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on 21 April 2001
A classic Inspector Morse mystery concerning the murder of a guest staying in the annexe of an Oxford hotel over the New Year period. The fact that all the guests were in fancy dress for the party on the night of the murder only complicates matters considerably.
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!).
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on 16 August 2009
This is probably the funniest Inspector Morse mystery I have read so far.

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.
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on 2 July 2011
As always, and Inspector Morse mystery is a good read. This one had a slightly easier plot line with fewer characters, making it easier to follow and guess possible solutions.
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on 13 June 2016
To a certain extent, you know what you’re getting with a Colin Dexter book. Here, we follow Inspector Morse as he investigates a murder that took place on New Year’s Eve at a hotel. The hotel had recently undergone some redevelopment, and so some of the guests were staying in a small annexe off to the side of it. Morse is tasked with finding out what happened inside the titular third annexe, and rest assured that there are plenty of twists and turns along the way.

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?
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on 29 February 2016
Another of Morse detective stories. The same formula and writing style, but still very enjoyable, and the repartee between Lewis and Morse works very successfully, and still makes the books worth reading. I also the geographical and descriptions of locations in Oxford interesting, though I suppose you might find it rather gets in the way of the story if you are not familiar with any streets, areas or places in Oxford.
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
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on 29 July 2015
With the completion of this book I have now read the complete set of "Morse" books. This was as enjoyable as the rest of the stories,although both the Morse and Lewis characters were in the earlier stages of development and the plot was easier to decipher than most of the Morse novels.
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on 9 May 2014
A 4.5 star read, my first by this author. Superb character development. Juxtaposed against each other, the contrasting and deeply developed characters of Morse and Lewis (in many ways one as different from the other as the day from the night) and their unfolding relationship with each other are a delight to read. The characters and their interplay are cleverly and very skilfully developed through witty and sharp dialog and well written spells of internal monologue.

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. I knew the story was great when about half way through the book it made me incapable of any other work and I had to lie to take a sick day off work to finish reading the book. So engrossing were the characters and the storyline I could not bear to put the book down for anything - even for my job or for meals.

Deep, delightful, and emotionally engaging character development is the best thing about this book. This is coupled with superb, cultured, and literary writing enhanced by a complex and intellectually challenging plot to deliver a cracking read. I have already bought 3 more books in the series to read soon.
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on 26 October 2007
This is my second Morse novel, having recently read 'The Way through the Woods', and loving every bit of it. I bought 'The Second Inspector Morse Omnibus' and this was one of the novels in it. Well, basically, this novel is fantastic.
The murder is fast-paced and the action is swift and efficent. Dexter's skill with naration allows the reader to delve into the mind sof the characters (written realistically) and really feel part of the situation. The individual chapters even have their own specific date!
This novel is truely enthrawling and unputdownable. When the final revelation comes, the truth is enthrawling and amazing. Even if the final solution is a bit far-fetched, it's absolutely fantastic all the same. A fantastic couple of days reading. Sheer pleasure!
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on 18 January 2003
You may have wondered why The Secret of Annexe 3 was never adapted for television. Almost certainly this was because it hinges on an unfilmable and ludicrously unbelievable situation of mistaken identity (obviously I can't say what) that no viewer would swallow - and yet the reader is expected to. In later Morse books, Dexter's style acquired some of the gloss and subtlety of the TV series; but this is an early work, its contrived plot padded out with pompous description and lengthy half-page asides about Oxford geography. Unless you're a Morse completist, ignore it.
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on 14 April 2016
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.
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