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

(Inspector Morse #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  10,482 ratings  ·  540 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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Bionic 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
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 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
I read this book in anticipation of going to Oxford this summer. I wanted to visit the world of Inspector Morse, as he is so beloved in Oxford.
The book started strong- a grizzly rape/murder. We meet lots of potential suspects- red herrings are thrown in and the murderer is revealed! I didn't believe the ending at all- There were no dropped clues on the murderer till the big reveal. All clues were closed to us the reader. The ending left me shaking my head in disbelief and feeling disappointed af
Mary Helene
Jul 13, 2011 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 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 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
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having recently watched several episodes of the TV version of Morse, I was curious to revisit the books to see how they compared. Now I've read the first one again I'm keen to continue with the rest of the series.

I'd forgotten how different the books are to the TV series. Some characters don't appear in the books at all and Morse and Lewis are quite distinct from their TV personas. The story in the book was much more involved than the TV episode and both can be enjoyed without any spoiling of en
Paul Guttman
Jun 03, 2014 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.
Jun 13, 2012 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
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
Nov 21, 2013 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
May 24, 2013 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 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
Dec 05, 2009 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!
Rebecca McNutt
Apr 27, 2015 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.
Jill Holmes
Oct 03, 2012 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
Jun 27, 2013 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 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 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 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally read the first Inspector Morse novel!
Kate Howe
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
New hard boiled series to love!
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
LAST BUS TO WOODSTOCK. (1975). Colin Dexter. ****.
I’ve decided to go back and re-read the mysteries of Mr. Dexter. It’s been thirty years since I have read one of his works, and when I came across his name in a library list, I said that it has been long enough for me to go back and read them again and to pick up any of them that I might have missed. Colin Dexter was a British writer who wrote intelligent police procedurals in the style of the Golden Age books that I normally love. This title wa
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
Aug 10, 2015 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 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.
Nicole Hensley
Jul 04, 2012 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 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-other
Classic whodunit with one of the most likeable and enigmatic detectives ever. Gripping plot with twists and turns to the end. A very enjoyable read.
Kate Forsyth
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
I am a big fan of the ‘Inspector Morse’ TV series, and its spin-off ‘Lewis’, and yet I had never read any of the novels by Colin Dexter which inspired the shows. I had heard that they were good old-fashioned murder mysteries with clever plots, which is something I am always hunting for, and so I thought I’d give them a go.

The first book in the series, Last Bus to Woodstock, was published in 1975, and so it reads like historical fiction now. The plot depends on a warning letter being hand-deliver
Bev Taylor
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
the first morse mystery - and lewis shows his usual confusion, annoyance and mettle when up against the master

a young girl is found in the courtyard of a pub in woodstock, murdered and possibly raped, though it could have been consensual sex

morse is convinced that they r looking for a dangerous man but there r too many players in the field - each of whom have their secrets, connections, truths and untruths

morse continues his game of snakes and ladders convinced that passion holds the key ....
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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

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
“He'd no time for reports. He suspected that about 95% of the written word was never read by anyone anyway.” 5 likes
“Was he really looking forward to it? They were usually a bit of anticlimax, these things. Stillit would do him good. Or serve him right” 1 likes
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