Hello everyone and welcome to my review and overview of the Morse episode, The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn. This was one of my first posts so it is not as comprehensive as my later posts. But, I am returning every so often to add more information to this post.
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Originally aired in the Uk on 13th January 1987
Book published on May 5th 1977
Colin Dexter appearance appears at 1m38s as a party guest. Standing next to Colin is Julian Mitchell who wrote the screenplay.
Directed by Brian Parker
Written by Julian Mitchell
Jag Rating (out of ten)
Please feel free to leave any comments. There is a link at the bottom of the page.
Nicholas Quinn, a hard of hearing academic, ‘overhears’, via his ability to lip-read, an apparent attempt to sell the answers to the examinations set by the Foreign Examinations Syndicate for whom Nicholas Quinn worked. Subsequently, Nicholas Quinn is found dead having apparently committed suicide. But Morse is convinced it is a case of murder and with cryptic clues, crosswords and puzzles being part of the plot, Morse is in his element.
Another great episode and one that moved the series along nicely. The Morse and Lewis relationship is beginning to form into an recognizable partnership of the acolyte and the master. I love the scene where Morse forces Lewis to pour sherry for both of them to prove his theory of why Nicholas Quinn’s apparent suicide was murder. It is such a good scene because it begins with Lewis sneering like an errant schoolboy when told he has to drink sherry to him then looking incredulous when Morse tells him he is dead. Then Lewis becomes impressed by Morse’s reasoning as to how Quinn was murdered.
Lewis doesn’t want to drink sherry.
Like episode one this episode is full of great British character actors and it also includes the lovely Barbara Flynn whom I had a huge crush on…………………………….sorry drifted off into a pleasant reverie there. Moving swiftly on. Amusingly, the episode includes a rather prudish impression about the the film Last Tango in Paris and in particular categorizing it as a pornographic film. It isn’t a great film but is certainly not pornographic.
Again as in the first episode we had an Agatha Christie type setting when Morse calls for a meeting of all the Syndics and during that meeting he questions Monica Height and arrests Dr. Bartlett. Personally, I found the scene superfluous and I can only assume that the episode writer, Julian Mitchell, was alluding to the previous book/TV detectives either ironically or as a nod in admiration to their work.
I liked the character of Ogleby, played by Michael Gough, and it is easy to imagine that he and Morse would have become friends. One can see those two confirmed bachelors sitting around on an evening, drinking the best whisky, solving crosswords and putting the world to rights.
I wasn’t convinced by the ending when Morse is attacked by the murderer, (I won’t say who for those who may not have seen the episode) it just didn’t ring true though of course the murderer may have simply lost all sense of right and wrong by this time. However, I do like Lewis standing over Morse as he is being strangled and asking, “Need a hand sir”? Morse’s reply is wonderful, “Get the bastard off me.”
As a bit of fun here is a picture of Morse’s living room. let us watch over the coming months how that will change.
Memorable Line – Morse says “The trouble with my method Lewis is that its inspirational and as a result I sometimes, sometimes, get things arse about face.”
Literary Quotes – ‘Who shall escape whipping” (1h37m38s) Hamlet to Polonius in Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2. The exact and full quote is ‘Use every man after his desert and who shall ‘scape whipping’. In context this has Polonius saying that he will use the players as they are deserved (desert) to be used. Hamlet responds that Polonius should go out of his way to treat them far better (for if people were to be treated as they deserved, few would escape whipping).
(The times are set as hh/mm/ss, i.e. hours, minutes and seconds).
The first piece of music is played while Morse is claiming to be doing paper work but is actually attempting to complete a crossword. The music is ‘Der Freischutz (the Marksman)‘ by Carl Maria von Weberand (1786-1826 (music) & Friedrich Kind (1768-1843) (libretto).
We are back in Morse’s house where we finding him washing his hair. The music is Symphony in D minor by the Belgian composer Cesar Franck (1822-1890). He was born at Liège, in what is now Belgium (though at the time of his birth it was part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands).
Morse visits Roope in his rooms at the college and tinkles something on the piano but unfortunately I have no idea what it is.
The next piece is when Morse visits Dr. Bartlett at his house and finds Dr Bartlett’s son, Richard, air conducting to the German composer Richard Wagner’s (1813-1883) ‘Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’. (The Master-Singers of Nuremberg).
We are back in Morse’s house where we find him completing a crossword until he is interrupted by a phone call from Lewis. The extract is the opening of the Largo from Handel’s Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major HWV 313. The German born George Frideric Handel was born on the 23 February 1685 and died on the 14 April 1759.
An interesting note about a piece of music composed by Barrington Pheloung. A blog reader, A.B., wrote to me sometime ago that he had noticed that a piece of music played over the section where Lewis is ‘tailing’ Roope’ to the Botanic Gardens to meet Dr. Bartlett (01h19m50s) had also been used in the previous episode ‘Dead of Jericho‘. In that episode it was played over the scene when Jackson goes to collect the money left there by Richards. (00h49m03s).
Let us start with the paintings on the wall of the room where there is a party to welcome the Sheik of Al-Jamara.
I believe the scene was shot in Oriel College but as for the paintings on the wall I’m afraid I cannot identify any of them. However, I have written to Oriel College to ask if they can verify it is a room in Oriel College and whether they can help with the identification of the paintings. Fingers crossed I get an answer.
I have received an answer from Oriel College and they kindly told me that it wasn’t their college but was in fact Brasenose College. So I Googled the college and viola found a picture of the room in which the party was held, Brasenose Hall;
After a bit of detective work I have more information about the paintings. To the far left is a painting of James Ley, 1st Earl of Marlborough, Lord High Treasurer. The artist is unknown.
Next up is the painting second from the right. This is Alexander Nowell, DD, Benefactor, Principal (1595), Dean of St Paul’s by an unknown artist.
The painting in the middle is William Smyth, Bishop of Lincoln, Founder, Chancellor of the University (1500–1503) by an unknown artist,
The painting second from the left is Richard Sutton (d.1524), Knight, Founder by an unknown artist.
The final one is the painting to the far right. This is Sir Thomas Egerton (1539/1540–1617), Viscount Brackley, Baron Ellesmere, Commoner, Lord Chancellor of England (1603–1617), Chancellor of the University (1610–1617) by an unknown artist.
In Nicholas Quinn’s house at 14 minutes and 25 seconds there is a small painting behind Morse. My first thought was a work by Charles Warren Eaton as it has the tonalist quality of one of his landscapes but if it is I can’t find it when searching the artist on Google. So for the moment it is unidentified.
Next up we have two painting s on the wall of Ogleby’s house at 42 minutes and 40 seconds.
The first above is a very bad print/reproduction of Joseph Mallord William Turner’s (1775-1851), 1840 painting of ‘Venice seen from the Giudecca Canal’.
Here is the original.
The second one is to the left of the first painting on Ogleby’s wall.
This is another Turner painting; ‘Ancient Rome; Agrippina Landing with the Ashes of Germanicus‘
The next painting is a much simpler regarding its identification. It is on the wall of Roope’s College rooms wall.
This painting is ‘Canal and Factories’ by the English artist Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887–1976). Lowry is famous for painting scenes of life in the industrial districts of North West England. Below is the original.
We now move onto a poster on Monica’s wall in her office which can be seen clearly at 01h23m57.
It is a poster advertising an exhibition of the Spanish artist Ramon Dilley (1932- ) at the Galerie du Carlton in Cannes. The original image is below;
At 01h29m Morse is in Dr Barlett’s office after arresting him. On the wall is a small painting which I cannot identify as yet with any certainty. It does look like it could be a very bad print or reproduction of ‘Venice: The Grand Canal, Looking North East From Palazzo Balbi To The Rialto Bridge‘ 1724 by Canaletto. (Real name, Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768). See painting below.
Philip Ogleby not only works at the Foreign Examinations Board but also sets crosswords under the pseudonym Daedalus.
Michael Gough as Philip Ogleby.
Daedalus was written about by both Greek authors Homer and Ovid. He is probably best known as the father of Icarus and Iapyx. He is also very well known, as is mentioned in the episode, as the creator of the Labyrinth on Crete, in which the Minotaur (part man, part bull) was kept.
While Morse is interviewing Philip Ogleby he asks Ogleby if it was Monica who had told him he was a bachelor. Philip replies that he had looked up Morse and so there was no need to “Cherchez la femme“.
Cherchez la femme is an expression first used in the 1854 novel ‘The Mohicans’ of Paris’ by Alexandre Dumas, ( Dumas is of course better known for writing ‘The Three Musketeers’). The phrase Cherchez la femme literally means, ‘Look for the woman’. The phrase has come to mean over the years as, no matter what the problem, a woman is often the root cause.
Morse and Lewis are standing outside the cinema after the death of Ogleby. Morse says, “No human action happens by pure chance unconnected with other happenings” Lewis finishes the quote, “None is incapable of explanation.” The quote is attributed to Dr. Hans Gross, one-time Professor of Criminology at the University of Prague. Hans Gross is believed to be the creator of the field of criminalistics and is to this day seen as the father of Criminal Investigation.
Dr Bartlett is discussing with Morse if he should tell his wife about visiting the cinema to see the ‘pornographic’ film ‘Last Tango in Paris’. Morse tells him that adultery of the heart is not really the same as adultery and ends by saying “Who shall ‘scape whipping”
This is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Hamlet says it to Polonius in Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2. The exact and full quote is ‘Use every man after his desert and who shall ‘scape whipping’. In context this has Polonius saying that he will use the players as they are deserved (desert) to be used. Hamlet responds that Polonius should go out of his way to treat them far better (for if people were to be treated as they deserved, few would escape whipping).
The times are based on the British DVDs. The times stated are not exact but are within the minute the location appears.
Start of episode –
The reception party for the Sheik of Al-Jamara is held at Brasenose College. Brasenose is referred to as Lonsdale College.
Morse walks through Brasenose College talking to Frederich Treves.
Morse visits Brasenose College to talk to Roope in his rooms.
The arrow marks where Morse is standing in the above screenshot.
Roope is in his rooms at Brasenose College
Roope spots Lewis.
Lewis follows Roope through Brasenose College.
Lewis exits Brasenose College into Radcliffe Square looking for Roope.
Lewis still chases Roope but we are now in Exeter College.
The door that Roope is going through leads from Exeter Fellow’s Garden to Brasenose Lane.
Lewis runs through Exeter Fellow’s Garden.
Lewis watches Roope from the raised part of the Exeter College Fellow’s Garden. Roope is walking down Brasenose Lane toward Radcliffe Square.
The Botanic Gardens where Lewis watches Roope meeting Dr. Bartlett.
The Jericho Tavern next to the Studio 2 cinema.
The Jericho Tavern today. The cinema is the blue building on the right.
When Lewis and Morse visit the cinema to talk to the manager there are, of course, film posters on the walls.
On the left is a poster for the 1985 American black comedy film directed by Martin Scorsese, After Hours.
Behind the manager is a poster for the Disney film Bambi.
On the right is the poster for the wonderful Wim Wenders 1984 film, Paris, Texas.
Barbara Flynn as Monica Height (Born Aug 5th 1948 – )
Micahel Gough as Philip Ogleby (Born November 23rd 1916 – Died march 17th 2011)
Clive Swift as Dr. Bartlett (Born February 9th 1936 – )
Frederich Treves as Don of Lonsdale College (Born March 29th 1925 – Died January 30th 2012)
Peter Woodthorpe as Max ((B. Sep. 25th 1931 – D. Aug. 12th 2004)
Anthony Smee as Roope (Born 1950 – )
Roger Lloyd Pack as Donald Martin (Born February 8th 1944 – Died January 15th 2014)
Phil Nice as Nicholas Quinn (Born Unknown but here is his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/philniceuk )
Elspet Gray as Mrs Bartlett (Born April 12th 1929 – Died February 18th 2013)
Arthus Cox as Noakes (Born 7th April 1934 – )
Philip Voss as the Coroner (Born 1936 – ) ( I included Philip as he had a recurring role in Morse)
Gabrielle Blunt as Mrs Evans (Born january 8th 1919 – Died: August 6, 2014 )
Denyse Alexander as Cinema Manageress (Born June 28th 1931 – )
Stefan Schwartz as Richard Bartlett (Born 1st may 1963 – )
Saul Reichlin as the Sheik of Al-Jamara (Born Unknown)
Diana Blackburn as the lip reading teacher (Born Unknown)
Are you sure about the music at the 1h22m mark? I’ve scanned through all four movements and I cannot find what, in the show, sounds like a cello solo. If you can link a YouTube video of the piece used, I would appreciate it.
Hi Joe. Thanks for reminding me to update this as I meant to do it sometime ago. You’re right it isn’t Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 6 Pathetique. I believe it might be a Mozart concerto. beyond that, i’m not sure. .
The extract is the opening of the Largo from Handel’s Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major HWV 313.
Thanks A B. I have updated the post.
AB (who seems to have an amazing knowledge of classical music) is correct. Handel’s Concerto Grosso no 2 (Largo) Not played on the cello however but the viola da gamba.
It wasn’t a cello. It was the viola da gamba. An instrument commonly used by baroque composers. How anyone could have thought it was Tchaikovsky is beyond me. As already stated by AB it’s Handel. Though have to admit I initially thought it might be Mozart
Do you know what the music is being played during the scene when Roope goes to meet Bartlett at the botanic gardens? Thanks
Hi. The music you refer to was specifically written for the episode by Barrington Pheloung. Sorry, but I don’t know the name of the piece.
Np, thanks for responding!
