Last Bus to Woodstock (Inspector Morse, #1)
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Last Bus to Woodstock (Inspector Morse #1)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  4,999 ratings  ·  185 reviews
Beautiful Sylvia Kaye and another young woman had been seen hitching a ride not long before Sylvia's bludgeoned body is found outside a pub in Woodstock, near Oxford. Morse is sure the other hitchhiker can tell him much of what he needs to know. But his confidence is shaken by the cool inscrutability of the girl he's certain was Sylvia's companion on that ill-fated Septemb...more
Paperback, 282 pages
Published August 1996 by Ivy Books (first published 1975)
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Mary Helene
It's summer. I'm reading mysteries - and this was grand! As I reflected a day later, though, on the characters, I thought of how every single man, despite his flaws, was an engaging character of some sympathy, even the young man addicted to porn. (His mother loved him, remember?) But the women, without exception, were protrayed in a negative light. None of them seemed lovable. I checked the publication date: 1975. Depressing. How much of this did we absorb as young women?

The other factor which m...more
Monica
This is the first in the Inspector Morse series. I enjoyed these books for not only the mystery, but for Morse himself and his relationship with his colleague, Lewis. Morse is a snob who drinks too much, loves opera, and is very protective of his Jaguar. Poor Lewis, his long-suffering sergeant, admires Morse's talents for solving the cases, but recognizes that Morse has serious flaws. There's often an undertone of classism as suspects stereotype Morse as working class and Morse returns their dis...more
Dipanjan
This is my first Inspector Morse Experience. Written in a typical British "literaturesque" style, Last Bus To Woodstock definitely catches the cold and dark mood of the plot. Mr. Dexter reminds us of a dark England with the trademark characteristics of the Oxford community. Middle aged men and sultry women form the cast of this book. It reminds you of the lazy English life where lots of theoretical work flow and bitter ale seem to be commanding the lifestyle all around.

Passion, love and lust fo...more
Susan
Written in 1975, this is the first Inspector Morse mystery. I had never read any of the Morse novels before and have never seen the tv series, so I had no preconceptions about this book and no knowledge about it, except that it was set in Oxford. Inspector Morse himself is a slightly grumpy, bad tempered and elusive leading character and the author was obviously feeling his way with him. Sergeant Lewis, who works with him on the case, seems both a more grounded and less troubled character.

The no...more
Aoife
It's a bit hard to rate this book. One the one hand there are things that make it quite clear that this book was written in the 70s...and by things I mean some blatant sexism. While it (fortunately) never goes so far to blame the murdered girl for getting murdered it becomes quite clear that both Morse and Lewis clearly disapprove of her lifestyle-choices (i.e. being sexually active) and there are somne cringeworthy conclusions (she didn't wear a bra! -> Perhaps she was a prostitute!) which l...more
Leah
I was unsure of what to expect when approaching Colin Dexter. Would he be an heir of Christie, Sayers, even P.D. James? Would this book be a murder mystery, a police procedural, a combination, something else entirely? It was a combination, as it turned out, and a pretty decent one at that.

I recently reviewed P.D. James's Cover Her Face, in which I didn't really mention the police procedural aspect of the storytelling. I wonder whether that was the turning point for detective fiction: when the de...more
Nikki
Decided I'd try this, since it's Inspector Morse and I used to catch some of that on TV when my grandad was watching it. But it seems almost incoherently written. I know I've defended Jeffery Deaver's attention to detail, but that's when he's writing about the forensics department. I don't think Lewis and Morse care much at all about the girl's dark-blue trousers and light summer coat.

And the attitudes to women -- gah. Not even hateful, most of the time, just casually dismissive. Morse as a char...more
Lobstergirl
Jan 22, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: people time traveling to 1975
A book that reeks of 1975. Horny, hard drinking Morse falls for a murder suspect 20 years his junior. Also, a man and a woman in bed together raise important metaphysical questions about rape:

