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

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,820 Ratings  ·  324 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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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
James Thane
Sep 30, 2015 James Thane rated it really liked it
This is the book that introduced Colin Dexter's famous protagonist, Chief Inspector Morse of the Oxford Homicide Division. Morse is a confirmed bachelor who is attracted to women, liquor and complex homicide investigations. Here we also meet the man who would be Morse's sidekick throughout the series, the much put-upon Sergeant Lewis.

As the book opens, two attractive young women are waiting for a bus. One of them, Sylvia Kaye, grows impatient and decides to hitch a ride instead. She is later dis
Mary Helene
Jul 14, 2011 Mary Helene rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
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
Mar 26, 2013 Aoife rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
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
Jun 01, 2013 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 13, 2012 Leah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 02, 2012 Carrie rated it it was ok
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
Jun 27, 2013 Nikki rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, crime
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
Mar 28, 2009 Monica rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
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
Jan 22, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it it was ok  ·  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!
Jill Holmes
Oct 08, 2012 Jill Holmes rated it it was amazing
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
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
Mar 17, 2015 Neena rated it really liked it
The plot of "Last Bus to Woodstock" is not worth four stars but Dexter's writing is for sure. Morse was not likable character in this first book of series for me. He did not leave much impression here. I have read few more books in series and that's where I liked him better. Lewis is perfect gentleman and I think his character is most consistent throughout whole series.

The story is not one of the best, ending unfathomable, Morse and Sue's romance very movie-ish. The best thing about Dexter's wri
Feb 21, 2016 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first in the Inspector Morse series and introduces us to Morse and Sgt Lewis, who joins Morse for the first time in this book. I've been watching the TV Series based on the books, and oddly enough this was the 5th in the TV series. Morse is much like he is in the TV series, although there are also some differences, his looks, his car, etc. I enjoyed the mystery, the pacing and how Morse goes about solving the crime. He still likes his beer and his women. Excellent introduction to the ...more
Oct 19, 2012 Nicole rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of the Inspector Lewis T.V series
Inspector Morse is...I'm just going to be frank, a dick. He snaps at Sergent Lewis and all the other police officers anytime there isn't any evidence right in front of his face. He drinks on the job and is a creep on any woman who may be a witness or connected to the case. The only reason I rated it so highly was because the mystery was great, it kept me guessing until the end and ended with an unexpected twist.
Apr 06, 2016 Joe rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Last Bus To Woodstock introduces the reader to Chief Inspector Morse of Oxford, England. Morse is quirky, at times cantankerous, persistent, and even brilliant, particularly when solving murders. He is a fan of the English language, likes his crossword puzzles and poetry, and takes it personally when folks abuse their privilege while either speaking or writing. We also meet Sgt. Lewis, who is teamed up here with Morse for the first time, much to his delight and consternation.

The crime here is th
Bill Rogers
Like many, I suspect, I came to Inspector Morse through the BBC series starring John Thaw. The original novels don't disappoint!

In this his first book Morse is described as a man facing middle age, thin, and dark-haired. In this story he meets the long-suffering Lewis and investigates the murder of Sylvia Kaye. Ms. Kaye was apparently raped and murdered in the car park of a pub in Woodstock, after having missed the bus and instead hitchhiked there. There are obvious suspects, but of course all i
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
Feb 19, 2011 Charlotte (Buried in Books) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Morse (who we all know now won't answer to his baptismal name,Endeavour!) shows himself to ...more
David Fulmer
Feb 11, 2014 David Fulmer rated it it was ok
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
Jul 14, 2013 David rated it liked it
A good puzzle, but a frustrating read. Dexter seems prone to ending chapters with Morse giving the indication that he's figured something out but not explaining what it is. Then, at the end when Morse gives his solution, it's a lot of "so-and-so told me such-and-such a week ago" ... information that led Morse to the solution but which the reader is only privy to in the closing pages.
Jan 17, 2015 Gabriela rated it liked it
Shelves: whodunnits
I'm a sucker for British crime TV series. There's just something about those long episodes, that slow action - no matter wether the setting is the lovely English countryside, or the elitist Oxford, or the cold, beautiful Scotland.
I've seen them (almost) all, from George Gently and Foyle's War to Inspector Lewis and A Touch of Frost. My favourite is by far Midsomer Murders. It's hard to beat the bucolic villages, charming cottages and it's so much green, green everywhere!

Inspector Morse introduce
Paul Guttman
Jun 11, 2014 Paul Guttman rated it did not like it
I can't stand when a mystery is solved in the end with information not previously given to the reader. Part of the enjoyment of reading mysteries is trying to figure out what has happened while the story progresses. If the author keeps vital information from the reader, that is impossible.
Jan 26, 2016 Leslie rated it really liked it
Beginning at the beginning, I decided to read the very first installment of the Inspector Morse series. A fan of the televised series for more than 20 years, the books had been recommended to me for some time, and I was curious to find out how the characters of Morse and Lewis developed in them.

At first I was a bit concerned, because for years I expected to love these books and this one took me a while. In retrospect, I should have waited until I could read it in chunks instead of beginning with
Rebecca McNutt
Apr 27, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it
Eerily nostalgic murder mystery with elements of suspense, humor, mystery and complexity in everything from the characters to the scenery.
Jan 02, 2014 Sharon rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
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
Jul 27, 2015 Sophie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book in Oxford whilst visiting on holiday. After taking in the Morse sights (even seeing Morse's MkI Jag used in Endeavour ready for filming), I decided it was finally time to read the books.

This is a great introduction to Morse. The character is clear as crystal and you can see the relationship between Morse and Lewis start developing. Not quite the friendship that is there in the series but it's coming along nicely.

The mystery was intriguing and as a book it was very difficult
Jul 14, 2015 Fanficfan44 rated it liked it
I have not read any Inspector Morse books before, however I have tried to watch the TV series. I don’t find the TV series that engaging, Morse seems like a jerk and a flagrant womanizer. I do love the character of Lewis though and have watched all of the Lewis TV series. Maybe Morse’s treatment of Lewis is one of the reasons I didn’t get into watching Morse so much?

This is the first book in the series. It involves two young women who try to hitch a ride home and one of them ends up raped and bea
Mel Healy
Maybe you've seen the brilliant TV series with the late John Thaw. Chief Inspector Morse loves crosswords, Wagner, women, real ale and solving crimes. Or you've seen "Endeavour", the spin-off series about the young Morse.

Then you've gone back to the original police procedural novels and Colin Dexter's short stories, or discovered them for the first time.

"Last Bus to Woodstock" is nearly forty years old. It's the first of his Morse novels (though not the first story in the TV series) and I first
Emmanuel Gustin
Apr 28, 2014 Emmanuel Gustin rated it really liked it
Morse must be one of the most remarkable characters in the history of detective fiction: Highly intelligent, but frequently trapped by his own emotions and his numerous prejudices; cantakerous, hypocritical, arrogant and rebellious; but also much more human than the stock criminal investigator from fiction, and not without charm.

The plot of this book certainly has weaknesses; it is overcomplicated and all characters seem to much more burdened by their petty sins than they should be, creating a
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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 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 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

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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.” 3 likes
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