First Chapter, First Paragraph:

First chapterEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros to share the first paragraph sometimes two, of a book that she’s reading or planning to read soon.

The Wench is Dead by Colin Dexter is one of those books I’ve been meaning to read for some time and it’s one of my 20 Books of Summer. It’s an Inspector Morse book.

It begins:

Intermittently, on the Tuesday, he felt sick. Frequently, on the Wednesday, he was sick. In the Thursday, he felt sick frequently, but was actually sick only intermittently. With difficulty, early on the Friday morning – drained, listless, and infinitely weary – he found the energy to drag himself from his bed to the telephone, and seek to apologise to his superiors at Kidlington Police HQ for what was going to be an odds-on non-appearance at the office that late November day.


That night he dreamed in Technicolor. He saw the ochre-skinned, scantily clad siren in her black, arrowed stockings. And in Morse’s muddled computer of a mind, that siren took the name of one Joanna Franks . . .

The body of Joanna Franks was found at Duke’s Cut on the Oxford Canal at about 5.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 22nd June 1859.

At around 10.15 a.m. on a Saturday morning in 1989 the body of Chief Inspector Morse – though very much alive – was removed to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital. Treatment for a perforated ulcer was later pronounced successful.

As Morse begins his recovery he comes across an account of the investigation and the trial that followed Joanna Franks’ death . . . and becomes convinced that the two men hanged for her murder were innocent . . .

What do you think? Would you keep reading? I’m predisposed to like this book, because I loved the Morse TV series and also because I’m a fan of cold case investigations – especially one this old.

10 thoughts on “First Chapter, First Paragraph:

  1. Oh, I liked this one quite a lot when I read it, Margaret. It’s an interesting way to involve Morse in a different sort of mystery. And I do like the historical connection. I hope you’ll like it.


  2. I keep thinking I’ll watch the Morse TV series, but it always seems to air at an inconvenient time for me! Much better to read the book. This sounds like a mystery I’d enjoy.
    Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog.
    Sandy @ TEXAS TWANG


  3. Morse wasn’t my favourite TV series, though I love Lewis. I’ve always meant to try the books to see if I got on better with them – intrigued to hear what you think of it…


  4. I was just telling someone that though I’ve read the first few Morse books, I won’t read anymore. I love the series, and Lewis, and Endeavour so much more than the books. But I thank Mr Dexter for inventing him. ;<)


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