Thursday 14 April 2011

Book Review - Last Bus To Woodstock

Title: Last Bus To Woodstock
Author: Colin Dexter
Series: Inspector Morse book 1
Publisher: Pan
Release Date: New Edition 16th March 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0330451185

The death of Sylvia Kaye figured dramatically in Thursday afternoon's edition of the Oxford Mail.
By Friday evening Inspector Morse had informed the nation that the police were looking for a dangerous man – facing charges of wilful murder, sexual assault and rape.
But as the obvious leads fade into twilight and darkness, Morse becomes more and more convinced that passion holds the key . . . 

My Review
This was the second book that I had to read for my novel writing course. Was to be a comparison to an Agatha Christie novel, which I read and reviewed here.
The idea was to compare and contrast 'Characterisation' and the styles are undoubtedly very different.
Whereas Agatha Christie glazed over the characters traits and back stories, personalities and hobbies etc, with Dexter I found that I knew quite a lot about each character and could connect to them in even the smallest of ways.
Sylvia  Kaye is found dead in the car park of the Black Prince - a pub in Woodstock, seen to be the victim of a vicious murder and rape, Inspector Morse is called onto the case with Sergeant Lewis as his second. The plot follows through their investigation and looks at the many different suspects and witnesses that feature in the case. I surprisingly actually really enjoyed the book, I was dreading it before I started but found myself hooked, eager to know what would happen next. The story is quite fast moving but does detour quite a lot between the many suspects, causing a little bit of confusion in places but would always come back to the main story again, and I would realise that I had found something seemingly important.
Inspector Morse is a great character and I found myself laughing out loud to some of the things he does, from muttering to himself, to falling through ladders. I could really picture him in my head.
The other thing I must say for this book is that it was very well written and maintains the air of mystery throughout. I had thought a few times that I had solved the case but I was always wrong and when the real criminal was named I was like 'what, really?' it was a shock, although looking back at it now it seems obvious, but that's the thing with Hindsight!  
Overall I would say that I enjoyed this book more than I ever thought I would and the writing was very well done, I would definitely read another one as it wasn't too gruesome or gory. The characters really seem to come to life and I was drawn in.

My Rating
I would give this book 8/10 - surprisingly good and very enjoyable, will keep you guessing.    


Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I take it that you preferred this one instead of the Agatha Christie novel. I really enjoyed your review and would like to read this book. I'm wondering why some people recommend Agatha Christie as a must read when there are so many great newer mystery novels.

barmybex said...

Agatha Christie is fine if you want a book that requires no thought and is a very light easy read. There's no real depth.
You're right there are so many better crime/mystery novels.
This one was great, i really enjoyed it (it really surprised me)