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Service of All the Dead (Inspector Morse, #4)
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Service of All the Dead (Inspector Morse #4)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  1,455 ratings  ·  68 reviews
The sweet countenance of Reason greeted Morse serenely when he woke, and told him that it would be no bad idea to have a quiet look at the problem itself before galloping off to a solution. Chief Inspector Morse was alone among the congregation in suspecting continued unrest in the quiet parish of St Frideswide’s. Most people could still remember the churchwarden’s murder. ...more
324 pages
Published 1996 by PAN Books (first published 1979)
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Brian
I'm a huge British mystery fan, I can't help it, it's a joy I cant escape in any format book, TV, or movie. Inspector Morse is my all time favorite TV show, and for some reason I had not read through the novels before. This book is superb. I thought I knew what was happening from the first season episode of the same name from 1987, but Mr. Dexter weaves a much more complicated tale, and had me doubting whether the book and the episode would match up in the end.

If you like mysteries of any sort,
...more
Jean
If you have never read an "Inspector Morse" novel, then this one might be a good one to start with. Service of all the Dead is the fourth novel in the series, written in 1979. Colin Dexter now seems much more comfortable with his creations. The quality of writing is vastly improved too, and the plot is devious and nicely worked. (view spoiler)

The novel consists of
...more
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
I was worried that I'd get bored of reading this books virtually back to back. But I really enjoyed this book, what seemed so simple to begin with became very complicated - very quickly. By the end of the book we have 6 bodies.

While on his holidays Morse ventures into a local church and becomes interested in the tale of the murder of the churchwarden and the suicide of the vicar (while becoming smitten with the cleaner). The murder is unsolved. What is strange is that the murder took place durin
...more
Sara
In attesa che la Sellerio le ripubblichi tutte, Luca ha comperato da una signora siciliana un'indagine del mitico Morse (in realtà due, l'altra è in coda di lettura) con lo sfondo di una Oxford campagnola - una in cui si legge, per dire, della donna che va a fare le pulizie in chiesa in bicicletta e delle case con la porta laccata di blu e il vialetto costeggiato da erbacce. Mai, nemmeno in una pagina, c'è caduta di interesse e anche se si fatica ad intuire l'assassino - o meglio, non lo si capi ...more
Anna Rossi
Un labirinto di parole e situazioni, ad ogni angolo svoltato si crede di aver in pugno la soluzione per vederla invece sfumare in un'ulteriore ipotesi o traccia.
Intricato fino alla fine, come solo un complesso labirinto sa essere, non delude e il percorso da compiere per arrivare alla risoluzione finale è leggero e piacevole.
Esdaile
This is poorly written, the plot is uninteresting. Much more seriously the writer seems not to care in the least about his characters and in contrast to many mystery writers in the same genre, there seems to be no moral concern with crime whatsoever. The entire work reeks of "he he I can make money out of whodunnits too everyone els ewhy cant I?" I read the book only a few weeks ago and have largely forgotten the implausible plot and even more implausbile deaths. What did strike me is that the a ...more
Russell
A disappointment. This book fails on so many levels. It's one of the earlier Inspector Morse novels, so we can perhaps forgive this as a work by an unpractised writer who perfected his style through later works. I'm not sure I'll bother with them: there are so many other writers in this genre whose books justify the reading: Peter Temple, Garry Disher, Kathryn Fox, Ian Rankin, Henning Mankell and more.

The flawed genius of Morse is unconvincing in this novel. His behaviour ranges from irresponsi
...more
Roberta
Long ago now I enjoyed the regular weekly public television presentations of author Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse mysteries, but I have never read any of the books until this one. It was a very good read! I can still hear actor John Thaw speaking the lines of Inspector Morse in the book, as well as the more humble, quieter Kevin Whately as his sidekick. The solution to the mystery was very complex and certainly not guessed. nor remembered. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.
Penny
The fourth Morse book.

I did not enjoy this as much as some of the others as I found the plot so convoluted that I had to keep stopping to remind myself who was doing what, where and why!!!!

Even when I finished I could not have repeated the actual plot to someone else!

However, Morse is his usual irascible self and much of the plot is interesting if fiendishly difficult to follow (maybe its just me!!)
Yvonne (Fiction Books)
"Morse At His Crime-Solving Best"

More bodies than anyone knows what to do with.

Endless twists and double-twists in the plot, right to the very last page.

Morse ending up in bed with one of the defendents.

The stabilising,comforting and reliable presence of Lewis, never far away.

Just enough clue dropping to keep the reader always a pace or two behind the action.

All the ingredients of another great Colin Dexter novel, with the dour and pedantic Inspector Morse, left to unravel the truth from the lie
...more
Cait
As usual I don't think Dexter gives the reader enough information to be able to solve the case themselves.

Quite a complicated case with the question of whether the body identified as Rev. Lawson was actually him.

The bodies seemed to mount up really quickly, it was like Midsomer Murders!

Liked the story, even though I couldn't really solve it myself. Got through it quite quickly.

Think I might have seen the TV adaptation of this one; looking forward to watching them all at some point.
Ellen
Morse, that clever bugger!, October 10, 2012
By Ellen Rappaport (Florida)
This review is from: Service of All the Dead (Paperback)
First the list of characters:

Rev. Lionel Lawson-Vicar @ St. Frideswide church.
Philip Lawson-younger brother of Lionel.

Paul Morris-Church organist.
Peter Morris-member of the choir and son of Paul.

Ruth Rawlinson-spinster and charwoman at the church.
Mrs. Rawlinson-invalid widowed Mother of Ruth.

