In a word (OK, in two words), Colin Dexter

My wait to see the finished cover of The Road Back is, at last, over. The final touch to the cover was a sentence of endorsement. I’ve enlarged the cover so that you can read the words between the title and my name.

The Road Back, with Colin Dexter's words

I’m really thrilled that Colin Dexter, the author who created Inspector Morse, not only read my novel, but wanted to say something good about it. Lucky me!

He originally said of it, ‘A splendid story, so beautifully told’, but we were worried that it might lead readers to expect a novel in the same vein as Morse, so Colin added ‘love’ to ‘story’, thereby making clear the genre of the novel.

I first met Colin some time ago at Jane Gordon-Cumming’s launch for her book of short stories, The Haunted Bridge, and then again the following year at the Christmas Party for the Oxford Writers’ Group. He’s a great friend of all the writers in Oxford, and is a frequent guest at the OWG parties.

As we talked at the party, it became clear that we shared an interest in cryptic crosswords and The Archers and that he knew Belsize Park very well, in which the London sections of The Road Back are set. Shortly after that, he was kind enough to give me a copy of a book he’d written about solving crosswords when we met in The Morse Bar at The Randolph Hotel – the excellent Cracking Cryptic Crosswords – and he said that he’d like to read my novel.

The Morse Bar in The Randolph Hotel, Oxford

Portrait of Colin Dexter in The Morse Bar








Which brings me back to the beginning – the sentence added to the original cover, and now the next launch at which I shall meet Colin will be the launch for The Road Back in September.


With Colin Dexter in The Morse Bar, in front of a plaque dedicated to Inspector Morse


  • Lovely, lovely cover and a great pic of Mr Colin Dexter Morse and the lovely Mrs Harris. And he is absolutely correct in what he has said.

  • Beautiful cover and fab endorsement!

  • That is a lovely picture of you and Colin. Yes, he was very kind about ‘The Haunted Bridge’ and made a most flattering speech at my launch. I was also privileged to attend the launch of ‘Cracking Cryptic Crosswords’, and put some faces to the famous names of the crossword world. It is indeed a great book.

    We’re all so looking forward to seeing ‘The Road Back’ in the shops!

    • Liz:

      Carol, Jane, Liz – many thanks for your kind comments about the cover and Colin. I’m thrilled to have such an endorsement.

      Jane – I loved all the short stories in The Haunted Bridge. The praise he gave your book was very well deserved.

  • Great endorsement for a great book, Liz. x

  • Wonderful Liz – absolutely wonderful! So very exciting 🙂 X

    • Liz:

      It is isn’t it. I was so lucky to meet Colin that day – and that I liked cryptic crosswords, too! I love the Daily Telegraph cryptic, but don’t take the paper so I buy the books.

  • Brilliant Liz, what a coup. He seems like such a lovely man. Your book will be one of my holiday reads.

  • Now, that’s some endorsement, Liz! Great to see the finished cover and – excellent – not long before I can read your novel! Hurray!

    • Liz:

      Many thanks for your lovely comment, Chris. I love the way that Choc Lit have done it with two colours.

  • Christina Courtenay:

    How wonderful, Liz, you are indeed very lucky!!

    • Liz:

      I know I am, Christina – I really appreciate him reading the whole book and making such a comment. Also adding ‘love’ to ‘story’ in the comment. If you’re able to make my book launch, you’ll meet him as he’s coming to it.

  • John Jackson:

    I really MUST get my eyes tested. could have sworn it said “in front of a plague dedicated to Inspector Morse” – which seems a little harsh!
    Looking forward to reading TRB.


    • Liz:

      That was a scary moment, John – you sent me scurrying back to the text I’d written. Happpily, all was well. Phew!

  • Henriette Gyland:

    What a fabulous endorsement, from a much-respected author. I hope the book sells really well.

    • Liz:

      Many thanks, Henri. As a great fan of Morse, I couldn’t be more thrilled. And I’m delighted that he’s going to be able to come to the launch of TRB, too.

