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THE REMORSEFUL DAY
By Colin Dexter
Crown, February, 2000 (HC)
Pan (Canadian), 2000 (pbk) $10.99 (Canadian)
Reviewed by Cherie Jung
This is the final Inspector Morse novel. It says so on the front cover of the book. And I have no reason to doubt the author. In an interview I had with him several years ago, he said he was tired of writing the series and wanted to spend more time gardening. He said he felt the passing years more accutely than he had before and traveling to promote books was an exhausting task. Over drinks in the hotel pub, the author mentioned that he would write only one or two more Morse books and at that time, the author wasn't sure if he would reveal Morse's given name or not. For followers of the series, that mystery has been revealed. And now we have one last case for Morse. Both the author and the Chief Inspector are nearing retirement age, afterall.
For the most part, I have enjoyed the series, with an occasional book or two that I didn't enjoy as much as the others. THE REMORSEFUL DAY is one of those books that left me unsatisfied, in terms of the crime and the storytelling. Over the years I have come to love the characters of Chief Inspector Morse and Sgt. Lewis and willingly cut the author some slack for not always having the most interesting of crimes for the two to unravel since it was a joy just to be back with old friends. I've become used to Morse's idiosyncracies and enjoy the crosswords, classical music, and the way he usually gets Lewis to pay for their liquid refreshments. I've even gotten used to the author's use (or over use, as some think) of parentheticals within the text. However, this time, I found the author's frequent--too frequent, if you ask me--intrusions into the text to be extremely annoying. I wanted to spend my time, engrossed in the book with Morse and Lewis, not being constantly reminded by Dexter that he was in control of the words on the page and that this was just a book and he could interrupt it anytime he wished to.
Of course fans of the series will devour this book but readers new to the series should start with the earlier books and save this one for last.
I wish the author were younger so there would be more time for more Morse stories. I also wish there were more untold crimes in the files of Chief Inspector Morse and Sgt. Lewis. I shall miss them both.
Other titles reviewed in this series include: THE SECRET OF ANNEXE 3 and DEATH IS NOW MY NEIGHBOR .
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