The Secret of Annexe 3 (Pan crime) Paperback – 4 Sep 1987
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‘No one constructs a whodunit with more fiendish skill than Colin Dexter’ Guardian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
Morse sought to hide his disappointment. So many people in the Haworth Hotel that fateful evening had been wearing some sort of disguise - a change of dress, a change of make-up, a change of partner, a change of attitude, a change of life almost; and the man who had died had been the most consummate artist of them all . . .
Chief Inspector Morse seldom allowed himself to be caught up in New Year celebrations. So the murder inquiry in the festive hotel had a certain appeal.
It was a crime worthy of the season.
The corpse was still in fancy dress. And hardly a single guest at the Haworth had registered under a genuine name . . .
'A plot of classical cunning and intricacy' Times Literary Supplement
'No one constructs a whodunit with more fiendish skill than Colin Dexter' Guardian--This text refers to the Hardcover edition. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This novel could almost be used as a text-book on how-to-write-a-whodunnit by budding crime writers. Once again Colin Dexter's legendary skill in planting clues for the reader is on display to the full - he loves using clues planted in lists and in incongruous looking letters. By using a fancy dress ball he reverts to the old dictum of the Father of Crime, Edgar Allan Poe - Q. How do you hide something best? A. By placing it right before your eyes. A brilliant and hellishly devious criminal puzzle, outsmarting all but the great detective (of course!).
What do you do if you are caught with your pants or your knickers down in an extra-marital affair?
Well, you have really two options. You can either kill your partner or you can kill your lover. This is roughly the story of this book in a nutshell. The actual murder takes place in the annexe of an Oxford Hotel but the option chosen is only revealed towards the end of the book. Although the people involved in the plot stay at the hotel under assumed names, Chief Inspector Morse works out the real name of the person at the centre of the plot and even though he explains his line of argument to Sergeant Lewis I found that argument a bit hard to follow. But the identification of that person does help him a lot towards solving this mystery.
A third option would of course have been for the person at the centre of the plot to get rid of both partner and lover and the book gives the impression that that is an option which may have been seriously entertained but whether this is indeed the case is again not revealed until the very end of this book.
Similarly to his other Inspector Morse novels I found this book a real page turner. I would assume that the purpose of these novels is not to write them in such a way that they can easily be adapted to television but rather to serve as enjoyment to the reader and I think Colin Dexter has again done an excellent job.
The characters are good enough, but not particularly memorable – that seems to happen a lot in detective novels, for some reasons. It’s because they’re so human, and so dispensable – they have their foibles, like we all do, and whilst the story is largely experienced through the relationships between each of the characters, once it’s over they seem to fade away.
Still, Morse and Lewis are at their strongest here, and the locations that are featured feel both believable and real, as though you yourself are walking amongst them. In many ways, it helps to draw you, as the reader, into the story, and so you’re able to try to solve the mystery yourself. And, like all good mystery novels, it keeps you guessing along the way, and – for me, at least – it’d be easy to re-read it, and to get drawn back into the storyline.
Overall, then, this was probably one of my favourites of the Inspector Morse novels, and it seems as good a book as any for you to get started with. The writing is swift and easy going, and it leaves you feeling satisfied when you get to the end of it. What more could you ask for?
Colin Dexter certainly created very readable detective novels that have stood the test of time, this one was written twenty years ago.Will they be read and be classed with Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, who knows
The characters dipped periodically into other minor characters' POVs and hopped through minor characters' heads unnecessarily, for which I take half a star off. These dips into and hops through POVs should have been edited out. I also wondered why one party of the pair was not arrested as accessory to the crime at the end, but allowed to go free because the author seemingly have a soft spot for this person. This would not happen in real life in England.
A few more minor mistakes: The police have master keys to any house in England and do not have to break down any doors. Every lock in England is manufactured or sold so that a set of master keys available to the police can open any door. Furthermore, no suspect can be questioned without first been given the Miranda warning, or their prosecution will fail. Also in a murder investigation generally the senior officer will lead the interviews.
The writing is superb and literary - at a level perfect for a mystery. The plot is layered and complex so that it keeps the reader guessing and on the edge of the seat all the time, but it is somewhat contrived at times. The prose as well as the plot is intellectual and cultured and the characters so deep that it got one really emotionally involved. A little humor makes one laugh out loud.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very pleased with the condition of this book. I would recommend books from this seller. I have read all of Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse books, they are a really good read.Published 3 months ago by Cazbo
An excellent book,Colin Dexter takes some beating,I haven't read a bad one yet!Published 15 months ago by Richard Javes
This is one of the few Morse books not made into a TV episode but it is full of the intrigue and sophisticated dialogue that made Dexter's books so enjoyable to read. Read morePublished 19 months ago by G. TAYLOR