Read The Riddle of the Third Mile by Colin Dexter Online


Inspector Morse isn't sure what to make of the truncated body found dumped in the Oxford Canal. He suspects it may be all that's left of an elderly Oxford don last seen boarding a London train days before....

Title : The Riddle of the Third Mile
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780330283922
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 276 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Riddle of the Third Mile Reviews

  • James Thane
    2019-05-03 12:56

    The sixth book in the Inspector Morse series is, indeed, a riddle. The author, Colin Dexter, also had a passion for crossword puzzles, and he's created here an intricate puzzle that ultimately borders on the convoluted. The case involves an Oxford don named Browne-Smith, a bachelor, who goes mysteriously missing after being lured to London by the promise of exotic sex. Shortly thereafter, a body is pulled from a river. The corpse is wearing a suit that belonged to Browne-Smith, but it's missing its head, arms and legs. Is it really Browne-Smith? The case falls to Inspector Morse of Oxford Homicide, assisted, as always, by his trusty sergeant, Lewis. Morse is a confirmed bachelor who loves the challenge of his job, along with his beer and attractive women. As the investigation proceeds, Morse discovers that bitter rivalries played out in the hallowed halls of Oxford academia, leading in turn, to some very complicated maneuverings. Soon, other bodies are falling and sorting it all out is going to be a very challenging task, even for someone as brilliant as Inspector Morse.This book was first published in 1983, and is an excellent example of the "puzzle" mysteries that were so popular in British crime fiction at that time. As a practical matter, there's no way that the reader can figure out who done it; you can only hang on and go along for the ride. It's always fun to watch Morse in action, but as is the case in a few of these books, the plot gets a little too complex for its own good and there are maybe one or two totally unanticipated and unnecessary twists at the end. But fans of the series are sure to enjoy it.

  • Jean
    2019-05-21 12:49

    The Riddle of the Third Mileis the sixth book in Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse series. It dates from 1983, and is not, I fear, one that will linger in the memory. It is chiefly interesting for the back story it reveals about Morse himself, who is now 52. Most of chapter seven is devoted to Morse reminiscing, and an explanation is given following up hints from previous novels. Yes, Morse had attended Oxford as a student. He was an exemplary student and gained a first in "Classical Moderations". At that time he had a bright future ahead of him; two further years to read "Greats" (History, Logic and Philosophy). However a whirlwind romance took up all his thoughts and time. The girl, a fellow student, had her own family problems. She felt she had to return to her parents' home and cut off the relationship fearing she was causing havoc with Morse's studies. Most poignantly, Morse had no money for a train fare to go to see her and sort out the mess. He failed his exams, was summarily ejected from the University, and had to pay back his Exhibition (an extra monetary award exclusive to Oxbridge). His father suggested that he might be able to find a niche in the police force, and the rest, as they say, is history. The yearning Morse still feels for his lost love also accounts for his difficulties in sustaining any romantic relationship. We also learn of another influence. An old tutor of Morse's, Professor Browne-Smith, (who is integral to the plot) had profoundly impressed the young student. Morse's obsession with accuracy in all matters to do with grammar, spelling and punctuation all date from then. These part of the novel make for interesting reading for anyone who has read a few of the novels, or watched a few of the TV adaptations.The novel is nicely balanced between Morse and Lewis, and has a pleasing construction. It is divided into three books or "miles"; a reference to a verse from the Bible, "And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain" (Matthew, V:41) It is also possible that the third mile could also be a reference to a particularly elaborate scheme used in the book to lure three of the college staff to London. In fact three is a significant number altogether. There are three books, three brothers fighting at El Alamein and three tutors at Lonsdale University. ("Lonsdale" is a fabrication, incidentally. The college depicted is imaginary, although in the TV series it is Brasenose College which was used.) Each chapter again is headed with a sentence, a stylistic device Dexter has used before. This time though it is not a satisfying literary quotation, but merely a sentence telling the reader what happens in the following chapter, much as earlier novelists such as Dickens would employ.The first chapter is a flashback to the Second World War and a tragic experience at El Alamein. The next four chapters are set in Soho, and the events described are unremittingly sleazy and sordid. Morse's appearance on the scene in chapter six is a welcome relief. Given that the character of Morse fits very well into this kind of setting, is frequently foul-mouthed, disreputable, and often viewing women solely as objects of desire, it is indeed surprising that he can be seen as a welcome contrast to the scenario so far.However, much of the novel from then on is rather humdrum. There is an interesting letter for Morse to decipher. (Both he and the author always seem to enjoy that!) The reader suspects throughout that there may be switches of character; we have been told at the start that there are brothers, and twins. Dexter has enjoyed deceiving the reader with substitutes and switching characters before on at least two occasions, so we are getting wise to this. Toward the end of the novel we suddenly get a flurry of inexplicable extra murders, and by the end we have 5 bodies in total. Dexter explains the circumstances through his mouthpiece, Morse. This character suggests his thoughts on what must have happened to Lewis, as nobody is still alive to corroborate the facts. Or as the chapter-heading says, "Morse almost completes his narrative of the main events - with a little help from his imaginative faculties." This part is fiendishly complicated. Yes, it fits together logically, but is barely credible in psychological terms. In fact one character even has to have a brain tumour to make the reader go along with it. It would have been much more satisfactory if at least some of the events had been hinted at a little earlier, rather than have such a Hamlet-style bloodbath at the end.A bit of an also-ran, all in all. But as one critic has said, "[Morse is] the most prickly, conceited, and genuinely brilliant detective since Hercule Poirot." (The New York Times Book Review) So maybe worth a read, just for this.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-05-16 17:03

    5 hours 40 mins Read by Michael Pennington Description: A dismembered body is fished out of the Oxford Canal--only the torso remains and Morse and Sergeant Lewis are up to the challenge. As if often the case, Oxford University is involved. A don has disappeared, leaving about a plethora of clues. It's the long and winding road down the halls of academe for the Thames Valley police and the trail bounces back and forth to London and some of its seedier spots. The scenario seems set with an opening scene out of World War II, when the Gilbert brothers (local boys from the Oxford area) face the horrors of the battle of El Alamein, the youngest of the three dieing. The company commander, a Lt. Browne-Smith just happens now to be a don in question at Oxford. What a hoot this was, Dexter was well on form, he seems to have had fun playing around with some snappy repartee. Long may it continue.Anyway, for quick reference, this is the one with matching tooth-aches and removal men.4* Last Bus to Woodstock (Inspector Morse, #1)3* Last Seen Wearing (Inspector Morse, #2)3* The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn (Inspector Morse, #3)3* Service of All the Dead (Inspector Morse, #4)3* The Dead of Jericho (Inspector Morse, #5)4* The Riddle of the Third Mile (Inspector Morse, #6) 3* The Wench Is Dead (Inspector Morse, #8)3* Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other Stories

  • Marfy
    2019-04-22 16:44

    This one is so complex, you might have to read it twice. My favorite quote can be found at the beginning of chapter 35: "During the few minutes that Lewis was away, Morse was acutely conscious of the truth of the proposition that the wider the circle of knowledge, the greater the circumference of ignorance." Turns out to be a most elegant adaptation of Albert Einstein's "As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it."

  • Leslie
    2019-05-19 19:45

    3 1/2 stars. I really enjoyed this 6th book in the Inspector Morse series, not just for the mystery but also because we get a bit more background on Morse and Sgt. Lewis has a much bigger role than in any of the previous books.

  • Ellen
    2019-05-14 12:10

    Morse a Master Detective, November 7, 2012 By Ellen Rappaport (Florida) This review is from: The Riddle of the Third Mile (Inspector Morse Mysteries) (Mass Market Paperback) "The Riddle of the Third Mile" is my 3rd Inspector Morse mystery and absolutely not my last. The creative genuis behind Morse is Colin Dexter, an author among authors.This mystery involves a family of 3 brothers. John Gilbert being the youngest and the twins, Albert & Alfred. The story or first mile begins with the death of the youngest brother during the El Alamein in North Africa, 1942. The surviving twins, Alfred & Albert, had held Lt. Browne-Smith responsible for John's death.Many years later and now in his sixties, Dr. Browne-Smith has been voted down by one vote for the Chairmanship of the University of Oxford. At the same time the same results were handed down to his nemesis, Westerby. Had each of them voted the other down? Had their defeat resulted in turning their repulsion of each other to shear hatred?In the hamlet of Thrupp near the Oxford Canal Inspector Morse is called to the scene of a murder. It appears a body has been discovered in the water. A body with the head, hands and legs hacked off. Thus making the identification of the victim almost impossible. Who this victim is or was may lead to the murderers identity.And so Inspector Morse and the ever faithful Lewis begin their journey into the darkest recesses of a murderers mind.I found this story spellbinding. It caught and kept my attention from the first. The many red herrings that were thrown my way never interfered with Morse's deductions. Morse is a Master among dectectives.Please don't bother purchasing another outdated dictionary that won't cover all the definitions you'll need to know to keep up with the author's vocabulary...just google them along the way.

  • Rob Smith
    2019-05-20 11:45

    I really like Dexter's writing style and the characters he creates. This selection of the adventures of Inspector Morse provides more background of Morse's origins and, for me , that's the best part of the book.The rest is a convoluted mess. Body parts, various people who are part of the college and not part of the college and are the body parts and aren't the body parts and I just wanted to part with the whole thing. Seems to me Dexter stretched hard to get this book to work. There were many other ways to get to solving the main mystery of who a body is. Yet, Morse and all go gallivanting off into all kinds of directions that really make little sense. A prelude to the main story is to help the reader follow some of the mechanization of the crime. But, it seems to me, that Dexter then went about trying to fit a story to the prelude. Along the way trying to make very confusing who did what and why. There should always be confusion to a reader and it's what I love with the previous novels I've read. In this case, I think Dexter was being a bit too cute in his switchbacks in the story. Keeping the reader guessing is imperative, but so is clarity in the end.In the end, I still didn't understand the motives of all the characters in their actions. It was tricky writing to wrap up so many loose ends. All too convenient. I just don't think the conclusions are plausible.Bottom line: I don't recommend this book.

  • Lobstergirl
    2019-04-26 19:00

    This tale of a dismembered body found in a canal, and its links to three brothers in the Battle of El Alamein of World War II, is too thinly plotted to be truly pleasurable. But Oxford-educated Morse and proletarian Lewis are perfection together, men made happy by simple things: booze, opera, crossword puzzles, and sexy ladies (Morse); stolid domesticity and those moments when he unexpectedly satisfies Morse in some way (Lewis). Each chapter is preceded by a charming epigraph:In which we have a tantalizing glimpse of high-class harlotry.The necrophobic Morse reluctantly surveys a corpse, and converses with a cynical and aging police-surgeon.In which Morse's mind drifts elsewhere as the police-surgeon enunciates some of the scientific principles concerning immersion in fluids.Wherein such diverse activities as dentistry, crossword-solving, and pike-angling make their appropriate contributions to Morse's view of things.Our two detectives have not yet quite finished with the implications of severe dismemberment.Morse meets a remarkable woman, and learns of another woman who might be more remarkable still.Like some latter-day Pilgrim, one of the protagonists in this macabre case is determined to rid himself of his burden.It is a characteristic of the British people that they complain about their railways. In this case, however, there appears little justification for such complaint.

  • Charlotte (Buried in Books)
    2019-04-27 17:47

    So very clever, but Morse did a lot of "making it up as he went along" when it came to explaining who did what and why.I have to say as well, that I realised whose body it was they had fished out of the canal a couple of chapters before Morse revealed it.An Oxford Don goes missing, just before he is due to retire. A man not particularly liked who goes to London one day and never comes back. Morse is asked by the Master of Lonsdale College to try and find out what happened to Dr Browne-Smith. No-one wants to tell the truth about anything, even about the fact that Browne-Smith was terminally ill. His trip to London includes a trip to a topless bar and then to a prostitute. But why has someone arranged this trip? What do they have against Browne-Smith?A few days later part of a body is recovered from a local canal, missing it's head, hands and legs. The mystery that runs through the book is - who died?It's rather complicated, with a couple of red herrings thrown in. Towards the end of the story the bodies really pile up, misunderstandings, mistaken identities. Nothing is as it seems and it all ends very, very suddenly.Very cleverly done though, very clever.

  • Susan Johnson
    2019-05-05 19:44

    This is my favorite Morse novel yet. My book club is reading them in order and I think they have been getting better and better. This one was a tricky one involving 4 different men and it was incredibly difficult to keep the men straight for me and Morse. I didn't see the ending coming which is good in a mystery book. I recommend it for Morse fans.

  • Jerry
    2019-04-23 15:05

    An otherwise excellent mystery, complete with a convoluted plot and great writing, with one big problem: obscene content. Though I wasn't expecting it to be squeaky-clean, it really went overboard on the profanity and sexual references. If such content bothers you, you should probably read something else.

  • Paul Secor
    2019-04-24 19:00

    I love Colin Dexter's writing and the character of Inspector Morse, but the plot of this novel was so convoluted that it seemed almost too complex for even Morse to sort out.Four stars, in spite of the plot, because it's Dexter and Morse.

  • Anna
    2019-05-21 18:12

    Still don't really like Morse (most of the time), but this was a really intriguing mystery, I enjoyed the way it was put together, even though I occasionally got lost about who was where.

  • Primadonna
    2019-04-29 13:44

    Roundabout kind of way. In a way, it's very old-fashioned, if you know what I mean. Bachelor detectives and oh-so-many clues here and there. I'm not that impressed with this book.

  • Will McGee
    2019-05-12 17:50

    My first book of Colin Dexter's about his legendary detective Inspector Morse was one I chose basically completely at random from like, 3 or 4 in a bookstore. Inspector Morse is asked to keep an eye on a missing college professor, and shortly thereafter a dismembered body turns up in a canal, and the body is wearing the professor's clothes. Of course, it's more complicated than it seems at first, and in fact, it turns out to be SUPREMELY complicated, which is my main gripe with it. I might have just not been paying the closest attention, or maybe I was reading too fast - when I read a plot summary afterwards on Wikipedia, it made a lot more sense, but at any rate. Over the course of this book, Dexter introduces a number of intertwining plot threads that fix mostly around four characters and the apparent scheme to lure one of them into a trap as revenge for a past grievance - where the confusion came in for me is which characters had what role in this trap and in the past grievance, especially since two of those four characters are identical twins. There's another element to that that made it a little more confusing for me, but I'll leave that part out for the sake of avoiding spoilers.The plot itself aside, Colin Dexter's style is new and different enough to me compared to what I'm used to. His stories are more modern than Christie's or Sayers'; even the ones that Christie wrote later in her life feel like they could have been pulled from the same cast of Elizabethan Aristocracy that she always writes about, but Dexter's story is populated more with average Britons, and not a single Old Country House or Huge Inheritance With a Strangely Worded Will to be seen. One thing I thought was honestly a little silly was his somewhat regular use of obvious, clickbait-like cliffhangers at the end of many chapters: "He didn't realize it would be the last time he ever visited here!" "If only Inspector Morse knew that it was no mere coincidence - but he would learn that later." That sort of thing. It didn't take me out of the story or anything, but it came across to me more as a gentle ribbing from Colin Dexter than an actual, serious attempt to keep the reader Hooked. Anyway, I should read more of this guy.

  • Helen
    2019-05-10 11:51

    Five stars????? There should be ever so many more stars. I've read many, many Inspector Morse novels. I mean - really - who doesn't love Morse? For all his weaknesses (and sometimes negativity) he's just the most likable guy. But this book I had never read. And I was blown away. Now I know how they were able to do the 'Endeavor' series. THIS is the book that gives you the background into Morse's prior life. And a sharper look into the relationship between Morse and Lewis. This book is written a bit differently than all the others I've read. I loved it! So exciting to find a book by an author you love to read and find something fresh and surprising. Kinda makes you sit up and take notice. I'm so excited to have found this jewel on a used book shelf and I will not be letting it go. My favorite lines were from Sgt. Lewis: Morse was his hero, and always would be. But even heroes had their momentary weaknesses, as Lewis had so often learned. Morse. A true hero.

  • Vainvt
    2019-05-22 17:58

    After seeing many Inspector Morse shows, I looked forward to reading one of Colin Dexter's books. "The Riddle of the Third Mile" was an early book, and a disappointment. The plot was confusing, Morse's character was rude and egotistical, and Lewis was adoring to a fault. On the positive side, the language was often clever and incisive.It turns out Colin Dexter wrote later books as the TV series was being produced and molded his character to fit the TV interpretation. John Thaw's character was egotistical, but had self doubts that softened his faults. Kevin Whately remained his loyal sidekick, but possessed a fuller range of emotions and replaced adoration with admiration.Dexter also wrote some of the screenplays for the series. Between his adaptation of the TV interpretation and his script writing, later books would probably have been preferable to me.

  • Mosco
    2019-05-04 12:03

    6/10, Così cosìè il primo Colin Dexter che leggo e credo di non aver iniziato col piede giusto, mi dicono che gli altri sono meglio. So che è un esperto di enigmistica ma spero non incasini sempre le vicende in questo modo perché a forza di complicare le cose per vedere quanto siamo furbi, diventano poco credibili. Le storie e anche le illuminazini del commissario più intelligente della letteratura gialla. Peraltro qui mi pare che... (view spoiler)[ con almeno un morto la faccia troppo spiccia. Sì, per chiudere la vicenda era necessario che tirasse le cuoia anche il secondo gemello, ma perché mai si butta dal balcone? (hide spoiler)] Inoltre, per quanto abbia ingarbugliato ben bene la matassa, io che non sono poi così furba avevo intuito abbastanza presto le generalità del cadavere.

