fredag den 22. maj 2009

Colin Dexter, Last Bus to Woodstock (1975)


This British novel is the first in the Inspector Morse series.

Two young girls give up on the bus to Woodstock and decide to try to get a lift. Soon after one of them is found murdered in the parking area outside an inn. The victim is Sylvia Kay, a young woman working in an office. But who was the young girl that kept her company at the bus stop, and why doesn´t she contact the police?

On the whole, Inspector Morse is his own, temperamental self in the debut. We do not hear much about his squeamishness around bodies, but his keen interests in the Times´ crosswords, spelling and punctuation are all there. Plus, of course, the love of whisky and the beautiful women who happen to be involved in the case. Sherlock Holmes had his cocaine, Morse has his whisky and cigarettes:

“Morse spent the afternoon of Saturday, 2 October, sitting mildly drunk in his office. He had smoked his packet of cigarettes by 4.30 p.m. and rang for more. His mind grew clearer and clearer. He thought he saw the vaguest pattern in the events of the evening of Wednesday, 29 September. No names – no ideas of names, yet – but a pattern.”

Sergeant Lewis is at his side, reliable and wonderfully level-headed. “Sergeant Lewis was nobody´s fool and was a man of some honesty and integrity.” Perhaps too honest for his own good, sometimes, but with time, Morse learns to appreciate, and even acknowledge Lewis´ strong points.

This is the story where Morse makes the hypothesis that the murderer lives in North Oxford, is between 35 and 50 years old, married and owns a red car, whereupon he asks his men to track this man down. What else is there? Oh yes, a strong sense of the town conveyed by a knowledgeable writer who gives us tidbits about the history and the various colleges of Oxford while enhancing a poor Scandinavian´s vocabulary.

Colin Dexter, Sidste bus til Woodstock (1991)
Denne britiske roman er den første i serien om Kriminalkommissær Morse.

To unge piger opgiver at vente på bussen til Woodstock (lige udenfor byen Oxford), og beslutter sig for at prøve at få et lift. Kort efter bliver den ene fundet myrdet på parkeringspladsen uden for en kro. Offeret er Sylvia Kay, en ung kontorpige, men hvem var den anden pige, og hvorfor kontakter hun ikke politiet?

I det store og hele er Morse sit eget, temperamentsfulde jeg i debut-romanen. Vi hører ikke så meget om hans berøringsangst over for lig, men hans store interesse for krydsord, stavning og tegnsætning er alle klart til stede. Plus, selvfølgelig, kærligheden til whisky og de smukke kvinder, som er involveret i sagen. Sherlock Holmes havde sin kokain, Morse har whiskyen og cigaretterne:

”Morse tilbragte lørdag eftermiddag, den anden oktober, med at sidde og være lettere fuld på sit kontor. Han var færdig med sin pakke cigaretter klokken halv fem, og ringede efter nogle flere. Hans bevidsthed blev mere og mere klar. Han syntes, han kunne se et svagt mønster i begivenhederne onsdag den 29. september om aftenen. Ingen navne – ingen ideer om navne endnu – men et mønster.”

Morses trofaste assistent Lewis er ved hans side, pålidelig og jordbunden. “Kriminalassistent Lewis var ikke dum, og han var ærlig og pålideligheden selv.” Måske ærligere, end det er godt for ham selv, men hen ad vejen lærer Morse at værdsætte, og af og til endda anerkende, Lewis´ stærke sider.

Bogen er også historien om Morse, som danner en hypotese om, at morderen bor i det nordlige Oxford, er mellem 35 og 50 år gammel, gift, og ejer en rød bil, hvorpå han beder sine mænd finde denne person. Og hvad er der mere at sige? Jo, den stærke fornemmelse af byen Oxford, skildret af en vidende forfatter, som fodrer os med små bidder historie og oplysninger om de forskellige universitetsbygninger, samtidig med at han udvider en stakkels skandinavs ordforråd.

6 kommentarer:

Beth F sagde ...

I should have gotten this one! I love Morse and I've read the first few in the series. Then I watched him on TV

Ms. Bookish sagde ...

I have never read an Inspector Morse story. This sounds like a series I'll like.

Dorte H sagde ...

Beth, I am not at all sure I would be able to guess ANY of my own baits. I am really impressed by many of my friends, because they remember the books so much better than I do.

Ms Bookish, I am glad I can recommend a wonderful series. It is British crime at its best, in my opinion.

R. T. sagde ...

I am huge fan of Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse books. Anyone who has overlooked reading the Morse novels has missed a real treat. And thank you, Dorte, for bringing him to the attention of the uninitiated.

P.S. The TV programs were good, but the books are better!

Kerrie sagde ...

You and I really do share reading DNA Dorte.

Dorte H sagde ...

R.T. Thank you. I really think Dexter´s books deserve attention. They are extremely well-written, and one of the series which made me a dedicated fan of British crime fiction in the 1990s.

Kerrie, I suspect you are right ;)