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Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse: Characteristics Of The English Detective

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Gentleman traits of the English detective like Trent’s passion for art and journalism (EC Bentley’s Philip Trent) , Poirot’s interest in clothes and food (Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot) , Wimsey’s taste for the finer things in life (Dorothy Sayers’ Peter Wimsey) - all imply a commitment to the civilised living of an English fop and to security beyond the dark sphere of crime. These are characteristics emitted by the Detective of the Golden Age. Morse’s love for crossword puzzles and pedantry about grammar leads him to the first major clue in the story in the form of an anonymous, error-filled typewritten letter. Morse’s character traits, which bring out the English gentleman in him like his love for opera, seem to reflect a cultural nostalgia…show more content…
Morse is no Holmes or Poirot but he reflects certain traits of the Great Detective who indulged in detection entirely in his leisure time. For Morse, it is not leisure. Dexter employs the leisured detection of Golden Age in a post Second World War era when there is an inherent class consciousness and there is no room for the English gentleman to remain so. Dexter has written the novel at a time when the impact of the Second World War has stripped away the image of the affluent English society and the example of British endurance, unity, family and personal relationships, and sees a rise in crime and increasing incompetence of official authorities. By introducing a character like Morse, Dexter looks back to the assurance that Golden Age amateur detectives gave. In any case, Dexter and his contemporary detective fiction writers exploit the popularity of detective fiction by adhering to the classical formula in a post-Golden Age era. This helps in understanding the contemporaneity of the present through a glimpse of past methods. The portrayals of different aspects of British communities reflect an increasing social awareness and self-consciousness of how society re-imagines itself through the lens of the
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