Evans Tries an O’Level by Collin Dexter is one of the most exciting detective short stories ever. Set in England’s Oxford and around, this is the story of James Roderick Evans who breaks out of the prison with great patience and planning. Included in the class 12 English Core syllabus, this sweet story will entertain the readers.
Be ready for a long drive. Have patience and read and move to all the pages one by one.
Evans was put in the Oxford Prison at Carfax for his criminal records including the three jail breaks that he had successfully committed. Anyway we do not exactly know what were the charges against him. It is most likely he was the master brain of a gang of robbers or was just a one man robber who was greatly skilled at impersonating other people and thus made an income out of that. Well, he was a kleptomaniac (thief). However, London Police had no other choice than putting him in the most secure Oxford Prison where jail breaks were not at all common. Evans was aware of it, too. Seeing that he was not going to break very easily, Evans made a new plan to escape and it was very complicated and it involved many people at the same time.
In the first week in the jail, Evans requested the Prison Governor to permit him to take German lessons to acquire sort of academic degrees. Suspicious as he always was, the Governor arranged a German tutor for Evans and watched how things proceeds. With a microphone hidden in the study room or in his cell where Evans took classes, the Governor waited to hear if Evans would ask the tutor to help him. It so happened but no one knew how Evans managed to do such a risky thing while the microphone was listening to him. Probably Evans communicated with the tutor through a letter which the latter was asked to read silently. However, the tutor agreed.
At the end of the six months’ coaching, the tutor informed the Governor that his student was ready for an ordinary level exam. Suspicious as always, the Governor contacted the examination board and arranged an O’level exam for Evans. O’Level is an ordinary level of examination. The board contacted St. Mary Mags and requested Rev. Stuart McLeery to go to the prison to invigilate the exam.
Questions & Answers
- Why was Evans put in the Oxford Prison?
James Roderick Evans was a kleptomaniac. He had a bunch of friends who assisted him in all his activities including jailbreaks. Besides, Evans was a notorious prisoner famed for his repeated jailbreaks. He was known as ‘Break’. Due to his tendency to attempt another jailbreak, he was put in the Oxford Prison at Carfax which was known for its high security.
- Why did Evans decide to learn German?
The Oxford prison’s exterior walls were too high for ordinary prisoners. Apart from this, the officers, especially the Governor and Jackson were really game. The prison vaults were connected to a listening system that recorded every exchange between the visitors and prisoners. When Evans was put behind bars at the Oxford Prison, it was evident to him that he had to resort to a highly intelligent jailbreak strategy to dodge these security systems. In order to find a way out, Evans made a very elaborate plan and taking an O’level examination was the first step.
Next – Exam Morning – Evans is Frisked
At the same time, at the prison, officer Jackson and a newly appointed – or specially appointed – officer, Mr. Stephens, were making sure if Evans had any potential weapon to make a jail break during the exam. Evans had put on a bobble-hat and hadn’t shaved. Inside the hat he had hidden his makeup stuff for his escape plan and he delayed shaving for some undisclosed purpose. When Jackson ordered him to remove that hat, Evans requested the kind-hearted Mr. Jackson to let him keep it as he considered the cap to be his lucky charm. Well, Jackson was always like that. He was full of sympathy and the hat was full of what Evans needed for transformation!
Questions & Answers
- Who was James Roderick Evans? Why was he put in the Oxford Prison?
Evans was a smart young man who had a number of amazing skills to fool anyone and escape any prison. He had a gang of friends who used to make money by imitating other people. Because of his smartness in breaking prisons, Evans was sent to the Oxford prison that was thought to be the most secure prison in England.
- How was Evan’s presence in the prison felt by the authorities?
Even though Evans was a prisoner, the whole of the prison seemed to have loved to have him there. He being a smart, tricky, intelligent and the most popular inmate of the prison, even the authorities admired his skills but were worried only about the possibility of his escape. He had many good friends among the prisoners and even the Governor himself was concerned for him and at times behaved to be Evans’ fan.
- Why did the Governor apply for an examination for Evans?
Evans was a prisoner in the Oxford Prison. He had convinced the authorities that he was genuinely interested in learning German and was tutored for a while. When the tutor announced that Evans was prepared for an O’Level exam, the Governor of the prison applied to the Examination Board for his exam.
- Why was Evans particular about keeping his hat on his head during his exam?
Evans wore a bobble hat at the time of his examination. When he was asked to remove that, Evans pleaded to let stay it because he believed it was his lucky charm. In fact he had hidden some of the makeup materials in his hat which was the reason he didn’t want to remove it.