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The Wench Is Dead (Inspector Morse, #8)
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The Wench Is Dead (Inspector Morse #8)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,852 ratings  ·  74 reviews
The body of Joanna Franks was found at Duke's Cut on the Oxford Canal on 22nd June 1859. As Inspector Morse is recovering from a perforated ulcer he discovers an account of the 140-year-old investigation and is convinced that two innocent men were hanged.
Audio CD, Abridged, 3 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by MacMillan Audio (first published 1989)
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The Wench is Dead is the eighth novel in Colin Dexter's "Inspector Morse" series. It is one of the most intriguing so far, as it is a story within a story. The mystery itself is based on a true unsolved crime which had been researched by Dexter. In part then, it is an historical novel. The novel received the British Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award, for the best Crime novel of the year, in 1989.

The phrase "The Wench is Dead" is often quoted, but originally was a quotation from Christ
The book begins with poor Morse in the hospital suffering from a bleeding ulcer and enlarged liver, the result of all those pints. It's so different from the usual Morse in command; now he's forced to undergo the indignities of the hospital and completely at the mercy of others. He is given a copy of a book detailing the results of the murder of Joanna Franks who had been raped and murdered in 1859. The perpetrators had been arrested and hung. With nothing better to do, Morse reads the book but ...more
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
Considering this is one of (if not the) shortest Morse book I don't really understand why it took me so long to read it.

I guess its difficult to tell a story when the central character is in the hospital (a victim of his unhealthy lifestyle). But this serves to remind Morse of his own mortality. Fast approaching 60 and retirement, his head turned by a pretty face (several of which appear in this book, be they nurse or daughter of another patient).

Morse's interest is spiked by a book, given to hi
I was a little disappointed in this one. There was very little mystery to it, the salient points seemed to be pretty obvious. The book seemed more a testament to Morse's aging libido than anything else. I understand this book is a little atypical of most Morse novels, so I'll give him another try, but this one did not impress me.
Karen Wickham
This is an unusual Inspector Morse story because he is investigating a murder which happened in 1860 as a diversion whilst in hospital.

I found some of the conclusions he came to rather flimsy based on the evidence available. The story was mildly interesting but not one of his best.
I decided to read a few mysteries, since so many people love them, but realized I don't. This flaccid little book felt like such a waste of time--especially the odd way that the book's attractive women kept falling for the aging, alcoholic Morse. Really?
I like the Morse books, but Josephine Tey did the detective in the hospital story much, much better. The underlying historical mystery was just not interesting.
Oct 10, 2013 Lobstergirl rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ostlers
Convalescing in the hospital, Morse puts down his pornographic novel The Blue Ticket and begins to read Murder on the Oxford Canal, a brief privately published history of a century-old crime that his just-deceased roommate's widow has brought him. He becomes increasingly absorbed in the story and the flaws in the case; two men, workers on a canal boat, were hanged for the murder of a drowned woman whom they had been ferrying down the canal. Morse feels an injustice may have been done. Once relea ...more
Dexter takes a page from Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time. Morse is laid up in hospital and solves a Victorian era true crime while recuperating. Inside my used copy of The Wench is Dead is a receipt dated 1994 from Waldenbooks (cost $4.99). The purchaser, who was a Preferred Reader and got a 10% discount, bought this title along with two other Inspector Morse mysteries, and 7 Silhouette romance novels (yikes). The edition is one of those cheap paperbacks, tightly bound where you have to bre ...more
I've seen a bunch of the British Morse mysteries but hadn't ever read one, so when I found a copy of this at a garage sale, I picked it up. This is probably not the best place to start because it's not a typical police procedural -- Morse is in the hospital almost the entire time, solving a century-old mystery he reads about in a book given to him by the very recent widow of a fellow patient.

But it's an engrossing read: the story held my attention and the author conveyed a strong sense of place,
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
After he's rushed into hospital, Inspector Morse becomes intrigued by an old crime.
Lucy Barnhouse
This novel shows Colin Dexter at his most stylistically virtuosic, as Morse, laid up in hospital, embarks on solving a mystery from nineteenth-century Oxford. An antiquarian's amateur history, trial records, and moralizing anecdotes are all threaded through the narrative, as Morse's customary psychological acuity--and sheer contrarian cussedness--leads him to interrogate the received narrative of the crime. This also provides a very interesting opportunity for Dexter to explore continuity and ch ...more
Josephine Tey did it in Daughter of Time. Now Dexter does it in this book--puts his detective, in this case Inspector Morse, in the hospital and gives him an historical mystery to rethink. Morse has a perforated ulcer, and a yen for some of the nurses, when he's given a book that describes a Victorian murder. The perpetrators were convicted and hanged, but something seems off about the whole case to Morse, who manages to investigate while he's in the hospital, and follows up on the case--to no e ...more
The writer is too cute by half. A disappointment.

A story within a story within a story=a mystery, March 30, 2013

This review is from: The Wench is Dead (Mass Market Paperback)
"The Wench is Dead" is not my first Inspector Morse & Lewis book nor will it be my last. Superbly written by a master-Colin Dexter. The authors name is so rarely mentioned,I feel, due to the fact that Inspector Morse seems to be a real person to so many of us.

