Colin Dexter: Inspector Morse crime author dies at home aged 86

Colin Dexter's detective pairing of Morse and Lewis was brought to the screen by John Thaw, left, and Kevin Whately, right Credit: PA

Inspector Morse creator Colin Dexter has died at the age of 86.

The decorated crime author who was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, passed away on Tuesday morning at his home in Oxford, his publisher Macmillan has said.

Dexter immortalised the city in his most celebrated crime series as the cerebral and hard-drinking Morse investigated cases alongside his dutiful and more-sober deputy Sergeant Lewis.

The detective pairing of Morse and Lewis earned more acclaim after being brought to the TV screen in the hit ITV series, giving John Thaw and Kevin Whately their most recognisable roles as Dexter served as scriptwriter.

Thaw starred as the detective in all 33 of the TV films between 1987 and 2000, which later spawned the spin-off series Endeavour and Lewis.

The series creator entertained fans with cameo appearances in the programmes that saw him perform as a tourist, a doctor, an Oxford don and a homeless person.

Dexter won many awards for his Morse novels, which were written between 1975 and 1999, including the CWA Gold Dagger and Silver Dagger awards.

Colin Dexter immortalised Oxford, the university city that he called home since the 1960s Credit: PA

In 1997 he was presented with the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for outstanding services to crime literature.

He introduced Morse in 1975's Last Bus To Woodstock, beginning a 13-novel series that ran until 1999's The Remorseful Day.

A year later Dexter received an OBE for services to literature, joking that he would have hoped Morse would have offered him a celebratory whisky.

His infrequent non-crime writing included a book on cracking cryptic crosswords, a leisure pursuit that Morse would often encounter in the novels.

In 2009, Dexter described the challenge of the crossword as "the most serene and civilised way of wasting time that I, now nearing 80, have as yet discovered".

Colin Dexter, seen with his wife Dorothy in 2012, continued his cameo roles until the most recent series of Endeavour Credit: PA

The former Classics teacher, who was born in Lincolnshire in 1930, had begun writing after the onset of deafness forced him to leave the profession in 1966.

He continued to work in a senior role at the University of Oxford's Delegacy of Local Examinations until his retirement in 1988 allowed him to concentrate on his writing.

The statement from his publisher said: "With immense sadness, Macmillan announces the death of Colin Dexter, who died peacefully at home in Oxford this morning."