The Dead of Jericho

You may recognise ‘The Dead of Jericho’ from TV’s ‘Inspector Morse’ but originally it was actually a novel, written by Colin Dexter and published in 1981. Like the first instalment of the popular TV series, the novel takes place in North Oxford’s affluent Jericho, with the initial policeman in charge based at the station on St Aldates Street.

Often considered one of the most important Morse murder mysteries, the infamous inspector is this time romantically involved with the murder victim. Finding her hanged in her kitchen several weeks later, therefore, is an extremely nasty shock. Was it suicide? Or was is murder? Accidents, affairs and adoption are all uncovered as Morse and his sidekick Lewis strive to find out the truth.

Jericho makes a surprising setting for such criminal catastrophes. Affluent and cultured with its numerous off-beat bookstores and quirky jazz bars, it’s unsurprisingly considered one of the most desirable places to live in Oxford and sees relatively little crime. But I think this is what makes this book extra exciting; the elements of surprise laced throughout keep you guessing until the end.

I highly both reading the story and, if you haven’t done so already, having a mooch around Jericho because it really is an interesting little place and contains quite a few gems. Check out the Albion Beatnik Bookstore for some really interesting finds on popular culture, travel and music and specialist knowledge you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. The Last Bookshop across the road has fewer titles but some fantastic bargains and, if you fancy a good drink after all that book browsing, head to Raoul’s bar for some of the best cocktails around – heaven!

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