Friday, September 25, 2015

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse - Inspector Morse: The First Three Novels

Welcome to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, whereby we gather once a month to discuss our thoughts about the books we've read over the previous month.

This month I actually read two whole books! I say that with a touch of sarcasm since I have been a horrible reader this year but whatever. Anyway, this month, I bought for my kindle the first three Inspector Morse books.

Ordinarily, I don't read mysteries much, but for some reason I had a hankering (okay, so maybe I had a little idea for a mystery of my own and in searching for a name for my Chief Inspector of the Arcane Crimes Unit I came across the name of Morse, which led me to Inspector Morse - a show based on the books by Colin Dexter. It also occurred to me that maybe reading a mystery or two would be a good idea if I planned on writing one). After buying I immediately read the first two books: Last Bus to Woodstock and Last Seen Wearing.

The first book centers on the murder of Sylvia Kaye who was last seen hitching a ride with another girl. Morse is sure the other hitchhiker can tell him much of what he needs to know. But his confidence is shaken by the cool inscrutability of the girl he's certain was Sylvia's companion on that ill-fated September evening.

The second book centers on the investigation of  Valerie Taylor who has been missing since she was seventeen, more than two years ago. Inspector Morse believes she's dead. But if so, who forged the letter to her parents saying "I am alright so don't worry"? Never has a woman provided Morse with such a challenge, for each time the pieces of the jigsaw start falling into place, someone scatters them again.

I stayed up past my bed time reading both books but I definitely enjoyed the second one better. There were so many twists and turns in that investigation and the ending was quite surprising. I also found Inspector Morse an interesting if not always entirely likable character (he can be very short with his partner, Lewis and good lord he drinks too much - on the job!). But he's very persistent and he has this sixth sense about things being off. This doesn't always lead him to the correct conclusion right off, which means we get to follow him around while he follows the clues and his own false assumptions.

If you like mysteries you might like these books though keep in mind they're a bit dated - 1976. I think I might check out the show, too, which apparently a lot of people like.

Have you read any of the Inspector Morse books? Watched the show? Like mysteries?

Have a great weekend all and I'll be back on Monday with news :)


  1. Sounds like a good series. I wouldn't even mind the mid seventies setting. Would bring back memories.
    Can't wait to hear the news!

  2. I've seen the series advertised on Netflix. Might have to check it out. I like police mysteries.

  3. I do read mysteries. And prefer ones with flawed (but so very human) detectives. It is a while since I have read Inspector Morse.
    News? Looking forward to hearing it.

  4. I don't care much for mysteries, but those sound good. I've heard of the show but haven't watched it.


  5. I do enjoy mysteries--but not ones that I have no hope of solving....
    Nope, haven't read these, nor have I seen the shows, but I've heard of the books--they're just outside of my genre.

    Have you considered reading more contemporary mysteries? That might be in order if you want to write for today's market.

    Still, fun trip down memory lane.

  6. No, I've never heard of Inspector Morse, but I've heard of the show. And the books, I think. I do like the occasional mystery. I went through a Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie phase in my 20s.

  7. I am not a huge mystery reader, but every once in a while, I step in. On my list...

  8. Love mysteries. Love them all !
    I have enjoyed the Inspector Morse PBS series.
    Yes, sometimes you just want to throttle him and he doesn't always have the answer but that is what makes this series so different.
    And yes he drinks too much.

    cheers, parsnip

  9. I have not read the books but I've seen the show. My wife is into mysteries. Lord Peter Wimsey (sp?) is her current guy.


If you're interested in my blog I'm interested in your comments.