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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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It is absolutely baking at the present time as I write this. Not wanting to get into something perhaps a bit too complex or time consuming I just put out my hand and picked up a Morse book to while away the time. This is the third book in the Morse series and it has been quite some time since I last read it. Personally I have always preferred the novels to the tv series, probably because the characters are slightly different. For instance Morse can't really wait to see a certain X rated movie in this book, so he can have a good gander at the flesh on display.

In this book Morse and Lewis are called in after a murder has taken place to a Nicholas Quinn. Quinn is a relatively new member of staff for the Oxford Examinations Syndicate. This body sets and marks exams for educational bodies abroad. This was first published in 1977 so it is refreshing to read something where mobile phones aren't being used in every other paragraph, and before the creation of GCSEs which countries who would have used such services as the OES have shunned, wanting our old system instead.

Quinn was profoundly deaf and Morse is drawn to his place of employment for the murder suspect. As the investigation drags on are Morse and Lewis getting all the facts, or are there too many lies and red herrings? This is quite a complex case for Morse, and it has to be admitted he looks like he is wandering around picking up on the wrong things, and coming to the wrong conclusions, especially when another death happens to another member of staff at the Syndicate. Will Morse ever solve this case, especially as he keeps his conclusions so close to his chest?

Please remember this was the third Morse novel and he and Lewis are still in a way having their characters developed, and this isn't as good as the later books in the series. Chances are that you will solve the case before Morse does, which in some ways is a plus for this book. Most people come to the Morse books after seeing the tv series and so expect him to be infallible, but this book shows him in a state of indecision, leaping to wrong suspects and making a bit of a hash of things, as he tries to solve this.

It seems that nowadays in the vast majority of crime novels the detective is always right and gets his man straight away, but as we know, in real life this doesn't happen all the time, so it is refreshing to read this and finding the detective not as clever as he thinks he is, and making mistakes. For days like this when you just need to sit down and try and cool off, this book is an ideal read. It makes you think, although not too much, and it draws you in, and holds your attention to the end, in all a good summer read.
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on 16 April 2016
Morse is back, baby! It’s pretty natural for me to be a Colin Dexter reader, because I’m such a huge fan of both Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Dexter isn’t as good, but he’s still pretty damn good – he has the same attention to detail that the other two writers had, but he does occasionally slip into cliche. Still, with no more Conan Doyle to read and precious little Christie, I can’t help but love his work.

This book focuses on the murder of a deaf guy called Nicholas Quinn, who worked on the board of invigilators for the old-school O-level exam board. The interesting thing about his murder is that there’s no obvious motive, and it takes quite a while for the reader to get settled into the circumstances which led to his murder. Morse, meanwhile, is coming along in leaps and bounds, but he remains tight-lipped and so you have to guess what he’s thinking.

It’s a great read, and the plot really roars along as the pace picks up, and I love the way that the twists and turns are so closely related to the characters. Chance doesn’t really play a part here – everything’s meticulously planned and meticulously deduced.

And in what may be a world first, the fact that most of the characters felt fundamentally unlikeable to me didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the book. If anything, it just made me more determined to see that the culprit was brought to justice. The ending left me a little confused at times, but overall it made sense and I say yeah, read it.
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on 4 September 2013
Have only just started to read the Morse books by Colin Dexter. I am difficult to please but have found these to be sheer escapism. Enjoy the wild traits of Morse and the patience of Lewis. Am currently on my seventh Morse novel - in similar manner to my recent reading of Lee Child Jack Reacher books, Colin Dexter and Morse are a great read.
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on 1 January 2016
This is third book that I have read in the Colin Dexter's collection of Morse and his crime detection, and the more I read of them I feel I am gradually blocking out the view of John Thaw and Kevin Whately,and seeing Morse and Lewis as stand alone figures, and perhaps seeing the pair as Colin Dexter envisaged. This story is perhaps closer to the authors background-Colin Dexter was deaf causing him to leave teaching and working for an exam board though dealing with English schools not foreign ones. You do have to pay attention to the writing or else you will miss a clue which may come up in the story further on in the book. This is a good read the idled a couple of days over the Christmas period.
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on 13 July 2009
Although the third novel in Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse series (following "Last Bus to Woodstock" and "Last Seen Wearing"), this was the first mystery to reveal exactly how brilliant the books about this bad-tempered, beer-swilling and tight-fisted detective were going to be.

Assisted as always by the ever-willing Lewis, Morse re-enters the world of the town's academics to track down the killer of a member of the Oxford Examinations Syndicate - a member who was newly-appointed and profoundly deaf.

Perfectly written and beautifully paced, this tale was the first sign that Colin Dexter would soon become the crime writer we now know and love. If you like detective stories, you must read this - it's as simple as that!
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on 2 October 2009
The story begins with a short Prologue describing a meeting of the "Foreign Examination Syndicate" during which the decision is made to hire the book's title character, Nicholas Quinn. "The Silent World" of the title derives from Mr. Quinn deafness.

Here, Colin Dexter capitalizes on his first-hand experience and understanding of a qualifications testing organization. He was, himself, an employee of the Oxford Local Examination Board. As early as the Prologue, his intimate knowledge of Board activities and member motivation is evident. The Prologue is a self-contained mini-story, and Dexter's knowledge gives this presentation such verisimilitude that it seems more a detailed description of actual events than a fictional presentation.

The book snared me from its opening questions, "Well? What do you think?" and kept my interest throughout. In between the Prologue and Epilogue, the book is divided into four main sections, each titled with a question: "Why?", When?, How?, and Who? Section chapters are frequently short, making it convenient to pause at a chapter breakpoint at almost anytime.

Mr. Dexter's writing is fascinating, insightful, and often humorous. His writing never intrudes, and each section is by itself a satisfying story.

The book finishes with a satisfactory conclusion to the mystery, followed by an Epilogue. Just as the Prologue brings you gently into the story, the Epilogue takes you gently out. It ties up loose ends, e.g., the impact of Morse's revelations on the people and organizations involved.

Although "clues" appear through the story, it seems to me, it would be almost impossible for a reader to solve the mystery on their own, i.e., before the conclusion is finally revealed. If you do, you are clearly quite gifted. Because of the complexity of the mystery and the low likelihood of a reader anticipating the solution, the story should keep the reader's interest until the end.

Dexter's subject matter knowledge, erudition, and his story telling finesse, combined with his delineation of Morse and Lewis and their interaction, made each chapter, as trite as it may sound, a joy to read. I believe Dexter's writing skills could make a trip to Tesco interesting reading.

In most mystery stories, its usually the solution's revelation that brings the greatest satisfaction. Here, each chapter is itself a treat, with the solution the treats' maraschino cherry.

In conclusion, this is an exceptionally well-written story, that starts strong and stays that way to the end -- really, five stars plus.
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on 26 March 2013
Enjoyed this book but probably not as much as other Inspector Morse books I have read over the years. Having said that I found it hard to put it down until I had finished the book.
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on 6 November 2013
My first experience of Colin Dexter (I know it's taken a long time) but not my last. Excellently written novel that I could not wait to finish, bring on the next one.
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on 2 February 2014
Love Inspector Morse books - Mr Dexter pens an excellent read! Thank you Mr Dexter for taking the time to produce such an excellent novel!
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on 6 May 2014
This book is a terrific read. It keeps you engrossed from beginning to end. It is a must read book. I will definitely recommend this book
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