So a recent visit to a charity shop – in fact a new tradition/habit where every Saturday I drop my daughter at gymnastics and head into the local shopping centre. There are three charity shops of varying “quality” and I love to potter round, checking out the vinyl (another renewed passion that will appear in a future blog), books and some of the gadgets. Anyway where was I?
So a recent visit to a charity shop and I picked up the complete set of “Inspector Morse Mystery’s” in a lovely box set for a mere £5-00. That’s thirteen books and a box to keep them in for £0-38 each. Incredible value.
A confession. I have never seen any of the TV episodes that starred John Thaw and Kevin Wheatley and so have no preconceived idea of how Morse should act or respond at any particular incident or during the investigation. And now I’ve read the first book I don’t see Thaw as Morse. So when I’ve finished them all I’m going to have to find the programmes and see whether he did play him differently. More visits to the charity shop.
The first book is “Last Bus to Woodstock” and without giving you any spoilers, it’s about a murder near Oxford which Morse and Lewis investigate. Well Morse is a police detective so no surprises there! The immediate thing that struck me was the language and I must say it took me a while to get accustomed to it. But there was something else as it was like reading about my childhood, my upbringing. With a mention of “lighting up time”, lots of letter writing, no mobile phones and actually not every house has a house phone. And get this, no computers. A world of typewriters and handwritten statements. It all becomes clear when you check the year that Colin Dexter wrote this first Morse novel.
1975 – before a lot of you were born!
However taking it as a murder mystery of its time it is really good. No quick fix DNA result from the lab, it’s all based on good general detective work plus a bit of “gut” thrown on. Having never seen a minute of one of the programmes I’ve been able to imagine Morse and Lewis as I want and I bet they’re different to how the actors portrayed them.
What has also occurred to me is that the books go from 1975 to 1999 so I’m going to be going on a journey with Morse and Lewis through computers, mobile phones, emails and DNA – so really fascinated to see how that pans out and how it changes the way they work. Will Morse “get it” – technology or will he always turn to his trusty sergeant?
Also I want to watch the series now. First TV one was 1987- so did they base it in 1975 or was it tweaked to the year it was filmed in? Twelve years later. Intrigued.
As for the books, I’m already onto book three and so will have to catch you up with them in future blogs.
For now Morse is a slip back to an age gone by, my childhood but so, so different from the world we inhabit now. I wonder if we have seen such a leap in the human race since the industrial revolution? And what could be the next one?