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Such as: so, Colin Dexter, are you sad now that Inspector Morse is dead?
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Colin Dexter, the author and creator of Inspector Morse, was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, in 1930. After reading classics at Christ's College, Cambridge, he served in the Royal Corps of Signals before taking up teaching aged 24. Morse made his début in 1974 in Last Bus to Woodstock, the start of a series of 12 novels which became a long-running television drama; last year he was "killed off" in the final Morse novel, The Remorseful Day. Dexter is a former national champion of the Ximenes and Azed crossword competitions and a recipient of both Silver Dagger and Golden Dagger awards for crime fiction. He lives with his wife in Oxford.

Colin Dexter, the author and creator of Inspector Morse, was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, in 1930. After reading classics at Christ's College, Cambridge, he served in the Royal Corps of Signals before taking up teaching aged 24. Morse made his début in 1974 in Last Bus to Woodstock, the start of a series of 12 novels which became a long-running television drama; last year he was "killed off" in the final Morse novel, The Remorseful Day. Dexter is a former national champion of the Ximenes and Azed crossword competitions and a recipient of both Silver Dagger and Golden Dagger awards for crime fiction. He lives with his wife in Oxford.

Is Oxford really such a dangerous place? T Myers, Oxford On Saturday night when the pubs are closing Oxford is fairly dangerous - like any other city. In the Morse series, I think we had a count of 81 body bags in Oxford. I'm pleased to say that in real life Oxford isn't as bad as that, although it is about time that it became safer.

Which newspaper's crossword is your favourite, and do you always finish it? And would you - or Morse - ever use a dictionary or reference book to find an answer? Tony O'Grady, Dublin I get The Times for the daily crosswords and The Observer on Sundays, in which I do the Azed. I always try to finish it. As for the second question, yes we would. None of us are omniscient. If a word begins with, for example, "mpr", you automatically assume that there must be a mistake and so you consult the dictionary.

What's your favourite pint of bitter? And where do you like to drink it? Steve Briddle, London N1 I don't have a favourite. I think every brewer is proud of his beer but unfortunately, there are a lot of landlords these days who don't know enough about good bitter. I always go for a good landlord rather than a good pub - for instance the Dewdrop in Summertown, near where I live, is run by a knowledgeable man who gives me a good pint or two.

Morse drives a 1960 Mark II red Jaguar - what car do you drive and why? A J Green, London SE10 I'm not interested in cars in any way. I drive a Citroën, but only for convenience: I bought it from the garage down the road and can drop it back there whenever it runs into problems.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career as an author and why? P Drake, Watford I admire Agatha Christie enormously, particularly her ingenuity and the atmosphere which she so masterfully creates in her novels. And another great inspiration for me was Raymond Chandler. However the finest writer of all time was Edward Gibbon, the 18th-century historian, who had a most wonderful English prose style.

You have many characteristics in common with Inspector Morse. Did this make creating the character easier? Sarah Perry, by e-mail Yes, I suppose it did in a way - because unless you're a genius you tend to write in a semi-autobiographical manner. Like Morse, I am a little pessimistic and a little melancholy. And I share his views on politics and religion, as well as his fondnesses for Wagner, beer and crosswords. But I hope I'm not half as mean with money as he is.

If the television series was to be made again, who would you choose to play Morse? Pam Elston, Cardiff It could have been Eric Porter. But I don't really see anyone doing it as well as John Thaw has.

Who are your favourite top five fictional detectives? P Irvine, by e-mail Philip Marlow, Hercule Poirot, Inspector French, Inspector Maigret and Easy Rawlins.

Was it your strong connection with Oxford that determined where the novels would be set and do you think the story could work in a different location? Claire Barbour, London I was very fortunate coming to Oxford 35 years ago and now I feel that I wouldn't be able to write any fiction without it - it is a hugely attractive city. I certainly can't imagine Morse working anywhere else.

In the television series, you always had a cameo role. What was the strangest part you played? Colin Lobley, London I once played the Bishop of Oxford and they dressed me up in all the finery. In between filming, some of us went to lunch in a café and I was still in my episcopal regalia - I've never been treated with so much respect and courtesy.

Will Morse rise from the dead again? L J Gallmann, London Unambiguously and unequivocally, no, he won't.

Do you feel a sense of bereavement now that Morse is dead? B Jacob, Frome, Somerset I do feel that I shall miss him. I feel sad that's he's gone, but I didn't have much more to say about Morse or Lewis, and I think it's time they finished.

What do real detectives think of Morse? S Cranshaw, by e-mail They treat me with an amused tolerance and tell me that I ought to do a little more research. But they don't think too badly about the old boy.

'The Remorseful Day' is published in paperback by Pan (£5.99)

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