Man: Do you believe a young girl can get raped?
Woman: It must be jolly difficult for the man.
Man: Mm.
Woman: Have you ever raped a woman?
Man: I could rape you, any day of the week.
Woman: But I wouldn't let you. I wouldn't put up any resistance. Peter.....rape me again!
Maree
Sep 03, 2013 Maree rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maree by: Kelly
Shelves: crime, adult, 2013-read, uk
I really enjoyed this and every time I thought I had the killer sorted, new information came to light. I was genuinely surprised by the outcome and impressed with the mystery and the investigation. Will definitely be reading more Morse books until I can get my hands on the original series, Lewis and the new Endeavour.
Sharon
This is the first Inspector Morse book. I have watched the Masterpiece series. Fascinating whodunnit. Inspector Morse is a horse's ass, but then I knew that. He's a entitled private school snob, but honestly, he really can't help it, it's who he is and he's the plus is that he is amazing at his job. Sargeant Lewis is also introduced in this novel. Down to earth, pedantic, Lewis. He's no slouch but given his comparator, it would be hard to have any confidence in your intellect.

The story opens wit...more
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
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Trish
Last Bus to Woodstock is a fine novel in the police procedural genre of detective fiction. The book was first published in London in 1975. The novel has a good plot, fascinating characters and will keep you turning the pages until the end! The novel is the first in the series featuring the brilliant and quirky Inspector Morse of the Thames Valley Police Department. The beat is in Oxford and its local villages. Throughout the novel we begin to care for Morse. He is a middle aged Oxford graduate w...more
Jill Holmes
Te critics are right--you may have seen Chief Inspector Morse on "Masterpiece Mystery", but you won't truly know him until you have read him. This book was a delight. A complex mystery with twists, turns, loads of red herrings, and an outcome that was unexpected on several levels. The ultimate delights, howver, were in getting to know Chief Inspector Morse and his patient, stalwart sidekick Sergeant Lewis. This is the first of many Morse mysteries, so we see Morse as a relatively young man takin...more
Keith
I came to the Inspector Morse novels by a round-about route. We visited my in-laws over Labor Day weekend, and on Sunday evening wound up watching a bit of TV. Usually I do my best to ignore the television---engrossing myself in a crossword or a good book. But this particular evening a show called Inspector Lewis was on. At first I didn't pay too much attention but I wound up getting sucked in. It had interesting characters, and the setting---in and around Oxford, England was a familiar blend of...more
Andrew
The first Morse novel,from 1975,introduces the urbane & enigmatic Oxford detective,with his uninspired though dogged assistant,Sgt.Lewis.Who would have thought at the time that by the 2000s,these two characters would have become such stalwarts of television crime? Morse quickly establishes his ground rules in dealing with what looks like a sex-murder, but turns-out to be something far more complex...as Morse (who we all know now won't answer to his baptismal name,Endeavour!) shows himself to...more
John
This was the first Inspector Morse book, and Colin Dexter also chose to make it the first time Morse worked with Sgt. Lewis, who would become his long-suffering partner in solving crime. Morse treated Lewis slightly more considerately in this book than in some of the later books. Slightly.
We learn in this book that Lewis is older than Morse. (I put this in italics because Dexter always puts unexpected facts in italics.) The people who translated the Morse stories into TV theater for the PBS "My...more
Jean
Suffering from Morse deprivation on the TV I decided to reread all Colin Dexter's novels, in order this time. This first one, Last Bus To Woodstock I found a little disappointing. It is very much of its time as regards prevailing attitudes to women, and Colin Dexter's masculinity is rather too present. In fact it feels rather oldfashioned even for 1975 - more like the late 60's. It would be interesting to see if this series is still around in another couple of decades' time.

Having said that, i...more
Audrey
Okay this is the first book in the Inspector Morse series and I decided to start this series because I love the Inspector Lewis series on PBS Masterpiece Mystery so much.

Well. . .I am not all that impressed with this book, Inspector Morse seems to be arrogant without the genius for solving crimes that would seem to warrant such arrogance. He loves to drink, is a womanizer, browbeats poor Lewis, his newly assigned Sargent and seemingly just makes a general mess of things.

The mystery was pretty go...more
jennifer
Inspector Morse takes on the case of a young woman found raped and murdered in a pub parking lot. The list of suspects gets longer as Morse and Sergeant Lewis, working together for the first time, discover that the victim was far from innocent.

