Title: The Remorseful Day
Author: Colin Dexter
Page Count/Review Word Count: 450
The Remorseful Day is the final book in Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse series, and it’s certainly true that it does a good job of wrapping up the other books and bringing the series to a close. That said, it just wasn’t particularly exciting – it was competent but formulaic, and while it did bring the series to an end, I wouldn’t call it triumphant.
I also felt that this book, more so than some of the other Morse books, started to feel a little overcomplicated, and not in a good way. It felt like the murder that the detectives were supposed to be investigating ended up taking a back seat to a bunch of other subjects that Dexter wanted to round off in the final book, and so it seemed more like a book that was there because it had to be, rather than because anyone particularly wanted it.
But perhaps I’m being harsh. For my part, I finished reading the book earlier today, and I still don’t really fully understand what happened. It’s like when you half-watch a TV show and miss an important scene, then spend the rest of the show wondering what’s happening. I feel almost disappointed, like it must be my fault that I didn’t particularly enjoy it, and perhaps it is.
Still, it scores my 7/10 default rating for a professional-quality book, because there are no mistakes or typos (apart from the ones that are featured deliberately so that Morse can correct them), and the layout, cover and the overall feel of the book are what you’d expect from a professional publisher. But that’s it – it’s professional, but fairly meh, and no amount of editing could fix that.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t read this book – it’s more of a warning, because I would still recommend it. However, I’d recommend it after you’ve read the other books, and not just because of the chronology – I’m also worried that if you read this one first, you wouldn’t give the other books a chance, and that wouldn’t be being fair to them.
So overall then, this isn’t necessarily a bad book – it just isn’t as good as the others. As long as you’re happy to take that into consideration before you start reading it, you should be fine, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. And to its credit, there are occasional flashes of genius where we get to see Morse’s mind at work, it’s just that they’re few and far between. Still, if you’re a fan of the series then you’ll want to finish it!