Summary

Last Bus to Woodstock is the novel that began Colin Dexter's phenomenally successful Inspector Morse series.
'Do you think I'm wasting your time, Lewis?'
Lewis was nobody's fool and was a man of some honesty and integrity.
'Yes, sir.'
An engaging smile crept across Morse's mouth. He thought they could get on well together....
The death of Sylvia Kaye figured dramatically in Thursday afternoon's edition of the Oxford Mail.
By Friday evening Inspector Morse had informed the nation that the police were looking for a dangerous man - facing charges of willful murder, sexual assault and rape.
But as the obvious leads fade into twilight and darkness, Morse becomes more and more convinced that passion holds the key....
©2017 Colin Dexter (P)2017 Macmillan Digital Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Simon on 06-10-17

No Case for Re-Morse

It almost feels like some kind of confession to reveal that I have never previously read any of the Inspector Morse books and neither have I ever watched a full episode of the TV series. Thanks to the books coming out on Audible (quite a number of them were just released) I have now remedied that. What I found was a thoroughly enjoyable mystery and more than adequate police procedural novel. The beginnings of the chemistry between Morse and Lewis is enjoyable. Morse isn't an easy character, bit of an opera snob and he does sometimes treat Lewis rather poorly.

The book though is of course over four decades old. In some ways it's a little quaint as Morse talks about the wonders that his forensic boys can perform in the days before DNA, ANPR and mobile phone records. There's also a charming naivete about one of the methods that Morse uses to track down a suspect - though I guess it could work with a bit of luck thrown in as the author admits. The narration strikes just the right tone for a book of the period, it's clear, precise and never overly demonstrative.

This was of course the 70s though, a time of very different attitudes and sensibilities. The continuous series of high profile court cases and news stories harking back to that time give very apt testament to how those attitudes could manifest themselves. So there is here the kind of casual sexism that could offend. I took a look at other reviews on Goodreads and other sites and there are a fair few people who felt this spoiled the book for them including one that suggested the books should be re-written to remove that aspect from the characters. I can't subscribe to that, this is a product of its time and taken in context it's authentic. To retrofit it to today's standard would be plain wrong. It's not particularly excessive though I have to confess that even to me a chat up line used by Morse early in the book sounded supremely cringe worthy! Overall it's not hugely bad but it is there and it's clearly enough to spoil it for some which I can understand.

So, you're getting a book written over four decades ago with all that entails. I enjoyed it and I suspect I'll return for more of the books that have just been released. The quality of the writing and the iconic characters are reason enough for me.

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21 of 23 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Matt St P on 12-01-18

Very good indeed.

I have put off the works of Collin Dexter for some time, as TV's Morse is such an iconic character, I was worried the books would pale in comparison.

I am pleased to report that this book was both excellent and different.
Morse appears to be younger, bitterer (sorry Morse) and quite a bit madder than John Thaw's portrayal. Fortunately I do not imagine that they sound, look, or act the same. The page Morse is a very different beast to the screen Morse.

I thought it was well written with fully formed characters. It kept me entertained right up until the end.
I must confess I did feel a little bewildered in the last few chapters and may have to revisit these. All the threads seem to get tied up, and the conclusion didn't feel contrived.

The problem I have with many mystery novels is that they often rely on a confession from the murder, this one more than produced on that front, and the double mystery was working out why each character was confessing. I would like some good hard evidence to back up the confession, bit I suppose it would not be much of a mystery if the killer had been forensically identified in chapter three.
That said, it is set some 40 years ago, and I can well believe forensic capabilities were less developed then.

I have seen a few reviews commenting on the appalling attitudes of the main characters towards women particularly rape. I think it is an accurate depiction of the attitudes of the 1970's. It should be seen as a period piece, and it is good when read as such. It is not possible to attach today's values to yesterday's (fictitious) events and still come away with a feeling of authenticity. I don't agree with the opinions expressed by Morse , but in context I do not think it detracts from the book too badly.

The narrator did a very good job. The voices are his own and expertly delivered. At times I found myself thinking how TV's Morse and Lewis might sound and act, but there is never a hint of an impression of either, which is good because impressions of TV characters would have been very off putting.

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10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By William on 22-02-18

A restorative

Where does Last Bus to Woodstock rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

quite high

Who was your favorite character and why?

Morse; always.

What about Samuel West’s performance did you like?

The pace, the punctuation, the absence of the usual English exaggerated dramatization. Just outstanding.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Look up the Tv series, enough.

Any additional comments?

An enormous restorative to the original series; brilliant narration

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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