This particular story begins with Morse taking a trip to the hospital with ailments due in most part to his
He is hardly the model of good health, what with his incorrigible smoking and drinking, but a bleeding ulcer proves too much for Chief Inspector Morse. With some reluctance, he is taken to hospital, earning himself the sympathy of those around him, as well as some small gifts.

Among aforementioned small gifts is a small self-published volume on a murder which happened in the Oxford Canal about a hundred years before Morse's time. Although put off, at first, by the dense writing style, Morse soon
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I'll admit, though a fan of John Thaw in "Home to Roost", I've never actually sat down and watched a whole episode of Morse, though I have seen bits and pieces. I picked this book up quite by accident, and while I realise it will hardly be representative of the "standard Morse novel", it was an OK read.
I say OK: I enjoy Dexter's writing style, his use of language etc in the modern sections of the novel. I don't know, maybe he was experimenting with a different narrative voice, but I found the "r
Not a good book to introduce you to your Inspector Morse reading. Inspector Morse solves a crime from 1859 without moving from his hospital bed, so it's not dramatically exciting. Morse reads a pamphlet about the murder of of Joanna Franks, whose body was found in the Oxford Canal, whilst in hospital and he decides to try to prove that the men executed for the crime were not guilty.

This book is full of ridiculous coincidences, for example, what is the chance of Lewis finding the shoes of the mur
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One of the less interesting television episode's of Morse but a surprisingly enjoyable read. No time pressure and no worry about another character becoming a victim, since this is a case from the past. But you get to spend more time in Morse's head and experience his thought process. That was great. Interesting to put him in such a vulnerable state too. A good read.
Even though I barely remember it, I'm pretty sure I had watched some of the TV versions of Morse. Anyway, I recently ran into this again via a BBC4extra audio, where they turned the book into an audio, which I loved a lot.

Buying the book was a good choice, for one, Colin Dexter's English is a different style than I'm used to. Might be due to historical reasons, as the author grew up in a different time than me and thus his vocabulary does contain a few words I'm not used to hearing - no clue.

Quite similar in concept to Tey's Daughter of Time. I found this entry in the Morse series very enjoyable, and without the confusing convolutions of the past few books.
incipit mania

A tratti, quel martedì, ebbe la nausea.....
La fanciulla è morta
Alexia Gordon
Took me a long while to slog through this one. Nothing much happened. The plot sort of meandered along. Josephine Tey did bedridden-detective-solves-ancient-crime better in Daughter of Time.
Jennifer Irvine
A mystery solved as Morse convalesces from an ulcer in hospital. Not as gripping as other stories, but a good sense of Morse's crusty and sharp personality with Lewis' long-suffering devotion.
A modern day inspector solves a murder that happened around 1850. Interesting to notice how much one can deduce based on very little information. I especially liked the very end of this book!
this book is so well written that I struggled through it but the plot was so boring it was a hard task. I do want to try other Inspector Morse novels, I got the sense from this one that the others are probably pretty good. This one was kind of dreary and inconclusive. It reminded me a little of Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time: While in the hospital recovering from a severe ulcer attack, Morse begins reading a dull history book given him by his hospital roommate. The roommate dies in the fir ...more
Perhaps my favorite of all the books. The two storylines, one in the present, and one in the past, make a novel and absorbing change from the regular straightforward fare.
John Mccullough
A good review of a cold case. Good reading in hospital as Morse solves it from his hospital bed. Fun and educational historical reading
This was a totally different Morse case, and I think we see a bit more of Morse's personality and feelings than usual. Really enjoyed it!
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Norman Colin Dexter, OBE (born 29 September 1930 in Stamford, Lincolnshire) is an English crime writer, known for his Inspector Morse novels.

He started writing mysteries in 1972 during a family holiday: "We were in a little guest house halfway between Caernarfon and Pwllheli. It was a Saturday and it was raining - it's not unknown for it to rain in North Wales. The children were moaning ... I was
More about Colin Dexter...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Morse (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Last Bus to Woodstock (Inspector Morse, #1)
  • Last Seen Wearing (Inspector Morse, #2)
  • The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn (Inspector Morse, #3)
  • Service of All the Dead (Inspector Morse, #4)
  • The Dead of Jericho (Inspector Morse, #5)
  • The Riddle of the Third Mile (Inspector Morse, #6)
  • The Secret of Annexe 3 (Inspector Morse, #7)
  • The Jewel That Was Ours (Inspector Morse, #9)
  • The Way Through The Woods (Inspector Morse, #10)
  • Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other Stories
Last Bus to Woodstock (Inspector Morse, #1) The Way Through The Woods (Inspector Morse, #10) Last Seen Wearing (Inspector Morse, #2) The Remorseful Day (Inspector Morse, #13) The Daughters of Cain (Inspector Morse, #11)

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“He was somewhat of a loner by temperament--because though never wholly happy when alone, he was usually slightly more miserable when with other people.” 17 likes
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