This soundtrack first occurs in “The Dead of Jericho” during the scene where George Jackson waits to collect the money from the telephone booth. I can’t think of other episodes that share a similar soundtrack, but perhaps there are? At any rate, this particular soundtrack isn’t featured on any of the _Morse_ soundtrack discs where a selected number of tracks from various episodes are given titles other those of the episodes themselves.
Well spotted A.B.
Morse’s response to the change in the movie showing at the theatre is one of the best endings ever!
Hi. I would be hard pressed to disagree with you.
I wonder if the Tavern still sells traditional ales. Maybe now they are sold more in England so a tavern doesn’t need to advertise that it sells them. I remember reading about the real ale movement a while ago. Do you know whose picture that is above Morse’ shoulder in Monica’s office?
Rewatching Morse after finishing Endeavor series 4 for the second time. Some of the actors look familiar. I was wondering if you would be able to cross reference the Morse episodes with the Endeavor/Lewis episodes so we can see all reacurring actors from the Morse side as well. Thanks for all you do! I am always excited to read your reviews after watching each episode.
Hi Kathy. I have already done all that in sixteen posts. If you click on the Endeavour heading at the top of the page this will show all the relevant posts. Thanks Kahty.
Chris, you must have eagle eyes. I would never have been able to find the 1724 Canaletto from what can be seen in the episode, but you’ve somehow done it!
I wouldn’t call Morse a confirmed bachelor, but perhaps the phrase has a different meaning in Australia.
He doesn’t seem very confirmed, since he tries to find women and build relationships, but they never work out for him.
I think the main problem for Morse is that he would always compare every women he meet to his first and greatest love, Susan.
IMDB now has Phil NIce DOB as January 29th 1959. Still working as an acotr he’s most recently been in Citizen Khan.
He also appeared in Goodnight Sweetheart (alongside Nicholas Lyndhurst) as George Formby! Amongst much other work
Morse;s butter remark on contemplating “Last Tango” is smutty innuendo but only if you know enough about the movie.
Indeed; the writer is also having a little chuckle by making butter a clue as to why Quinn’s death was definitely murder, ie the shopping bag contained salted, not unsalted butter.
Film posters inside the cinema manager’s office: Bambi (Disney, 1942), Paris, Texas (Nastassja Kinski, Harry Dean Stanton, directed by Wim Wenders, 1984)
I noted that Morse has a black eye early in the episode, which has cleared up by the final scenes, anyone know what that was all about?
The interior of Quinn’s house looks like it is one of the houses in Beauchamp Lane – I used to go to No. 12 (also called wye cottage)
Hi Clifford. Where is Beauhchamp Lane?
My bad, *Beauchamp* lane – post code OX4 3LF, round the corner from the Templar shopping centre
I always liked this one, especially with Michael Gough as the inquisitive, sharp-witted Ogelby.
Sadly, Clive Swift (also known as Richard, Hyacinth Bucket’s husband in Keeping up Appearances) died in February of 2019.
I’m glad they nixed the “gather all the suspects in one room” sequences after this episode, although this one does have a twist in that Morse reveals the wrong solution to the gathered cast–not something that would ever happen to Poirot! Then again, in the next episode, Service of All the Dead, a scene like this was impossible since there were almost no suspects left to gather by the end of the episode.
Where Lewis first watches Roope then follows him is Brasenose College.
Clive Swift who played Dr Barlett died on 1st February 2019. He became very well known for his role as Richard Bucket, husband of the domineering Hyacinth in the sitcom ‘Keeping Up Appearances’.
My post on Clive’s death; https://morseandlewisandendeavour.com/2019/02/01/obituary-another-star-of-the-morse-universe-dies-clive-swift/
It cannot be “Phil Nice as Nicholas Quinn”, you need to correct that.
Regarding the episode, the premise is very weak. Either Quinn read lips correctly, so he would not accept the poisoned sherry from Donald Marti or he didn’t and Donald Martin would have had no reason to kill him.This is not a very good episode.
I’m sorry Adrian i’m not sure what you mean by ‘It cannot be “Phil Nice as Nicholas Quinn”’.
Ignore, I made a mistake in associating the pictures with the actor name
I am sorry to say Adrian, but I disagree with you very strongly in this instance. The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn, is one of my favourite Inspector Morse episodes. The many elements that laid the foundations for the Morse series, and made it so watchable, are evident in this episode.
There are moments of humour between Morse and Lewis. There are a number of pub scenes. Bribery and corruption committed by eminent Oxford academics, are featured, which has been depicted many times over, subsequently, in the Morse universe. Dexter used his own experience of being partially deaf, and having to learn to lip-read, which was portrayed by the murder victim, Quinn. Dexter also used his experience of working in an examination syndicate, and of course, the syndicate is the main workplace of the murder victims and suspects, in this episode.
The theme of Morse being unlucky in love is moderately included, Morse and Monica flirt, fairly gently with each other, and there is not much more of it afterwards, although Morse comforts her in hospital, after the death of Ogleby. Lastly, Morse met a kindred spirit, in Ogleby, a fellow batchelor, intellectual, and crossword lover, in fact a crossword setter, and one who appears to like his whisky. Before he was killed, Ogleby had taken it upon himself to investigate Quinn’s death, and the corruption rumours related to the syndicate, not that he gave anything much away when he spoke to Morse, who he was more than a match for. The theme of Morse enjoying, crossword solving, was thus first portrayed in the Morse series, in this episode.
Furthermore, according to David Bishop in his excellent book, “The Complete Inspector Morse”, Colin Dexter himself no less, said this was his favourite adaptation of the entire series. In addition, Bishop stated, that this episode was remarkably faithful to the original novel, which showed the strength of source material provided by Dexter. Bishop’s final word on this episode was, that he thought Thaw and Whately had settled into their roles, and the pairing seemed to have existed forever, despite this being only the second Morse episode made for television.
Regarding your views, Adrian, on the premise, or motive behind the murders being weak, I also disagree with you. Nicholas Quinn, wrongly believed Bartlett was behind the examination cheating and corruption, mistakenly lip-reading the name Doctor Bartlett for Donald Martin. Quinn then tells Ogleby, his suspicions. Why do Martin and Roope conspire to kill Quinn, then, I hear you ask, if Quinn thought it was Bartlett that was guilty of corruption?
My answer to that would be, Martin and Roope, know Quinn is beginning to be suspicious, and asking some awkward questions about allegations of bribery and corruption in the syndicate. Quinn realises George Bland, his predecessor, who is overseeing the examinations in the Arab world, is corrupt, and that he would need a fellow corrupt friend or friends in Oxford, who would be overseeing the question papers, so that person or persons could then pass the information on to Bland. Martin and Roope therefore decide to kill Quinn, to end his investigation of their corrupt practices. However, in an elobrate manner, perhaps typical of Oxford academia, they go about framing Bartlett for the murder, through the specific placing of a cinema ticket, thus creating an alibi for themselves, and a supposed time and place of death for Quinn, that was actually false. They were hoping the police would not be able to ascertain properly, where and when, Quinn was killed.
