Colin Dexter

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Norman Colin Dexter, OBE, (born 29 September 1930) is an English crime writer, known for his Inspector Morse novels which were written between 1975 and 1999 and adapted as a television series from 1987 to 2000.

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Early life and career

Dexter was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, and was educated at Stamford School, where his brother, John Dexter, had been before him. After completing his National Service with the Royal Corps of Signals he read classics at Christ's College, Cambridge, graduating in 1953 and receiving an honorary Masters Degree in 1958.

In 1954, he started his teaching career in the East Midlands, becoming assistant classics master at Wyggeston School, Leicester. A post at Loughborough Grammar School followed, before he took up the position of senior classics teacher at Corby Grammar School, Northamptonshire, in 1959.

In 1966, he was forced by the onset of deafness to retire from teaching, and took up the post of Senior Assistant Secretary at the University of Oxford Delegacy of Local Examinations (UODLE) in Oxford – a job he held until his retirement in 1988.

Dexter featured prominently in the BBC programme "How to Solve a Cryptic Crossword" as part of the Time Shift series broadcast in November 2008 in which he recounted some of the crossword clues solved by Morse.

Writing career

He started writing mysteries in 1972 during a family holiday: "We were in a little guest house halfway between Caernarfon and Pwllheli. It was a Saturday and it was raining – it's not unknown for it to rain in North Wales. The children were moaning ... I was sitting at the kitchen table with nothing else to do, and I wrote the first few paragraphs of a potential detective novel." Last Bus to Woodstock was published in 1975 and introduced the world to the character of Inspector Morse, the irascible detective whose penchants for cryptic crosswords, English literature, cask ale and Wagner reflect Dexter's own enthusiasms. Dexter's plots are notable for his use of false leads and other red herrings.[1]

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