Gregg Nunney: I am always impressed by a mystery

John Thaw and Colin Dexter on the Oxford set of Morse
John Thaw and Colin Dexter on the Oxford set of Morse

I’m addicted to the world of Colin Dexter.

It started with the Inspector Morse series in the late 1980s, then moved to Lewis, then Endeavour and then back to Morse with the original novels that inspired the series.

I don’t know whether it’s the writing, the gruff character of Morse or the fact that there was always a new and unique way to explain a mystery that I like, but I’m a fan of everything that has either been written by, or inspired by, Dexter.

It was only recently I discovered Dexter was a local boy. He was born in Stamford and taught classics at Corby Grammar School for the best part of a decade in the early 1960s.

I’m always impressed by mystery writers. Agatha Christie managed sixty-six different novels featuring the likes of Marple, Poirot and Tommy & Tuppence.

Dorothy L Sayers penned dozens and if you include short stories, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes had many an adventure too.

A lot of the “whodunit” stories that we see on TV come from books. Midsomer Murders, George Gently and Shetland all started life as series of novels and all receive huge viewing figures.

Now I know ideas get recycled but you can still pick up any one of those books and be taken on a journey of twists and turns before finally finding out how it happened.

Even with Columbo, where you find out exactly who-and-how-dunit at the beginning of each episode, the process the Lieutenant goes through to reveal the culprit is gripping.

The recent Jonathan Creek episodes have been a bit flat but, on the whole, it’s another series that manages to amaze with clever solutions.

We went to Oxford last week – the home of Morse and Lewis – and experienced some of the picturesque locations that have helped make Dexter’s stories so unique.

I had a cracking time but, judging by the body count in the books, I wouldn’t want to live there!