The REMORSEFUL DAY – Colin Dexter

The Remorseful Day.jpgThis title, referring to a sunset, comes aptly from the A. E. Housman poem quoted (with all the necessary permissions, of which I have none, so will not include it here) at the beginning of the last of the Chief Inspector Morse’s cases, just prior to something called a Prolegomenon! The trouble with reaching for the dictionary every time the lesser educated, like myself, come across a huh?-word, we lose the plot literally. So, ignore or guess, and carry on, or study it as if there would be an exam, eventually? And some will stick, doubtless enriching our own prose a little. No, if researched,a lot!

The exploration of a seemingly bottomless vocabulary, dipping into classics us (we, probably?) plebs have never heard of, requires a certain dogged tenacity. But what cream can be skimmed! The English Village feel, Oxford itself, and human character are surely repeated in similar forms around the world, but through the penetrating gaze of Dexter’s Morse and Sergeant Lewis, the subtle onion layers are peeled away for us to see and feel.

His loads of red herrings, his almost-solutions, the twists and turns, are what draw his readers in; wondering about this anomaly, questing reasons for that snippet of information, casually dropped onto the scuffing of the trail…

Colin DexterSo no, herewith no précis of the plot, but just a tribute to Colin Dexter. He is surely one of the very best of British crime writers, who unfortunately give a mere mortal aspiring writer an inferiority complex. Our only consolation is that an increasing number of readers, while delighting in a superior crime story, don’t always keep a dictionary to hand.

Thankfully, however, there are 33 episodes of the Morse TV series, as well as 27 episodes of Sergeant, now Inspector, Lewis, after that. Then, delightfully, the prequel to Inspector Morse, the TV series Endeavour is emerging, with Dexter, at the age of 85/6, acting as consultant.

Crime aficionados’ chocolate ice cream with strawberries, nuts and a couple of shots of Glenfiddich…

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About peterjearle

Writer of thriller novels. 4 Published: 'Purgatory Road', 'The Barros Pawns', and the Detective Dice Modise Series:'Hunter's Venom' and 'Medicinal Purposed Only', all from Southern Africa.
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