Teacher turned au­thor cre­ated In­spec­tor Morse

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST -

Colin Dex­ter, a Bri­tish gram­mar school teacher turned au­thor who cre­ated In­spec­tor Morse, a cur­mud­geonly de­tec­tive who adores real ale, po­etry, Wag­ne­r­ian opera and cross­word puz­zles and who be­came the hero of more than a dozen nov­els and a pop­u­lar tele­vi­sion se­ries, died March 21 at his home in Oxford, Eng­land. He was 86.

In an­nounc­ing his death, Pan Macmil­lan pub­lisher Jeremy Tre­vathan said Dex­ter “rep­re­sented the ab­so­lute epit­ome of Bri­tish crime writ­ing.” No cause was pro­vided.

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 the univer­sity town 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 show’s pro­duc­ers once claimed to The Wash­ing­ton Post that 1 bil­lion peo­ple

around the world watched In­spec­tor Morse and his side­kick Sgt. Lewis bring cul­prits to jus­tice or at least to pub­lic ex­po­sure. In re­runs, the au­di­ence has only swelled.

In­spec­tor Morse was played by John Thaw, a Bri­tish ac­tor who died in 2002, and Kevin Whately por­trayed Lewis; Dex­ter of­ten made cameo ap­pear­ances, play­ing var­i­ously a tourist, a doc­tor, a pris­oner, a bishop and a bum. A spinoff se­ries based on Lewis and star­ring Whately ran on Bri­tish tele­vi­sion from 2006 to 2015. In re­cent years, ac­tor Shaun Evans played a young Morse in the pre­quel se­ries “En­deav­our.” Dex­ter’s awards in­cluded two Golden Dag­ger prizes from the Crime Writ­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Bri­tain and its life­time achieve­ment award in 1997, a Di­a­mond Dag­ger. Nor­man Colin Dex­ter was born in Stam­ford, Eng­land, on Sept. 29, 1930, a birth­day he shared with the fic­tional En­deav­our Morse, the de­tec­tiveof the Thameschief in­spec­tor Val­ley Con­stab­u­lary. (He did not re­veal Morse’s first name un­til late in the se­ries.)


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