  • Margaret James:

    A fabulous endorsement from a wonderful novelist – looks great on your book! I’m looking forward to reading it very much indeed. MXXX

    • Liz:

      Thank you, Margaret. I’m so glad that he wanted to do this. He’s an extremely interesting man, and I’ve enjoyed all my conversations with him

  • Great cover, Liz. I’d pick it up even if I didn’t know you as the author! Am really looking forward to reading it. And you look radiant in the photo with that nice gentleman, Colin Dexter.
    It all looks as though it’s coming together for you.
    Best of luck with the sales!

    • Liz:

      Thanks for that lovely comment, Denise.

      Yes, I was very lucky to meet Colin and to end up getting an endorsement for TRB, and I was very lucky that my ms landed on the right Choc Lit desk at the right time.

      Annie Burgh once said that luck was an essential ingredient in getting published, and she was so right.

  • Mandy James:

    Wow! Just wow! x

  • Love the cover Liz. How wonderful that Colin has read your book and written those words especially for you! Can’t believe how time has flown since I met you at the RNA London Chapter Christmas lunch-September seemed so far away then but it’s now so close.

  • Catherine Miller:

    That’s wonderful, Liz. What a fantastic statement to have on the front.

  • What a great endorsement. Well done 🙂 x

    • Liz:

      Laura and Catherine – Many thanks for your very kind comments. It’s a lovely thing for him to have said, and I’m thrilled that he liked the book so much. He told me that he was very moved by the story in several places.

  • Mandie:

    Looking good. And I’m looking forward to reading it.

    • Liz:

      Thank you for your comment, Mandie. I hope you enjoy it when you read it.

      Not that long now till it’s out. That’s good because I can’t wait to hold my book; that’s bad because the year is flying by too quickly!

  • Jude:

    What a fantastic endorsement. I can’t wait to read your book Liz. x

  • Linora Lawrence:

    What a fabulous cover Liz, it really sets the mood for the story. We all know Colin would not have said what he did unless he truly believed it so you are to be congratulated on that. Sadly you may be one of the last people for whom he will read a manuscript, at least a full length novel, as his eyesight is failing so badly. Well done, you!

    • Liz:

      Many thanks, Linora.

      Yes, it’s very sad about his eyesight. His wife told me that he had to read the whole novel using a magnifying glass. Such a shame.

  • Fantastic cover Liz! Congratulations! I’m looking forward to reading it.

    • Liz:

      Thank you very much, Rhoda. I’m delighted to have such an endorsement – it was a lucky day when I met Colin, thanks to the OWG.

  • Hi Liz

    Just heard that Colin Dexter is to get a special award at the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Conference in Harrogate for his outstanding contribution to crime writing. Lovely news.

    • Liz:

      I was thrilled to hear that. He deserves it. I’m so pleased, too, that the presentation date doesn’t clash with my book launch as he wants to come along to that.

  • Liv:

    Wow – that’s amazing. Unforgettable. Thrilled for you.

    • Liz:

      Many thanks for reading the blog, and commenting, Livbet. What a stroke of luck it was, meeting Colin.

  • Lovely cover, and lovely Colin! Many congrats again.

  • Liz,

    Congratulations on the gorgeous cover, fantastic endorsement and forthcoming release. Well done.

    Nikki x

  • How absolutely wonderful – I’m thrilled for you Liz – and excited! What a wonderful endorsement for what looks to be a fabulous book. I can’t wait to read The Road Back and wish you a top bestseller! xx

    • Liz:

      Janice, Nikki and Susie – thank you so much for your lovely comments about the cover of the book. It was a happy day for me when, at Jane’s book launch, Colin heard that I liked cryptic crosswords and threw out the words, ‘A bar of soap’.

  • Liz, I’ve just caught up with your blog. Such a lovely cover for your forthcoming book – I’m so pleased for you. I’ve heard Colin Dexter speak on two occasions. Last time was at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea when he did some readings with a well-known, elderly actor whose name I’ve forgotten! Doh…anyway, I had a lovely chat with this actor while CD was signing books and beating off fans. A lovely man – rather like a benevolent pixie and I mean that as a compliment x

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