Read The Way Through The Woods by Colin Dexter Online


"Cunning...Your imagination will be frenetically flapping its wings until the very last chapter." - THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLDMorse is enjoying a rare if unsatisfying holiday in Dorset when the first letter appears in THE TIMES. A year before, a stunning Swedish student disappeared from Oxfordshire, leaving behind a rucksack with her identification. As the lady was dis"Cunning...Your imagination will be frenetically flapping its wings until the very last chapter." - THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLDMorse is enjoying a rare if unsatisfying holiday in Dorset when the first letter appears in THE TIMES. A year before, a stunning Swedish student disappeared from Oxfordshire, leaving behind a rucksack with her identification. As the lady was dishy, young, and traveling alone, the Thames Valley Police suspected foul play. But without a body, and with precious few clues, the investigation ground to a halt. Now it seems that someone who can hold back no longer is composing clue-laden poetry that begins an enthusiastic correspondence among England's news-reading public. Not one to be left behind, Morse writes a letter of his own--and follows a twisting path through the Wytham Woods that leads to a most shocking murder....

Title : The Way Through The Woods
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780804111423
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Way Through The Woods Reviews

  • James Thane
    2019-02-18 19:40

    Oxford's Chief Inspector Morse rarely ever takes a holiday but here we find him vacationing in Dorset when a letter appears in The Times offering a clue to the whereabouts of a young female Swedish student, Karin Erikksson, who disappeared in Oxfordshire nearly a year earlier. She was never seen again and is presumed dead. The letter writer suggests where the body might be found. This leads to a series of letters published in the paper attempting to interpret the clues that the original writer has offered.Morse sees the letters and is, of course, intrigued. Back from vacation, he manages to get assigned to the case along with his faithful sergeant, Lewis. From the clues in the paper, Morse determines where the body must be. Sure enough, searchers find the remains of a body but from that point on, things become even more baffling than they were before.It soon appears that Ms. Erikksson was very short of cash and may have been willing to make some compromises in order to get some money. Morse discovers a cast of creepy characters who may have been involved in her disappearance and slowly sorts things out to a startling conclusion.This is one of the better books in this series, and Morse continues to be a very appealing protagonist, especially when he's got a pint in his hand and his thinking cap on. As usually happens, there's a randy woman or two who will come his way, brightening his day and the reader's as well. Fans of the series will not want to miss this one.

