Inspector Morse Creator Colin Dexter Passes Away at 86

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

His death was announced in a statement given to the BBC by his publisher, MacMillan.

His publisher said in a statement on Tuesday: "With enormous sadness, MacMillan announces the death of Colin Dexter who died peacefully at his home in Oxford this morning".

He said: "Colin represented the absolute epitome of British crime writing, and in the 1990s John Thaw's Inspector Morse took over Wednesday night television".

After retiring from teaching he started his series of Inspector Morse novels, a series of 13 which ran from 1975 to 1999.

Dexter's characters also featured in spin-off show Lewis starring Kevin Whately and the prequel series Endeavour starring Shaun Evans, with Dexter acting as a consultant for both shows.

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

Dexter was married to Dorothy with whom he had a son and daughter.

He also named his great detective after Sir Jeremy Morse, a long-standing friend and crossword compiler.

Mr Dexter was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, and completed his national service with the Royal Corps of Signals before reading classics at Cambridge University's Christ's College. Dexter made uncredited cameo appearances in numerous 33 episodes, which fans took delight in spotting.

Mr Dexter's contribution to his adopted home was recognised in 2001 when he was made a Freeman of the City, just months after being made an OBE in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

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

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

"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"'.

Colin Dexter, author of the Inspector Morse books, passed away today according to his publisher.

  • Marlene Weaver