The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn

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The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn
Cover of the first edition
Author Colin Dexter
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Inspector Morse series, #3
Genre crime novel
Publisher Macmillan
Publication date
5 May 1977
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 254p.
ISBN 0-333-21626-1
OCLC 6080737
Preceded by Last Seen Wearing
Followed by Service of All the Dead

The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn is a crime novel by Colin Dexter, the third novel in Inspector Morse series.


The Oxford Foreign Examinations Syndicate runs school exams in the Persian Gulf and other places with a British connection. The Secretary Dr Bartlett and Mr Roope, a chemistry don and a member of the committee, disagree about the appointment of a new member of staff. Roope gets his way and Nicholas Quinn, a deaf man who lipreads, gets the job.

When Quinn is found murdered in his maisonette, all the staff are under suspicion. There is Bartlett, his deputy Ogleby and the attractive Monica Height, who has liaisons with some of the others - especially young Donald Martin. Strangely, nearly all of them, including Quinn, appear to have tickets for The Nymphomaniac at Studio 2 in Walton Street on the afternoon of the murder. When later Ogleby is himself found murdered, a neat drawing of Quinn’s ticket is found in his diary.

Morse tries to deduce which of the others is the murderer but keeps getting it wrong. An intrigue involving wealthy Arabs and prior knowledge of exam papers is clearly the cause, and Quinn had found out about it and paid for it with his life.

Publication history[edit]

Television adaptation[edit]

The novel was adapted as the second episode of the Inspector Morse TV series in 1987. The adaptation remained faithful to the source material, the only noticeable changes being the omission of much of the material prior to Quinn's murder (the television version begins with him already employed by the syndicate), a subplot concerning Bartlett having a schizophrenic son, and the film the characters viewed being changed to Last Tango in Paris.

Radio play[edit]

In 1996, a BBC Radio 4 adaptation was released that was dramatised by Guy Meredith and directed by Ned Chaillet.[1]


Character Television adaptation Radio play
Insp. Endeavour Morse John Thaw John Shrapnel
Sgt. Robert Lewis Kevin Whately Robert Glenister
Monica Height Barbara Flynn Meg Davies
Philip Ogleby Michael Gough David Timson
Dr. Bartlett Clive Swift Richard Pasco
Dr. Roope Anthony Smee John Hartley
Chief Supt. Strange
Donald Martin Roger Lloyd-Pack Stephen Critchlow
Sgt. Dixon Lyndam Gregory
Nicholas Quinn Phil Nice Roger May

Sources, references, external links[edit]

  • Bishop, David, The Complete Inspector Morse: From the Original Novels to the TV Series London: Reynolds & Hearn (2006) ISBN 1-905287-13-5
  • Bird, Christopher, The World of Inspector Morse: A Complete A-Z Reference for the Morse Enthusiast Foreword by Colin Dexter, London: Boxtree (1998) ISBN 0-7522-2117-5
  1. ^ BBC - Inspector Morse - The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn