Evans Tries an O’Level – Collin Dexter


If you have landed on this page to learn what really happened in the Oxford Prison, have patience! Evans Tries an O’Level by Collin Dexter is one of the most exciting detective short stories ever so you are up to twists and turns. 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. 

Before you Read further, get a brief of Evans’ master Plan. It is important. Click Here!

Some very Important Questions.
  1. How did Evans escape from the prison?
    Evans escaped from the prison through an elaborate (complex) breaking plan. In the first place he requested to the prison Governor for an O’Level German examination. During the examination he impersonated (disguised) as the invigilator. Having confused all the prison authorities, he went out with a detective to show him the way to the ‘escaped Evans.’ This gave him an opportunity to escape from the police.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
End of Six-months Preparations

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.

Short Answers
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Frisking Evans

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.

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-heart 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!

Short Answers
  1. 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.
Frisking the Invigilator
  1. What had happened to the real Reverend Stuart McLeery?
    Rev. McLeery was getting ready to go to the prison. It was around 8.30. He was about to leave his residence when two of Evans’ friends came to visit him. Having entered his room, they gagged and tied the parson while one of them dressed himself up as the parson. After half an hour they went out – one of them as Rev. Stuart McLeery.
  2. Who was McLeery? What is his role in the story?
    Rev. Stuart McLeery was a parson at St. Mary Mags, a monastery. He was supposed to invigilate Evan’s examination at the Oxford Prison. He was about to leave his residence for the prison when two of Evans’ friends entered his room and tied and gagged him until Evans had escaped from the prison.
  3. Why did the Governor think of frisking McLeery?
    McLeery was the invigilator of the examination and he was to sit inside Evan’s cell while the latter wrote the exam. The Governor had made sure that Evans had been thoroughly frisked and there was nothing to fear about that. But when he thought about the possibility of McLeery carrying a paper-knife or that sort, he feared Evans would make use of that and escape by holding the parson his hostage.
  4. Why did McLeery’s expressions change when he was frisked?
    While frisking McLeery, the prison officers found out a semi-inflated rubber tube in his bag. When he was asked of this McLeery’s amiable appearance suddenly changed and he turned shy and embarrassed for having made to admit that he was suffering from piles. In fact this was only an excuse to stop the authorities from asking further questions and to allow him to carry the rubber tube that had some blood inside for the escape drama.
  5. What had ‘McLeery’ brought with him to the prison to help Evans’ escape?
    Evans’ friend dressed up like McLeery had brought some very useful articles for Evans’ escape. He had worn an extra clerical collar and a clerical front. In his bag he had carried a semi inflated rubber tube filled with blood. He had also carried a paper scissors even though it was frisked by the prison authorities.
  6. Why did the Governor decide to frisk (body-check) the invigilator? Who was the invigilator? How did Evans manage to get Stephen out of his cell? How did Evans get away from Detective Carter?
    It is not very easy to answer all these questions in our usual way. You need to understand this story in our new way. In the following pages you will read the answers with a detailed explanation that will reveal the story part by part. Click Here! and Enjoy Reading…

Biju John is an educational writer, educator and the author of OM - The Otherwise Men. He gives live classes on Skype and Facebook. You can attend his 3 Day Classes (English & Business Studies) in Delhi, Bangalore, Qatar and Dubai. His Contact number is 91 9810740061.

Comments (5)

Leave a comment
  1. the lesson evans tries an o level is really explained well …. better than any other had or could have done…

    • beniya

    • December 14, 2017

    Well explained…more than what i expected …..

    • Sriram

    • December 19, 2017

    Awesome explanation. Now only understood the story very well. Thanks you very much

    • @n$#um@n S!ng#

    • March 4, 2018

    very nice notes

    • anshuman singh

    • March 4, 2018

    very nice notes

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