The first episode of Morse aired in January 1987. To celebrate thirty years of this iconic TV series, Macmillan Collector's Library have released a lovely pocket size version of Dexter's Gold Dagger winning novel. It has been about twenty-five years since I read this book, but remembered the plot. However, not having read a Morse for some years now, it was wonderful to remember why this series was so attractive to millions of readers.
I had forgotten the humour that Dexter sprinkles throughout his story and the dry humour from Morse himself and his superior, the long suffering Chief Superintendent Strange. It also reminded me that Morse was a bit of a Lothario in his way, who always managed to attract the wrong type of woman and was somewhat obsessed with the female anatomy! What Dexter did so well was to mix his academic knowledge and at the same time make the story so readable. The only other crime writer to do this so well was the equally brilliant, Reginald Hill with his own ill-tempered detective, Andy Dalziel.
Morse investigates the disappearance of the Swedish Maiden who disappeared a year before where Dexter picks up his story. Although a body is not found until quite some way in, it certainly does not lag and throws different conundrums at the reader to get the old brain working. You may well have seen the episode of this novel, but squeezing it in to a two hour show a lot of the book would have been lost. Re-reading this novel has made me resolve that I will go back to Dexter's novels and reacquaint myself with these great stories. This version is a tiny hardback that fits in your pocket, so the print may be small for some, but still a gorgeous edition to cherish if you are a Morse fan. If you haven't read Morse before, (and where have you been the past thirty years?), then I suggest that although this is one of Dexter's later books, it is a good place to start.