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The Remorseful Day
Colin Dexter's Review

It says right on the cover: The final Inspector Morse Novel. Too bad. Over the years, Dexter (and his readers) has had a good time creating one more British eccentric detective. If anything, his Inspector Morse is as mysterious and enigmatic as any of the victims and suspects he encounters.

What Dexter is above all is a damned good writer. He does it all well. Character, place description, atmosphere, plotting -- he rarely goes wrong. Fittingly, The Remorseful Day is one of the best in the series, a sturdy look at the life and death of one Yvonne Harrison whose murder has baffled the police for more than a year. This is the kind of case Morse seems eminently suited for. And yet he refuses to get officially involved in the case (though isn't he putting in a lot of unofficial hours looking into the matter?) and his co-workers want to know why.

Dexter has avoided all the pitfalls of swan songs. It's not sentimental, it doesn't given him awkwardly "big moments" for literary posterity, and it doesn't make him any less enigmatic. Morse, thank God, remains Morse.

Dexter has usually managed to incorporate elements of the thriller, the village mystery, the Golden Age puzzle, and the buddy-comedy (his Sergeant Lewis is a pleasure) into most of his procedurals and he invests his last Morse with all the same pieces and virtues.

There's a genuinely timeless quality about this book. I suspect it'll be read and loved for many years hence. A first-rate last Morse from a skilled and always engaging writer.

--Ed Gorman
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