Title: The Way Through the Woods
Author: Colin Dexter
Page Count/Review Word Count: 304
This is the first Colin Dexter book that I’ve ever read, and I wasn’t sure what to expect – I was hoping to find that he writes like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, and I wasn’t disappointed. Dexter can write a cracking crime novel, and Morse is a fascinating character – just like Poirot, Holmes and the other great detectives in the world of literature.
The story follows Morse’s investigation into the disappearance and presumed death of a young girl – he’s a reluctant hero, as he’s on holiday at the time, but he’s still a hero. If that reminds you of Sherlock Holmes, then I’m not surprised – Dexter clearly takes a lot of inspiration from the great crime writers of old, and Conan Doyle was the best of the best.
But this book was so much more than just an imitation of Sherlock Holmes from another author who wanted to make a name for themselves. It’s a joy to read, incredibly well-written, and the story feels truly unique, packed full of twists and turns to keep you interested until the end.
Perhaps that’s why it won the Gold Dagger Award for the Best Crime Novel of the Year – if only I’d known that when I appeared on Pointless, the BBC quiz show. I got to the final round with a chance to grab the jackpot, and the question was about Gold Dagger Award winning crime writers. We didn’t get it right back then, but there’s a sort of poetic justice in the fact that I ended up reading a book which would’ve won me nearly £10,000, if only I’d read it a couple of years earlier.What a shame!