  • Jean
    2019-01-29 12:45

    The Way Through the Woods is the tenth novel in the Inspector Morse series, and won the Gold Dagger Award in 1992. It is perhaps the quintessential Morse novel. Its title, part of the couplet,"There once was a way through the woodsBefore they planted the trees"is taken from a poem by Rudyard Kipling. In the novel Colin Dexter continues his predilection for starting each chapter with a quotation. They are not all from literary sources, however. They can be taken from anywhere, as long as the author considers them pertinent to the context. For instance, one is from the magazine, "Homes and Gardens", but it does relate to the Oxford properties and social groupings which comprise the setting of the following chapter.In addition to these stylistic devices, one satisfying element of this novel is the inclusion of many possible solutions to an intellectual puzzle - a devious conundrum which forms part of the plot. When the detectives, and the reader, solve the puzzle, then we believe the explanation to the story - the disappearance of a young woman from Uppsala in Sweden - will be clearly revealed.The reader is implicitly invited to spend a great deal of thought deconstructing the cryptic poem which is presented, and assessing the various theories as to what the "clues" are. Many eminent scholars present their views in the newspaper. Which is correct? In terms of the story itself, the plot is typically complex, and only to be hinted at here. We are moved into the story step by step. Much as in an earlier story when Morse becomes intrigued in a case from his hospital bed, in this novel he is reluctantly on holiday in Lyme Regis. However George Bernard Shaw's expressed view that,"A perpetual holiday is a good working definition of Hell" (which significantly is a chapter heading), also exemplifies Morse's attitude to vacations. Bored out of his mind, he is repeatedly frustrated in his attempts to follow the "Coleridge Trail" to Ottery St. Mary and Nether Stowey. He then tries putting his detective and deductive skills to use by covertly watching and finding out about a woman in the hotel, Louisa, to whom he is attracted. She tells him she works for a model agency, intrigued despite herself by his, "keen blue eyes." He in turn, notices that her eyes partially obscured by make-up, "seemed somehow darkened by a sadder, more durable shadow." And inevitably she does later have a connection to the case in which he becomes involved. During the course of this, Morse's attention is caught by an anonymous riddle, in the form of a five-stanza poem in "The Times" newspaper. The police have requested help from Howard Phillipson, the Times's literary correspondent. The cryptic clues seem to imply that the missing girl has been murdered. Such clues could almost have been designed to intrigue Morse, the crossword puzzle fanatic. He thus becomes involved with the unsolved case of the Swedish girl Karin Eriksson, a secretarial student, who had disappeared a year previously.The crime had previously been the responsibility of Chief Inspector Harold Johnson of Thames Valley CID. Unsurprisingly, he does not take kindly to Morse's being given charge of it, or the insistence of Morse that if there was a body to be found, it would not be on the Blenheim Estate, where all the previous investigation had been concentrated, but in Wytham Woods. The reason for this assertion, seemed entirely to hinge on the verses. But their joint boss, Chief Superintendant Strange, has confidence in Morse and wants to give him some leeway,"He'd have ideas though, wouldn't he, Morse? Always did have. Even if he's been on a case a couple of minutes. Usually the wrong ideas of course, but..."And as always, Morse's loyal sidekick Lewis, is extraordinarily proud to be working with his exasperating colleague, realising with a flash of inspiration that,"They were trying to pick his (Lewis's) brains, because they were envious of his relationship with Morse!" On another occasion he tries to take a realistic view,"'I think he's a great man, but he sometimes gets things awfully wrong, doesn't he?' 'And he more often gets things bloody right!' said Strange with vehemence."Or as the author observes elsewhere, "logic sometimes held less sway in Morse's mind than feeling and impulse."For those readers involved in the back story of the series, this is the one in which the "ugly brusque and arrogant pathologist" Maximilan Theodore Siegfried de Bryn" (view spoiler)[has a fatal coronary thrombosis. At this point, whilst he is at death's door,(hide spoiler)]we become aware of the close relationship pertaining between the two curmudgeonly characters; how similar they both are and possibly how similar too they are to the author himself. Though it has to be said, Dexter has used a fair bit of wish-fulfillment in his creation of the maverick, charismatic, aesthetic, romantic, talented genius Morse.One particularly satisfying element of this novel is the interweaving of the brain-teasers with the unveiling of the events of the plot. Just as in soft pornography, the gradual shedding of layers is thought to be one of the more titillating elements, Dexter flirts with his reader by strictly controlling and holding back his clues, allowing us odd glimpses now and then to tax our analytical skills. And yes, this novel is typically sleazy, with the women continually viewed by Morse in terms of their "bedworthiness", although it has to be said that Dexter does make more of an attempt to flesh the female characters out (if you'll pardon the pun!) than he did in the earlier novels in the series. Readers should take warning that this is no "cosy mystery" as presented in the TV series. (This particular novel was adapted for television in 1995.) It does not follow the current trend for graphically explicit, sometimes visceral detail, and in this way the Inspector Morse novels are more "old-school". But the main plot of this one is based on a sordid, socially unacceptable pastime, and the characters involved are depicted as feeling variously ashamed, guilty, secretive or ultimately devastated by it. The novel itself even contains a written academic analysis of pornography at one point, ostensibly written by one of the protagonists, on "Gradualism in my definitive opus on pornography, for it is the gradual nature of the erotic process that is all important, as even that old fascist Plato had the nous to see." The characters in this novel are diverse, and well described. Their situations are various, ranging between Oxford's "Town and Gown" stereotypes. There is the woman in the hotel, Louisa, an Oxford don Dr. Alan Hardinge and his wife Lynne, a photographer Alasdair McBryde, a head forester David Michaels and his wife Cathy, a Doctor Myton, an odd-job man George Daley, his wife Margaret, and son Phillip, as well as the Swedish family headed by Irma Eriksson, who have now moved back to the outskirts of Stockholm. It is still noticeable that the female characters are mainly "wives", or there to provide fodder for sexual speculation on behalf of Morse (or is it Dexter?) but this is common to all Morse novels. If one takes this on board, the characterisation is good.The subplots are also varied, and cleverly interwoven so that the reader is not always aware whether it is crucial - influencing the main thrust of the story - or a subplot. There seem to be two murders, but in the end the reader is not sure even of this. Perhaps there was only one actual murder. There is a body, but is it the right one? There are accidents, but again, are they indicative of what is to happen, or has happened? They may be pertinent, they may not. The reader is not sure, but is involved with the characters, feels their pain, and wants to carry on reading even if they are being led up the garden path. Or possibly "through the woods." There is a suicide, the death of a child, bereavement, guilt, remorse; all life is here.We also learn much about Morse in this novel. Claire Osborne(view spoiler)[("Louisa"), (hide spoiler)] one of his conquests, views him as a "conceited civilised, ruthless, gentle, boozy, sensitive man," which seems quite an accurate thumbnail sketch. We also learn where he lives - in Leys Close - a real location. Drive "through a courtyard, before arriving at a row of two-storey, yellow-bricked, newish properties, their woodwork painted a uniform white." Although the TV dramatisations have not reproduced this location, the interior with its "book-lined walls, the stacks of records everywhere, the pictures" is consistent in both. And if you were to visit this fictitious character, he would doubtless greet you with "an old-world gesture of hospitality" as Morse greets his visitor.Different too, from the TV dramatisations, is the description of Laura Hobson, who bursts on the scene with her broad North-country vowels, announcing, "I am not your "dear". You must forgive me for being so blunt: but I'm no one's "luv" or "dear" or "darling" or "sweetheart". I've got a name." It is a comic moment, but give Dexter his due for attempting to bring his novels into... the 20th century, and giving the females a bit of character. She is "a woman in her early thirties, fair-complexioned, with a pair of disproportionately large spectacles on her pretty nose." And of course, she has to be immediately attracted to our superhero Morse, even though he is a "slightly balding grey-haired man" old enough to be her father, thinking of him later as "the strange policeman who had monopolised her thoughts these last few days."Although there are features in common with some earlier novels, especially his first one "Last Seen Wearing", this is far better written, and shows just how far the writer has developed his craft. The characters are more fully drawn, and some have become endearingly familar to us. But mostly the quality of this novel lies with the fact that it is a satisfyingly challenging puzzle to read. It is possible to work the solution out, devious though it is, because just a few clues have been carefully inserted at salient points. Barely enough, however, because on a first reading, clouds of obfuscation tend to divert the reader from what then becomes a breathtaking denouement. Dexter's writing is a joy to read too. Colloquial enough in the conversation scenes, there are instances of talent rarely found in detective novels. For example, alliterations such as "the catalytic factor in the curious chemistry of Morse's mind" "guaranteed genuine!" "slim Selina and mighty Michelle" "party hats perched on their heads" "the honest and honourable Lewis "pestilential pigeons" "a fellow in his forties" "a distanced drink together" and "a vehicular Valhalla". Some of these, the last especially, with its Wagnerian overtones, reveal just how entwined the character of Morse and the author's voice have become. And at the end Morse seems to become the mouthpiece for Colin Dexter, as he tells his boss, "We never really understand people's motives. In all these things it's as if there's a manifestation - but there's always a bit of a mystery too."Colin Dexter has a penchant for leaving just a tiny scrap of ambiguity at the end of a novel. Sometimes it is an addendum, sometimes an event further back. Here the ambiguity is not so much in a detail or an event, but in the motives of one of the characters. But as Wittgenstein says, and Dexter quotes earlier,"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."