Could the police, led by Morse and Lewis, see past the intended framing of Bartlett, which made it look like he had killed Quinn, because, he the little bespectacled permanent secretary of the syndicate, was supposedly the corrupt party, when as we know, he is not. Obviously, Morse and Lewis do see past this devious trick, and eventually solve the case, when Morse realises the accidental mistake Quinn had made, with his lip-reading. Finally, I should add that Martin also killed Ogleby, as he was carrying out his own investigation, not quite believing the information, Quinn had given him, that Bartlett was possibly guilty of corruption.
Anyway, this is my understanding of the episode, that has been excellently reviewed above by Chris, and I hope it possibly answers your question, in some way, Adrian.
This is one of the most autobiographical of Morse episodes. For instance, the camera lingers on the Vanden Plas badge on Bartlett’s car (VDP was a coachbuilder whose name was used on upmarket British Leyland models: leather upholstery, walnut trim, that kind of thing). Now Colin Dexter’s boss at the Oxford Locals examination board was a kind but, superficially, slightly fussy man called Jack Cummings… who was borderline obsessive about Vanden Plas models, and owned a series of them. This may be the most useless factoid ever to grace this site, but I offer it up for your amusement!
On further reflection, perhaps I leapt to explanation, a bit too quickly. Martin and Roope did not deliberately frame Bartlett for the murders, initially, because they did not know until Morse’s investigation, who Quinn had accused of being corrupt. Quinn had only told two people his suspicions, he had directly told Bartlett that he suspected him, and he had confided his thoughts about Bartlett, with Ogleby.
However, clearly Martin and Roope knew that Quinn was becoming a possible thorn in their side. They obviously felt guilty enough about their crimes, and worried they would be uncovered. Therefore, they decided to kill Quinn, to prevent him getting closer to the truth, of who had been revealing syndicate examinations secrets, to Bland in the Arab world. The deliberate framing of Bartlett only came later, as a kind of ruse, when Roope set up a meeting with the permanent secretary in the Botanic Gardens, to fool the police, when he was being followed by Lewis.
I should have also made clearer, with Quinn being very deaf, he did not hear the fire drill at the syndicate, and he was lured to Martin’s office, which is where he was killed. However, Martin and Roope tried to make it look like Quinn had died later that day, after going to the cinema, by placing the cinema ticket in Quinn’s jacket. Roope of course, drove Quinn’s car to Quinn’s house, and left his body there, hoping to create the impression that Quinn committed suicide in his own house.
In addition, Roope bought some shopping, attempting to pass it off, as if Quinn had been shopping, on the day he was killed. Quinn couldn’t have been shopping though, because he was already dead. The shopping discovered by Quinn’s cleaning lady, was thus another ploy or red herring used by Roope, to push back the time of Quinn’s actual death. The cleaning lady, however saw through this deceitful manoeuvre, as the shopping purchased contained salted butter, and Quinn only bought unsalted butter.
Hopefully, I have now made the plot of this episode, clearer to you, Adrian, and sorry for any confusion earlier.
“..mistakenly lip-reading the name Doctor Bartlett for Donald Martin.” This is an incredible stretch. In the lip reading class the instructor points out confusion between T and D. Also points out that P , B and M are difficult to lipread. There is no way to make Bartlett into Martin.
Roope is not part of any plot, Morse just falsely accuses him. Martin did the (wrong) shopping as well as the transport of Quinn’s body.
“Martin also killed Ogleby, as he was carrying out his own investigation, not quite believing the information, Quinn had given him, that Bartlett was possibly guilty of corruption. ”
I agree that Martin killed Ogleby but , knowing how tight was Ogleby with the info pertaining to his investigation (he tells Morse nothing), how would Martin find out that Ogleby was investigating?
Sorry, this episode stinks.
The deduction is full of holes.
Wasn’t Quinn wearing the hearing aid? Why couldn’t he hear the alarm? Also with the fire alarm, people running in the hallways and staircases, how could Martin moved Quinn’s body without being seen by others?
Why was the movie ticket left on Dr Bartlett’s table if he didn;t other people know he went to see that X-rated movie?
One thing though, Anonymous, about the hearing aid and why Quinn did not hear alarm. I always thought his hearing aid was broken as in the scene where it is giving off a lot of feedback, he keeps trying to adjust it so it will work, and so he has to resort to lip reading what Roope and the sheik are saying. Also, as seen Martin was late coming out of the building after fire alarm so I assumed he waited until the building emptied before taking body out in the back.
These have always been my thoughts regarding the alarm and the moving of the body.
Thanks for your Anonymous thoughts and questions. Colin Dexter wrote the novel, published in 1977, this episode was based on, and he was partially deaf. Hence, I have always assumed he wrote this story, and centred the plot and character of Quinn, around his own experiences of hearing difficulties. I have thus, always trusted his judgement, that those types of problems encountered by Quinn, could indeed occur. Unfortunately, I do not know enough myself, about partial deafness and hearing aids, to question whether Colin Dexter’s plot is plausible. Given the little knowledge I do have of this matter, I thought it could be possible, and I very much enjoyed the novel and the episode. Needless to say, that is only my opinion, and everyone is entitled to form their own.
As for Martin moving the body, without being seen by others, I agree with Kathleen. He waited for as long as he could for the all syndicate members and staff to leave the building, for the fire alarm outside, and then he moved the body, and placed it in the boot of Quinn’s car. Martin, of course, then turned up late for the fire alarm itself, and he ticked his own name on the register, as well as falsely ticking off Quinn’s name.
Finally, regarding the cinema ticket, I have already written about this issue before in the comments of this excellent review by Chris. Martin left the cinema ticket on Bartlett’s desk, not to incriminate or frame Bartlett, but to pass the ticket on to his accomplice, Roope. Martin knew Roope was visiting Bartlett’s office later that day, to hand in some papers. He also knew Bartlett was out, attending a meeting in Banbury. In the novel, it says Martin left a little note on the desk, telling Roope to place the ticket in Quinn’s coat. Martin and Roope were trying to give themselves an alibi by changing the apparent time of Quinn’s death. It would now look like Quinn had been to the cinema, when in truth, he couldn’t have been, because Morse eventually realises that Quinn was already dead. The other problem Martin and Roope were not counting on, was Ogleby sneaking about, doing some detective work himself. As we know, before Roope collected the ticket, Ogleby noticed it curiously on Bartlett’s desk, and he copied it, into his notebook.
On a different subject, I just wondered, Kathleen, whether you found the time to read my comments on the wonderful Endeavour pilot episode. Perhaps you did, and I hope you didn’t find them, too overly long!!!