  • Dell Taylor
    2019-05-08 16:02

    My rating: 2.5. This was written in a totally different style than the other Morse books I have read, and I really didn't like it as well. The one thing it did have going for it is that we find our more information about Morse's time at Oxford and why he left. I really liked getting this information! Even though Dexter seemed to have stumbled on this one, I enjoyed another episode in the Morse canon.

  • Joe Mossa
    2019-05-18 13:50

    i enjoy these novels but have a hard time following the plot but he gives summaries along the way and reminds us of who was murdered and why. it is a bit gruesome with the headless corpse with no hands and one leg. they find the leg in the river etc.

  • P B Starling
    2019-05-15 16:53

    The Riddle of the third mileExcellent sixth book by Colin Dexter . I have watched every epoide of Inspector Morse and all the DVDs look forward to reading the next book by Colin Dexter

  • Barbara
    2019-05-21 18:02

    I got hooked on the Endeavor and Lewis TV series. Thought I would try reading about Morse. Loved it.

  • Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount)
    2019-04-26 15:09

    Convoluted murder mystery that begins with a limbless, headless, unidentifiable corpse, and an increasing list of possibilities for its identity.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-04-24 20:02

    I. Love. John. Thaw. BUT...This is my first Morse novel! I just got three more out of the library. So glad I get to continue my secret love for E. Morse.

  • Hilary Walker
    2019-05-10 12:14

    Definitely needed to concentrate on this one!

  • Julie_ian_curtis
    2019-05-11 17:02

    not as good as the others, the plot was all over the place

  • Suzanne
    2019-04-22 11:51

    Missing school dean. Mystery/Inpector Morse/murder solved.

  • Jack Heath
    2019-04-25 13:57

    4 Stars. I'd say 3.5 if that option was available; I'm rounding up because it's Chief Inspector Morse. Have you ever confronted a more complicated plot? I'll endeavour to decipher. Suffice to say I felt under water from start to finish and, it appears, so did Sergeant Lewis. The case relates to two long-held animosities, with the central figure in each being Professor Browne-Smith of Lonsdale College, Oxford. Morse once had him for "Greats" during his less-than illustrious university career. When Morse is called to the scene because a body is found sans head, hands and legs, it looks like our professor has met a grizzly end. One incident is memorable; when he questions a young constable about a source whose name sounds phoney, Morse rashly promises to buy him all the doughnuts in the canteen if the source can be confirmed. The lad does confirm it and Morse slams the phone down. No doughnuts. The novel is replete with Morse's continuing difficulties with women, booze and temper. Be sure to read the last 20 pages twice. (December 2017)

  • Joshua Bilgera
    2019-04-27 12:10


  • Aoife
    2019-05-01 15:13

    One of the wonderful things about crime-novels writen more than 20-odd years ago is that they had no DNA-testing back then. Of course it's a great thing for the real world but for crime-stories it means that so many possibilities for great plotlines get ruined. This book is just possible because there is a lot of confusion about the identity of one body. Today it would be much easier to solve that problem (or at least tell that the body was not a certain person which also would helped a lot) but fortunately this book was written at a time where we didn't yet have all this and so we get another highly enjoyable read.I don't think I can say anything new about this book what I didn't already say in my reviews of the previous Morse-novels. It is again really clever. Colin Dexter is one of the crime-writers who does not think that his readers are all stupid. I've read so many novels where a character mentioned some detail and immediately a warning-light flashed up in my head 'Remember this! It will be important later!' because there were hardly any other details mentioned. Morse-novels are different from this. A lot of details get mentioned and a lot of those will turn out to be not important at all (and with those that are important it is far from clear why they are important).Dexter is also the only author who can write sentences like 'He did not yet know that he'd never return to Oxford' without annoying me because - like almost everything in a Morse-novel - it can easily be a red herring and not mean what you think it means.I did feel a bit let-down by this one because I considered a small part of the solution somehow cheating (view spoiler)[one person involved in the murder acted somewhat irrationally because he had a brain-tumor. I just found that somewhat...convenient (hide spoiler)] and I missed the Morse-Lewis interaction. It was done so beautifully in the last one but here they barely had any at all.