Cover image for The remorseful day
Title:
The remorseful day
Author:
Dexter, Colin.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Crown Publishers, 1999.
Physical Description:
363 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780609606223
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

"Where does all this leave us, sir?" "Things are moving fast." "We're getting near the end, you mean?" "We were always near the end." For a year, the murder of Yvonne Harrison at her home in the Cotswold village of Lower Swinstead has baffled the Thames Valley CID. But one man has yet to tackle the case--and it is just the sort of puzzle at which Chief Inspector Morse excels. So why is he adamant that he will not lead the reinvestigation, despite two anonymous phone calls that hint at new evidence? And why, if he refuses to take on the case officially, does he seem to be carrying out his own private inquiries? When Sergeant Lewis learns that Morse was once friendly with Yvonne Harrison, he begins to suspect that the man who has earned his admiration, and exasperation, over so many years knows more about her death than he is letting on. When Morse finally does take over, the investigation leads down highways and byways that are disturbing to all concerned. And then there is that final twist! The Remorseful Day is full of the wonderful, unique touches that characterize Colin Dexter's novels. There is the brilliant, cranky Morse, the stubborn Sergeant Lewis, determined to best his boss at his own game, and, of course, the lovingly described town of Oxford, where grand colleges and old traditions are confronted by the new and the nasty. And throughout, there is today's world, as seen by Chief Inspector Morse.


Author Notes

Norman Colin Dexter was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, England on September 29, 1930. He received a bachelor's degree in classics in 1953 and a master's degree in 1958 at from Christ's College, Cambridge University. He taught classics for many years, but growing deafness forced him to retire in 1966. For the next two decades, he was the senior assistant secretary at the Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations. He retired in 1988 to become a full-time writer.

He was best known for creating the character Chief Inspector Morse. The Inspector Morse series began in 1975 with Last Bus to Woodstock and ended in 1999 with The Remorseful Day. The books were adapted into the television series Inspector Morse, which ran from 1987 to 2000. Dexter won the British Crime Writers' Gold Dagger Award for The Wench is Dead in 1989 and again in 1992 for The Way Through the Woods. He received the organization's lifetime achievement award, the Diamond Dagger, in 1997. He also wrote Cracking Cryptic Crosswords: A Guide to Solving Cryptic Crosswords in 2010. He died on March 21, 2017 at the age of 86.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Whenever a crime novelist announces the "final" novel in a series, readers know to watch for some surprises. So it is with the conclusion to the long-running and much-loved Inspector Morse series. It quickly becomes clear that by the end of the book, the ailing, diabetic Morse will either retire or die. Which it is won't be divulged here, but it can be revealed that Dexter makes the most of the situation, offering a kind of reappraisal of his crotchety, deeply flawed character. Readers who never quite bought into Morse's shtick--sloppy police work, flashes of intuitive brilliance, and an overriding disdain for most of his fellow men and women (at least those who don't appreciate Wagner and can't do the Times crossword in six minutes)--will be tantalized by a case that appears to expose the inspector's arrogance as something less than charming. It doesn't work out quite that way, but in the process we see a side of Morse we wouldn't have suspected: vulnerable to the amorous charms of a less-than-cultured lady, willing to tamper with evidence to hide his involvement in an unsavory case, and guilty, even more than usual, of misusing his loyal assistant, the indefatigable Sergeant Lewis. With a rash of new deaths serving to reopen an unsolved murder, Morse is obligated to bring more than a few skeletons out of several closets, prompting a crisis of conscience for Lewis and leaving readers on edge until the end as to Morse's fate--his life as well as his much-prized sense of honor. An audaciously clever and surprisingly moving finale. (Reviewed December 1, 1999)0609606220Bill Ott


Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Excerpts

Excerpts

You holy Art, when all my hope is shaken, And through life's raging tempest I am drawn, You make my heart with warmest love to waken, As if into a better world reborn. (From An Die Musik, translated by Basil Swift) Apart (of course) from Wagner, apart from Mozart's compositions for the clarinet, Schubert was one of the select composers who could occasionally transport him to the frontier of tears. And it was Schubert's turn in the early evening of Wednesday, July 15, 1998, when -- The Archers over -- a bedroom-slippered Chief Inspector Morse was to be found in his North Oxford bachelor flat, sitting at his ease in Zion and listening to a Lieder recital on Radio 3, an amply filled tumbler of pale Glenfiddich beside him. And why not? He was on a few days' furlough that had so far proved quite unexpectedly pleasurable. Morse had never enrolled in the itchy-footed regiment of truly adventurous souls, feeling (as he did) little temptation to explore the remoter corners even of his native land, and this principally because he could now imagine few if any places closer to his heart than Oxford -- the city which, though not his natural mother, had for so many years performed the duties of a loving foster parent. As for foreign travel, long faded were his boyhood dreams that roamed the sands round Samarkand; and a lifelong pterophobia still precluded any airline bookings to Bayreuth, Salzburg, Vienna -- the trio of cities he sometimes thought he ought to see. Vienna . . . The city Schubert had so rarely left; the city in which he'd gained so little recognition; where he'd died of typhoid fever -- only thirty-one. Not much of an innings, was it -- thirty-one? Morse leaned back, listened, and looked semicontentedly through the french window. In The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Oscar Wilde had spoken of that little patch of blue that prisoners call the sky; and Morse now contemplated that little patch of green that owners of North Oxford flats are wont to call the garden. Flowers had always meant something to Morse, even from his schooldays. Yet in truth it was more the nomenclature of the several species, and their context in the works of the great poets, that had compelled his imagination: fast-fading violets, the globèd peonies, the fields of asphodel . . .  Indeed Morse was fully aware of the etymology and the mythological associations of the asphodel, although quite certainly he would never have recognized one of its kind had it flashed across a Technicolor screen. It was still true though: as men grew older (so Morse told himself) the delights of the natural world grew ever more important. Not just the flowers, either. What about the birds? Morse had reached the conclusion that if he were to be reincarnated (a prospect which seemed to him most blessedly remote), he would register as a part-time Quaker and devote a sizeable quota of his leisure hours to ornithology. This latter decision was consequent upon his realization, however late in the day, that life would be significantly impoverished should the birds no longer sing. And it was for this reason that, the previous week, he had taken out a year's subscription to Birdwatching; taken out a copy of the RSPB's Birdwatchers' Guide from the Summertown Library; and purchased a secondhand pair of 152/1000m binoculars (ú9.90) that he'd spotted in the window of the Oxfam Shop just down the Banbury Road. And to complete his program he had called in at the Summertown Pet Store and taken home a small wired cylinder packed with peanuts -- a cylinder now suspended from a branch overhanging his garden. From the branch overhanging his garden. He reached for the binoculars now and focused on an interesting specimen pecking away at the grass below the peanuts: a small bird, with a greyish crown, dark-brown bars across the dingy russet of its back, and paler underparts. As he watched, he sought earnestly to memorize this remarkable bird's characteristics, so as to be able to match its variegated plumage against the appropriate illustration in the Guide. Plenty of time for that though. He leaned back once more and rejoiced in the radiant warmth of Schwarzkopf's voice, following the English text that lay open on his lap: "You holy Art, when all my hope is shaken . . ." When, too, a few moments later, his mood of pleasurable melancholy was shaken by three confident bursts on a front-door bell that to several of his neighbors sounded considerably over-decibeled, even for the hard-of-hearing. Excerpted from The Remorseful Day by Colin Dexter All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 You holy Art, when all my hope is shaken, And through life's raging tempest I am drawn, You make my heart with warmest love to waken, As if into a better world reborn.
(From An Die Musik, translated by Basil Swift) Apart (of course) from Wagner, apart from Mozart's compositions for the clarinet, Schubert was one of the select composers who could occasionally transport him to the frontier of tears. And it was Schubert's turn in the early evening of Wednesday, July 15, 1998, when--The Archers over--a bedroom-slippered Chief Inspector Morse was to be found in his North Oxford bachelor flat, sitting at his ease in Zion and listening to a Lieder recital on Radio 3, an amply filled tumbler of pale Glenfiddich beside him. And why not? He was on a few days' furlough that had so far proved quite unexpectedly pleasurable.
Morse had never enrolled in the itchy-footed regiment of truly adventurous souls, feeling (as he did) little temptation to explore the remoter corners even of his native land, and this principally because he could now imagine few if any places closer to his heart than Oxford--the city which, though not his natural mother, had for so many years performed the duties of a loving foster parent. As for foreign travel, long faded were his boyhood dreams that roamed the sands round Samarkand; and a lifelong pterophobia still precluded any airline bookings to Bayreuth, Salzburg, Vienna--the trio of cities he sometimes thought he ought to see.
Vienna...
The city Schubert had so rarely left; the city in which he'd gained so little recognition; where he'd died of typhoid fever--only thirty-one.
Not much of an innings, was it--thirty-one? Morse leaned back, listened, and looked semicontentedly through the french window. In The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Oscar Wilde had spoken of that little patch of blue that prisoners call the sky; and Morse now contemplated that little patch of green that owners of North Oxford flats are wont to call the garden. Flowers had always meant something to Morse, even from his schooldays. Yet in truth it was more the nomenclature of the several species, and their context in the works of the great poets, that had compelled his imagination: fast-fading violets, the globed peonies, the fields of asphodel... Indeed Morse was fully aware of the etymology and the mythological associations of the asphodel, although quite certainly he would never have recognized one of its kind had it flashed across a Technicolor screen.
It was still true though: as men grew older (so Morse told himself) the delights of the natural world grew ever more important. Not just the flowers, either. What about the birds? Morse had reached the conclusion that if he were to be reincarnated (a prospect which seemed to him most blessedly remote), he would register as a part-time Quaker and devote a sizeable quota of his leisure hours to ornithology. This latter decision was consequent upon his realization, however late in the day, that life would be significantly impoverished should the birds no longer sing. And it was for this reason that, the previous week, he had taken out a year's subscription to Birdwatching; taken out a copy of the RSPB's Birdwatchers' Guide from the Summertown Library; and purchased a secondhand pair of 152/1000m binoculars (#9.90) that he'd spotted in the window of the Oxfam Shop just down the Banbury Road. And to complete his program he had called in at the Summertown Pet Store and taken home a small wired cylinder packed with peanuts--a cylinder now suspended from a branch overhanging his garden. From the branch overhanging his garden.
He reached for the binoculars now and focused on an interesting specimen pecking away at the grass below the peanuts: a small bird, with a greyish crown, dark-brown bars across the dingy russet of its back, and paler underparts. As he watched, he sought earnestly to memorize this remarkable bird's characteristics, so as to be able to match its variegated plumage against the appropriate illustration in the Guide.
Plenty of time for that though.
He leaned back once more and rejoiced in the radiant warmth of Schwarzkopf's voice, following the English text that lay open on his lap: "You holy Art, when all my hope is shaken..." When, too, a few moments later, his mood of pleasurable melancholy was shaken by three confident bursts on a front-door bell that to several of his neighbors sounded considerably over-decibeled, even for the hard-of-hearing.