Cover Image: Dover One

Dover One

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Member Reviews

I was given a free e-copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for my opinion.

I wanted to like this book. It had so many great elements. Set in post-WW II England, a mysterious disappearance in a little town in the countryside, clever writing, eccentric characters. But...

The whole series hinges on the main character detective being bad at his job. This could have been hilarious. It was not. He was rude and completely un-likable. To be honest, I didn’t like most of the characters. They were meant to be eccentric, and they were, but not in a charming way. Even the girl who had disappeared seemed to have few redeeming qualities, so it kind of seemed like few people even cared what happened to her or if she was found.

Many of the character interactions did not age well. The missing girl is apparently very short and very overweight, and EVERY character waxes on about how disgustingly fat she is. The main detective is extremely chauvinistic, and he and his partner (the only basically normal and likable character in the book) openly ogle one of the attractive female suspects. The fat shaming and treatment of females was perfectly normal in the 1960s when this novel was written, but it rubbed me the wrong way in 2020.
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Wilfred Dover doesn't want to investigate a missing servant girl in Creedshire.  After hearing that the girl was a slut, he at first believes that she's just run off with her latest boyfriend.  But the fact that she weighs sixteen stone makes a difference - no one that large could hide for very long.

Once he's convinced - with the help of his Detective Sergeant MacGregor - that something has truly happened to her, he's also convinced that someone in the upper class of people living on an estate (converted into single homes now) had something to do with it.  It's his job to find out what that is, even if he has to get up once in a while to do so...

Having loved Colin Watson's series, I was hoping that this series would be similar, but I was heavily disappointed.  Dover comes off as lazy, overweight, irritable, intolerant of others, and badgers everyone about everything.  He takes his sergeant's theories as his own and when his ideas don't pan out, he insists they were his sergeant's.  I think this is meant to be funny, but it's not.  Also, every character (except the sergeant) in the book is unlikable.  From the elderly man to the traveling salesman.  Not a one of them seem to have anything that makes one feel sorry for them.

When the ending comes and the murderer is revealed, it's rather unsatisfying.  You have no reason at all for the girl to be murdered, in my opinion.  This should have been fleshed out more, instead of leaving the reader hanging.  Sorry, but I'm not interested in reading any more in this series.  Do yourself a favor and pick up Mr. Watson's excellent DI series.
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This was a truly delightful find. In fact, I am ready to start Dover Two!

Dover is from Scotland Yard and is called on to investigate the disappearance of a young woman from a village. She is the companion of an elderly man and lives in the mansion with him and his daughter. The estate has some cottages and apartments where others also live. The drive has a large gate which is closed and locked at night. Juliet was last seen on Tuesday, her day off. Wednesday she was reported missing.

As Dover and his police sergeant MacGregor investigate it becomes quite clear that Dover as the mentor is slightly inept and that MacGregor the student is the sharper of the two. Never-the-less, it takes the two of them to solve the case.

There are twists and turns and plenty of suspects. The interaction among the characters is amusing and at times are laugh out loud funny.

The climax is surprising. There is an accounting to the Chief Inspector when everything is laid out and it is clear that had the reader been paying close attention, everything was there to solve the case. But, like Dover, the reader does not recognize the importance of many of the clues and just reads right over them.

