I’ve decided to combine these two into one review as I came to both books via the TV.
Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse has long been a staple of mine on Sunday nights and afternoons as has the spin off, Lewis. I was less familiar with Peter James Superintendent Grace novels, but they too are now a tv series with John Simm, perhaps more familiar to people from Life on Mars.
I remembered the episode of Morse called The Wench is Dead but couldn’t remember the ending, so it made for a nice surprise as I read through the book. I fear I shall be sticking to the tv show though as this was a real grind to get through despite only being 237 pages long. Perhaps it is because I am so used to seeing John Thaw as Morse that the description of him in the book doesn’t really fit, and the same goes for Lewis who is almost sidelined completely. The book was first published in 1989 and in a similar vein to the Colin Forbes novel I read recently, it appears very much of its time. I struggled to get into the story at all and would sometimes pick it up and put it down after only reading a couple of pages.
Dead Simple on the other hand pulled me in from the get-go. This time I was aware of the tv show but haven’t yet seen it and will perhaps not look to do as I’ve now created my own version of him in my head.
An interesting twist sees a group of friends die in the early chapters, but that isn’t the crime we are focused on. Instead, it’s the poor groom they buried moments earlier as a “joke” on his stag do who we are now left to hope will survive. Its well- paced with a few decent red herrings thrown in although the ending is a little bit rushed. Supt Grace is an interesting character, with an interest in the paranormal one of things to set him apart. A decent supporting cast who I hope will appear again also suggest that the series has legs. I believe there are now 16 novels in all and I’m looking forward to reading the next one as soon as I can find it.