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Monday, March 8, 2010

Review - Colin Dexter's The Daughters of Cain

This author was absolutely new to me but I liked the sound of the title which seems really childish I know. The book is one of a series dealing with the Wagner loving, beer guzzling, very stingy Inspector Morse.

I found the meanness to be a bit difficult to comprehend in this character who seems so above board in every other respect! We find here a mystery involving two separate and so far unlinked murders. Morse and Lewis initially have to take over the investigation into the murder of Prof. McClure. Morse seems unhappy to have to take over midway but he accepts with good grace and pursues the case. The Professor at Oxford seems to lead a blameless life but a little digging shows drug taking and selling on a massive scale, call girls, and plenty of motive to get rid of the good Professor but no witnesses and no weapons.

Add to the story another body across town with a tenuous link to the first and two women - one cleaning lady, and one school teacher and the story gets a little complicated. Morse seems to think that the link is the two women and to this he adds a third woman - the call girl who is also linked to one of the victims being his step daughter, also linked to the Professor as his long standing girl friend. Everyone is kept on their toes as to who the actual murderer could be. Are these two murders done by one person - are they linked in any way seems to be the questions asked by Morse. What would be the purpose in Julia and Brenda killing the Professor and how was Mr Brooks stabbed by two small made women. Morse is also drawn to Ellie the call girl though this has no bearing either on the story or the plot but would highlight Morse's own emotional involvement in the case highlighting Morse's more caring nature.

The book is lively and I would certainly like to read Colin Dexter's other books with Morse - I do wish though Dexter will get rid of Morse's stinginess. It adds a totally unbalanced view to the character of Morse. I just couldnt shake this off!
Other than that, an interesting mystery to read.


  1. I've never read any Morse but I've watched a lot of Morse (and Lewis, it's successor) on tv. It sounds like you really liked the book. I may try them one day.

  2. I enjoy the Inspector Lewis series on TV, which I think is a spin-off the Morse series. So I'm curious about the original books!