Well written. A fun book! As I said, I look forward to Dover's future cases.
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A ‘fun' crime story, from a writer I had surprisingly never heard of before. Like the humour and the twentieth century setting. A great discovery and I will certainly track down her other books.
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Very enjoyable story about another time. Very well written. I enjoyed the silliness as well as the mystery. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher.
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I thank NetGalley and Farrago for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review. Let me clarify that this novel was first published in 1964 by Cape, and Farrago is now republishing all the books in the series.
In brief, this book is a blast. I hadn’t heard of the Dover series and had never read any of Joyce Porter’s books before (more fool me!), but I’m pleased to have discovered both, the character and the author. While the character is truly dislikeable, the author had a talent for creating solid and engaging mysteries inhabited by a fantastic array of characters, and her observational skills and her comedic timing turn her books into a peculiar creation, somewhere between the satire and the farce. 
I’ve been trying to find a way to describe this book. It is clearly a mystery and as I said above, it is a good, solid mystery, with red herrings, twists, turns and enough clues to make most lovers of the genre enjoy the putting together of the puzzle. You even have the mandatory summing up at the end, by Detective Chief Inspector Dover, but like everything else in the book, any similarity with what would happen in a true golden age mystery (yes, Agatha Christie comes to mind) is pure coincidence. You’ll have to read the book to judge by yourselves what you think of the ending, but it made me chuckle. I guess I would call it a vintage cozy mystery (if such a thing exists). It is not a standard modern cozy mystery, because although we do have some of the typical elements of those (a peculiar investigator, a strange crime, and a weird assortment of characters), the investigator here is a professional of law enforcement (to call him something) from Scotland Yard and all (the fact that the Yard are keen on sending him as far away as possible notwithstanding), and rather than being engaging and likeable, he is quite the opposite. In some ways, the novel has element of the police procedural, of the period, of course, and the mystery plays a more important part than it does in some of the modern cozy mysteries, where the main character is usually an amateur and his personality, her relationships, her business/profession, and her adventures can take up much of the novel. 
Dover is a great creation. He is terrific and horrible all at the same time. He is lazy. He will go to any extents not to make any effort, either mental or physical. He is completely self-centred and totally uninterested in his job. There is no rule he won’t break in order to make his life easier and get a quick result. He exploits Sergeant MacGregor, making him do all the donkey work, and scrounging his cigarettes; there isn’t an invitation to food or drink he ever turns down; he is prejudiced, short-tempered and blows his top at the drop of a hat; he is pompous and never listens to anybody… As the back matter of the book says: “Detective Chief Inspector Wilfred Dover is arguably the most idle and avaricious hero of any novel, mystery or otherwise. Why should he even be bothered to solve the case?” This is not a novel for those who are looking for a character to root for. Although his sergeant is the total opposite, when it comes to solving crimes, he is methodical but not a great asset, either. The mystery takes place in a small town, mostly around what would nowadays be called a luxury housing state, and we come across a fantastic catalogue of characters and suspects, from the slightly odd to the wildly eccentric, and every shade in between. The local law enforcement sounds pretty normal in comparison, although the police women we meet are something else as well. Sorry, I’d rather not spoil it for readers.
The story is narrated in the third person, and although we mostly follow Dover’s adventures, we are clearly outside observers, rather than seeing things from his point of view. We might be privy to some of his thoughts and those of the other characters, but always as spectators. People who read the novel and feel disgusted by the lack of political correctness and the character’s flaws miss the distance between the narrative’s perspective and the character, in my opinion. We are not meant to like him or agree with his approach, quite the opposite. Of course, the novel is of its time, and that’s another one of the joys of it. I loved the language, the references to popular culture, the snippets of information about clothing, habits, social mores… It occurred to me that people researching the era (writers, designers, scholars…) would have a field day with this book.
I don’t want to go into too many details about the plot, but we have a pretty special victim, a bunch of characters from the ridiculous to the more ridiculous (dope fiends, yapping dogs, leery aristocrats, amateur detectives, defrocked priests (well, sort of), a writer interested in little known tribes…), blackmail, a ransom note, a missing body, adultery… and more. Take your pick.
Although I know comedy and sense of humour are very personal, and many of the references in the book are very British, I found it really funny and witty. The book is eminently quotable, but I had to try to offer you at least a few snippets, so you can get an idea:
I was nearly fifty when I married. Up till then I had always avoided matrimony like the plague, going on the principle that there is no need to throw yourself into the river to get a drink of water.
Dover didn’t approve of foreigners, mainly on the irrefutable grounds that they were un-English, and he was looking forwards to giving Boris Bogolepov, guilty or not, a rough old time just for the sheer hell of it.
It’s no good going round with an open mind like a vacuum cleaner because all you’ll finish up with is…’ Dover paused to work this one out ‘… is fluff!’ he concluded triumphantly.
I recommend this book to people who love cozy mysteries but are looking for something leaning more towards the police procedural side, and who prefer their humour rather sharp and British. Although I’ve read far worse, and there is only limited violence (fairly slapstick), the novel is non-PC (not that it condones the points of view exposed, but…) so it could be offensive to people reading it as a straight narrative. On the plus side, royalties from the book got to the work of the Friends of Friendless Churches (yes, they do exist, and do a great job as well). Go on, try it. You know you want to!
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A real treat and joy to read. Entertaining detective fiction at its best. Dover is an bumbling oaf, who is like a bull in a china shop when he has theories with no proof to back them up. With a trusty, put upon Sergeant in tow, he goes along to solve the mystery. Not one of Scotland Yard's finest, but you won't be able to put the book down once you start, until you reach the end. Will definitely red the other Dover books in series.
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Very poor and dated. There was no underlying rationale for why Dover was the way he was or his Sgt for that matter. Maybe that is developed in later books, but I won't be reading them to find out. Story plodding and unexciting, resolution unclear - we know what happened, but did dopey Dover ?
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Joyce Porter created a character of his time, mind in a time warp of pre-war ideas. Wilfred Dover is a man you can dislike easily but by the end of the book you just  have a little thought and hope that he might succeed. Written with tongue firmly in cheek at times the humour doesn’t miss a beat. The story though is a true who-dun-it with twists and turns not helped by the inept Dover, but is he that inept? Or is it all a game by the author to mislead us? Some comments and thoughts of Wilfred Dover appear to be very anti-social but don’t forget the book was written in early 1960s so he is just reflecting the thoughts of that type of man at that time.
All in all a good read and looking forward to Number 2
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Great fun. How could it be that such a great comic character as Inspector Dover ha been hidden for so many years. Joyce Porter is a wonderfully inventive writer and the book is full of the atmosphere of the early 1950's. The story has all the twists and turns of a satisfying whodunit.
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Detective Chief Inspector Wilfred Dover is not like any detective you have every heard of before.
I cannot compare Dover to any detective story i have read before.
This however is why it makes this book so enjoyable.
Dover is clearly no Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple.
Dover is a so so detective who relies on luck and the help of his seargent.
Although written in 1964 this story would make a superb tv programme. 
Joyce Porter managed to create a character you can't like but you can enjoy.
Bumbling along and somehow getting there in the end.
Most enjoyable read and hopefully more to come!
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I really really had a difficult time reading this book. It had moments of humor but I found the main character very detestable and just couldn't get into the storyline. I spent the majority of my time flipping through because this book just couldn't hold my interest.

Thank you to the author/publisher/Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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I really struggled with this book but persevered as I do not like to request a book but not finish it or leave a review.

It is promised to be a humourous murder mystery however i did not find anything funny about it. I then discovered it was written in the 1960s which explains the crude, sometimes racist, misogynist comments. I appreciate the author is setting out the unlikable main characters point of view but it made me feel uncomfortable in this day and age. 

Thank you to netgalley for giving me an arc but I won't be reading this series again.
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From Good Reads:
As someone who generally has to warm to characters - I should have hated this.

It was a bit of a delight.

Dover is foul (and will probably only get worse as series goes on)
The rest of the characters/suspects are - larger than life to put it mildly.
Politically incorrect - this rattles along at breakneck speed, full of exaggeration and fantastic comic touches and asides.
Still manages to be a decent whodunnit
There should be more tongue in cheek crime.

Really enjoyed and look forward to the next
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The 'hero' of our narrative is Dover, a Chief Inspector with Scotland Yard who is sent to a remote location on an odd case that the local police were unable to think of anything to do. 

In Dover one: There is a woman who is missing. Her defining characteristic is her weight and the repetitive mention of her size or all the misbehaviours and icky(ish) mindsets of everyone in the vicinity should have put me off. It is a police procedural with the procedure being a key factor. We are walked through every interview and thought process that Dover and his suffering subordinate, Macgregor. For all intents and purposes, my concentration should have veered off at some point in the telling of this story but it did not. I am trying to unravel the ideas I have for identifying the root cause of such an occurrence.

