|Plot Summary of The Wench Is Dead|
The eighth of Dexter's Inspector Morse series finds Morse recovering from a bleeding ulcer in Oxford's Radcliffe Hospital. Reading to stave off boredom, he runs across the tale of a murder case that took place (and was ostensibly solved) more than a century before. The body of a young woman was found drowned in the Oxford Canal in 1859, and two men eventually hanged for the murder. Increasingly convinced the men were innocent, Morse must prevail on others -- not only his indefatigable assistant Sergeant Lewis but Christine Greenaway, a comely librarian who regularly visits a relative in the hospital -- to help him research this crime for which all the principals are long gone. Witty, cosmopolitan, and erudite but quite readable.
This synopsis report prepared by David Loftus
Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse series is certainly one of the best out of Britain (or
anywhere else, actually) and for Morse fans, “The Wench Is Dead” is a different twist for
the usually predictable plot lines for Dexter and Morse. Morse is hospitalized (ulcers, no
less--and who is surprised as the good inspector doesn't hesitate to show his appreciation
for good ale and Scotch!) and naturally becomes bored (He can only do so many Times
crosswords at a time!). He is given “Murder on the Oxford Canal”--a story of a young
woman who was found drowned in 1859. Her assailants were arrested, tried, and hanged,
but to Morse, something is amiss. Something just doesn't add up. So, from his hospital
bed, he begins a unique investigation of his own--to prove that the wrong men were
hanged! The persistence he and his assistants show makes a gripping narrative itself. To
say it is compelling reading is an understatement; this is Colin Dexter (and Inspector
Morse) at their best. (Need I add that Morse proves his theories correct--for all the good it
did the originally convicted men, of course!)
This synopsis report prepared by Bill Hobbs
|Chapter Analysis of The Wench Is Dead|
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Tone of story
How difficult to spot villain?
- Difficult, but some clues given
Time/era of story:
What % of story relates directly
to the mystery, not the subplot?
- nearly 100%
- chronically deranged person
Kind of investigator
- police procedural, American
- british mystery (I say!)
Kid or adult book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
Murder Mystery (killer unknown)
- government investigator
Accounts of torture and death?
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
- moderately detailed references to deaths
Explicit sex in book?
What kind of sex:
- vague references
Unusual forms of death
Unusual form of death?
Amount of dialog
- roughly even amounts of descript and dialog
- significantly more descript than dialog
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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