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Colin Dextor, author of Inspector Morse novels, dies

Gemma Strong

Colin Dexter has passed away at the age of 86. The author, who created the Inspector Morse series of books, passed away peacefully at his home on the morning on 21 March, his publisher confirmed in a statement. It read: "With immense sadness, MacMillan announces the death of Colin Dexter, who died peacefully at his home in Oxford this morning."

Colin wrote 14 Morse novels, between 1975 and 1999. They were later adapted for a long-running ITV series, starring the late John Thaw. His characters also featured in the spin-off shows Lewis and Endeavour. Colin first introduced the character of Morse in the crime novel Last Bus To Woodstock, which he wrote while on a rainy family holiday in Wales. He killed off the popular character in the final book, The Remorseful Day, 24 years later.

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Colin Dexter, author of the Inspector Morse novels, has died at the age of 86

Maria Rejt, who was Colin's most recent editor at MacMillan, told the BBC that the author had "inspired all those who worked with him". She said: "His loyalty, modesty and self-deprecating humour gave joy to many. His was the sharpest mind and the biggest heart, and his wonderful novels and stories will remain a testament to both."

Colin was born Norman Colin Dexter in 1930 in Stamford, Lincolnshire. He studied classics at Cambridge University and became a teacher and then an author of textbooks, before turning his attention to fiction. He won a vast number of awards for his work, and in 2000 received an OBE for his services to literature. The following year he was also awarded the Freedom of Oxford. Upon receiving his OBE, Colin said he liked to think his detective would have bought him a celebratory drink. "I think Morse, if he had existed and was alive, would probably say to me, 'Well, you didn't do too bad a service in your writing.' 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.' If he had bought me a drink, a large Glenfiddich or something, that would have been very nice, but knowing him I doubt he would have done - Lewis always bought all the drinks."

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