In 1997 Colin Dexter was presented with the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for outstanding services to crime literature. He has also won the CWA Gold Dagger Award twice for "The Way Through the Woods" and "The Wench is Dead", and has been awarded Silver Daggers for "Service of All the Dead" and "The Dead of Jericho".
The first Inspector Morse novel, Last Bus to Woodstock, appeared a quarter-century ago. This finale to a grand series presents a moving elegy to one of mystery fiction's most celebrated and popular characters. The murder of nurse Yvonne Harrington two years earlier remains unsolved, but the Oxford police receive an anonymous tip that prompts them to revive their investigation. Morse's superior, Chief Superintendent Strange, wants him to take over the case, but Morse is stubbornly and curiously reluctant to do so. Morse's faithful dogsbody, the long-suffering Sergeant Lewis, is left wondering whether Morse himself is some how connected to the crime, since the inspector had encountered the murder victim during a stay in the hospital. It falls to Lewis to do most of the delving, with Morse prompting him along the way. The case seems impenetrable until the murder of burglar Harry Repp - though what could be the connection to the original murder? Lewis continues to probe while Morse remains his oracular self. Dexter has fashioned another brilliantly intricate puzzle, one of his finest, with the valedictory tone of the highest possible note, perfectly pitched. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.