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Publisher's Summary

Morse sought to hide his disappointment. So many people in the Haworth Hotel that fateful evening had been wearing some sort of disguise - a change of dress, a change of makeup, a change of partner, a change of attitude, a change of life almost; and the man who had died had been the most consummate artist of them all....

Chief Inspector Morse seldom allowed himself to be caught up in New Year celebrations. So the murder inquiry in the festive hotel had a certain appeal.

It was a crime worthy of the season.

The corpse was still in fancy dress. And hardly a single guest at the Haworth had registered under a genuine name....

©2017 Colin Dexter (P)2017 Macmillan Digital Audio

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  • Mary Carnegie
  • 04-03-2018

Hogmanay masquerade without good will

Postwar murder stories are more varied than the “Golden Age” stuff, when it’s always about inheritance (or foreigners).
The fancy dress party is, however, a recurring trope in whodunnits. (Indeed, mistaken identity and disguise is a dramatic device as old as time, from Esau and Isaac on.)
Oxford residents seem to have an attraction to jumping off church towers, and admittedly they have a wide choice, but, for heavens’ sake, there are easier and less vindictive methods of arranging that inevitable rendezvous with your Maker.
I am very fond of Max, the pathologist who has a kyphoscoliosis, who quite properly refuses to be bullied by Morse, or anyone else, into making dogmatic statements that are unwarranted. He’s more than a match for Morse, who would be likely to skive off post-mortems he ought to attend.
It’s always easy to locate these novels in time by the cars - Metro, Maestro, Mini - names recalling the local Cowley industry, before Thatcher destroyed British manufacturing.
I can’t understand Morse’s enthusiasm for blended whisky (“cooking whisky”), Bell’s is acceptable in Black Bun; he thinks Glenfiddich is great stuff - he needs to get out more!

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