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Inspector Morse
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Inspector Morse

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Detective Chief Inspector Endeavour Morse is a fictional character, who features in a series of thirteen detective novels by British author Colin Dexter. He is a senior CID officer with the Thames Valley Police in Oxford, England. His first name was kept a secret until the end of Death is Now My Neighbour. The origin of his name is the vessel HM Bark Endeavour, as Morse's father was supposed to be a fan of Captain James Cook.

The titles are:

Inspector Morse also appears in several stories in Dexter's short story collection, Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other Stories (1993, expanded edition 1994).

Dexter killed Morse in his last book, and has thus far shown no sign of resurrecting him – unlike Arthur Conan Doyle, who killed his main character only to have to bring him back to life.

The Inspector Morse novels have been made into a very successful TV series (also called Inspector Morse) for the British TV channel ITV. The series was made by Zenith Productions for Central (a company later acquired by Carlton.) The series comprises 33 two-hour episodes (100 minutes excluding commercials) – twenty more episodes than there are novels – produced between 1987 and 2001. The final episode was of course adapted from the final novel. The Inspector himself is played by John Thaw and the faithful Detective Sergeant Lewis by Kevin Whately. Dexter makes a cameo appearance in each of the episodes. The series remains popular and is frequently repeated on ITV1 and ITV2. More recently it has begun to be issued as a periodic series of cut-price videoss and DVDs containing one episode each, together with magazine-size booklets giving background information on each episode. See the official web site of the TV series at http://www.inspectormorse.co.uk/. Sadly, John Thaw died only months after the series ended.

In July 2004 ITV announced plans to make Inspector Lewis, a spinoff series starring Kevin Whately.

It is primarily the personality of the main character that makes the Inspector Morse novels so successful. With his beautiful Jaguar car (originally a Lancia), thirst for beer, snobbery, and penchant for Wagner, he is a likeable person despite his sullen temperament.

Dexter is a fan of cryptic crosswords, and Inspector Morse is named for champion solver Sir Jeremy Morse. In every novel the surname of the killer is taken from those of winners of the weekly Azed solving competition that appears in The Observer.