EVANS TRIES AN OLEVEL About the Author Colin
EVANS TRIES AN O-LEVEL About the Author : Colin Dexter (Sept 29, 1930, Lincolnshire, England): Was a teacher but retired due to deafness and took up the post of Senior Asst. Secretary in local Examinations under University of Oxford. Renowned as a crime writer, novelist Theme : Between crime and punishment, it is mainly a battle of wits Sub-Theme : Hasty conjectures can prevent one from seeing the obvious
CHARACTER PORTRAYAL 1. Evans (James Roderick Evans) - Evans the break, a tough nut to crack, a congenital kleptomaniac 2. Governor - Oxford Prison, clever, witty, strict but gullible, good for a giggle 3. Secretary – Examination Board 4. Mr. Jackson – Boastful 5. Mr. Stephens – Jealous of Jackson, careless 6. S. Mc Leery – Invigilator (Evans’ friend) 7. Mr. Carter – Detective Superintendent 8. Mr. Bell – Chief Inspector, Aldates Police Station 9. Evans’ Friends & Hotel Staff
SEQUENCE OXFORD PRISON (max. security/highly reputed) O-LEVEL EXAM & CONSENT FROM THE BOARD BRIEF ACCOUNT OF EVANS, GOVERNOR & OTHERS PREPARATION FOR THE EXAM ENTRY OF MC LEERY
GOVERNOR’S CONCERN COMMENCEMENT OF THE EXAM - Instructions by Mc Leery - Observation by Mc Leery - Telephone Calls ESCAPE OF MC LEERY (presumed Evans by prison staff) & THE ESCAPE CHAOS IN THE PRISON ARRIVAL OF CARTER
THE CHASE & DECODING THE CODE MSG ESCAPE OF EVANS (in guise of Mc Leery) REVELATION OF THE TRUTH CAPTURE OF EVANS EXCHANGE OF WITS BETWEEN GOVERNOR & EVANS’ LAST LAUGH & EXPOSURE OF GOVERNOR’S NEGLIGENCE
TURN OF EVENTS 1. 9: 15 – 9: 18 2. 9: 20 – 9: 25 3. 9: 404. 10: 45 5. 10: 50 6. 7. 10. 51 checking of Mc Leery instructions/exam begins call form exam board Stephens busy peeping phone call blanket provided to Evans Stephens’ suspicion
8. 11. 20 phone call & Mc Leery reminds Evans that only 5 mins left 9. 11: 22 Governor’s instructs Stephens to escort Mc Leery to the main gate (fake) 10. 11: 25 exam gets over
SUMMARY: Author Collin Dexter, in his delightful crime fiction, Evans Tries An O-Level has showcased his craftsmanship, style and intellectual ingenuity. Evans the break, as the prison officers call him decided to appear for the O-Level examination in German. More than adequate precautions were taken for the conduct of the exam as he had escaped from the prison three times before. The Governor sought permission from the Secretary of Examination Board and it was decided that Evans would take his examination inside the prison cell with one of the parsons of St. Mary Mags as the invigilator.
Prior to the exam, Evans had two visitors (at 8. 30 in the morn) – Mr. Jackson and Mr. Stephens, the police officers of the prison. They found Evans unshaven and wearing a hat on his head which he wanted to keep on as it was a lucky charm for him. Out of sympathy Jackson allowed him to keep on the hat, but removed his razor and scissors. Then Mc Leery, the parson, arrived with all the necessary papers for the exam. The Governor didn’t want to take any risk and therefore, ordered that the invigilator should be checked. While checking, Mc Leery was found carrying the examination papers, The Holy Writ, The Church Times, a semi inflated rubber ring and a paper knife in his suitcase. Mr. Jackson kept the paper knife and also enquired about the rubber ring. The invigilator replied that he was a patient of haemorrhoids and carried the rubber ring for a comfortable sitting during the examination.
Finally, Mc Leery was allowed to enter the prison cell and instructed Evans to write the index no-313 and the centre no 271 correctly in his answer script. On the side, the Governor made the necessary arrangement to take note every bit of conversation between the invigilator and Evans, and had instructed Stephens to keep a close eye on the proceedings through a peep hole. At 9. 40, the Assistant Secretary from the Examination Board informed the prison staff that someone from the Board had just forgotten to put a correction slip in the bag. He also enquired if the exam had already started. Fortunately, the invigilator was well conversant in German and asked Evans to make the necessary correction in the paper. After sometime the prison staff received another phone call which was from the Magistrate’s Court and they were requested to
prison van and a couple of prison officers for a remand case. At 10. 51 am Stephens found a blanket wrapped around Evans, but took it casually owing to the cold weather in the cell. At the end of the exam, Stephens, as per the instruction of the Governor escorted Mc Leery out and checked Evans but was shocked to see that Mc Leery was still in Evans’s cell bleeding from the head. Within no time Oxford prison turned into a place of chaos and confusion. It was assumed that Evans impersonating Mc Leery had escaped from the prison. The Governor was furious that despite repeated instructions to Jackson, Evans managed to conceal a false beard, a pair of spectacles and also a weapon. He also learned from injured Mc Leery that someone form the examination Board was involved in the game as the latter revealed how a photocopied sheet was superimposed on the last page of the question paper, which contained the necessary clue for Evans’ escape. (ref. p-83, 2 nd para).
It was therefore, assumed that Evans might move towards Elsefield Way where the Board was located. In the meantime, Mr. Carter, Detective Superintendent arrived and without wasting any time headed towards Elsefield Way along with Mc Leery to trace Evans. It was unfortunate that Evans had forgotten to take away the paper with him and the clever Governor was successful in decoding the message (ref. p 84, last para). He then ordered Jackson to move towards St. Aldates Police Station and meet Chief Inspector Bell. Meanwhile, Mr. Carter called the Governor to inform him that Mc Leery had spotted Evans driving off along Elsefield Way, but lost him. They doubted that he might turn back to the city to befool the police. Mr. Carter also informed the Governor that Mc Leery was admitted in the Radcliff Hospital as he dropped him in the Examination Board from where the Examination Offices had called for the ambulance. The Governor rang the
Reddcliff which led to the shocking revelation - the truth dawned that it was Evans who impersonating Mc Leery had not walked out, but stayed in the prison (ref. p-86, 1 st para). As a man of pride and dignity, the Governor would leave no stone unturned to restore his image, and by noon Evans was dumbstruck to see the Governor in Golden Lion, a hotel in Newbury where he was hiding himself. However, he took no time to recover form the shock and started exchanging wits with the Governor who seemed quite complacent for his smartness in nabbing the culprit. However, his complacency didn’t last long as Evans, with the help of some of his trusted friends succeeded in hoodwinking the Governor, proving that the latter was really gullible and good for a giggle.