Yes James I have read your comments and was glad you corrected a mistake that I made in a response to someone else. You explain and analyze thoroughly. Always a clarifying pleasure to read your comments. Hope to be twitching on Sunday!
Sorry for the typing error. I accidentally put “the” in front of “all”, when it should have been the other way round, “all the syndicate members”. For instance, “He waited for as long as he could for “all the” syndicate members and staff to leave the building, for the fire alarm outside, and then he moved the body, and placed it in the boot of Quinn’s car.”
I said “Ogleby copied the cinema ticket into his notebook”. I should have said, of course, “diary”, but I expect you knew what I meant. Anyway, sorry about that small error.
Thanks for the reply Kathleen. As you say, I hope to “see” you tomorrow night, for the next Endeavour episode, “Rocket”, that Chris will be kindly showcasing on Twitch. Goodbye for now.
Hello Adrian. You are very much entitled to your own opinion about this episode. I would just like to say, thank you for taking the time to read my comments, and for replying, so quickly today. In these worrying times, it is a privilege to have a civilised debate about certain episodes, in the great series that was, Inspector Morse.
Nevertheless, I have to pull you up on two statements, that you made above, Adrian, and that relates to the lip-reading, and the role of Roope, during the first murder. In fact, Roope was Martin’s accomplice, with regards to the Quinn murder, which I will explain, a little more fully, later. In terms of the lip-reading, here is a passage from Colin Dexter’s novel, on pages 284-285, where Morse explains to Lewis, why Quinn made his accidental mistake:
“I told you the key to this case lay in the fact that Quinn was deaf. And so it was. But I kept on thinking what a marvel he must have become at lip-reading, and I overlooked the most obvious thing of all: that even the best lip-reader in the world is sometimes going to make a few mistakes; and Quinn did just that. He saw Roope talking to the sheik, and he read a name wrongly on his lips. I learned from the lip-reading class that the commonest difficulty for the deaf is between the consonants “p”, “b”, and “m”, and if you mouth the words “Bartlett” and “Martin”, there’s very little difference on the lips. The “B” and the “M” are absolutely identical, and the second part of each of the names gets swallowed up in the mouth somewhere. But that’s not all. It was Doctor Bartlett, and Donald Martin. Just try them again. Very little difference to see; and if you put the two names together, there’s every excuse for a deaf person mixing them up. You see, Roope would never have called the Secretary “Tom”, would he? He’d never been on Christian name terms with him, and he never would be. He’d have called him “Bartlett or “Doctor Bartlett”. And the Sheik would almost certainly have given him his full title. But Martin – well, he was one of them; one of the boys. He was Donald Martin.”
This little extract convinces me that, Quinn could easily have mixed up the names Doctor Bartlett for Donald Martin. Notwithstanding, the author, Dexter, had personal experience of being partially deaf, so I am quite certain, his understanding of the problems of lip-reading, is highly proficient, and undoubtedly better than my own. I will leave the last word on the lip-reading issue to David Bishop, and this comes from his excellent book, I used in my previous comment yesterday, “The Complete Inspector Morse”, and here it is:
“Dexter obviously took to heart the old adage that writers should write about what they know. For just like Nicholas Quinn himself, the novelist is partially deaf and once worked at an examinations board – in Dexter’s case, the Oxford local board. This gives the novel invaluable authenticity”.
In relation to your comment, Adrian, that “Roope is not part of any plot, Morse just falsely accuses him, Martin did the (wrong) shopping as well as the transport of Quinn’s body”, this is not true, Roope was a key accomplice for Martin, in the Quinn murder.
It is correct to say, that Martin killed Quinn, and put his body in Quinn’s car, during the fire drill, while everyone else was out of the building. Martin and Monica Height, who were having an affair, went to the cinema, later that afternoon. Martin and Monica then left the cinema early, before the general exodus, it would lessen the risk of being seen together, after all Martin was married. They went their separate ways home, except Martin probably called in on the syndicate briefly, and left his own cinema ticket in Bartlett’s room, for Roope to pick up. Martin must have written a very brief note – “Stick it in the pocket”, and put it with the ticket, and Quinn’s car keys. Martin must have then gone home, and made sure somebody saw him during the vital period that happened next, when Roope was performing his part in the crime. Some of these insights I found, through reading the novel, and perhaps the episode does not fully explain, everything satisfactorily.
The next stage of the crime, featured Roope, arriving in Oxford, later that afternoon by train, supposedly with the intention of leaving something for Bartlett, in his office. In reality, once he had escaped from a conversation with the caretaker, Noakes, he pretended to be Quinn, and drove the dead man’s car home. Naturally, as we know, Noakes through the window, thought he saw Quinn driving home. Roope, then left Quinn’s body in Quinn’s house, and bought groceries to push back the time of Quinn’s passing. The cinema ticket was of course, another ruse, to fool the police, regarding the time and place of Quinn’s death.
My final point will be to answer, why did Roope take a part in Quinn’s death? We must remember that in the novel, Roope is a member of the commitee which decides, on the appointments to the syndicate. Anyway, Roope was also the person who colluded with Bland to sell syndicate examination secrets. Clearly, Bland needed someone in Oxford, where they wrote the questions, to be in, on this examination cheating, and Roope must have been bribed by the wealthy Sheiks, to be the British link of corruption. However, Roope was not a permanent member of the syndicate, and he needed someone at that workplace to go along with him, in this crime. This obviously was Donald Martin, who must have also foolishly succumbed, to bribery by the Arabs.
Hopefully, the plot of this episode is a little clearer, Adrian. I must admit it is a rather labyrinthine plot, full of twists and turns. Nonetheless, I previously found the novel and episode enjoyable. However, at the end of the day, if you don’t like this episode, Adrian, I can perhaps see why, it is quite convoluted.
I should have also said, another reason Roope took up his part in the crime, as Martin’s accomplice, was because according to the novel, he looked a little like Quinn. They both had beards, and both came from Yorkshire. Hence, when Roope drove Quinn’s car home with Quinn’s body in the boot, the caretaker, Noakes, thought he saw Quinn drive out of the syndicate car park.
I promise, this is my final comment, regarding the discussion above with Adrian. I just forgot to mention, to further his disguise as Quinn, Roope wore Quinn’s jacket, when he drove Quinn’s car back to Quinn’s house, where he left the body, which had been in the boot. This clearly further convinced Noakes, to think he had seen Quinn from a distance, through the syndicate window. In addition, of course, Roope placed the cinema ticket in the pocket of Quinn’s jacket, that he was wearing while doing his wicked part, in this elaborate murder plot.
Thank you, James
This clears a lot of my confusion: “Some of these insights I found, through reading the novel, and perhaps the episode does not fully explain, everything satisfactorily.”