  • Bettie☯
    2019-02-17 17:44

    Read by................... Michael PenningtonTotal Runtime.......... 8 hours 24 minsDescription: They called her the Swedish Maiden - the beautiful young tourist who disappeared on a hot summer's day somewhere in North Oxford. Twelve months later the case remained unsolved - pending further developments - at Thames Valley CID. On holiday in Lyme Regis, Chief Inspector Morse is startled to read a tantalizing article in The Times about the missing woman. An article which lures him back to Wytham Woods near Oxford...and straight into the most extraordinary murder investigation of his career.For ease of memory, this is the one with Three Little Maids, The Swedish Maiden, the camera, and that hit and run.4* Last Bus to Woodstock (Inspector Morse, #1)3* Last Seen Wearing (Inspector Morse, #2)3* The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn (Inspector Morse, #3)3* Service of All the Dead (Inspector Morse, #4)3* The Dead of Jericho (Inspector Morse, #5)4* The Riddle of the Third Mile (Inspector Morse, #6)3* The Secret of Annexe 3 (Inspector Morse #7)3* The Wench Is Dead (Inspector Morse, #8)3* The Jewel That Was Ours (Inspector Morse, #9)CR The Way Through The Woods (Inspector Morse, #10) 3* Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other Stories

  • Susan Johnson
    2019-02-04 12:48

    This is my favorite Morse book so far. It had an interesting mystery and for once, Morse wasn't on a lot of goose chases. He was enjoying himself on vacation and loathe to return to solve the mystery of the disappearance of the blond, gorgeous Swedish hitchhiker. Personally, I would have thought this was right up in his alley. This was a good read.

