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

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  8,958 Ratings  ·  414 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
Tom Mathews
The first book in the series that brought us the great television series starring John Thaw as the irascible yet brilliant Inspector Morse, a spin-off with Inspector Lewis and a prequel series, Endeavour, leaves me, well, underwhelmed. As a police procedural it is okay but not something that will remain long in my memory. To its credit, the plot was sufficiently complex to keep me guessing, incorrectly, until the very end.

I expected Morse to be quirky yet brilliant. I guess he was that but ther
James Thane
Mar 23, 2010 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 13, 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
La Tonya  Jordan
Aug 24, 2016 La Tonya Jordan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone who likes Mysteries
Recommended to La Tonya by: Carmel, IN Library Mystery Book Group
Shelves: good-read
This is the first book of a series of Detective Chief Inspector Morse. It was well written and kept the attention of the reader. The plot was very difficult to follow. But, the writing was so interesting and captivating you as the reader had to keep reading until the end. Chief Inspector Morse appears to be dumbfounded and Sergeant Lewis seems to be at his wits end when the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together and the killer is revealed.

Sylvia Kaye is murdered behind a pub and not much ev
Mar 24, 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
Brenda H
Last Bus to Woodstock is the first book in the Inspector Morse series by Colin Dexter. The book opens with two young women waiting at the bus stop planning to catch the last bus to Woodstock. However, after they are told that there are no more buses to Woodstock that night, they decide to hitch a ride. Within hours, one of the young women is found dead in the parking lot of a pub in Woodstock.

While the story was generally interesting and proved to be a challenge to solve, I was less than happy w
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
Jill Holmes
Oct 03, 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
May 24, 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
Feb 16, 2017 K rated it really liked it
Ah, there's something about a classic British murder mystery, whether it be from P. D. James, Agatha Christie, or as in the present case, Colin Dexter. This is the first of he Inspector Morse series and he first for me from this author. It put me in the mind of the aforementioned legends of the genre, which is a high compliment indeed.
The author lays down a surfeit of clues and red herrings, enough to keep one from becoming too confident about deciphering the culprit(s) until the very end. And
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
Oct 28, 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
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
Dec 05, 2009 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!
Paul Guttman
Jun 03, 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.
Kate Howe
Apr 10, 2017 Kate Howe rated it really liked it
New hard boiled series to love!
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 23, 2013 N 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
Aug 10, 2015 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
Michael Romo
Mar 05, 2017 Michael Romo rated it really liked it
In this the first Inspector Morse mystery Morse and Sergeant Lewis combine to solve the brutal murder of a young and sexy woman. What is incredible to me is that Colin Dexter, whom I've had the great pleasure of meeting, wrote this book on a kitchen table while on holiday. He then blindly sent it around to the publishers and hit the proverbial jackpot!! This was a re-read for me, I originally read it in the 90's.
Jul 04, 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.
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.
Andrew Fish
Nov 29, 2013 Andrew Fish rated it it was ok
Working my way up to write my first mystery novel, I've decided to read a few to get a taste for how different authors approach the matter. Having tried Agatha Christie, therefore, I've turned to Colin Dexter and this, the first of his Inspector Morse novels.

I already knew to expect some deviation from the television portrayal of Morse: Dominic Sandbrook in his books on the 1970s occasionally refers to Dexter's work to show how the sexual politics of a different age were reflected in its literat
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
Feb 16, 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.
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
Jul 29, 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 08, 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.
May 01, 2017 Carol rated it liked it
Last Bus To Woodstock by Colin Dexter
Inspector Morse series Book #1
3.5 ★'s

From The Book:
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
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Norman Colin Dexter was 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 sitting at the kitchen table with nothing else to do, a
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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