This is the first of the Inspector Morse series, and the second that I've read (The Dead of Jericho a few months ago). The mystery here is done really well and is hard to figure out. The cons:the romance between Morse and a suspect's roommate is sudden and...more
Randy
Colin Dexter is one of my favorite authors. His books tell the adventures of Inspector Morse and his side kick Sargent Lewis. I discovered Inspector Morse while watching A&E mystery movies on Monday night. Once they ran out of old Columbos and McCloud, they started running old English series, two of my early favorites where Inspector Morse and Inspector Frost. Sad but there were many more tv episodes than actual books. Morse was set in Oxford, the tv series was magnificent, blending the crim...more
Carrie
Well, I can see why a TV producer thought that the characters in this book were interesting enough to bring to the screen, but I did not enjoy this book. Yes, the sexism was annoying, but I could forgive that as being a product of its time (1975). What I especially didn't like was how much of the evidence was hidden from the reader. Morse would talk to someone, and the author would not write about what was said. Or Morse would read a ledger, and we wouldn't get to see what was on it. So much was...more
David
Morse, Kurt Wallander, Dave Robicheaux – I don't who I'd choose if I was allowed only one on my Desert Island. All three authors are masters at painting atmospheric backgrounds in which these depressive and lovable detectives do their work.

Morse is immersed in opera, the city of Oxford and the Times crosswords. He solves grizzly, chilling murders by hunch as much as science. Colin Dexter's writing is sometimes pedantic; his women characters lack warmth, but I still found it very difficult to put...more
JodiP
I had loved the Inspector Lewis series so mcuh on PBS that I thought I'd check out the inspiration. At the same time, I ordered the BBC production of this book. Perhaps it's because I'd seen the production first, but I found this a bit plodding. I tired of Morse's constant ogling of women--I know it was written in the mid-70s, but Dalgliesh didn't do it so obviously! I stopped reading about a third of the way through. I may try the next one in the series, although there are so many other contend...more
Bruce Beckham
Overall I enjoyed this sojourn into the world of Morse and Lewis, though it is difficult to imagine the characters as anyone other than the actors John Thaw and Kevin Whately. (This is somewhat problematic, since – as Colin Dexter puts it – Lewis ‘...was by several years the older man.’)

Published in 1975, the narrative provides a nostalgic reminder of the days before mobile phones and – for the whodunit aficionado – DNA analysis.

There’s one clumsily written sex scene (‘His erection was enormous’...more
Heidi
I had grown so accustomed to the late middle age Inspector Morse as portrayed on PBS (great series) that I was delighted to read this first installment of the original series. Quirky, annoying and full of red herrings... it was such a great read that I made my husband read it too-- much to his surprise, he was an instant Morse fan. Looking forward to catching up on all the early installments.
Mom
Beautiful Sylvia Kaye and another young woman had been seen hitching a ride not long before Sylvia's bludgeoned body is found outside a pub in Woodstock, near Oxford. Morse is sure the other hitchhiker can tell him much of what he needs to know. But his confidence is shaken by the cool inscrutability of the girl he's certain was Sylvia's companion on that ill-fated September evening. Shrewd as Morse is, he's also distracted by the complex scenarios that the murder set in motion among Sylvia's gi...more
David Fulmer
I am afraid that I am not a fan of Inspector Morse, the Oxford detective in charge of investigating the murder of a young woman in this, the first novel of a series of novels written about him by Colin Dexter. Though an Anglophile with an abiding respect for the mystery novel, I just can’t endorse this novel with a plodding investigation involving a few Oxford dons, a small business office, and a few nurses at a hospital, conducted thoroughly and with a small amount of endearing attitude by the...more
Nick
The plot is great, Dexter plays fair, the recurring characters are in the early stages of their development but recognizable, and Dexter's sense of humor adds a touch of levity, but this novel left me wondering whether I would read any more in the series--can't really say why that it, but that's my reaction.
Shaunak Bhattacharya
my first colin dexter was finished in a busy schedule with just under two days...

a writing of superior quality....amazingly breathtaking pace..
an out of the world climax to a bizarre set of disjoint events...and an ending that just blew me away...

in one word...

MESMERIZING
Jari Peteri
Still sick-bed reading, but detective stories don't come better than Morse stories. And, I emphasise, the books, not the TV films (however great they are). I've read this many times but it doesn't matter, since the charm is in the narrative details.
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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...
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) The Dead of Jericho (Inspector Morse, #5)

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“He'd no time for reports. He suspected that about 95% of the written word was never read by anyone anyway.” 2 likes
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