  • Rupali Rotti
    2019-01-26 16:50

    Maybe I'm not eligible to rate this book because this book went bouncer over my head. The last book I read of Colin Dexter, The Dead of Jericho, forced me to go back and search for specific words/hints the author had planted earlier in the story narration. So for this book, I tried to remember every word/instance that the author had written in the beginning. But this book is so long (around 500 pages) that after some time I became tired of trying to remember everything, because my efforts were not proving useful because all those things were not being referenced/used for solving the mystery.Another thing I didnt like about this book was that most of the book has been told from Morse's perspective - we kinda travel with Morse. Still, there are a lot of things the author keeps from the readers in terms of 'clues that Morse comes across' or 'things that Morse thinks or shares with his colleagues'. I guess that's cheating with the readers because if you want to make the readers think about the mystery, they should be kept in loop of the developments. Things that Morse sees on the scene, or shares with his colleagues, aren't fully shared (at some places) with the readers. So, Morse solves the mystery (the readers can't). However, I felt good that before the author (i.e., Morse) reached the conclusion that the suspected victim was alive, I cracked that part by myself. Owing to the fact that things required for reaching this conclusion were shared with the readers. Also, when Morse thought that the boy was responsible for his father's murder, I'd differed in opinion because of the letter the boy had left for his father in their house. Later on, my hunch proved to be right.But this brings me to my next disappointment: If you've already committed a murder in self-defense, why go for another murder for only a small amount of money? Especially when the 2nd victim as well as the 2nd murderer both are suspects in the 1st murder? Wouldn't they be afraid that probably the police would be keeping a watch on all of them? However, the police WASNT keeping a watch on them, was another puzzle for me - why leave the suspects scot-free? I understand that those people had themselves approached the police for a statement claiming that they didnt commit the first murder, but Morse did find certain lies in the statement, didnt he? So why not keep an eye on those involved?Another thing: it is mentioned that the boy maintained a diary where he had written something like: 'Another girl screaming in a blood pool' or something. This has never been investigated or explained. This could have been a reference to the girl who meets with an accident, but then who was the FIRST girl? Even though the boy dies later on, this thing couldnt be kept as a loose end! It was serious enough to investigate.Also, the readers are not made privy to how Morse reaches the conclusion that a specific lady is the one everyone is searching for. No clues for the readers there untill Morse pounces on her.Last, but not the least, the author has jumped multiple times into time (present and past) which created extra confusion in my mind about the sequence of events.Maybe I'm right in whatever I said here, or maybe I'm wrong and someone could help me understand these doubts/confusions so that I fully understand the story. :-)

  • Yngvild
    2019-02-12 18:44

    The Way Through the Woods is a classic Inspector Morse murder mystery. We have Morse’s drinking problems, his overt and inevitably doomed attempts at wooing the female characters, and his beetling down every wrong track he can find until he triumphantly identifies the killer.Colin Dexter’s novel is held together by a mysterious poem that is sent anonymously to the Times, presumably by the killer of a backpacking Swedish student. Morse’s devious mind unravels the clues in the poem one by one – with the help of erudite and eccentric Times letter-writers. The title comes from Rudyard Kipling’s poem, The Way through the Woods.Weather and rain have undone it again,And now you would never knowThere was once a road through the woodsBefore they planted the trees.I just wish there had been more books in the Inspector Morse series. They are as good as detective murder mysteries get.

  • Neja
    2019-01-26 19:56

    I like a crime book with a good twist. I always hate it when I find out by myself who did it, who is the murderer. And this book surprised me. I had no idea who the killer was. I read a few books written by Colin Dexter a few years ago, I decided to explore more of his books. He really is a good writer. Inspector Morse is such an intelligent and interesting character. And I liked all those quotes from other books/people/newspapers.. on top of every chapter.

  • Steve
    2019-01-31 15:53

    My first acquaintance with Inspector Morse, and I liked the guy. For much of the book, I wondered if this review would be three or four stars. What won me over after a slow start was Dexter’s fine writing and the development of both Morse and his partner and fellow police officer Lewis. The story surrounds the disappearance of a lovely Swedish young woman about a year before the story takes place. The general conclusion is that she has been murdered and it’s only when a mysterious poem alluding to that “Swedish Maiden” appears in the newspaper that effort is once again applied to the case. Morse meets a woman of interesting profession while on vacation, and eventually, men who know her and her agency and how the Maiden’s disappearance fits with that. Without more detail, diligence and patience on the part of Morse bring in a conclusion. Morse is a good, but flawed man. He enjoys his alcohol, but also fine classical music and apparently has substantial background in fine reading which he sometimes brings to his case and friends. He’s not well understood by those around him but has his peers’ respect, something making him easy to relate to. Until the end, I was doubtful whether I’d return to read more Morse, and still am not sure but am leaning towards it.

