Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Way Through the Woods

What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of The Way Through the Woods (Fawcett, 1994).

This one isn't merely masterful, it's incredibly fun. One of the recurring tropes in PD James's novels is that Commander Adam Dalgliesh repeatedly stumbles into a murder when he's meant to be on holiday. In Colin Dexter's The Way Through the Woods, the author playfully subverts that convention. Here, Chief Inspector Morse insists that while he's on vacation, he will not interfere with a police investigation of a missing woman, and flatly refuses to come back from his furlough early. Yet he does contribute to the case, in a gleefully amusing way...

Huge fun from start to finish, and with a confident use of cerebral ratiocenation and crossword clues, this is further evidence that Morse, in the 1990s, was a much more interesting character than the one who begun this series. Recommended.

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