Not having access to the book, I had to use the episode and the episode made things very unclear, hence my reaction. I could swear that Quinn’s keys and anorak were still there when Ogleby came out of the closet (pun unintended). I might be wrong, this is why I thought Roope had nothing to do with it. I’ll see if I can see the episode again. Either way, thank you for all your work.
That’s not a problem Adrian, thanks for your reply. In fact, you got me thinking, whether I understood every apect of the plot. It is a rather intricate storyline, and if you forget, or miss certain details, in the novel or episode, you can easily come to the wrong conclusion.
I think a lot depends on the director, if certain parts are glossed over or just missed, the whole story goes awry. I like watching Morse/Lewis but I much prefer Midsomer Murders, I think they get better directors.
Hi Adrian. I have managed to quickly watch the start of this episode. Quinn left his jacket in his own office, after being lured to Martin’s room, where of course, he was killed by Martin, with the poisoned sherry. Martin later, left Quinn’s house and car keys, as well as the cinema ticket, in Bartlett’s office, for Roope to pick up. We then see, Ogleby sneaking about Bartlett’s office, noticing the keys and cinema ticket, and he drew the ticket into his diary.
Roope enters the syndicate building and talks to the caretaker, Noakes, asking if anyone was in. Noakes replies that Quinn must be the only one around, his car is in the car park, and they go to Quinn’s office, where they discover his anorak on the back of the chair, but there is no sign of Quinn. Roope then heads over to Bartlett’s office. Hearing voices in the corridor, which led to Roope bursting into Bartlett’s room, Ogleby hides in the closet, as you put it Adrian. Roope leaves something for Bartlett, but he also picks up the two keys and the cinema ticket. Once Roope exits the office, Ogleby emerges from his hiding place, and curiously discovers that the keys and cinema ticket are no longer on the desk.
Roope then appears to ostensibly leave the building, not wearing an anorak, with Noakes alongside him. However, a few moments later, we see someone getting into Quinn’s car, with an anorak on. Roope must have doubled back into the syndicate building, making sure Noakes did not see him, to fetch Quinn’s anorak. Noakes sees someone at a distance, from the window, wearing Quinn’s anorak, getting into Quinn’s car. He therefore, automatically assumed he had seen Quinn, walking to his car, and driving away.
Hopefully eveything is a lot clearer now, regarding the plot of this episode, Adrian. Maybe, you will even be able to possibly enjoy it, although as I previously said, you are very much entiled to your own opinion.
I’ve just realised, I missed the letter “t”, out of the correct spelling which is “entitled”, as I accidentally wrote “entiled”, above, sorry about that.
Hopefully, this will be my last comment on the discussion above with Adrian. When I mentioned, Roope must have doubled back to fetch Quinn’s coat, I should have then said, he went to “Quinn’s office”, to get the anorak, while avoiding being noticed by Noakes. Possibly, this is a statement of the obvious, so sorry about that, and sorry for being a little long-winded, with all my comments.
Something is still not right: “Roope bursting into Bartlett’s room, Ogleby hides in the closet, as you put it Adrian. Roope leaves something for Bartlett, but he also picks up the two keys and the cinema ticket. Once Roope exits the office, Ogleby emerges from his hiding place, and curiously discovers that the keys and cinema ticket are no longer on the desk. ”
Why would Quinn’s car keys and anorak be in Bartlett’s office? It doesn’t make any sense.
How would Roope know that the movie ticket he swipes is good for the “plant”?
Thanks for the reply Adrian. You are certainly asking some good, inquisitive, detective-like questions, as we forensically examine the plot line of this episode.
To answer those questions, Martin left Quinn’s house and car keys, as well as the cinema ticket in Bartlett’s office, because he clearly knew Roope’s schedule that day. He must have known Roope’s official business, was to drop some paperwork off in Barlett’s office, after getting off the train, later that afternoon. The episode does show Roope, leaving the said paperwork for Bartlett. However, at the same time, he picks up the two keys and the cinema ticket, left by Martin on Bartlett’s desk. Martin also knew Bartlett had a meeting with heateachers in Banbury, so he would not be at the syndicate building.
Two questions arise, from what I have just mentioned. Why not leave the keys and cinema ticket, in Quinn’s room, where the anorak was? Secondly, your question Adrian comes to mind, how would Roope know that the movie ticket he picks up, is useful enough, to “plant” in the coat?
Martin was trying to make it look like Quinn was still alive, particularly with the coat on Quinn’s chair, in Quinn’s office. Nonetheless, given the impression they hoped to falsely convey about Quinn, that he was alive, it would be very unlikely, a living and breathing person, would leave their house and car keys, blatantly on the desk. Martin thus, decided to place the keys and cinema ticket in Bartlett’s office on the desk, with a little note, explaining to Roope what to do with the ticket. As after all, Roope was officially, going to visit Bartlett’s room, later that day, and Bartlett was definitely out, which I previously mentioned.
These two questions I just asked, can perhaps be answered in a better way, through the following passage in the novel, on pages 290, 291 and 292, where Morse is explaining the case to Lewis:
Morse – “I don’t think Studio 2 figured in the original plan at all – though I may be wrong, of course. The original idea must have been to try to persuade any caller at Quinn’s office that he was there or thereabouts during the Friday afternoon. It was all a bit clumsy, but just about passable – the note to his typist, the anorak, the open filing cabinet, and so on. Now, I’d guess that Martin’s nerves must have been pretty near breaking-point after he’d killed Quinn, and he must have breathed a huge sigh of relief when he managed to persuade Monica to spend the afternoon with him: the fewer people in the office that afternoon the better, and being with Monica gave him a reasonable alibi if things didn’t go to plan. As I say, I don’t think that there was the remotest intention of planting the torn half of a cinema ticket on Quinn’s body. But remember what happened. Martin and Monica decided to lie about going to the cinema; and Martin himself gradually began to take stock of the situation. He must have realised that the elaborate attempt to convince everyone that Quinn was alive and well at the Syndicate was pretty futile. No one’s there to be convinced. Bartlett’s not there – he knows that; he himself and Monica are not there, either; Quinn is dead; and Ogleby is out lunching with the Oxford University Press people, and may not go back to the office at all. So. He gets his brainwave: he’ll get Roope to put the cinema ticket in one of Quinn’s pockets.”
Lewis – “But when – ?”
Morse – “Just a minute. After leaving the cinema – by the way, Martin lied to me there, and I ought to have noticed it earlier. He tried to stretch his alibi by saying he left at a quarter to four; but as we know from Monica they both left just before the film was due to end – at about a quarter past three. Obviously they’d want to get out before the general exodus – less risk of being seen. Anyway, after leaving the cinema, they went their separate ways: Monica went home; and so did Martin, except that on his way he called in at the Syndicate, at about 3.20, found no one about – not even Ogleby – and left his own cinema ticket in Bartlett’s room for Roope to pick up.”
Lewis – “But Roope wouldn’t have known – ?”