  • Dolly
    2019-02-03 11:58

    This book was chosen by my local library for the book club selection of the month. I didn't finish it before the meeting nor did I go, but I'm planning on attending more book club meetings in the future and I appreciate the opportunity to read new books that I might not have picked out on my own. This story was a bit heavier on the sex, alcohol and violence than I typically like (I'm more of a "cozy mystery" fan), but it was a fascinating tale and I enjoyed the English setting. The story was fairly complicated with all of the characters, plot twists and hidden agendas. interesting quote: "Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve, And Hope without an object cannot live."new words: spondylosis, paronomasia, coprophilis, scoptolognia, kleptolagnia, tegument, corbels, ogees, insuperable, presbyopically, oche, charpoy, escritoire, pernickety, Boustrophedon, funambulist

  • Paula
    2019-01-31 11:49

    I live for British detective novels, and the Inspector Morse series, set in Oxfordshire, is just well-written and literate (if not actually literary) enough to alleviate some genre guilt. At the same time, this entry in the series revolves around a porn ring, so it's not all snooty Oxford shenanagins, either. Be forewarned: everyone in this series is always eating cheese sandwiches and drinking bitters, so if you're trying to eat healthily and would find this triggering, you must find a detective with a more balanced diet.

  • Linley
    2019-01-30 16:37

    Another satisfying Morse story. I can't write too much as the plot could easily be unveiled but I did like the use of The Times. I happened to be in Oxford while reading it and was reading The Times letters page too. All woven with Dexter's usual care and cunning.Recommended to lovers of crime, especially those who are familiar with Oxford.

  • AngryGreyCat
    2019-02-15 14:52

    This is book 10 in the Morse series by Colin Dexter and it may have been my favorite so far! Lots of wordplay and puzzles much of it going back and forth through the newspapers as Morse is on vacation. The central crime is the disappearance (and assumed murder) of a “Swedish Maiden” some years prior. Morse is on vacation as the case is reopened through clues being published in the newspaper.Morse’s curmudgeonly personality shines through here and we get to see him as he “enjoys” his holiday and works on a case outside of “proper” channels. Lewis also has to stand on his own two feet while Morse is away coming to some realizations about the relationship he has with Morse and how it is viewed (perhaps envied) by others. Finally, Morse and Max’s relationship is given some bittersweet attention here, allowing the reader to see another side of Morse and bringing real depth of emotion to the character.I am enjoying this series of books greatly and will be sad to reach the end.

  • Ruthiella
    2019-01-23 14:00

    This was a suitably complex mystery about a young Swedish tourist who went missing in 1991 from Oxford. A year later, the case has stalled out; the clues have led nowhere and no corpse has been found. While Morse is on vacation, however, a cryptic letter pertaining to the missing woman is sent to the police and subsequently published in the Times which sparks the public’s assistance in solving the disappearance (and presumable murder) of whom the press dubs “The Swedish Maiden”.I liked it as I have liked all Inspector Morse books. They are maddeningly convoluted but interesting to read and so very British, but in a completely different way from other mystery writers such as Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers. My only real issue is why is Morse such a perv?

  • K
    2019-02-06 16:53

    Chief Inspector Morse on holiday, never far from a pint of his preferred Best Bitters or a lovely dram (or two) of Scotch, as quirky as ever, still solving the seemingly unsolvable. What more could a fan of intelligent British murder mysteries ask for? How about some romance (or just plain lustful wishes)? Okay- you've got it, though I'm unsure as to why Morse seems to have such an unforgettable effect on women. Ah well, it just makes this excellent installment in Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse series all the more of a must read for fans of the genre. P. D. James, Agatha Christe, and Colin Dexter -- if you like your mystery smart and oddly endearing for its protagonist's, shall we say, unique traits, jump in with both feet with any of these fine authors.

  • Julie
    2019-01-31 16:56

    This is the first inspector Morse I have read, though I know the series well from the television version. I find it odd to move from TV/movie to book and I try to avoid that. The problem--at least with this book--is that I have the actor (is it John Thaw?) so firmly fixed in my mind. And I'm not at all persuaded that the Morse of the book looks like that. He is also, I think, a somewhat different character, although in truth it has been a number of years since I watched any of them so perhaps I am wrong. There are a couple of striking things about this book (which is somewhere in the middle of the run of books, I think. It just happened to be at hand.) One is that it is (quite deliberately) disjointed. There are fragments that are quick looks at other people doing other things at the same time Morse and Lewis go about their investigation. I'm meaning to go back and look at these again, but as I read it through they were simply puzzling. Who is that and what are they doing? I'm wondering if I could always answer that now. While I found that device interesting I was a little annoyed by the occasions on which Morse apparently explained something to Lewis but not to me. I guess it was necessary to make the plot go, but it bugged me. Still and all, this is solid and well written. Morse is not a happy sort and that casts a sort of cloud over the story as a whole, but it is well-written and quite readable. I suppose the question now is whether I go back to the beginning. I think I shall.

