A “fan-fic” novel, set between the end of the “Endeavour” TV series, and before the beginning of “Morse?” And written by the chairman of the Inspector Morse Society? Available free in e-book form? I was willing to take a chance on that. And all in all, I thought Dead Man’s Walk worked pretty well.
The year is 1971, and Morse is a Detective Sergeant in the Oxford police. A stamp dealer named Hugo Latimer is found dead next to his tumbled bicycle, cause of death suspicious. Shortly after, a man named Ridler is found murdered in a similar manner. Young detective Morse is immediately suspicious, because the crime scenes are both near the Martyrs’ Memorial in Oxford, where Protestants Latimer and Ridley were famously burned at the stake. This is obviously a puzzle meant for him.
Die-hard Morse fans may find non-canonical elements here to carp at – I myself only noticed a couple homonym problems, like “populous” for “populace,” to complain of (Morse would have been on those like a terrier on a rat). There’s romance. There’s an appreciative scene set in the Eagle & Child pub, with (laudatory) comments on the Inklings. The author sometimes indulges in presenting travelogues – telling us too much about the histories of places where Morse visits. There’s a depiction of a Christian family that seemed to me unsympathetic – but then Morse was an atheist, so what do I expect?
There’s also a boy named Dexter here, who wants to be a writer – but it can’t be author Colin Dexter, because he was an adult by this time. I have no idea what that was about.
I found the final solution of the mystery a little disappointing, but all in all I enjoyed reading Dead Man’s Walk quite a lot. I recommend it, especially for fans of the Colin Dexter novels and the famous TV series (plural).