Friday, October 12, 2007

"Meeting A Most Engaging Writer"

He's lucky, this guy. If he wishes, he can safely graze his sheep in the streets of his city...if he has any sheep, that is, and I don't think he has.
And once, someone thought he was Mohamed Al Fayed; they glimpsed him from afar. He has a "look" of him, I suppose.
And often, he's copied one of Alfred Hitchcock's ideas; it's rather a good idea, and it's provided both him and Hitch with lots of fun.
This guy's 3 yrs off 80 but he holds an audience spellbound.
He says his writing, above all:"seeks to entertain" and it does, it really does.
He likes cricket, crosswords, classical music and so does his most celebrated character. But unlike this character, he hasn't got a red Jag and he has two fairly ordinary christian names. He's an atheist, by the way.
And once he taught Latin to boys.
Eventually he wrote a book, surprising himself, while on a wet family holiday in Wales; this novel was accepted by the 2nd publisher who saw it.....with no alterations whatsoever!
He was educated at Cambridge in early post war years.
And "The Times", writing one day about one of his books, said :"it's the kind of book without which no armchair is complete.." And yes, his books are on cushions on countless armchairs throughout the world: they've been translated into 22 languages.
His leading ladies include Geraldine James, Diana Quick, Frances Barber.
He has an OBE for Services to Literature.
AND novelist Beryl Bainbridge, clearly appreciating the mastery of his plots, said: " What construction! What skill! Why isn't this author EVER on the Booker Shortlist?"

Colin Dexter ( creator of " Morse" and more) came to Chester LitFest this week; this lovely guy gave us a happy informative evening; it brimmed with wisdom and humour. I hope he returns.
* He's a Freeman of the city of Oxford; the right to graze sheep is one of the perks!
** Hitchcock " appeared" briefly in his own films. Dexter liked this idea and has had a tiny "cameo" part in most "Morse" episodes. Usually he loitered in the background but he was eventually allowed to speak( once) in 1993!

11 Comments:

Blogger Jon M said...

'It's murder Lewis!" I used to love Morse...never read the books though. Sounds like a clever and thoroughly likeable sort of cove!

7:49 pm  
Blogger Lucy said...

I really enjoyed hearing him on Radio 4 - Book Club, I think - he's so entertaining and dry and clever. apparently he's used more English words in his books than even Shakespeare!

1:42 pm  
Anonymous watermaid said...

I used to enjoy 'Morse'. It wasn't just of interest because my eldest went to new College, Oxford. I've never really read the genre although perhaps I should.

4:05 pm  
Blogger Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Brilliant post, Jan, really enjoyed that. I used to so enjoy the televised Morse. I must look out for the books.

2:09 pm  
Blogger Isabelle said...

Goodness, you've been having an interesting time. We have the Edinburgh Book Festival, but unfortunately it starts just as we're going back to work after the summer, so my attendance is limited.

We used to watch "Morse" sometimes for the fun of seeing Morse going into one college doorway and magically finding himself inside another college a few seconds later! Same thing happens with "Rebus" (and no doubt any programme where one knows the locations).

9:50 am  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

I loved Morse - was so sad when he died - I know he didn't ... but the actor who played the character.
Thanks for the report - witten wunderfully! :)

11:02 am  
Blogger liz fenwick said...

Sounds wonderful....

2:36 pm  
Blogger Suffolkmum said...

Oh I love Colin Dexter, don't really read crime except for him, and I admit to only reading him because I'd watched Morse first! How nice to meet him. Loved your affluenza one below. We're poorer than we've ever been right now, and I must confess I do worry a lot, but I wouldn't actually trade anything in for more money (I don't think!!)

1:32 pm  
Blogger herhimnbryn said...

A wonderful author, who assumes all his readers are as well read as he obviously is! I'm obviously not, but appreciate the assumption.

The Morse books will continue to be favourites for me, although I have to wonder that Oxford has had so many murders!

9:36 am  
Anonymous marly said...

You know, I don't think I've ever read a Colin Dexter novel. I'll have to put him on The List.

Very interesting,Jan.

4:01 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

JonM:
Yep, he was!

Lucy:
Wish I'd heard that, Lucy.

Watermaid:
I originally watched Morse because JThaw reminded me of my father.. very white hair, bright blue eyes..

Vanilla:
Thanks and good hearing from you.

Isabelle:
Ive only recently discovered Rebus.
Ken Stott is superb and his relationship with his assistant is actually quite moving...

CB:
Thanks CB and as ever, good hearing from you..

LizF:
Hope it's not making you homesick for Blighty as you wake up each day to your fabulous sun ( lucky you!)

SuffolkM:
Thanks for this.
Looking at your blog, you have a wonderful life...

Herhimnbryn:
Agreed.
Thanks for calling in.

Marly:
Yep, good idea.
Hope all OK with you, Marly.

1:34 pm  

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