  • Dane Cobain
    2019-02-17 15:55

    This is the first Colin Dexter book that I’ve ever read, and I wasn’t sure what to expect – I was hoping to find that he writes like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, and I wasn’t disappointed. Dexter can write a cracking crime novel, and Morse is a fascinating character – just like Poirot, Holmes and the other great detectives in the world of literature.The story follows Morse’s investigation into the disappearance and presumed death of a young girl – he’s a reluctant hero, as he’s on holiday at the time, but he’s still a hero. If that reminds you of Sherlock Holmes, then I’m not surprised – Dexter clearly takes a lot of inspiration from the great crime writers of old, and Conan Doyle was the best of the best.But this book was so much more than just an imitation of Sherlock Holmes from another author who wanted to make a name for themselves. It’s a joy to read, incredibly well-written, and the story feels truly unique, packed full of twists and turns to keep you interested until the end.Perhaps that’s why it won the Gold Dagger Award for the Best Crime Novel of the Year – if only I’d known that when I appeared on Pointless, the BBC quiz show. I got to the final round with a chance to grab the jackpot, and the question was about Gold Dagger Award winning crime writers. We didn’t get it right back then, but there’s a sort of poetic justice in the fact that I ended up reading a book which would’ve won me nearly £10,000, if only I’d read it a couple of years earlier.What a shame!

  • Charlotte (Buried in Books)
    2019-01-23 13:45

    Another very clever tale from Mr Dexter. Holidays have featured quite heavily in the last couple of Morse books, along with Morse's inexplicable attraction where beautiful young women are concerned.Whilst Morse is on holiday an old case resurfaces. Not really his case, as he only spent about a day on it. But the case of a beautiful Swedish girl (the Swedish Maiden) who disappeared while she was on holiday a year earlier comes back into frame after an anonymous letter is sent to The Times.The centre of the case was thought to be Blenheim Palace, but Morse always believed that the body, if there was one, was actually in another wood, not far away Wytham Wood. The letter appears to back that belief up.Cutting his holiday short he takes over the investigation and it's not long before a body is located.Another theme is also revisited in this story, porn, there's a seedy side to this story. One that made me slightly uncomfortable.Maybe I've read too many of these in a short time frame, but I guessed what had happened to the Swedish Maiden fairly early on. What I didn't expect was the author of the original letter to The Times. I must admit as well, that I'm a bit confused as to who Morse ended up with at the end (whether it was the doctor or the escort).This story was notable for the passing of Max - the Coroner, one of Morse's few friends. Morse took his passing rather hard and was rather nicely written.It was another very quick read.

  • Ellen
    2019-01-28 16:44

    The more I read Morse, the more I want to read Morse, December 6, 2012 By Ellen Rappaport (Florida) This review is from: The Way Through the Woods (Inspector Morse) (Mass Market Paperback) "The Way Through the Woods"I have been spoiled rotten by Colin Dexter or shall I say Inspector Morse. This, my 3rd in this series (although not in order) is no exception. The strange but certain comraderie between Inspector Morse and Lewis is delightful. This particular mystery does not end at all the way it begins. There is such a complete inside out of the original development that it was absolutely outstanding.If you complain about words used that may not seem the least bit familiar in this or other Inspector Morse mysteries...take heart. You are being educated!I not only learn from each Inspector Morse I find that I need to go back and re-read many pages. This is no shallow cozy. As a matter of fact after reading this entry into the Morse phenomenon I am unable to take an interest in another lovely cozy book. The depth of satisfaction is just that rewarding to me...the reader.Yes, I am spoiled rotten by the incredible Inspector Morse and I intend to stay spoiled through the entire series.

  • The Wee Hen
    2019-02-08 11:35

    The British like to say that when one has had a terrible shock the very best medicine is a good cup of strong, sweet tea. After finishing that gruesome Mo Hayder book I decided to pick up my first Inspector Morse remembering that my mother had really enjoyed these books. And it was the PERFECT cup of tea to soothe me right back into the joys of a good British mystery.Yes, I have fallen head-over-heels in love with dear Morse and have already ordered the first two omnibuses of Dexter's books from Amazon. I can hardly wait until they arrive.Dexter is clever, very witty, charming and writes an engaging, page-turning mystery. Morse is on holiday in this one and returns to work excited to revisit an earlier mystery that went nowhere but has been resurrected in the public interest by a fascinating poem sent to The Times regarding "The Swedish Maiden", a young woman who went missing the previous year leaving only a rucksack in her wake. I cannot speak highly enough of Morse and Lewis. Brilliant classic stuff here.

