THE DEAD OF JERICHO by Colin Dexter

THE DEAD OF JERICHO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Laconic, lonely Inspector Morse of Oxford (Service of All the Dead) meets attractive widow/teacher Anne Scott at a party and starts harboring romantic ideas. . . only to learn a few months later that she's hung herself. Or did she? Morse has his suspicions--of Anne's slimy married lover, of two teenage students whom Anne may have led on sexually, of a creepy local handyman/blackmailer. Unfortunately, the chief suspect--that married man, a publisher--has an airtight alibi (he was giving a lecture attended by Morse himself at a crucial time). And Morse's investigation eventually leads to a confirmation of the suicide verdict: Anne seems to have had a solid motive--a Ross Macdonald-ish situation paralleling that of Jocasta in Oedipus Rex. Plausible? Not very. But finally there's yet another twist, this one à la Christie and even more strained--in which that alibi is shown to have been elaborately fabricated. Once again, then, Dexter winds up with a puzzle-plot that is too cleverly complicated for its own good. Yet, also once again, his stylish, dark-toned storytelling remains enough reason for Anglophile mystery-fans to want to keep following the existentially acerbic Inspector Morse.

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 1981
Publisher: St. Martin's