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by Colin Dexter

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-609-60622-0
Publisher: Crown

Dexter (Death is Now My Neighbor, 1997, etc.) draws a brilliantly realized series to a close by relying on the irascible Morse’s extraordinary —capacity of thinking laterally, vertically, and diagonally.— This time, though, Morse seems reluctant to get involved in the unsolved year-old murder of 50-ish promiscuous nurse Yvonne Hamilton. Is it because he’s weary and ailing, or because he has a secret vested interest in the —naked, handcuffed, gagged— victim? When two anonymous phone calls come into the Thames Valley Police station, corpulent Chief Superintendent Strange pulls Morse back from a furlough, along with faithful Sergeant Lewis. Circuitous routes keep Lewis one step behind the —curmudgeonly, miserly, oddly vulnerable— Morse, but not far enough behind to prevent him from wondering why Morse seems unwilling to take a more active involvement in the case. A bountiful cast of prime suspects is joined by the usual cast of colorful locals, all of them dancing with nervous energy, before —guilt brings its own moral retribution.— Astute readers who think they have outwitted Morse should wait till the last two pages before congratulating themselves. Morse is laid to rest gracefully, though many a reader will join Lewis in his tearful farewell to one of the most original, endearing, and consistently rewarding detective series.