  • Tommy
    2019-02-06 19:43

    When a mysterious riddle is sent to the police in relation to the year long disappearance of a swedish student,they decide to enlist the help of the public by publishing it in a national newspaper in the hope that a reader can revel the hidden cryptic clues. With the current investigation exhausted, the case is given to Inspector Morse who uses a possible clue spotted by an intelligent reader, to conduct a search in the woods that leads to the discovery of a body. Very quickly it is evident that witnesses, previous and currently connected with the case are hiding secrets that Morse,along with the help of his prodigy, Lewis, are determined not to leave buried in the woods.Although familiar with the character from the tv series, this was the first time I had read a Colin Dexter novel,and it will not be my last. I really enjoy a crime/mystery/thriller and I have found a new author to explore. It may be a lazy cliche but a it was really a good old fashioned page turner. Good plot with strong main characters.

  • Aoife
    2019-02-21 14:38

    Oh Morse what am I to do with you? Again the crime-plot was awesome and so cleverly constructed (though to be fair while I found the previous books mostly clever this had a few instances where I felt it wasn't only clever but also jumping up and down yelling Look how clever I am) and there aren't many authors who use red herrings as masterfully as Dexter does. Morse also still makes a brilliantly flawed hero...But this book also had him say a few of the most cringeworthy sexist and rape-apologetic things I ever saw and if I'd read them in a modern book that would immediately knock down the rating a lot. However that book was written in 92 and sadly those attitudes probably weren't that unusual back then so again I am really on the fence (just like with previous Morse-novels). I don't want to judge books too harshly for the time-period they were written but it's somewhat impossible to ignore.

  • Paul
    2019-01-30 17:41

    This is my second Inspector Morse novel. I listened to a Desert Island Discs podcast from the BBC and learned that he was an Oxford teacher and was 44 before he wrote his first of 12 novels. Of course, there is a lot of the author in him main character. This one begins with Morse on vacation when a poem is published about a woman who disappeared near Oxford the previous year. Newspaper readers begin the tease apart the poems clues. When he gets back on the job, the dormant investigation is on again. Area woods are searched and a body is discovered. Case closed? No. It's a mans remains of the same era. Once again, Morse uses a combination of intellect and dumb luck to find the answers. Lewis, his partner, adds quite a bit to the plot as his partner on the force.

  • Dianne Wilson
    2019-02-20 17:47

    I wish this had been set in Bristol. I've spent a lot of time in and around Oxford so it was nice to recognise things, but I'd love the same action to be located in Bristol. I kept on imagining scenes taking place in areas that I know so well. Anyway, that's my indulgence. This is beautifully written - oh so English - and oh-so gender focused too. Old white men taking care of poor helpless women. Quite nice plot, though, and clever little sentences that raise a smile every now and then.

  • The Book Shelf
    2019-02-08 16:42

    I have always enjoyed the Inspector Morse series on PBS and only fairly recently started reading the Colin Dexter books. The books are interesting and always remind me of the time that we went to Oxford to visit our daughter. Also, I really enjoy a good British mystery, especially those with a few interesting twists at the end. It was a good read.

  • Lobstergirl
    2019-02-13 19:45

    This is probably the best Morse I've read so far. It has nice twists and turns. Also Morse listens to Dinu Lipatti at the end. Surely this is the only novel ever published in which someone listens to Dinu Lipatti - one of the greatest pianists of all time, yet hardly a household name.

  • Leslie
    2019-02-13 16:49

    While I think that this is one that every Morse fan should read due to the death of the medical examiner Max and introduction of his replacement, Dr. Laura Hobson, the mystery itself was actually a repeat of one of the previous books (view spoiler)["Last Seen Wearing" (hide spoiler)].

