Last Seen Wearing (Dexter novel)

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Last Seen Wearing
Cover of the first edition
Author Colin Dexter
Cover artist John Thompson
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Inspector Morse series, #2
Genre crime novel
Publisher Macmillan
Publication date
April 1976
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 288p.
ISBN 0-333-19245-1
Preceded by Last Bus to Woodstock
Followed by The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn

Last Seen Wearing is a crime novel by Colin Dexter, the second novel in the Inspector Morse series.

The novel was dramatised by Thomas Ellice for the television series, first transmitted in 1988. In 1994, it was dramatised by Guy Meredith for BBC Radio 4.


A man, later known to be Donald Phillipson, goes for an interview in Oxford for the job of headmaster of a school, later known to be the Roger Bacon Comprehensive School in Oxford. At the bus stop a girl gets into conversation with him and later seduces him. She turns out to be a girl from the school, Valerie Taylor, and a year later she goes missing.

Two years after that Inspector Morse picks up the case following a road accident in which Chief Inspector Ainley, who had been investigating the mystery, was killed. A letter arrives apparently from Valerie, but Morse is convinced Valerie must be dead and tries to find out what happened on the day she disappeared. She had gone home from school for lunch that day, and was apparently last seen on her return journey by a lollipop man, carrying a bag and wearing her distinctive school blouse and red socks. Morse suspects she was pregnant and that she had been sent off for an abortion.

The plot thickens when Reginald Baines, another teacher at the school, is found murdered at his house near Oxford Station. Two suspicious characters had been seen near the house — Donald Philipson's wife, wearing a distinctive cherry coloured coat, and David Acum, a French teacher who had taught Valerie’s last lesson.

Publication history[edit]

Radio play[edit]

In 1994 the BBC Radio 4 play Last Seen Wearing dramatised from the novel by Guy Meredith had John Shrapnel playing Morse and Robert Glenister as Lewis, with Miles Anderson as Donald Phillipson, Melinda Walker as Sheila Phillipson, Donald Sumpter as George Taylor, Frances Jeater as Gwen Taylor, Terence Edmond as Reginald Baines, Tamsin Greig as Valerie Taylor, John Hartley as Chief Supt. Strange, and Emily Woof as Versatile Vera. The play was directed by Ned Chaillet.[1]

Sources, references, external links[edit]

  • Bishop, David, The Complete Inspector Morse: From the Original Novels to the TV Series London: Reynolds & Hearn (2006) ISBN 1-905287-13-5
  • Bird, Christopher, The World of Inspector Morse: A Complete A-Z Reference for the Morse Enthusiast Foreword by Colin Dexter, London: Boxtree (1998) ISBN 0-7522-2117-5
  1. ^ BBC - Inspector Morse - Last Seen Wearing