[I’m going to start reading an Inspector Morse mystery tomorrow. I’m getting bored with the monotony that comes with being stuck inside.]
I first read an Inspector Morse mystery not too long ago – maybe a couple of years ago – although my dad had got me two Morse books from his trip to Mauritius way back in 2013. I’m not really sure why I did not get to reading them sooner. I think it was probably because the covers looked boring to me at the time, the synopses on the back of the books did not pique my interest, I had never heard of Colin Dexter, and I was in a fast-paced-thrillers-only phase. Now that I’ve read both the books though, the covers seem so interesting (photos at the bottom). I love how serene and mysterious they look. And now I find myself scouring Amazon for the rest of the books from that edition, to complete the set with the style of covers I did not like before. How ironic.
Anyway, Inspector Morse is an old-ish police detective solving crimes in 1970s Oxford. 1970s Oxford is beautiful – wet, soggy and foggy, gray and dreamy. Forest-y with lots of tall trees and not-too-large groups of houses that break up the forest. Misty roads. It’s a very atmospheric setting and I love it for that.
Inspector Morse is one hell of a protagonist, too. He’s old, but he has a charm and charisma that makes him a very intriguing character. He listens to classical music and 1920s, 1950s old songs on vinyl (I know vinyl is not a big deal and they just didn’t have many options back then, but the whole bygone-era oldness of vinyl records is just beautifully seductive), he drinks like an Englishman, he has romantic encounters, he can be eccentric and grumpy; all this in addition to his already unusual life as a detective.
The stories themselves are great, too. The plotlines are not too fast-paced, and other things happen in between the story – which lets you to get to know Morse on a personal level and actually connect with the character. I love how well Dexter describes the beautiful, hauntingly dreamy places and locations. You cannot help but get lost in them, long to be in them, and fall in love with them for a bit. The style of writing is just beautiful. I love the last-century calm English oldness of the language. It’s no fluff, no bullshit, plain good writing that you’ll love to read.
I’m picking up the first book in the series tomorrow, Last Bus to Woodstock. The ones I read (and loved) are The Way Through the Woods, and Service of All the Dead.