  • Herman D'Hollander
    2019-01-27 17:56

    It is a joy for many readers to visit and ‘check out’ the locations of the novels they have read – if the place names are sufficiently real and concrete, that is. For ‘The Way Through the Woods’ I took the opposite direction. As an enthusiastic and ‘serial’ visitor of Oxford I bought this crime novel in the Blackwell bookshop in Broad Street (in the very city of Oxford, indeed) to find out how the city was used as a backdrop to the plot. I was not disappointed. Morse drove his Jaguar to and through familiar places like Blenheim, Woodstock Road, Banbury Road, Park Town and the beautiful green area north of Oxford, and took pints of bitter in favourite pubs like the Eagle and Child, the Rose and Crown, and the White Horse (next to the Blackwell bookshop). Read the novel and you are in Oxford (again). Of course you don’t have to know Oxford to enjoy this excellent ‘whodunit’. The clever and intricate plot is laid out like a jigsaw puzzle (a cliché, but an accurate one) of 69 short chapters (plus a prolegomenon and an epilogue), less in chronological than in topological sequence (something like: ‘while character A was doing this here, character B was doing that somewhere else’, etc…). The narrator’s viewpoint changes too, so that we get ‘inside’ information about the actions, thoughts and motivations of the secondary characters. But it is Detective Chief Inspector Morse who is most entertaining character for the reader. A grumpy bachelor who loves classical music, crossword puzzles, attractive women, beer and whisky, but who nevertheless combines intelligence and intuition to discover links and detect lies where a baffled sergeant Lewis keeps groping in the dark. All in all the characters are not thoroughly developed (after all it is not a psychological novel) but just enough to make them realistic and help us with the ‘suspension of disbelief’. And the reader? Traditionally the attraction of a crime novel is to be able to find the one who did it (‘the butler’, so to speak) before reaching the end of the novel. As the plot unfolds, one tries to ‘connect the dots’ to understand how Karin Erikkson, George Daley, Alan Hardinge and the many others are interconnected in a complex web with a rather lurid event in its centre. Not my strongest point. But I have an excuse. Contrary to other crime novels (like the Sherlock Holmes stories) I don’t believe that in this whodunit the reader can find out during the reading process ‘who did it’, as extra elements are added up to the very end of the story. So the reading pleasure lies rather in the gradual discovery of the ingenuity of the plot, with its unexpected ramifications, twists and turns. Also the psychology of inspector Morse is an extra delight, in particular as revealed during his sometimes sarcastic conversations with witnesses, suspects and his sidekick Lewis.What I liked very much also were the frequent quotations, references and allusions to English and foreign literature and writers. This ‘literary’ aspect, unique in the genre of crime stories (as far as I know), is quite attractive to readers with a master’s degree in English literature, like the writer of these lines. What a pleasure then to read in the story that, according to a letter written to the Times, the murderer must ‘have a degree in English literature’ (Pan Books, p. 76)? Hardly imaginable, but very funny indeed. ‘The Way Through the Woods’: not ‘great literature’, but a very entertaining novel.One more thing about the television adaptations. In my view there is no movie adaptation of a book where the actors are so 'spot on' and coincide so perfectly with the characters they play as in the Morse series. Simply put: John Thaw *is* Morse (he even has the same blue eyes as Morse in the book), Kevin Whateley *is* Lewis. A greater tribute to these excellent actors is not possible.

  • Nick Baam
    2019-01-31 16:57

    Lewis!!It's as hard to read a Morse and forget John Shaw as it is to read an Arkady Renko and forget William Hurt. But, they were perfectly cast.This is my first Morse/Dexter book. Very impressive. Sounds obvious but you can't overestimate the value of a good plot in a mystery. One of the reasons The Maltese Falcon is one of my favorite books -- best plot ever. (Jewel-encrusted falcon!? From Malta?!?) Similar to the last book I read, Spy Hook, by Len Deighton, the writing is unexpectedly good. The quotes at the beginning of the chapters might be a tad cute (though not as cute as in The Imperfectionists), but they are also appropriate, and interesting. ("The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties." Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. "Life never presents us with anything which may not be looked upon as a fresh starting point, no less than as a termination." Andre Gide, The Counterfeiters.) Many many scenes are adroitly done, and the imagery is excellent, though Morse seems to do better w the women in the books than on-screen, where the love is never physical, and always doomed and unrequited.

  • Pino Sabatelli
    2019-01-23 16:00

    Ancora una volta Dexter si dimostra un maestro del giallo deduttivo classico. Nei libri dedicati all'Ispettore Capo Morse è tutto perfetto: l'impasto di di profonda cultura e di umane debolezze con cui è costruita la figura del protagonista, il rapporto (ormai quasi un'amicizia) con il sergente Lewis, l'immancabile tocco di homour britannico e (non ultima) la qualità dell'indagine poliziesca che porta (pur dopo qualche falsa pista) alla soluzione del caso.Insomma la garanzia di passare qualche ora immersi in una lettura godibilissima e intelligente.

  • Joan Colby
    2019-01-27 18:40

    The Inspector Morse mysteries are always highly intelligent, this one more than most with a plot based on a riddle-poem mailed anonymously to a newspaper regarding the disappearance of a young Swedish girl a few years past. Morse must solve the clues that may point to the location of the girl’s body as readers chime in with interpretations of the poems. Various sub-plots and characters emerge including some romances for Morse. The solution is deceptively simple and the lead-in ingeneous.