The Jewel That Was Ours by Colin Dexter, Ballantine (Ivy), 1991, paperback, mystery, police procedural – Inspector Morse
This is Inspector Morse’s ninth outing, if I have the count right, and though I’ve tried to read these in order it’s been a while and I think I pulled this off the shelf out of order. Still, little seems to have changed, perhaps Lewis is slightly more confident, and Morse is an angrier, sadder, boozier man than I remembered from the last one I read.
I liked John Thaw as Morse on Mystery! and now I can’t read these books without picturing him in the role. No problem there.
This story concerns a group of tourists, all from California, on a tour of Oxford and other historical cities. One of the group is going to present an Oxford museum with The Wolverton Tongue, part of a buckle artifact originally set with three rubies (only one left now). The woman has a heart attack, the “jewel” is stolen, then a lecturer is murdered. Morse is interested in the group, and is especially attracted to one of the lecturers, a woman who enjoys a drink as much as he does. With two deaths and a theft, the tour halts while Morse and Lewis investigate the many clues.
Dexter is a pleasure to read, though the last chapter of this one seems overly drawn out. Still, the motives are sound, the red herrings sufficiently convincing, the language satisfying, the clues well if scantily placed, and it’s another good Morse outing. These books are satisfying enough that I never seem to want to read two in a row, yet each time I pick one up I’m glad I did. I think I still have a couple unread, so there is more to enjoy ahead. I was lucky enough to meet Colin Dexter some years ago in southern California at a signing. He was a very interesting and personable fellow.
If your only experience with Morse is with the televised series, I encourage you to try the books, they are very good.
Good choice. I’ve (sadly) read all of the books, including the story collection(s), and enjoyed most of them. Like you, I picture John Thaw as Morse. Good series.
I saved that last one for “later”. I ought to read it soon.
Like Jeff, I’ve enjoyed these books. Here’s the order of books in the series:
Last Bus to Woodstock (1975)
Last Seen Wearing (1976)
The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn (1977)
Service of All the Dead (1979)
The Dead of Jericho (1981)
The Riddle of the Third Mile (1983)
The Secret of Annexe 3 (1986)
The Wench is Dead (1989)
The Jewel That Was Ours (1991)
The Way Through the Woods (1992)
The Daughters of Cain (1994)
Death Is Now My Neighbour (1996)
The Remorseful Day (1999)
MORSE’s GREATEST MYSTERY (aka AS GOOD AS GOLD) is the collection of stories. Six of the eleven feature Morse. One of the others is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche.
Jeff, that’s a C&L book, right?
No, this time it was a British paperback rather than an American edition. I don’t think I have any copies left, but I will check when I get home.
Yes, George, that’s just the way I have them on the shelf.
I have most of the books in the Inspector Morse series, but I have only read the first three of them. I want to read more of them and this one sounds really good.