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MORSE'S GREATEST MYSTERY by Colin Dexter

MORSE'S GREATEST MYSTERY

and Other Stories

By Colin Dexter

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-517-79992-8
Publisher: Crown

 Eleven stories, including six featuring irascible, imposingly well-read Inspector Morse. Criminals mostly take the honors for ingenuity in the other five, which range from prison escapes (a favorite theme) to confidence schemes to a redaction of one of Sherlock Holmes's most celebrated cases. Most readers, though, will turn first to the Morses, although they don't reveal Dexter consistently at his best. The title story is little more than a trifle recasting Morse as a reformed Scrooge; ``As Good as Gold'' a chance for him to fake evidence; ``Neighbourhood Watch'' a new turn on a familiar urban legend; and ``Last Call'' a routine job of detection. But ``Dead as a Dodo'' is a little gem of ingenuity, and ``The Inside Story''--a substantial tale of murder doubling as a crime story written by the victim--is a masterpiece, a Morse novel in miniature. Even in the short form, Dexter (The Daughters of Cain, p. 270, etc.) never writes the same piece twice, and his headlong pace--the stories are miracles of velocity despite their cargo of allusions--keeps you from ever seeing ahead of him. Old fans of Morse and Dexter will devour this batch at a single gobble.