Who prepares the exams for foreign high-schoolers who want to go to college in England? Why, the five executives of Oxford's Foreign Exams Syndicate, of course, one of whom, deaf bachelor Nicholas Quinn, is found dead of cyanided sherry. Chief Inspector Morse suspects that Nicholas stumbled (via lip-reading) onto a security leak (the selling of forthcoming test questions to oil sheiks with dumb sons), but the inventive alibis and miscellaneous lies of the four--then three--surviving test-makers keep him guessing. In its better moments, Morse's literate and labyrinthine investigation recalls the lighter sorties of Dorothy L. Sayers, delicately balancing wry Whimsy with real problems--frustration, loneliness. A bit too complex for its own good (the next-to-last solution is yeastier than the last), this will nonetheless bring coos of delight from readers who prefer, if not a Silent World, the sort of quiet, seemingly civilized setting that makes murder seem such a startling and special event.