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"My weakness is guesswork. I leap to conclusions, often wrong.",,
This review is from: The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn (Inspector Morse) (Paperback)
Written in 1977, this is the third of the thirteen-novel Inspector Morse series. Here Morse is not so well-developed as he becomes in later novels, when the reader of the series has more background to draw from, but he is still a fascinating character--a single man, a huge fan of crossword puzzles, a beer-lover, and a dedicated student of classical music, who is also crotchety, impatient with his less educated assistant (Sgt. Lewis), and unwilling to give up on a case until all the pieces fit perfectly.
Here Morse and Sgt. Lewis are called to Oxford to investigate the murder of Nicholas Quinn, a profoundly deaf man who worked on the university's Examinations Board, developing the tests to determine future entrants to the university. Security breaches have occurred and copies of the test may have been sold in the Middle East. No one knows whether Nicholas Quinn was involved, and if not, who was. Most importantly, who killed him, and why?
As Morse investigates the case, the private lives of the various dons and their secretary are revealed, and when Monica, the secretary, is attacked and injured, she arouses Morse's finer feelings (a "rescuing" trait of Morse which continues to develop in later novels with other "damsels in distress"). With none of the players exactly who they seem to be and questions arising as to when, exactly, Nicholas Quinn died, Morse pursues numerous dead ends and actually arrests several innocent people.
Written fully ten years before some of the best of the series, this novel is fun to read as a Morse curiosity, but it is still a well-developed mystery. Morse's character is obviously still evolving--he makes a lot of mistakes which need to be corrected-- and his relationship with Sgt. Lewis is still "in process." The famed red Jaguar has not yet appeared--Morse drives a Lancia here--and his diabetes and his love of scotch whisky are still unknown to the reader. Morse is a man of integrity, however, and he is committed to finding the killer--his character and his methods, however, have yet to be fully explored by the author. Mary Whipple