For years I’ve had one of Colin Dexter’s paperbacks floating around my bookshelves: The Secret of Annexe 3. The printing date is 1998, so I’ve had it a while. During those years, I’d often look through my bookshelves at bedtime for a book to re-read. I prefer easy books when I’m trying to go to sleep. I’d look at Annexe 3, but always skipped over it because I knew that I hadn’t ‘got’ the story the first time around. Still, the book was an Inspector Morse story, so I never got rid of it.
About a week ago I was again browsing through my bookshelves and I decided to give Annexe 3 another try. How hard could it be?
Eighty-eight pages into the story I found out why I had no clear recollection of the story: the page after 88 was 25 — the very same page-25 I’d already read. I flipped through the following pages to see if this second page-25 was an anomaly, but it wasn’t. The repeat pages didn’t end until page 56, and then they skipped to page 121.
I’m assuming I don’t need to point out that this goof-up severely interrupted my understanding of the story line. Don’t ask me why I kept this copy. Any memory of that reason is long gone.
In recent years I’ve complained to myself about the decline in the quality of recently-published books. Most complaints have to do with typographical gremlins that crept in, or story lines that don’t track well. Given this blooper from the last century, I’ll probably have to cut newer volumes a lot more slack.
I would be interested in reading the complete book, but I just checked and the library I use doesn’t have this volume. I’m leery of buying another Annexe 3 because the book shown at Amazon has the same cover as mine. I didn’t see any complaints about an entire section having been mis-inserted into any of the books that were reviewed, but it would be just my luck to get another from the same batch. I think my next bedtime book will be one from my collection of Agatha’s books.