Morse – “Give me a chance, Lewis. Martin must have written a very brief note – “Stick this in the pocket”, or something like that – and put it with the ticket and keys. Then, about ten minutes later, Ogleby got back, found everyone else out, and decided that this was as good an opportunity as he’d get of poking around in Bartlett’s room; and he was so puzzled by what he found there that he copied out the cinema ticket into his diary.”
Lewis – “And then Martin went home, I suppose.”
Morse – “And made sure, I should think, that somebody saw him, especially during the vital period between 4.30 and five o’clock, when he knew Roope was performing his part in the crime”
Hopefully, I have answered your questions Adrian, and everything is a bit clearer, as the murder plot is quite elaborate. I must confess, I do not claim to be an oracle over all things related to this episode. However, with Chris having currently suffered a major bereavement, with the loss of his mother, I have tried my best to explain the intricate details of this Morse story.
What I was trying to say in my final sentence above was, with Chris’s understandable absence from his own website at the moment, I am sorry if I haven’t been able to answer your questions Adrian, as well as perhaps, Chris would be able to. Hopefully however, you are happy with my attempt, at answering them, and thank you Adrian, for reading my comments.
“Martin thus, decided to place the keys and cinema ticket in Bartlett’s office on the desk, with a little note, explaining to Roope what to do with the ticket. As after all, Roope was officially, going to visit Bartlett’s room, later that day, and Bartlett was definitely out, which I previously mentioned.”
But this is even worse, since Ogleby got to Bartlett’s room earlier, he saw the keys, the ticket and the anorak, he would have ALSO have seen the note from Martin to Roope. Now, not only is the TV episode bad, it is the novel as well. I truly appreciate your help and the amount of effort.
That is not a problem Adrian, I am more than happy to help. It would be good to find out what Chris thinks, when he is able to, of your analysis and those potential flaws in the plot.
Using Bartlett’s office turned out just as bad, but of course they didn’t know that Ogleby, would be sneaking about in that room. Should Martin have left the note, keys and cinema ticket in Quinn’s room? Possibly, but as Quinn was “supposedly” in his office, with his car in the car park, they were worried, somebody would go to Quinn’s room, and obviously, find the note, keys and cinema ticket. Therefore, they chose Bartlett, who was out on official business at a headteachers’ meeting, and Roope was heading to Bartlett’s room anyway. However, perhaps foolishly, they hadn’t put into the bargain, that somebody else would visit Bartlett’s office, namely Ogleby.
At the end of the day, sometimes, murderers and accomplices make silly mistakes, which is why they get found out by the police. In certain cases, criminals try to cover their tracks, through deception, and creating false alibis, but if anything they make things worse for themselves. The crimes they thus committed, are even easier to solve, than they would have been, if they hadn’t attempted all sorts of devious tricks, to cover up the initial main crime or murder.
That is all for now, and thanks for your reply, Adrian.
I keep wondering, whether I have explained the plot clearly. Basically, after killing Quinn, Martin tried to convey the impression that Quinn was still alive. He tried to achieve this, through leaving Quinn’s anorak on the chair in Quinn’s office, through leaving a filing cabinet open, and possibly, through leaving Quinn’s office door, slightly ajar. There was also, the small matter of Quinn’s car left in the car park. The idea, Martin was attempting to convey, was that Quinn had just popped off, perhaps, for a bite to eat, and he was within walking distance, not that far away.
Therefore to leave the note, keys and cinema ticket in Quinn’s room, was ruled out, because someone could think Quinn was there, knock, and hear no answer, but still explore inside the office, and discover the incriminating evidence. Thus Martin, decided to place the note, keys and cinema ticket in Bartlett’s office, as Bartlett was out on official business. Martin, still in a bit of a blind panic, since committing the murder, obviously didn’t think anybody would thus go into Bartlett’s room, and Roope, would soon be visiting Bartlett’s office, anyway.
Little did they know, somebody else, belonging to the syndicate, namely Ogleby, would sneak about Bartlett’s office. As he was already carrying out his own investigation, before the police inquiry had even started. Morse actually says to Lewis, the whole murder plot was a bit clumsy, and consequently, Martin and Roope were eventually found out to be in league together, as the murderer and accomplice.
I apologize going on about this subject for far too long, you must be getting fed up with me Adrian. Perhaps, this is the effect of the lockdown on me! When I said, Martin left the note, keys and movie ticket in Bartlett’s office, he did not though, move Quinn’s anorak, that stayed in Quinn’s room. Martin also placed Quinn’s body in the boot of Quinn’s car. Later on, of course, Roope picked up all the items in Bartlett’s office. Roope was then shown, leaving the syndicate building, without Quinn’s coat, while talking, or saying goodbye to Noakes. However, he must have then doubled back, without being seen by Noakes, to fetch Quinn’s anorak from Quinn’s room. Thus, the second time Roope exited the building, now wearing Quinn’s coat, Noakes thinks he sees Quinn, at a distance, from the window, getting in Quinn’s car, and driving off. I would say therefore, that was a clever piece of deception by Roope. Sorry if I have repeated myself, and this should be at last, my final comment.
“I said, Martin left the note, keys and movie ticket in Bartlett’s office, he did not though, move Quinn’s anorak, that stayed in Quinn’s room. Martin also placed Quinn’s body in the boot of Quinn’s car. Later on, of course, Roope picked up all the items in Bartlett’s office. Roope was then shown, leaving the syndicate building, without Quinn’s coat, while talking, or saying goodbye to Noakes. However, he must have then doubled back, without being seen by Noakes, to fetch Quinn’s anorak from Quinn’s room. Thus, the second time Roope exited the building, now wearing Quinn’s coat, Noakes thinks he sees Quinn, at a distance, from the window, getting in Quinn’s car, and driving off. I would say therefore, that was a clever piece of deception by Roope. ”
Yes, this makes sense, thank you, James, for your patience. It is a convoluted and not very credible solution but it is free of the contradictions that were bothering me. We are done with this episode, I truly hope to “meet” you again on the next one. I am a mathematician , you see, and logic is part of my job. Me and my wife love Morse, Lewis, Endeavor and watch them religiously, 3 times a week. The lockdown has some benefits 🙂
It’s still unsatisfactory in some ways. I’ve just watched this episode for the second time as Morse is replaying on itv3 in UK at the moment.
E.g. If Quinn only told 2 people of his ideas, how would Martin know of his suspicions?
If Quinn knew there was a firedrill every week at the same time he might well have attended without hearing a bell. Also he had some hearing ability and those alarms are very loud.
Why not put the cinema ticket in his anorak pocket?
Ending. Surely Morse knew cinema films change every week, usually on a Thursday.
The lip reading error is valid. I’ve done 10 years of study and p b m similarity is one of the first things you learn. A friend of mine had an interesting ” conversation ” with her hairdresser once as she got confused between bleach and peach being used on her hair. It’s not an exact science!
