The eleventh Inspector Morse novel begins when a body is discovered in a set of rooms off a prestigious staircase in the most famous Oxford college of them all. Colin Dexter has won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award twice for "The Way Through the Woods" and "The Wench is Dead".
Inimitably cantankerous Chief Inspector Morse - in his 11th stint - takes over a case that seems utterly straightforward (though it baffled the colleague he relieved): the murder of a retired Oxford historian who found out too much about the drug-related suicide of one of his neighbors in Wolsey College. Clearly, Morse assures stolid Sgt. Lewis, Dr. Felix McClure was stabbed to death by Edward Brooks, the former scout who'd been supplying Matthew Rodway and the rest of the staircase with drugs. But then what's become of Brooks - and how could he have been killed with a knife that was stolen the day after his apparent murder? And which of the three women who had reason to hate him - his abused stepdaughter, Ellie Smith; his long-suffering wife, cleaning lady Brenda Brooks; or Brenda's employer and friend, Julia Stevens - killed him? Instead of the intellectual pyrotechnics of The Way Through the Woods (1993), Dexter offers a painfully focused inquisition on these three remarkable women, showing again through his versatility and concentration why the death of Julian Symons has left him the foremost exponent of the old-fashioned (but new-minted) British detective story. (Kirkus Reviews)
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