For Dexter, a decidedly conventional outing, this one involving an American tour group and their Oxford guides and Inspector Morse's investigation into who among them pilfered the Wolvercote Jewel, a Saxon buckle that Mrs. Laura Stratton was planning on presenting to the Ashmolean Museum. Laura dies in her hotel tub; the philandering tour-lecturer, Dr. Thomas Kemp, is found murdered; and Morse and sidekick Lewis are kept busy checking alibis, train schedules, romantic entanglements, and past tragedies. Discarding several pet theories that prove to be incontrovertibly flawed, Morse eventually--in an old-fashioned gathering-of-the-suspects confrontation scene--nitpicks his way to a solution, then retires to the King's Arms for a pint of Flowers Bitter. Based partly on a storyline that Dexter wrote for the PBS series, this effort succeeds best in the small details--e.g., the use of a hearing aid as a clue--while being somewhat slapdash and sketchy in its character analysis and dialogue. Less impressive than the eight previous Morse stories, and far less adroit than Dexter's handling of The Wench is Dead.