As o'er now thou lean'st thy breast, With launder'd bodice crisply pressed, Lief I'd prolong my grievous ill-Wert thou my guardian angel still (Edmund Raikes, 1537-65, The Nurse).
So begins the final case of Chief Inspector Morse's career. Yvonne Harrison, a married, middle-aged nurse with a penchant for S&M, is found in her bedroom naked, handcuffed, gagged and bludgeoned to death. Despite the blitzkrieg of media coverage the killing creates in the quiet village in Oxfordshire (including the enlistment of two psychics and a hypnotist), after one year, the Thames Valley CID are still stumped. That is, until two disturbing phone calls reveal new evidence and force the feisty Inspector out of furlough. Although Morse's partner, Sergeant Lewis, is accustomed to the old sleuth's numerous idiosyncrasies, the Inspector's refusal to lead the re-investigation comes as a surprise. What's more, the Sergeant learns that not only is Morse secretly conducting his own investigation, but that Harrison and he share a "friendly" past. Is the Inspector hiding evidence? Is his behaviour of late connected with a recently diagnosed ailment?
It is fitting that the story in which the long-suffering Sergeant Lewis shows the most independence of mind be read by his TV incarnation, Kevin Whatley. Fans of the TV programmes will immediately feel at ease with Whatley's gentle and unintrusive Geordie tones. Although he is most recognisable as Lewis, Whatley makes a convincing Morse and his voice also lifts easily to find the female characters. The Remorseful Day is an engrossing final chapter very well told. Believable and perplexing to the last, this is a fitting farewell to an outstanding series and a sharp salute to a beloved crime-fighting curmudgeon. --Running time 3 hours --Rebekah Warren