Harry Josephs-churchwarden and husband of Brenda.
Brenda Josephs-wife of har
...more
Aoife
First of all: This book is pretty confusing. Even though I had already watched the TV-adaption and listened to the audiobook I had to consult the cast-list a couple of times to check who was who (not that it always helped considering that there was much uncertainty about the exact identity of three of the (larger number of) bodies in this book). However the whole mystery was brilliantly constructed and you were kept guessing till the last page.
For the plot to work in the first place you had to
...more
Yngvild
Service of All the Dead is the fourth of the 13 murder mysteries in the Chief Inspector Morse series. It is a variant on the country house murder, except here the victim dies during a church service rather than over dinner.

The interest in this Colin Dexter book is that we see clearly how Morse’s mind works. He several times attends church services (and muses over a pint or two) just to present his mind with the triggers that will connect the pieces of the puzzle. It was fascinating to see a wri
...more
Susan
Morse is at loose ends--on vacation, but without plans--when he's reminded of a murder that took place while he was out of the country. What made it unusual was the setting: one of Oxford's churches, during a service. The churchwarden who was killed had a number of people who didn't care for him, but what was the real motive? As bodies accumulate, Morse is forced to revise his ideas about the case before he finds a vicious killer.
Fin Zy
I applaud to Colin Dexter's style of writing; very chic, funny, sarcastic, not overboard with descriptions - somewhat a simple way of explaining things can get the message across. Some might find it boring, but I believe Colin's intention is to give you a light read while not expecting you to forced your brains out to think more than you shouldn't, simply because the answer and clues are there, just to collect those missing puzzles to put the pieces back together in order to perform one masterpi ...more
Aperna Deb
t was one of the better whodunits I’ve read for a while. The style is quite different from the queens of mystery. It’s much more adult, in the sense it’s used in movies. Adultery and sexual attraction play a role in the plot. But besides this, it’s a fine mystery in the format of the queens and before. There’s a murder (actually quite a few), there’s a sleuth (Morse), there’s an assistant (Lewis), and there’s initial confusion and clarification in the end. But it’s crafted quite masterfully, and ...more
Hollie
This is not the type of book I normally read so was expecting to give up on it after a few chapters. I'm really glad I didn't as it was worth carrying on with. I got a bit confused towards the end but I think that is more down to me not being used to reading crime books than than a fault with the story.

The story is about Inspector Morse finding something to do while he is on holiday from work and he finds out about a murder and a suicide in a church near where he was visiting and this gets his a
...more
Jon
My favorite Morse yet! Morse is on holiday, so of course he uses the time to look in to a year-old mystery. The twists keep coming, and if the ending is a little implausible, the journey was enjoyable enough that I just didn't care.
Elisa
The mystery was great, but the Morse's approach to the woman who was effectively a victim at the end of the book was just creepy.
Jamie Bernthal
Amazingly badly written. I can see what he's trying to do but it just comes across as creepy-in-the-wrong-way.
Crankyfacedknitter
It's difficult, reading a mystery when you've already seen the tv episode. I've also grown more attached to the Endeavour version of Morse, when he's younger and more open, not as cantankerous and judgmental and irritatingly superior. This case knocked him down a peg, but that's what defense mechanisms are for, are they not?
Kate
3 1/2 stars. More bodies than Hamlet and a little too convoluted but an excellent puzzler from Colin Dexter with Morse at his crankiest.
Ronald Wilcox
Interesting that this novel won multiple awards and I found it to be the last absorbing of his novels that I have read. Morse is on vacation. Man is found stabbed to death during a church service in the town Morse is visiting and then the priest from the same church falls to his death from a tower of the church a few days later. People are missing from the village including a teen-aged boy and his father. Morse recruits Lewis to help him solve the murders and disappearances. Still worth reading, ...more
Леонид Кудрин

In my opinion, the three previous books, as detective fiction, were rather weak. The forth one turned out to be not much better. The author though has made some progress only in one aspect –view spoiler- At last Inspector Morse made love with a woman not only in his dreams . Otherwise I totally agree with Esdaile that this novel has got implausible plot and even more implausible deaths, and that the author had no feeling whatsoever for the setting and for the victims he describes except as a way
...more
Leonid
In my opinion, three previous books, as detective fiction, were rather weak. The forth one turned out to be not much better. The author though has made some progress only in one aspect –view spoiler- At last Inspector Morse made love with a woman not only in his dreams . Otherwise I totally agree with Esdaile that this novel has got implausible plot and even more implausible deaths, and that the author had no feeling whatsoever for the setting and for the victims he describes except as a way of ...more
John
1988 grade D

PBS TV
Jim
Very good. Better than the first three in the series.
Rachael
So I know a lot of people like Morse but I really couldn't stand him. He is mean to Lewis, objectivizes women, and is kind of a jerk all around. The clues were kind of confusing but the worst was the clue that meant nothing. The clue of the bundle of clothes. WHAT DO THEY MEAN??!?! Also in the end we find out Morse isn't really completely right. Maybe this wasn't the best novel to be introduced to Morse but I wasn't too pleased with it.
Becky Loader
Holy moly rocky! I am hooked on the Inspector Morse series, and this one is really creepy. Set with a church as one of the main locations, the characters have incredibly inter-twined lives. Morse continues to be brilliant, to drink too many pints at the local pub, and to use Sergeant Lewis to the maximum of his abilities. I loved the actress/char lady/ sweet not-so-young-thing with the dragon lady mother.
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43698
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
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)
  • 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 Wench Is Dead (Inspector Morse, #8)
  • 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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