Colin Dexter, author of Inspector Morse, dies aged 86

Colin Dexter, author or the Inspector Morse novels, has died aged 86.

A statement from Dexter's publisher, Macmillan, confirmed that he had died at home on Tuesday.

Kevin Whately, who played Morse's sidekick Lewis in the series, described Dexter as "impish and bubbly and always fascinated with everybody and everything", the BBC reported. He began writing a detective novel to help pass the time during a wet vacation in Wales.

His cerebral detective was first introduced in 1975 in his novel Last Bus To Woodstock and appeared in more than 10 other novels, as well as several short stories. Dexter killed off Morse in 1999's The Remorseful Day, to great sadness among his fans worldwide.

Dexter himself had cameo appearances in all but three of the 33 episodes made between 1987 and 2000, according to Wikipedia.

Dexter's characters were again revived for ITV spin-off shows Lewis and Endeavour.

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

His most recent editor at Macmillan, Maria Rejt, said: "Colin was an author who inspired all those who worked with him". "His was the sharpest mind and the biggest heart, and his wonderful novels and stories will remain a testament to both". Dexter made uncredited cameo appearances in numerous 33 episodes, which fans took delight in spotting.

As a lover of ale, crosswords, Wagner and English literature he shared many traits with Morse and was a regular crossword setter for The Oxford Times under the name Codex.

He said: "I think Morse, if he had really existed and was still alive, would probably say to me "Well, you didn't do me too bad a service in your writing".

Tributes have been paid by those who knew and worked with Mr Dexter.

"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"'.

  • Michelle Webb