So the whole story could have been written more clearly in my opinion.
Thanks for your contribution Anne. As far as I’m aware, but please correct me if I’m wrong, I thought Roope placed the cinema ticket in Quinn’s anorak. Martin of course, had left a quick note to Roope in Bartlett’s office, explaining what he needed to do, alongside Quinn’s car keys and the cinema ticket. These were picked up later by Roope, in his role as the accomplice.
Roope was then shown, leaving the syndicate building, without Quinn’s anorak, while talking or saying goodbye to the caretaker, Noakes. However, he must have then doubled back, without being seen by Noakes, to fetch Quinn’s anorak from Quinn’s room. He places the cinema ticket in Quinn’s coat, which he then wears. The second time Roope exits the building, now wearing Quinn’s anorak, Noakes thinks he sees Quinn at a distance from the window, getting in Quinn’s car and driving off. Needless to say, the body of Quinn is in the boot of Quinn’s car, where it had been placed earlier by Martin, after his killing of Quinn, making Martin late for the fire drill.
I should have also mentioned Quinn’s house key would have also been left on Bartlett’s desk by Martin, for Roope to pick up.
Hi Adrian. It’s always a pleasure to talk to a fellow enthusiast of the Morse universe, as Chris calls it. Thank you for replying so promptly, to my attempts at answering your questions. Sorry, I couldn’t explain things in a clear manner, sooner than I did, but we finally got there in the end. As you say, I look forward to discussing more of Morse, Lewis and Endeavour with you, sometime in the future. Hope you stay safe and well.
While I am in the corona capital of the world, SWFL, I have been reading reviews and comments from the Morse episodes which I missed because I discovered Morse and Chris’ wonderful website late in the game. I now have all the Morse discs and watched them several times. But I must admit even though I watched this episode 3 times it is still very confusing to me. Until you explained things, James and Adrian,I didn’t realize the full parts played Martin and Roope. In the end it is still, to me, a very, and too, intricate and puzzling episode. But I still like ALL the Morse episodes for one reason or another.
Actually I was the one only asking the questions, James did all the explaining. This is one of the most complicated episodes, the logic is hanging on a thread but in the end we arrived to a satisfactory explanation (see James’ final post). In the times of the pandemic, these are good mental exercises that keep our minds sharp.
Yes, and I have more Morse posts to read and to fully digest James’ explanations.
I don’t think it was a coat closet that Ogilby hid in, but a restroom/wc/toilet, because I think he mentioned when he was talking to Morse at his house that he was hoping the guy who came in to the office wouldn’t need to use the toilet.
When Ogilby said that he had researched Morse, and had not gotten his info from the woman who worked at the syndicate but from other sources, that was a time period of course when there was no internet, and little public information available on most people — it was a major feat sometimes to find the phone number or an address, even if you knew quite a lot about a person. So he really had to spend some time and effort to get the background on Morse (obviously must have asked people he knew in Oxford or in the police force who were “in the know”), like he (I think it was he?) called the cinema to ask about their ticket numbers after he sketched the ticket he found on the desk.
There were several references to how the cocky young lecturer Roope was doing suspiciously well quite early in his career — a fancy set of rooms in the college, publishing a science book with a London publisher, schmoozing at the syndicate party with the sheikh. When Morse went to see him at his office/residence in the college, he said something like, “Yes, I am he; everyone expects me to be older.” It was also mentioned at one point that he was the one who had recommended the deaf Nicholas Quinn for the job — seemingly to put someone in the position who might be a little easy to confuse or take advantage of or frame, so they could leak the exam answers and not be caught. Someone commented that Quinn’s hearing was deteriorating and that he’d be completely deaf in five years.
When Roope was being questioned at the police station and introduced his alibi that he had run into the head of the college when they were both getting off the train in Oxford and therefore couldn’t have been in Oxford that afternoon, I thought for a moment that it was the episode that I had seen a long time ago where the villain had boarded the London to Oxford train at a station near Oxford in order to make it look like he’d been on the train the whole way from London, instead of for just 15 minutes – maybe that was part of a plot of a later Morse episode or a Lewis episode.
All the butter comments were confusing to me, especially the one by Morse when Morse and Lewis were talking in front of the billboard/poster for Last Tango in Paris, because it seemed to be a topic that came out of left field (bringing up that his doctor had said he should eat less saturated fats), so I’m glad to have read on this site and on the IMDB site the explanation of how a “novel” use of butter had featured in the film and it was sort of a nudge-nudge-wink-wink reference to that in this Morse episode. (I actually winced when I learned why they were joking about the butter in the Morse episode because, in recent years, one of the actresses the butter was used with in the film claimed that basically the footage that made it into that movie was a traumatic forced experience that she had not previously consented to.)
It was also interesting to me tonight to read some of the comments on the YouTube web page for some of the episodes in Series 1 by younger people about how sexist it all was and how inappropriate Morse acted – yes, definitely – but I was a young adult woman in the mid to late 1980s and it is not as jarring to me to watch these programmes as it seems to be to some younger people these days. I was indeed shocked that he just started kissing the odd Ruth chick in episode 3 while he was actively investigating murders in her church because it wasn’t the time or place or professional situation for that behavior to be normal in, whether in the 1980s or the 1940s. However, I’ve worked in a number of countries in a number of organizations, and this general type of stuff goes on everywhere all the time, and always has. I’ve always felt some sympathy for Morse, probably because we have certain things in common about our backgrounds and personalities (not drinking, opera, or crosswords in my case, though), and it’s hard to meet people when you are single and older than 28, especially if you work in a place where you are unlike the others, and are sort of between worlds, not completely fitting in anywhere.
If Morse’s life had taken a slightly different turn, he could have ended up more like Ogilby, in a grander job with a grander house and a cook etc., but still single, with his professional subject, crossword puzzles, alcohol and curiosity to occupy his days.
You make a good observation about the reason Roope hired Quinn. I hadn’t thought it was so that he would not be as astute as to what was going on. I naively thought it was as he said, that he was in favor of “reverse discrimination.” I don’t think of Morse as being sexist towards women -and I’ll probably get blasted for this- but I think he elevates them, not disparages them. He once said he sees them as a “guarantor of civilization” and I like to think of it that way.
Thank you for this summary. Do you know what real location was used for the Foreign Examinations Board?
I find this one baffling, and full of plot holes. A bit of a mess. Plus, John Thaw is clearly still feeling his way around the Morse character. He’s still a little bit too upbeat for my liking. And those polo shirts. No thanks
The poster for the movie “After Hours” turns up again (framed) in “The Wolvercote Tongue”. It’s hanging on the wall in Sheila Williams’ flat.
This episode is very strong, helped that it is very close to the novel, and it was based on something that Colin could write from personal experience. I think the screen adaption does make some of the plot not clear, but the key points remain.
Definitely in my top 5.