Colin Dexter, author of Inspector Morse, dies aged 86

Kevin Whately and John Thaw in Inspector Morse
Kevin Whately and John Thaw in Inspector Morse
Author

24 March, 2017

The author Colin Dexter, creator of Inspector Morse, the beer-loving curmudgeonly detective who spawned a hugely popular television series, has died aged 86.

Jeremy Trevathan, publisher at Macmillan, said: "With Colin's death there has been a tectonic shift in the worldwide crime writing scene".

Publisher Pan Macmillan said Dexter died Tuesday at his home in Oxford, southern England.

Dexter's books also inspired the TV prequel Endeavour, with Shaun Evans as the young Morse, and Lewis, the sequel starring Whately.

The books were turned into a long-running United Kingdom television series, with the fictional detective famously played by the late actor John Thaw, that proved to be one of the most popular TV detective series ever made.

Adapted for public television and shown in 33 episodes in 200 countries between 1987 and 2000, the mysteries of murder most foul - in the academic serenity of Oxford - were no match for the brains and wit of Inspector Morse, who eventually solved the fatal and fiendishly complicated riddles, sometimes long after the fact. "The casebook of Morse and Lewis changed the landscape of detective drama".

Lynda La Plante said of the late author: "Colin Dexter, a masterful writer and storyteller who entertained millions of readers".

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Yesterday tributes poured in to the writer, who began penning the first Morse book - Last Bus to Woodstock - during a rainy holiday in Wales in 1972.

Along the way, Dexter won many crime fiction awards, and received an OBE in 2000 for his services to literature.

"He was one of those television characters who the nation took to their hearts".

He made unaccredited appearances in nearly all the episodes.

He said: "Unless you are a genius, which I am not, I think most writers tend to be slightly semi-autobiographical in their characterisation".

"He might say, 'I wish you'd made me a slightly less miserable blighter and slightly more generous, and you could have painted me in a little bit of a better light"'.

"This is a very sad day for us all".


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