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He could have been vacationing in Greece instead of investigating a murder that the police have long since written off. But he finds the crime--the brutal killing of a suburban churchwarden--fascinating.

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In fact, he uncovers not one murder but two, for the fatal fall of St. Frideswides vicar from the church tower Morse reckons to be murder as well. And as he digs into the lives and unsanctified lusts of the late vicar's erring flock, the list of the dead grows longer. Not even the oddly appealing woman he finds scrubbing the church floor can compensate Morse for the trouble he's let himself in for. So he has another pint, follows his hunches, and sets out to untangle the deadly business of homicide. Get A Copy. Mass Market Paperback , pages. Published September 1st by Ivy Books first published More Details Original Title.

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Service of All the Dead Audiobook | Colin Dexter |

Rating details. More filters. Sort order. If you have never read an "Inspector Morse" novel, then this one might be a good one to start with. Service of all the Dead is the fourth novel in the series, written in Colin Dexter now seems much more comfortable with his creations. The quality of writing is vastly improved too, and the plot is devious and nicely worked.

This is a nice touch, since the novel itself centres around the church of St.

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Frideswide's - view spoiler [ the death of its churchwarden and falling from the tower of its vicar. Morse himself is introduced in the second book. He should be on holiday, but is bored, and drifts into the case, correctly supposing that there is far more to it than anyone has so far suspected. Conveniently the inspector who should be in charge falls ill, so Morse is assigned the case. Most of the action takes place in this section, which typically has Morse theorising about many possible scenarios, all of which are proved to be wrong as more evidence comes to light.

The final two "books" are written in a very different style. Book 3 is a verbatim statement from one of the key witnesses, whereas the last book details the court proceedings. This novel is an interesting departure from the series so far.

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Apart from its stylised form, there is also a fair bit of wry humour in Dexter's descriptions. One example is when the worst excesses of High Church ceremonies and rituals are compared in a jocular fashion with moves in a football game. The vocabulary used is often very droll because of the context in which Dexter uses it.

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  • Humorous motifs are also introduced; for instance, this is the first time we learn of Morse's reluctance to pay for his round at the pub. This becomes a recurring theme throughout the series, as an irritating habit for Lewis to observe. Morse, who is now 47 years old, is depicted more as the familiar character we know from TV dramatisations. He loves opera, beer and women.

    He smokes - or does he? We are beginning to know Morse, and to recognise his human weaknesses. The character remembers himself as a youngster, travelling around his local area with a book about churches and noting all the interesting features. This hints at a lonely boyhood, and that he showed his cleverness at an early age. Other interesting facts about him are revealed as the story develops; view spoiler [his fear and impotence at a road traffic accident, where he runs away and feels thoroughly ashamed of himself, his vertigo on the church tower, his squeamishness and reluctance to look at a corpse when his job requires it.

    Dexter puts it thus, "It was a mark of Morse's genius that he could take hold of his weaknesses and almost miraculously transform them into his strengths. His relationship with Sergeant Lewis is settling into a pattern. Lewis still finds Morse intolerable at times; his moodiness, coarseness and bad temper.

    Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse mysteries

    On at least one occasion Lewis stalks off slamming the door behind him, going in search of a fellow officer to whom he can let off steam. But he has also begun to see that, "Morse had a brilliant facility for seeing his way through the dark labyrinths of human motive and human behaviour," being relieved that he himself could carry on with his, "usual pedestrian and perfunctory duties. It is a familiar pattern too that in a friendship one may be more dynamic and volatile, while the other plods along calmly. Both seem to need their counterpart, and that is what is happening here.

    The plot is ingenious.

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    It's clear very early on that there has been view spoiler [ a murder, but this eventually emerges as a misconception. The man whom we thought was initially killed in the vestry was not Harry Josephs, the churchwarden but Philip Lawson, the brother of the vicar Lionel Lawson, who jumped from the church tower. Or did he? There is a delicious detail very near the end of the book, which casts doubt on whether this was a suicide. Lionel, Harry and the organist Paul Morris had all been in on the plot to kill Philip Lawson, who although Lionel's brother, was now a blackmailer and a tramp, and a generally nasty piece of work.

    The execution of the murder had been complicated and tricky. Subsequently the ex-commando Harry Josephs ended up by killing both Paul Morris and his son, probably also killing Lionel, plus Ruth Rawlinson, who hadn't really known what was going on, but whom he viewed as a security risk. There cannot be many novels where the initial corpse ends up being the murderer! View all 4 comments.

    Service of All the Dead

    Mar 23, James Thane rated it really liked it Shelves: inspector-morse , colin-dexter , crime-fiction. But then he stumbles onto a pair of mysterious deaths at a church in another division nearby.

    Inspector Morse S08E04 The Wench is Dead

    The local officials have already written off the deaths as a murder followed by the suicide of the perpetrator. They've closed the books on both deaths, but something seems odd to Morse and so he begins digging into the situation, even though he's on vacation and even th Chief Inspector Morse of the Oxford Homicide Division is supposed to be on vacation and he's thinking about a trip to the Greek Isles.

    They've closed the books on both deaths, but something seems odd to Morse and so he begins digging into the situation, even though he's on vacation and even though the detectives who originally investigated the case are not at all happy with his interference.