Information about the author.
Morse is enjoying a rare if unsatisfying holiday in Dorset when the first letter appears in The Times. A year before, a stunning Swedish student disappeared from Oxfordshire, leaving behind a rucksack with her identification. As the lady was dishy, young, and traveling alone, the Thames Valley Police suspected foul play. But without a body, and with precious few clues, the investigation ground to a halt. Now it seems that someone who can hold back no longer is composing clue-laden poetry that begins an enthusiastic correspondence among England’s news-reading public. Not one to be left behind, Morse writes a letter of his own—and follows a twisting path through the Wytham Woods that leads to a most shocking murder.
It is only to entertain himself in the hospital that the impatient Inspector Morse opens the little book called Murder on the Oxford Canal. But so fascinating is the story it tells—of the notorious 1859 murder of Joanna Franks aboard the canal boat Barbara Bray—that not even Morse’s attractive nurses can distract him from it. Was Joanna really raped and murdered by fellow passengers? Morse believes the men hanged for the crime were innocent. Now, in one of the most dazzling investigations of his career, Morse sets out to piece together the shattered past, hoping to expose the shocking truth about the Barbara Bray—and a beautiful wench who is journeying towards her death.
He meets her at a suburban party. They share a flirtation over their red wine…and he doesn’t see her again. It’s the old familiar story for Morse. Then one day he just happens to be in Jericho, where Anne Scott lives. Nobody’s home—and Morse should know since her door is unlocked and he takes a quick look inside. Only later does Morse learn that the lady was at home, just not alive. The jury’s verdict at the inquest is death by suicide. But that doesn’t sit right with Morse, and he embarks on his own investigation into the tangled private life of a lovely woman, all the while feeling his own remorse of what might have been….
This time Inspector Morse brings the imposition on himself. He could have been vacationing in Greece instead of investigating a murder that the police have long since written off. But he finds the crime—the brutal killing of a suburban churchwarden—fascinating. In fact, he uncovers not one murder but two, for the fatal fall of St. Frideswides vicar from the church tower Morse reckons to be murder as well. And as he digs into the lives and unsanctified lusts of the late vicar’s erring flock, the list of the dead grows longer. Not even the oddly appealing woman he finds scrubbing the church floor can compensate Morse for the trouble he’s let himself in for. So he has another pint, follows his hunches, and sets out to untangle the deadly business of homicide….