I started a reading list post on Wednesday where I mentioned that I like UK based crime novels featuring police detectives as the heroes. I left open the question of which ones. Here is a short list of some of my favourites:
- Inspector Morse
- Morse is irascible, erratic and brilliant. With Lewis as his foil he works things out even though by a tortuous route. As I recall, Colin Dexter’s series helped get me hooked on this sub-genre. I was also fascinated by Morse’s mortality – one novel sees him working on a historical mystery while confined to a hospital bed as a side effect of his inchoate lifestyle and the series ends on a bittersweet note as he succumbs to his frailties.
- Inspector Wexford
- Ruth Rendell’s Wexford, by contrast, has a balanced private life and enjoys a strange kind of immortality. While he too has health concerns, albeit not self-inflicted by smoking and drinking, he and his companions age more slowly than the world. I have enjoyed both the early novels where Wexford, a few years short of retirement, gives unexpected insights into the attitudes of the late 60’s and early 70’s when they were written, as well as the more recent ones when, still a few years short of retirement, Wexford is equipped with mobile phones and computers but continues to serve as an angel of justice.
Time has run out on me – more to come in my next post in this series.
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