Colin Dexter: Inspector Morse creator dies aged 86

Colin Dexter died at his home in Oxford this morning (Tuesday) aged 86.

He died peacefully at home in Oxford, said Macmillan in a statement.

His characters also appeared in spin-off shows Lewis and Endeavour.

Dexter wrote his first Morse novel, Last Bus to Woodstock, in 1975 while on holiday in Wales. The fictional detective was then killed off in the final book, The Remorseful Day.

"Through 33 feature-length stories, the casebook of Morse and Lewis changed the landscape of detective drama".

In recent years, actor Shaun Evans played a young Morse in the prequel series "Endeavour".

MacMillan's publisher Jeremy Trevathan added that Dexter's death represented a "tectonic shift in the global crime writing scene".

"Colin represented the absolute epitome of British crime writing, and in the 1990s John Thaw's Inspector Morse took over Wednesday night television", he said. "Very sad to hear of his death today".

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Mr Dexter, who is survived by wife Dorothy, son Jeremy and daughter Sally, also picked up The Golden Dagger Award for the crime novel of the year in 1989 and again in 1992.

Vera writer Ann Cleeves said: "I have such fond memories of Colin Dexter. He brought pleasure to millions and joy to his friends".

Born Norman Colin Dexter on Sept 29, 1930, in the town of Stamford in the English midlands, Dexter served in the Royal Corps of Signals in the British army, before going on to study at Christ's College, Cambridge.

He worked as a teacher from 1954 to 1966, before moving to Oxford where he set his books about Inspector Morse and his assistant, Sergeant Lewis.

His novels have undergone a number of TV adaptations, most famously for the ITV series titled Inspector Morse and starring John Thaw. In the manner of director Alfred Hitchcock, Dexter made cameo appearances in numerous Inspector Morse and Lewis episodes.

Having won a number of writing awards in his career, Dexter was awarded an OBE in 2000 for his services to literature.

"Thank you for your rich characters, your mischief and for being the best dinner companion anyone could wish for".

  • Carlos Nash