Born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1930, Colin Dexter graduated from Cambridge University and spent most of his professional life as an educator in his beloved Oxford. He came comparatively late to crime writing, being already in his forties when he attempted his first novel, Last Bus to Woodstock, which was accepted by the second publisher to which it was sent. It introduced Inspector Morse, the somewhat curmudgeonly senior officer in the Criminal Investigator Department with the Thames Valley Police, and Sergeant Lewis, who appeared in every one of Dexter’s thirteen novels and most of the short stories collected in Morse’s Greatest Mystery and Other Stories (1993).
Among his numerous awards are Gold Daggers from the British Crime Writers’ Association for The Wench Is Dead (1989) and The Way Through the Woods (1992) and the Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement, presented to him in 1997.
The hugely successful Inspector Morse television series, produced by ITV in England and shown in the United States on PBS, was based on the books and additional stories; it starred John Thaw and Kevin Whateley, running for thirty-three episodes from 1987 to 2000. Like Alfred Hitchcock did in his films, Colin Dexter made brief cameo appearances in most of the episodes.