Dover is sent on this mission understandably to relieve his London colleagues of his presence. He is described as a slob who has an inflated opinion of his own prowess, but the latter part is not completely true. He deflects the truth to make himself look and sound more intelligent but he does it knowingly. He knows that he is taking a shortcut but is impatient to get going and refuses to let others know he is wrong even if he does admit it to himself (in a fashion). This plot has a group of unsavoury characters. None of the people are likable and are described in very vividly prejudiced terms but it suits the storyline because I do not think we are meant to like anyone in the story. The unexpected turns that the investigation takes and the way that Dover manages to come out on top (at least in the public eye) was fascinating in an odd way. The ending and the actual perpetrators of the crime in some ways show us why the missing woman was predominantly described by her appearance! I do not know if I have clarified the meandering path that my thoughts took to ultimately being satisfied with this book and getting a chance to see yet another aspect of how people's minds worked in post-war England, but I did try.
Overall I am pleased to make an acquaintance of this author, and a whole new style of mystery narration. Although I do not think the content would be everyone's cup of tea, if one can get past the (graphic) negative caricatures of people and look at it only as part of the story itself, it is more palatable.I say this as someone who is usually very sensitive to the background portrayal of any story, and someone who actually (surprisingly) enjoyed both the stories I have read of this series so far.
I received an ARC of the reprint thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is completely based on my own reading experience.
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I hadn't encountered this author before so I was surprised to find out the books were written 50 years ago and there is a whole series of them waiting to be enjoyed.I loved it-it's like a cross between an Ealing comedy and an Agatha Christie murder mystery,with  Chief Inspector Wilfred Dover,one of the most unlikeable detectives ever ,and his long suffering assistant,Sergeant MacGregor.
It was written long before the days of political correctness and the remarks and dialogue are a delight-it made me laugh out loud several times.But it's not all comedy-it's tightly plotted and there are several twists and turns before it reaches a satisfying conclusion.Perfect reading for a miserable day-I read it in a couple of days and enjoyed every line.I can't wait to read the rest!
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What was at first for me a slow(ish) read developed into a most delightful and entertaining book which kept me amused and interested until the end. Only when I found out it was from a long series of books written some years back did I regret that I had not come across them before.

What one might describe as a light read but none the worse for that. Sit back, laugh and enjoy - Chief Inspector Dover is on the case!

Thank you to Farrago for permission to read and give an unbiased review.
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If you like your crime novels to have a distinctly 60s feel, with a touch of almost P G Wodehouse humour then Joyce Porter’s bumbling, pompous and semi-competent DCI Dover could be up your street. The plots will not trouble your intellect too much and the narrative is somewhat littered with cliches, but - and this is perhaps a bit weird - it really doesn't matter. There is plenty of light-hearted humour to brighten up the depressing news, or a bad day at the office! Recommended.
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Very enjoyable for  its witty characterizations  and slothful detective with sterling assistant who does all the heavy lifting and brain work.  An unattractive girl goes missing and the detective reluctantly goes about finding her .. this involves very entertaining and sometimes contradictory quizzing of locals.  Great fun ..  and it gets solved! Undemanding good fun ..
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Meet Chief Inspector Wilfred Dover - the gloriously unconventional anti-hero of Joyce Porter's Dover series and probably Scotland Yard's most problematic Detective. Dover is everything he shouldn't be and more, he is also unappealing in every way possible. The thing is - Dover gets the job done, by whatever means necessary, even though often by simply passing the buck. He is, quite simply, rather magnificent and this reader cannot help but have a very big soft spot for him. Here Scotland Yard have sent him, together with the long suffering Sergeant MacGregor, on the trail of a missing housemaid, Humorous - often very darkly so -, witty, satirical and hugely entertaining and I'm looking forward to reading more.
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