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New novel brings Inspector Morse back to life

A new Inspector Morse novel will help to raise funds for a statue of Colin Dexter in Oxford.

Friend of the author, Antony Richards, chairman of the Inspector Morse Society, has written 'Dead Man's Walk' following encouragement from Colin Dexter, who recently died aged 86. Richards (1963) never intended to be an author but in 2015, after Colin Dexter suggested he should try to write a novel, he began to work on 'Dead Man's Walk'.
"Back in 2015, guided by Colin,” Richards says, “I set to work doing a page a day first thing in the morning before work. Just as he instructed 'if you do a page a day then at the end of the year you will have a book'. Also taking Colin's advice I wrote about something I knew - Inspector Morse - and it soon occurred to me that there had not been a new novel for over 15 years".

Antony Richards will publish the tale under the pen name Antony James, a reference to his 10-year-old son James. He added: "Colin was given a copy of the novel - he actually features in it as a trainspotting truanting schoolboy”.

Richards unsuccessfully submitted the murder mystery to Macmillan last year, but the publishers of the Morse novels did not object to the work being published elsewhere as long as it was made clear it was fan fiction.

He is certain his novel, to be published by his own The Irregular Special Press, will never be able to compete with his friends' books in terms of sales - the 13 Inspector Morse novels sold four million copies in the UK alone - but bookshops have already shown an interest.
The title refers to the footpath near Merton College and the plot features a young Endeavour Morse in 1971, working as a sergeant in Oxford, who is called to investigate the murders of two men whose surnames match those of the Oxford martyrs. Well, 1971 is within the scope of the Endeavour adaptations and one of my favourite actresses, Abigail Thaw, is part of that series.

Dr Richards added: "A life-size statue could cost about £25,000 and if we sold 500 copies of the novel initially that could raise a few thousand pounds to kickstart fundraising - there are about 400 members of the society and I'm sure lots of them will buy a copy."

[Update March 24, 2017] Antony Richards reached out to me and said that at present the book is still at the proofing stage and a release date has not been decided upon. He will make sure that I receive information when available.

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