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Death is Now My Neighbour is the twelfth novel in Colin Dexter's Oxford-set detective series.
As he drove his chief down to Kidlington, Lewis returned the conversation to where it had begun.
'You haven't told me what you think about this fellow Owens – the dead woman's next-door neighbour.'
'Death is always the next-door neighbour,' said Morse sombrely.
The murder of a young woman . . . A cryptic 'seventeenth-century' love poem . . . And a photograph of a mystery grey-haired man . . .
More than enough to set Chief Inspector E. Morse on the trail of a killer.
And it's a trail that leads him to Lonsdale College, where the contest between Julian Storrs and Dr Denis Cornford for the coveted position of Master is hotting up.
But then Morse faces a greater, far more personal crisis . . .
Death is Now My Neighbour is followed by the thirteenth Inspector Morse book, The Remorseful Day.
The latest Inspector Morse yarn from the redoubtable Dexter (The Way Through the Wood, etc.) might well be subtitled "Morse Meets C.P. Snow," because part of the plot-about the machinations at an Oxford college to succeed the retiring Master-owes a good deal to Snow's The Masters (Morse even mentions the book in his one-uppish way). There is, however, more than academic politics to this tale involving two murders on a quiet Oxford suburban street, one of which was apparently a case of mistaken identity, and an alibi created with truly fiendish ingenuity. As usual with a Morse mystery, the Inspector's offbeat personality and his odd relationship with his earnestly lowbrow sidekick, Sergeant Lewis, provide much of the pleasure; the plot is entirely workmanlike. Here Morse, who seems to be drinking more than ever, has a nasty diabetic episode, slows down for a while, has a gratifying flirtation that actually ends up in bed and is ultimately forced to pen a touching missive to Lewis that reveals, in that stiff-upper-lip British way, a degree of affection for the man. A treat for buffs, this is also a good introduction for newcomers to an addictive detective. Author tour. FYI: In March and April, PBS will air new Morse episodes on Mystery! During 1997, Ivy Books will reissue five Inspector Morse novels in paper.