Title: The Daughters of Cain
Author: Colin Dexter
Page Count/Review Word Count: 388
This book is yet another instalment in Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse series, and so to a certain extent, you know what to expect here. I’ve never watched the television adaptation of the series, and so I can’t tell you how close the TV series and the books are in style and substance, but I will say that I’ve had a lot of fun reading these.
Now, I’ve read the Morse books out of order, but I don’t think it’s necessarily important. Certainly, this book works well as a standalone, and it’s fascinating to see the subtle shifts in power when Morse, Lewis and Chief Superintendent Strange are all working together to solve a murder case.
Here, they’re looking into the discovery of a corpse in a flat in North Oxford, which was discovered with a knife through its stomach. Unfortunately, at least to begin with, the police have no leads, and don’t even know what the motive might have been.
Luckily, with Morse on the case, you know that we’re going to get to the truth eventually, even if he does change his mind along the way as new evidence comes to light. Morse is a classic example of the armchair detective, the sort of copper who solves crimes whilst drinking pints in the pub at lunchtime, and who simply needs to go over the case in their head until the truth dawns on them.
And of course, there are plenty of twists and turns along the way, which keep you – as the reader – guessing about what happened right up until the very end. There’s also the inevitable second death, which seems to be a staple in the Morse books – Dexter builds up your expectations and convinces you that one of the characters was the guilty party, and then they get killed and you have to restart your hypotheses. But it works, and it makes for a truly gripping read that’s a lot of fun, especially if you’re already a fan of detective novels.
So what are you waiting for? The Morse books are lots of fun, and while this one doesn’t rank above any of the others, it’s still a good place to start.