it.

I didn't really get on with this. The writing style is very long winded - Dexter doesn't seem to be capable of using one short word rather than five long ones. And I got fed up with the quotations - as well as about four at the start of the book, each chapter had began with one, and there were about eighty chapters. I think he must have written the thing with a thesaurus on one side of his desk and a dictionary of quotations on the other.

I don't know if the books are all like this, or whether the end of Morse's life made him particularly grumpy, but it was quite difficult to feel any empathy with him - he seemed so passionless. It's a cliche of this kind of novel that the detective has some kind of chaos in personal life which means that he views the crime with a kind of detachment, but Morse doesn't seem passionate about anything; he just appears to view the whole world with distaste. Even the classical music that he famously enjoys isn't described in a way that makes you feel it's special.

There was so much rambling description in the book that the key points about the crime weren't obvious to me - I think my attention wandered and I must have missed things, perhaps I should have been concentrating more. This wasn't helped by the fact that the CDs I had of the book skipped quite a bit (some people must have phenomenally dirty CD players, I can't imagine how they get the things scratched like this).


Completed : 11-Dec-2003 (audiobook)

[nickoh] [2003 books] [books homepage]